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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.

Saying you are a person who is never wrong is just par for the course — it makes it obvious that you are not interested in having a conversation in good faith. You are trying to deliberately insult the intelligence of our audience. And the thing is, I didn’t remember exactly who you were when I saw your name, but I did instantly connect the name with this kind of crappy argument. You told me that you’ve “only called the show twice.” I call this a lie of omission, since you neglected to mention that you’ve also attempted to initiate email conversations approximately 20 separate times in the last two years, and most of them have wound up in the trash bin very quickly after brief exchanges with various cast members, because you are annoying and dishonest.

Remember that time I hung up on you for being a complete asshole to Jeff?
http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2012/07/09/how-to-guarantee-that-we-hang-up-on-you/

Remember calling me infantile pet names like “Rusty” for months while I ignored your emails?

You’ve got an unhealthy obsession with our show, your arguments suck, the audience does not like you. I do not like you. Get a life. Find a new hobby. Find something useful to do with yourself instead of constantly pestering us. And above all, give up on evangelism, because you are bad at it. You are in fact, so bad at it that Matt once speculated that you are an atheist pretending to be a Christian for fun.

If you are really a Christian honestly expressing your opinion, then you are an idiot. If you are pretending to be a Christian, then you are a liar. Either way, you are a complete jerk. I do not want to take your calls, I do not want to answer any more emails, I don’t know how much clearer I can make it for you. Take the hint.

Sincerely, Russell Glasser

Comments

  1. Lord Narf says

    Ohhhhhh, that guy is back. Yeah, I remember the previous call, because the abrupt end was funny as hell and completely appropriate. I can see how a conversation with someone like that probably isn’t going anywhere, yeah.

    Let me go grab yesterday’s show. I haven’t listened to it, yet.

  2. lol mahmood says

    Can someone have a word with him about his abuse of punctuation? For someone who’s never wrong, he seems to make a lot of basic errors.

  3. says

    Yay, Russell! The portion of CK’s message we see above is indeed clear evidence of a immature mind.
    Until he grows up a bit further, it’ll be a waste of time to communicate with him on important issues.

  4. Corey says

    I never said I was never wrong. You asked me if I am always right and I e-mailed you today 5/13/2013 and said that I am always right. Sorry if that offends you horrificly. If you do not want me calling or e-mailing you then close down your organization and get off the air. That is not rocket science Mr. Scientist. Russell I am sorry you cannot accept the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord and God. Yes, I made statements that God exists, but you are the ones that say “Prove it.” If YOU (emphasis added) want proof then you have to be specific about what evidence you would like. Otherwise you are truly nothing but a coward that hides behind a button. You know, yes you know that you and Matt would not debate me and you cannot that is why you hung up on me. John 1:5 the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. Fair is fair, Russ if you do not wish to talk to me anymore then do not respond to this.

  5. Corey says

    Hey, I did not know you were grading my informal comments? I never said I am never wrong but I am always right.

  6. Lord Narf says

    If you do not want me calling or e-mailing you then close down your organization and get off the air.

    Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh.

    Nice solution. Yes, every show should get off the air, if they don’t want to deal with every single nut who contacts them.

    Every science show should go off the air, unless they want to personally address every single flat-earther and moon-landing denialist who obsessively e-mails them.

    If YOU (emphasis added) want proof then you have to be specific about what evidence you would like.

    You (emphasis added) are the one calling in claiming to have evidence. What the hell do you expect them to do, play 20 Questions to figure out what kind of evidence you claim to have?

    “Is it archaeological evidence?”

    “No.”

    “Is it a logical argument that’s full of logical fallacies?”

    “No.”

    “Is it a complete misunderstanding of basic science?”

    “No. You lose. Jesus is lord.”

    That’s not the way it works, man. If you have evidence, it’s up to you to lay it out and present a coherent argument with it.

  7. Lord Narf says

    I dunno, I kind of get a kick out of it. Considering that this particular thread is specifically set up to address the troll, it’s not like Corey is derailing anything.

  8. Lord Narf says

    Dude, you’ve made so many ad hominem attacks against the hosts of the show, it’s fair play to mock you a bit, in response.

  9. Monocle Smile says

    I can’t decide if Corey needs professional help or a swift kick in the genitals.

  10. Allucard says

    Corey, you are the premier example of why faith is detrimental to the intellectual progress of society. Not only have you demonstrated your dishonesty by claiming to be infallible, but have failed to realize that in doing so you have in turn undermined your own theology because allegedly only god is infallible.

  11. Leeor D says

    Alright, I cede defeat… :) I just find these kinds of fools to be irritating… but I can see the potential fun here!

  12. Lord Narf says

    Why not both? I hear there are some women who will do that for you, for money, which makes them professionals of a sort.

  13. Monocle Smile says

    How about something that is testable, demonstrable, and can only be explained by your specific deity? That would be a good start.

    If you’re never wrong, feel free to publish whatever findings you accumulate on this topic.

  14. Leeor D says

    I’m going to say a swift kick. That’s the appropriate corrective action for these sorts.

  15. Lord Narf says

    I don’t think he’s a faker, man. Fakers aren’t generally that persistent.

  16. Lord Narf says

    So, we should hold a collection to raise money for the lady who will do this for Corey?

  17. Ludachrist says

    You doin Poe activities
    With Poe tendencies
    Poes are your friends,Poes are your enemies
    With Poe energy to do whacha do
    Blew whacha blew
    Screw whacha screw
    Yall professional like C.S. Lew, pullin on my coat tail
    an why do you think you take a Poe to a hotel?
    Hotel everybody, even the mayor
    Reach up in tha sky for tha Poezone laya
    Come on playa once a Poe always
    And Poes never close they open like hallways
    An heres a Poe cake for you whole Poe crew
    an everybody wants some cuz Poes gotta eat too

  18. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    Oh my.

    Fair is fair, Russ if you do not wish to talk to me anymore then do not respond to this.

    If you do not want me calling or e-mailing you then close down your organization and get off the air.That is not rocket science Mr. Scientist.

    Did you work hard to come across as this stupid, mate?

  19. Ludachrist says

    I’m pretty dang convinced Shock of God is a poe, and look at the lengths he’s gone to. I wouldn’t put it past him. It would almost be a bigger miracle to me for someone to actually believe all that crap after all of this

  20. MikeTheInfidel says

    He’s not a fake, unless all the people posting on his Facebook profile are also him pretending to be Christians.

    So glad I’m moving away from Schenectady in a month…

  21. says

    I never said I am never wrong but I am always right.

    Okay… for someone who doesn’t get basic epistemology, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the additional word salad.

  22. says

    If YOU (emphasis added) want proof then you have to be specific about what evidence you would like.

    Scientific evidence, using the scientific method.

    You’re welcome.

  23. Lord Narf says

    I never claimed to be better than you, just more intellectually rigorous, apparently.

    I don’t know; tell me which metric we’re measuring. I probably am better than you, in plenty of ways.

  24. Monocle Smile says

    Good job not responding to any of the issued challenges and instead posting more useless rhetoric. And this is after you call Russell a coward.

  25. changerofbits says

    I never said I was never wrong. You asked me if I am always right and I e-mailed you today 5/13/2013 and said that I am always right.

    I’m pretty sure never wrong and always right are true opposites (no overlap in the Venn diagram). But, this is totally consistent with your nonsensical worldview (3 = 1, objective morality from a thug, etc.).

    Sorry if that offends you horrificly.

    I’m not offended and I’d like to thank you because I am amused. I believe a dude named Hitch said something about finding irony in the tragedy we all find ourselves in…

    If you do not want me calling or e-mailing you then close down your organization and get off the air. That is not rocket science Mr. Scientist.

    I think Russell was just suggesting that you might be able to find a better use of your time than pestering them with crazy as much as you do. I suggest you spend some time working on a new, novel apologetic. We aren’t atheists a priori. One big point of the show is to challenge the atheist position and being an “annoying, arrogant, incoherent, special pleading god-bot” just isn’t convincing to rational atheists. You’re not representing your faith very well (and you’re probably making baby jesus cry).

    Russell I am sorry you cannot accept the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord and God.

    This is just another display of your dishonesty. I would recommend replacing “cannot” with “don’t” in the above, but that point is probably lost on you.

    Yes, I made statements that God exists, but you are the ones that say “Prove it.”

    Do you not understand the burden of proof? If I say that bigfoot exists, then it’s my burden to prove that claim, not the burden of people who don’t believe my claim. You’ve been calling the show for two years and you haven’t even thought/heard about this? I’m convinced that you can’t be honestly ignorant by now and you’re just being dishonest (bearing false witness is bad, m’kay).

    If YOU (emphasis added) want proof then you have to be specific about what evidence you would like.

    Simple: Prove prayer works. You’ll probably claim that it does, but an assertion is not proof. We want evidence!

    Otherwise you are truly nothing but a coward that hides behind a button. You know, yes you know that you and Matt would not debate me and you cannot that is why you hung up on me. John 1:5 the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. Fair is fair, Russ if you do not wish to talk to me anymore then do not respond to this.

    You have to be one of the most arrogant toddlers I’ve ever encountered. They won’t debate you because are equivalent to a sheep, bleating out a stream of nonsense and unable to comprehend anything that is said to you. But, your good book says that we’re all sheep, so please, take Russell’s advice and just wander over to another part of the pasture for your own sake.

  26. John Kruger says

    How can there ever be a point to talking with someone who starts right off with the idea that they do not have to back up any of their claims? Just because someone does not want to debate a person with earplugs and a megaphone does not make the earplug/megaphone participant the “winner”. Incivility to the point of becoming intolerable just makes you an asshole, it has no bearing on how correct you are.

    Why are you not responding to every critical comment here? You lose! You lose! You just can’t debate us, so you are hiding in silence. Does it still work when turned around on you? Relatively speaking I suspect commenters here will argue in much better faith than you ever have demonstrated, and yet you do not respond. Have you lost?

    If you do not want me calling or e-mailing you then close down your organization and get off the air.

    How about plan B? Send the e-mails to a spam folder, screen your calls, and go on with the show and our lives as if you never existed? Do not expect the privileges extended to a guest to continue if you abuse them. You are no longer welcome, and will have to fulminate elsewhere.

  27. annabucci says

    I wonder if this is his profile on fb: /corey.keplinger.90 and if so then it would seem that he’s not pretending. Truly a POE if you can’t tell whether he’s fake or not, but I’m guessing real. I think he’s the kind of christian that Bill Maher has desginated “a fan”. Not unlike, Justin Beiber fans, he’s a big fan of jesus and the christian god, and maybe it’s all an act, but I suspect he’s trying really hard to show off his christianity because of something wrong that he feels guilty about, or because he has a mental issue and is trying to prove himself. His brother seems to be a right wing conspiracy theorist(and got kicked out of the army for being a junky), so it may be an issue caused by his home environment.

    This is all just speculation of course.

  28. says

    This guy’s something. Definitely not your “typical” anything. If he isn’t just trying trying to grind people’s gears in an especially childish way, then he is the singly worst communicator this side of the time-cube guy. It’s as though… hell, I really can’t even guess (Good show, Corey). Maybe this is it, he makes the least sense and has the worst grasp of basic logic, of anyone I’ve ever seen who is also capable of composing sentences and expressing his thoughts for the most part. It’s fairly dis-congruent and this may be why he screams PoE to many of us.

  29. changerofbits says

    Well, while I’m generally appalled by any threat of physical assault, and this case being no exception, maybe there’s an Christian justification for it. One of the arguments claiming that the “forced vaginal ultrasound before abortion” laws weren’t rape because a women implicitly consented to it by having sex. Maybe, if a man as ever done a hernia check or a testicular exam, that makes any subsequent battery to the area by anybody else implicitly consensual.

    Umm, on second thought, no mean no, regardless of where you land on the gender spectrum and no matter how dishonest and annoying you are.

  30. Corey says

    Here is the problem. I e-mailed the atheist experince this morning so let the record show. I have agreed to bear the burden of proof and to provide evidence. Russell and Matt however must be specific in what evidence the would like. They say however that it’s up to me… Well if that is the case I can say my dog “wiggles” created the universe and since they do not know how the universe came to be… How will they disprove my claim? Their own logic fails them.

  31. says

    That’s where the evidence comes in, genius. How would they possibly know what evidence you have before you tell them? They “specifically” want the evidence you have that supports your position. Honestly, this isn’t hard stuff. Are you trying to ask what “kind” of evidence would you accept? Who cares? Show us what you got, dude.

  32. Corey says

    My dog farted out the universe… Since you do not know how the universe came to be… Can you disprove my claim? Oh you want evidence my dog farted out the universe, what evidence do you want and I’ll be happy to oblige.

  33. Compuholic says

    I can disprove your claim right here: It was not your dog because it was my pet unicorn. It farted and that caused the big bang.

    See. You are disproved.

  34. Corey says

    My dog farted out the universe… Since you don’t know how the universe came to be can you disprove my claim? Oh you want evidence my dog farted out the universe… What evidence would you like that shows my dog did this? Oh you don’t care… Well then, I fed him an M-80 and chili and he blew the universe out of his ass…Oh you want proof? Well what proof would you like…? You don’t care? O.k. I went to the firecracker store and bought the M-80 and I made extra spicy chili and fed it to him… Are you catching my drift yet Russ and Matt… Since you do not know Matt and Russ can you disprove my claim…Oh you want evidence… Here we go again…

  35. Lord Narf says

    You have a very poor grasp of how evidence works. When you make a claim, you provide the evidence that made you come to your conclusion. It’s not up to anyone else to provide evidence to disprove your claim. All that someone has to do is look at your evidence and show where your conclusions are not supported by that evidence.

    Give them anything that is evidence for your claim. What evidence made you come to the conclusion that your god did anything you claim he did? Then, we can examine that evidence and see if your conclusions are justified by that evidence.

  36. Lord Narf says

    The same evidence that you have. Either claim is just as stupid, which was his point.

  37. says

    Scientific evidence – I’ll use evolution as case examples.

    1) Objective so that it’s not simply contained within a mind, and others can analyze it (I.e. fossils or genetics)

    2) Testable – so we can verify that the evidence is legit (can find new fossils, do more genetic tests)

    3) Falsifiable – unfalsifiable claims tend to be so vague that they’re worthless (find in genetics that there’s no DNA relationship between creatures, or that fossil record shows no change in available creatures ever)

    4) Logical – a causal mechanism between the evidence and the claim must be substantiated (a fossil demonstrates a “snapshot” of a lineage at a particular time/place)

    5) Repeatable – we need to determine whether it was a fluke or not (additional fossils may be found, or the genetic tests can be redone).

    6) Presentable – you can claim to have evidence, but unless it can be delivered for review, it’s like claiming that you have a girlfriend, but she lives in Canada (fossils can be displayed)

    —–

    Of course, before any of the above can be applied, the god thing you’re talking about needs a solid definition, otherwise, from our angle, you appear to be asking what kind of evidence would be needed to demonstrate “Gergfulgengangle” – and we’re not sure what it is.

    After you’ve gathered enough evidence (you’ll need more than 1 puzzle piece to complete a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle), you can figure out how to organize your case, write your publication, and send it in for peer review. The evidence/case will be weighed against competing/contradictory evidence, and see how well it fits into the bigger picture. Once they’ve checked your findings, checked your assumptions and conclusions for soundness/validity, and it passes…

    Then, we can talk.

  38. Corey says

    The point you jackass is not what evidence I have it is what evidence do YOU want to prove God created the universe… Are you blind?

  39. unfogged says

    Start with evidence that explains why we see what we do when we look at the universe. Bonus points if it implies currently unknown things that can be looked for and verified. Throwing out “my dog did it” is not evidence, it is just an unsubstantiated claim. You can substitute any noun in there like “Zeus did it” or “Jesus did it” without adding or subtracting anything meaningful.

    Nobody has to know how the universe actually came to be in order to discard claims that don’t provide the necessary framework to support consideration. The problem, as I understand it, is that when we get to within a fraction of a second before the universe as we know it started the rules as we understand them break down. The only valid conclusion to the question of what came before that point with the available evidence is “We don’t know — yet”. If you “know” that your god did it then provide evidence that that is the case. At the very least provide evidence that your god, or any god, actually interacts with reality.

  40. says

    As Narf points out, we have zero obligation or requirement to consider your claims in any way, shape or form until you’ve met your burden of proof.

    That’s the minimum requirements you must meet before you’re worth wasting any time on.

  41. Rob says

    I don’t think you get it, Corey. They don’t make time for people like you, you aren’t worth it. You are good for a few laughs for the audience but that’s about it. After that it just gets kind of sad. You sound like an immature teenager who was offended in some way by the show. Your ‘arguments’ are just ridiculous, in fact if you brought those arguments to apologists they would laugh at you. You just come off as desperate.

  42. Compuholic says

    Well, ask yourself what would convince you that my pet unicorn created the universe…

  43. jdoran says

    You don’t actually believe that claim (and neither do we), so why waste time trying to prove or disprove it?

    I could spend the rest of my life making up claims that noone believes. Are you under some obligation to provide evidence for or against them? Of course not.

    If you believe that the available evidence is sufficient to show that it’s more likely that at least one god exists than that no gods exist, present the evidence. If it’s something we’ve run into before, we’ll explain why we didn’t find it convincing. If it’s something new, we’ll evaluate the evidence and come to a conclusion.

  44. Ronin707 says

    Corey,

    Well you’d need to submit your dog for testing.
    First there would be x-rays,cat-scans, and MRI’s of your dog. Then your dog would be watched until he took a poop and that would be tested. After all this data was gathered we could juxastapose
    the information next to the mountains of data on the dogs we currently have. My hypothesis would be that your dog,at it’s core is no different than any other dog in it’s species, therefore the odds of your dog “Farting” out the universe are probably not very good.

  45. Lord Narf says

    The point you jackass is not what evidence I have it is what evidence do YOU want to prove God created the universe… Are you blind?

    Do you have any. We have yet to see argument #1 from you or see the first piece of evidence.

    We’re not going to tell you how to prove your own claims, because we don’t know how you came to your conclusions. See comment #6.

  46. jdoran says

    You seem to have this idea that evidence is something you just make up. That’s a claim, not evidence. Evidence is something real that supports a claim.

  47. annabucci says

    if a dog was the cause of the univers(using your absurd hypothetical), the question for that is, “who or what made the dog?”

    besides, we all know the universe was made when the fire and ice came together in the ginnungagap, from which the giant Ymir came, and from his body Odin and his brothers formed the earth.

    duh!

  48. Lord Narf says

    I think what we’re saying is that Ray Comfort would call your arguments insubstantial and unsupported.

  49. Corey says

    Yes, I have asked Russ and Matt what evidence they want and they don’t care? So I can essentially make up anything, and since they don’t know how the universe came to be, they cannot disprove my claim.

  50. jdoran says

    Please note that annabucci isn’t an atheist. She’s a polytheist favoring the Norse pantheon, as I understand it. Since that’s a theistic belief, you two actually have more in common than you do with atheists.

  51. jdoran says

    Is the claim convincing? As far as we know, dogs don’t create universes. So, we’d need to have something more reliable than just “you said it” to find it convincing. Why should we believe you?

  52. kestra says

    Why are you laboring under the misapprehension that nothing is known about the origins of the universe? There is a considerable amount of easily observable evidence of what happened in the past, which can be used to extrapolate backwards and reconstruct those events. Red shift is just one example that comes to mind. Even aside from the origins of the universe, the origins of our own planet and life thereon are also thoroughly studied and the evidence of when, how, and why it happened fairly well understood.

    You seem to be trying to construct a false dichotomy, wherein both “your side” (GODDIT!) and “our side” (Nothing Did It!) are somehow on a level playing field. That is… not the case.

  53. Lord Narf says

    And as we’ve told you many times, it’s not up to them to disprove your claim. It’s up to you to support it.

  54. says

    I think comprehension of the rudimentary epistemological concept of the burden of proof may be my minimum requirement for having a conversation.

    Anything before that is just gibberish.

  55. says

    I love the line you quoted there. He capped “YOU”–then added “emphasis added”–as though he was quoting someone else. For the record Corey, when you cap your own text, there is no need to tell people you’re adding emphasis, it’s apparent. It’s when you’re adding emphasis to other people’s statements that they did not originally use, that you need to let people know you’ve added emphasis to draw attention to specific text in the quoted material.

  56. Matthew Visnevskianov says

    Actually your claims are yours. THey dont have any obligation to tell you what you need to supply. Whatever your evidence is must be presented. that is your burden.

  57. Corey says

    Is the claim convicing… The question is, is it disprovable that my dog created the universe. Remember God spelled backwards is Dog. You don’t know if a dog created the universe. I claim to know that God did. If you want evidence tell me what evidence you would like. If you don’t care then I can just make up anything. And keep messing with your head in the process.

  58. says

    Amen. Why not just explain to us what convinced you a god exists, and let’s see if it’s reasonable justification for your beliefs? I’m less interested in whether we can find a way to convince me, than I am hearing what *honestly* convinced you. That is, what is it you see that is “god”–that is different than everything else we encounter in the universe that is “not god”? “Can you show how your god is different than nothing?” in other words.

    I strongly suggest you read this article at our blog, Corey:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2013/01/21/the-argument-from-it-just-makes-sense-to-me/

    It’s about the difference between simply asserting claims you think “make sense”–and actually demonstrating they are valid. Repeating your claim and explaining it further, is not verification that the claim is true. If your claim is perfectly well understood, it still needs to be demonstrated. So, put your thinking cap on, and figure out what it is you’re looking at in this universe that you’re calling “god” that is different than everything else in this universe. And then come back and show us how to see it, too. We’ll consider what it is you’re pointing at when you say “god,” and see if we agree.

    That’s a start.

  59. jdoran says

    You aren’t messing with anyone’s head. We’re used to theists who don’t understand basic epistemology.

  60. Rob says

    Messing with our heads? If there is any head your messing with it’s your own. We honestly don’t care what crap you make up. People make up stuff all the time. What difference does it make in this context that we should care now? The only thing that you are moving forward is the perception that you can’t defend anything you claim and that you are a massive time waster, and an annoying one at that. You would be an incredibly awful lawyer since you don’t know anything about logic and evidence. I would love to see you prosecute someone and your strategy being to ask him to prove his innocence without providing any evidence of your own. We don’t care what claims you make, we care about the evidence you put forth. I have absolutely no idea what evidence you have (I assume none) to support your claims, and I really don’t care to even think about it until the evidence is presented. With the amount of dishonest and ridiculous people like yourself in the world, we don’t have time or motivation to entertain your unsupported claims. Hell, even the flat earthers (yes they are real) have more ‘evidence’ than you have shown.

  61. says

    Yes, it’s like the time that Christian woman called and ultimately said she didn’t have to prove anything to anyone about her beliefs. Matt replied, quite appropriately, “Why the fuck did you call, then?” And that’s a great question. It’s not the “Call and make claims” hour. The idea is for people to call in and tell us what they believe, and why they believe it. We then examine those beliefs and their reasons for those beliefs. If you are just calling in to say, “I believe god exists, but don’t want to talk about why,” then the call is pretty well done, and nothing was accomplished. You’ve effectively communicated nothing whatsoever, and the conversation has ended. We could, if we wanted to, take calls like that all hour, but what would it accomplish? What would be the point of it?

  62. Kazim says

    I guess Corey has managed to mess with my head. For instance, in the post above, I couldn’t really determine whether Corey was a liar, and idiot, or both. My money’s on both, but as I’m not infallible, I could still be wrong about one or the other.

  63. says

    >Yes, I have asked Russ and Matt what evidence they want and they don’t care? So I can essentially make up anything, and since they don’t know how the universe came to be, they cannot disprove my claim.

    Why do you keep being so dishonest? You believe a god exists (if you’re being honest). Why do you believe it? What has convinced you?

    Why do you say above “I can essentially make up anything”? Who has asked you to lie about any of this? Just provide an honest account of the reason and evidence you have been presented with *yourself* that led you to conclude a god exists and has done anything. Why is that hard? And why can’t you do it? Why do you feel you have to lie? Why does it matter what Matt or Russell would be convinced by? If what convinced you is compelling and reasonable and justifies belief, that should also convince them if they are reasonable, correct? So, why don’t you just lay out the honest evidence that convinces you there is a god? Who has asked you to lie? Why do you feel lying is justified or required? Why do you have such a strong aversion to just putting out what you found convincing, yourself?

  64. says

    Okay, so Corey’s a less-smart-than-average theist, and I suspect he’s just trolling for the lulz now. But what I don’t suspect he understands is that his every comment not only validates atheism but anti-theism.

    I’ve been shifting more and more to the anti-thiest (or strong atheist) position, based solely on a single, dead obvious, simple fact: No theist I have ever encountered, either personally or through their writings, has presented an explanation of their god that is coherent, logically plausible, and testable. In most cases, it is simply assumed that the definition of “God” is a universally known thing, followed by the repeated attempts to shift burden of proof or at special pleading.

    Not only can I say I do not believe in God/gods, but I am comfortable in saying that they do not exist. The 100% failure rate of believers, not simply to meet their burden of proof, but even to define what it is they want me to believe in in a remotely intelligible way, is a pretty powerful piece of evidence in favor of my position, I’d have to say.

  65. says

    Yes, it’s like saying that since you don’t know what is in my pocket, you can’t say it’s not an elephant.

  66. says

    Not to mention that if you make the same statement about fairies, the same theists who denounce you for your arrogance regarding god would agree with you about the fairies. When we say “fairies do not exist” nobody labors under a false impression of what it means. Everyone recognizes that it is not a statement asserting you have scoured the universe, including ruling out supernature and other realms and dimensions, to eliminate even the remotest possibility that such being exist. We all accept that it means that they appear only in stories; not one has manifested in reality that has ever been confirmed; there is zero verified evidence they interact with us in any meaningful, measurable way…and we can’t tell them apart from other fictional characters. The overwhelming lack of evidence that one has ever existed, added to the overwhelming lack of evidence that any exist currently…puts them squarely in the same bin as “nothing” or “nonbeing” or ‘nonexistence.” We can’t tell these things from *nothing*. We certainly can’t say they exist. And to claim we can’t go so far as to call something that manifests exactly like nothing, “nothing,” means we can’t really use the term “exist” in a meaningful way. What it boils down to is that they certainly can’t justifiably be said to “exist” based on what we know currently. And if translating that as “they don’t exist,” is taking it too far–then I can live with the criticisms. What does it mean to have a god that can’t be differentiated from “nothing”–and to tell people they’re out of line to say “Hey, your god is pretty much *exactly* like nothing.”

  67. Lord Narf says

    I should do that in every post in which I use bold and italics, from now on.

  68. says

    I was listening to the show while excercising on my elliptical and I wanted to leap off that thing and choke mah flat screen. Of course I didn’, but I did yell at it, prompting my hubby to come in the office and ponder my mental health. Corey is a complete IDIOT and a waste of atoms. Corey, dude, just go ahead and play the lottery, cause you will wn BIG, what with being right all the time and all. SMH. What I find most INFURIATING about dolts like this jack ass, is the fact that THEY are the ones making a bold claim and yet THEY expect US to dispaprove it. Where in the frickin’ history of the WORLD is that acceptable? If I walked up to this man on the street and told him I had a dragon in my clenched fist he wouldn’t just say, “Oh how kewl”, he’s be like “Open your hand and show me,” yet he wants us to just accept he has a dragon in his clenched fist and if we do not blindly accept that, then WE’RE the assholes??? UnFRICKIN believeabl! Religion really is a poision and the first organ it pickles is the mind.

  69. kestra says

    For the various burden-of-proof reasons discussed above and ad nauseum on your show, I’m not willing to flatly state THERE ARE NO GODS. However, I’m verrry comfortable saying: “None of the known god-ideas exist in a tangible way outside the minds of believers.” This god-idea-list includes, but is not limited to:

    Yahweh/Allah/Jehovah/El, Ashera, et, al.

    Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, Demeter, Artemis, et. al.

    Odin/Wotan, Thor, Loki, Freyja, et. al.

    Brahma, Siva, Vishnu et. al.

    Mithras

    Zoroaster

    Horus, Isis, Osiris, et. al

    The Aten

    I know there are plenty of other non-existent pantheons out there, and mostifnotall of them can be easily attributed to natural events infused with divinity by per-scientific humans. As per Aron-Ra, even Yahweh the storm god who deposed the El of Abram/Abraham can likely be traced back to volcanic activity. Cloak something in enough myths and push it further and further into “transcendence” and away from the mountains, rivers, seas, streams, moons, celestial bodies and weather patterns it used to inhabit, and what do you really have left but an idea of a god, and no tangible being at all? And once your god has been stripped down that far and that much, what use is it anymore, really?

  70. says

    Lorn Narf (emphasis added), I think (See that, I just made it italics for draumaticness), that he‘s (I bet you didn’t notice I bolded the B in the WORD (augmented the emphasis)) still confused.

  71. says

    Russell is right to call you a coward as well as Intellectually dishonest to the nth degreet. I mean, it is scary the milage one is wiling to travel in self delusion. Let’s say I handed you a book entitled WHERE TO FIND PET DRAGONS and within this book there were details from HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE who testified not only to having seen dragons, but could direct you on where to get said dragons–would you believe it? But, let us go further and say I told you that by using these instructions, I was able to find a tiny dragon. I then hold up a clenched fist and tell you said dragon is in my hand, would you simply take my word for it? No, you would ask me to open my hand to show it to you, as proof. Now, if you asked me to do this simple thing and I said, quite huffily, “I dont have to prove anything, YOU prove to me that I have a dragon in my fist”, you would think I was a raving lunatic! Yet you are trying to claim some book told YOU where to find the origins of the universe but you don’t have to open your own fist to prove it. I should just trust you, a complete stranger making extraordinary claims, based on faith alone. WTF. No where in the history of the world is it required that the person HEARING a bold claim has to prove it. YOU’RE the one making the claim, YOU PROVE it, otherwise I have no reason to listen to you. A book saying it is so, is not PROOF. Get over yourself.

  72. John Kruger says

    Yeesh. See Russell’s Teapot.
    I feel like I am witnessing a toddler tantrum, demanding that everyone else provide evidence for someone that does not have any.
    What evidence would convince you of Ohm’s Law? Why won’t just tell me! Why don’t you already know what kind of evidence would convince you?!
    That is just not how it works. If I want to convince you, I should first tell you what Ohm’s Law is, and give examples of how Ohm’s Law is used. Then I can give you experiments to preform and verify for yourself that it works. When you really start to understand and apply it, you can start creating other experiments to explore implications of the Law and challenge it based on repeatable results that others can consider. Somewhere along the line a reasonable person will accept that this Law has useful predictive power, and can be held as true.
    I should not keep demanding that there is nothing that will convince you because you won’t tell me what it is. Neither can I simply assert it is true because you don’t understand it, or that it is true because you have no alternative.
    I am not one to play the “is it a Poe?” game, but there is just so much obtuse stupidity going on here that it really does seem too manufactured to be the honest product of an engaged and normally functioning human brain.

  73. says

    People like you are the reason why I ran screeeeeeaming from the church and why I desire to be cremated–not put in a coffin and placed on display in some holy tabernacle.. I won’t step foot in another church even after death.

  74. says

    You are trying to reason with a man who thinks a 2,000 year old book of Desert Fairy tales is real–AND thinks YOU have to prove it is real…*sigh* I agree with an earleir poster–let us not feed the troll.

  75. Paulth says

    Corey,

    I’m going to try to speak with you in a real way, not just sneer at you. I’m trying to actually communicate with you.

    Evidence is NOT something you make up. For example if you claim that it is daytime, and I ask for evidence, you would say that the sunlight outside is evidence of daytime. You make a CLAIM and then back it up with EVIDENCE–that is, you do if you want rational people to care about what you say.

    A claim is a statement you believe to be true. Evidence is the body of facts that support your claim.

    When YOU say “God is real,” you are making a claim (“God is real” is the claim). YOU then have to offer evidence of that claim because YOU are making the claim. (If I claimed that I own your car, I would have to offer evidence of owning it, such as a pink slip.)

    Evidence is verifiable and observable. It’s raining. What’s my evidence? There’s rain falling from the sky, and anyone who wants to check can see that.

    YOU claim that God is real. The evidence the hosts want is evidence (verifiable facts) of God’s existence. Can you offer such facts? Can you offer evidence of God–that is, facts that anyone can check for themselves?

    What is your evidence–your facts, your reasons for believing that God is real?

    Don’t ask “What evidence do you want” again. If you HAVE evidence–any evidence, at all, of ANY kind–offer it. In other words, give us WHATEVER evidence you have. If you have any, that should be easy to do.

    Also, “I’m always right” is the exact same thing as “I’m never wrong.” By saying one, you are saying the other. So, yes, you claimed to never be wrong.

  76. Corey says

    I made a bold claim, yes! I am willing to bear the burden of proof and provide evidence. Your responsiblilty however is to tell me what evidence you would like. If you say that is my responsibilty then I must say since you atheists do not know how the universe came into being I can pretty much assert anything… Heck, I made it. Please see comment 16.

  77. says

    No, no I think the stupid comes naturally to him….like that being annoying thing–also completley natural…

  78. grahamers says

    What evidence would you like that shows my dog did this? Oh you don’t care… Well then, I fed him an M-80 and chili and he blew the universe out of his ass…Oh you want proof? Well what proof would you like…?

    I think this reveals much about not only the caller’s issues, but theists in general.

    First, here and in multiple other posts, he conflates “evidence” with “assertions.” E.g., he believes that his stating “I fed him an M-80″ constitutes evidence. To some degree, he is correct. (See definitions below.) However, he is not correct in the way he thinks he is.

    I can’t tell if he really things that the assertion, alone, constitutes evidence; or if he is assuming in his head as a hypothetical that the can proves the assertion but is not telling us that it is a hypothetical. E.g., is he thinking “what if I gave you a video recording of me feeding an M-80 and chili to the dog and him farting out the universe? Would that satisfy you?” I thought this was what he might be going after, but after the 2nd or 3rd post, I came to the realization, like everyone else, that he is either a POE or a sad result of doctrinal ignorance.

    More interestingly, however, was the second portion of the above-quoted text. The poster uses “proof” in a way that indicates that the poster views “proof” and “evidence” as different concepts instead of as interrelated, one being a subset of the other.

    Just to be clear, Corey, let’s review. If you cannot use the following terms properly, then you are not interested in an honest and true conversation as you Bible tells you you should be. (1 Peter 3:15)

    A “proposition” or “assertion” is a statement making a claim about the universe.

    Examples include: My dog farted out the universe; or I fed my dog M-80s and chili.

    “Evidence” is any FACT that makes a proposition more or less likely to be true, even by the smallest degree. Note: This means that almost anything constitutes some degree of evidence.
    Examples: The lack of an observation of dogs farting out a universes; as well as a video recording of a dog farting out a universe would both be evidence relating to the above assertion. Even your typing the phrase “My dog farted out the universe” *is* technically “evidence,” however slight. After all, if you had never said that, or said the opposite, the proposition would be ever so slightly less likely to be true since there would be one less person willing to make that assertion. However, it is so small and is outweighed by so many pieces of contradicting evidence, that we instantly process it as non-evidence.

    “Proof” is a LEVEL or AMOUNT of evidence which convinces someone of the truth of a proposition. When something has been proven, the evidence in favor of the proposition has exceeded the applicable standard of proof.

    Example: In civil cases, the plaintiff must present evidence and defeat opposing evidence to such a degree that the finder of fact believes that the plaintiff’s proposition is more likely true than not. In criminal trials, the govt. must present evidence that convinces the finder of fact that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Here, your Dog Fart Cosmological Hypothesis must meet a very high standard of evidence since it goes against so much evidence that has already been so well documented. This applies to your god claims, as well.

    I would hope that this helps, but I know that it doesn’t. your willingness to be truthful and honest is revealed in the following post from your Facebook page:

    “After all my studying and reading, I can sum up the entire Bible in three simple words… GOD IS LOVE”

    if you believe this, you either 1) are lying, 2) haven’t read the Bible, or 3) have a twisted view of love.

  79. says

    My theory–is that he is leaning towards disbelief so he is fighting harder to maintain his faith. This happens a lot with those who have to clutch at religion like a security blanket–after all, what would poor Linus do without his blankie?

  80. John Kruger says

    No. Quit pretending you do not know what persuasive evidence is. Present the evidence you find most compelling and we will tell you what we think.

    You can assert anything you like, there is just no good reason to believe any of it. Just because something is unknown, it is not a license to make up whatever you like.

    See argument from ignorance.

  81. Paulth says

    Assertions are not evidence! Assertions are claims. Evidence is the basis for your assertions/claims.

    It is a claim that “God is real.” That is also known as an assertion. Claim/assertion=same thing.

    Making up your own assertions for how the universe came into being has NOTHING to do with evidence. You can tell me the universe was burped by a pitbull, but that’s just another claim. You have to support your claims with FACTS.

    Evidence is the stuff that supports a claim. People should be able to check and verify the evidence for themselves.

    You claim God is real. What evidence do you have of that? Give us ANY evidence you have. Give us ALL the evidence you have for the claim that YOU made that “God is real.”

  82. Monocle Smile says

    Wait…do you REALLY think that just because we don’t know something, we can insert whatever explanation we want and suddenly that explanation becomes credible? WOW. To quote TAE, this is FRACTALLY wrong.

    Before we understood what caused lightning, Thor swinging his hammer wasn’t any more credible or more correct than after we learned about electric potential.

    Several people here already outlined what’s expected of you, and you have decided to pretend you didn’t receive an answer. The dishonesty isn’t surprising, but no less disdainful.

  83. grahamers says

    Your responsiblilty {sic} however is to tell me what evidence you would like.

    This is where you either 1) are stuck, or 2) chose to be intentionally obstinate.

    Do you think you must believe in Islam unless you can offer convincing evidence that it is false?

    Would you like to live in a state where the government could put you in jail unless you could prove yourself innocent?

    Please read the following discussion of Burden of Proof and tell me where it contains errors:

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_burden_of_proof,/a>

    When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim. “If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed”.[1] This burden does not necessarily require a mathematical or strictly logical proof, although many strong arguments do rise to this level (such as in logical syllogisms). Rather, the evidential standard required for a given claim is determined by convention or community standards, with regard to the context of the claim in question.[2][3]

  84. Corey says

    O.k then, tell me what evidence you would like and I will provide it. What would prove to you that God exists?

  85. Paulth says

    ALL the evidence you have, Corey. I want all the evidence you have for God. Scientific evidence. Observable evidence. EVIDENCE.

    Whatever evidence you have, post it. This “What evidence would you like” crap is stupid, and you know it–or you should. It’s stupid because it doesn’t matter what evidence anyone WANTS. What matters is what evidence EXISTS.

    I want whatever evidence you have. All of it.

    So, provide it, or admit that you don’t have it. But stop the childish BS, because I’m trying to have a real discussion with you while most people here are just mocking your stupid comments. Either meet me halfway as a rational, honest person, or shut up and deal with the well-deserved mockery.

  86. says

    And yet, you ARE already pretty much asserting any and everything without proof and wanting us to accept it. I could be as dishonest as you and say I know the origins of the universe–I don’t know and I am comfortable not knowing. But, I can also say dogs didn’t do it, fairies, didn’t do it, dragons didn’t do it, leperkuans didn’t do it, the loch ness monster didn’t do it, big foot didn’t do it, Santa Claus didn’t do it, The Easter Bunny didn’t do it, and no gods did it either. Why? Because none of those things exist.

    To that end, do you believe in fiaires? And why not? They have been written about in books for centuries….

    As to your previous arguments —

    MAN: The Mayor killed my mother, arrest him!
    OFFICER: That’s a bold claim son, what evidence do you have?
    MAN: I just know he did it, so go get him!
    OFFICER: Yes, but what evidence do you have?
    MAN: What Evidence do you want….?
    OFFICER: Well, there is all kinds of evidence–DNA, ballistics, fingerprints, blood splatter, murder weapons, forensics…what do you have?
    MAN: Well, tell me what kind will convince you.
    OFFICER: Just give me your evidence or leave here.
    MAN: Oh so, NOW you want me to lie huh?
    OFFICER: NO, I just want evidence of the fact the man you are accusing of murder did the crime before we lock him away for life!
    MAN: Okay– a friend of a friend said they saw him do it.
    OFFICER: Son, that isn’t good evidence, nor will it stand up in a court of law.
    MAN: See, no matter what I present you will still blindly refuse to accept te hfact that the Mayor killed my mother.

    *siiiiigh*

    Really Corey–really?

  87. says

    RE: Evidence for God

    It’s an interesting question. What would constitute evidence for God(s)? First, one would need to define God. For shits, let’s define it as O^3 (“O” Cubed – Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnibenevolant). Disregarding the obvious logical problems with the above definition, we can think of some things that might actually constitute evidence for O^3.

    1. The efficacy of prayer. Even though there could be alternative explanations for a causal relationship between prayer and results, (such as alien interference, witchcraft, etc.), if the efficacy of prayer was demonstrable, there would be slightly more evidence for God’s (O^3′s) existence.
    2. Legitimate Biblical prophecy. Imagine that the Bible said the following: On the 24th of June, 2024, two farmers will find a papyrus prophecy in a cave in Mexico. The prophecy, written in Ancient Greek, will have detailed a major historical occurrence (such as 9/11 – the date, time, names of the actors, etc.). Radiometric dating will situate the papyrus to the 4th Century BC. I, Yahweh, authored the papyrus 400 years prior to the New Testament, kept it hidden from humanity until the future date in 2024, in order to demonstrate my love for you, so you will know me.
    Clearly there are problems with this. An omniscient, “Q”-like alien might have authored such a prophecy, etc. Yet, this would still lend more credence to the claim that O^3 exists.

    What else might constitute evidence for Yahweh? It’s interesting that even the above two cases have major epistemic problems associated with them. Yet, most people wouldn’t think twice about considering them “proof” of God(s).

  88. changerofbits says

    I claim to know that God did. If you want evidence tell me what evidence you would like. If you don’t care then I can just make up anything. And keep messing with your head in the process.

    Ok, I’ll bite and see how well you can spin an internally consistent story. Let’s see, here is some evidence that would help:

    Prayer – A repeatable study on intercessory prayer. That famous Templeton study shows it doesn’t work, but maybe they were just doing it wrong (wrong god, not down on both knees, not pure of heart, etc).

    Miracles – I.E. someone with magical powers, able to break the known natural laws in very specific ways, and directly attributable to god. This one is tough, but if the “saint” seems to be consistent from the above “prayers that work”, that would at least be consistent. Basically, a world where James Randi would have to give away the million dollar prize to a million different people ($1 per person, of course).

    Filled Prophecy – This one is also tough to prove, because older prophecies are often too general and can be susceptible to the sharp shooter fallacy. None of this Nostradamus BS, but some specific prophecy, that isn’t just generally fulfilled, but like a dead sea scroll that mentioned Barak Obama and George Bush, by name, in the original Hebrew.

    Also, some other crazy, fantasy-esque shit happening would also go along way. Say, if a giant hand gently grabbed the 9/11 planes out of the sky moments before hitting the buildings, set the planes down, the terrorist went running from the plane with their hair on fire and then the now fisted hand smashed them into the ground. Or maybe, if all rapists just stopped raping people (especially children for jesus sake). Or maybe all arms in the world just disappeared and children weren’t murdered on mass in schools anymore. Or maybe if tsunamis headed for populated areas just sputtered out before going above the breakers, perhaps via the a wind from lips of a huge bearded head that appears from the sky just in time. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

  89. Nathan says

    At this point I don’t think there is any point in trying to get a logical answer out of Corey.

  90. changerofbits says

    Very well put. Given that all of our souls are supposedly at stake, one would think that they could easily agree to even higher standards of evidence to prove god’s existence rather than just whining about how they have to lie all the time. After all, we are just filthy sinners and our “of this world” justice system is just a waste of time compared to the omnipresent uber-justice of god.

  91. Corey says

    Really? Do you atheists want evidence for God or proof? If you want evidence for a creator then look out your window. If you want proof you are out of luck…

  92. Nathan says

    I finally got Corey to provide some evidence, and it’s the look at the trees argument. This is too funny.

  93. says

    Again, it’s like you know how to use words, but you can’t seem to grasp the meaning behind them. We want whatever evidence you have to prove whatever assertion you are making. There is no more nuance needed. Stop with the but, but, but…

    Finally, just because I don’t know how the universe was created, it does not mean I can’t know or will never know. It just means that everyone, so far, who claims to know either does so for very bad reasons, or in your case, apparently no reason at all you’re willing to share. How could I possibly know what you do if you won’t tell me how you know it? Derp.

  94. changerofbits says

    *raises hand*

    I’m ready to hear about the evidence. All I’ve seen so far is an ignorant/dishonest attempt at applying the argument from ignorance fallacy to claim the all of nature is evidence (and incessant complaining that no one will listen to you). Russell is letting you post whatever you want on the blog here and we’re listening, so:

    What do you believe? And why?

  95. says

    You win. Think how bad it must be that the “look at the trees” argument is actually an improvement in his reasoning skills. At least I see where he’s coming from now. It’s just a particularly frustrating argument from ignorance. I guess that’s why he was so hung up on the “I don’t know” stuff.

  96. says

    Corey I fear is not even looking for facts–he is just trolling. I am resolving to remove my head fom this brick wall.

  97. says

    Ahahahahahahaahaha! Oh wait, he was serious. Corey, you have ignored a couple of valid “proofs” supplied by posters here. How about a miracle–perforrmed as per request???? Or a prayer answered to exact specifications–date, time and destination with controls in place to ensure there is no tampering. THAT’S what is called evidence. Have at it sparky.

  98. says

    OOoOoooO!!!! Ask Jesus to heal an amputee–ask Jesus to heal an amputee!!!!!!!!!!! I’ll become a believer in the divine on the spot if you did that.

  99. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    Really? Do you atheists want evidence for God or proof? If you want evidence for a creator then look out your window. If you want proof you are out of luck…

    When I just looked out my window, I saw a bird, some trees, a river, the sky, the sun, a sidewalk, another building.

    The building and sidewalk are man-made. I don’t think there’s any controversy over this.

    The river is also a result of known natural processes. Water evaporates through known physics and chemistry processes, goes up into the atmosphere, eventually condenses, and falls back down ala precipitation aka rain.

    The bird and tree are both collections of atoms in a particular fashion, obeying the rules of physics. They are both self replicators that arose via a long, slow, and gradual algorithmic process known as evolution by natural selection.

    The sky is “an illusion”. There is no solid covering that is blue. Instead, it appears blue due to the laws of optics and properties of the atmosphere.

    Finally, the sun. The sun is a big ball of nuclear fire, currently fusing hydrogen into helium. It’s about 5 billion years old, and so is the earth. They both came about from the stardust of previous supernova, and everything that we see came about from a process of expansion that started about 13.7 billion years ago, where everything that we can see used to occupy the space the size of a golf ball. What came before that? I don’t know.

    Now, what does all of this have to do with the christian god? I didn’t see the christian god when I looked out the window, nor anything that points towards the christian god.

  100. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    I know it’s been said all before Corey, but I can’t help to resist.

    So, you say that you do not have the burden of proof when you say the a wizard did it, err the christian god did it. Do you believe the hindus when they say Krishna did it? Why not? And for me, do you expect me to accept your claim as true that the christian god did it, and reject the claim that Krishna did it? Why? Finally, would you reject my (facetious) claim that an ethereal ham sandwich obviously is responsible for all life on the planet? If so, why?

    If you don’t use evidence-based reasoning to evaluate claims like this, then I don’t understand how you evaluate claims like this. Is it just whichever one you hear first wins? So you were raised by christian parents and that’s why you’re a christian?

  101. changerofbits says

    Corey, since you’re having some trouble figuring out what it is that you’re claiming and that you’re fine with evidence over proof, how about gnawing away at this claim:

    There is no god. The evidence of all godly claims have failed their burden of proof. We may not yet or may never know the answer to all questions in the cosmos, but so many things attributed to god have been shown to be just how nature works that, at this point, if any god exists, god is a hands off, undetectable, deistic non-entity which doesn’t need to be worshiped or even believed. If an ultimately purposeless existence is troubling to you, you still have all the rest of humanity to share your beyond lucky to have life with.

  102. Paulth says

    “If you want evidence for a creator then look out your window.”

    Corey, with THAT comment you have lost all credibility (if you had any). You know what looking out my window shows me? Evidence for the existence of the outside world–that’s all! Seeing the world around me doesn’t imply ANYTHING about a creator.

    Seeing the world outside my window is evidence ONLY of the world’s existence, and even then, it’s only EVIDENCE, not proof. Proof is what rational people call it when enough evidence piles up to make something appear to be true or false. We aren’t asking you for PROOF of God, only for evidence, but you provide neither.

    When I look out my window, I see a world filled with rapists and murderers, kidnappers and hypocrites, and suffering of every possible kind, but NONE of that is evidence FOR a creator. Evidence AGAINST, maybe.

    Unless you offer ACTUAL EVIDENCE (and, I dunno, learn what the word ‘evidence’ means), there is no point in reading anything you say. You are wasting everyone’s time, and you are neither proving anything nor learning anything.

  103. says

    Corey,
    When we “look out the window,” we see nature. Nature is evidence of nature. That’s it. To understand how nature came to be, we have to do science.

    We have a decent understanding of how the earth became populated with biodiversity. The theory of evolution has wonderful explanatory power for the rise of biodiversity on the earth. Science is still working on how life came from non-life (i.e. abiogenesis). There are hypothesis that are being tested.

  104. Raymond says

    Wow. I just got back from being frustrated that I can’t understand my biophysics homework to find this. I feel like a friggin genius after reading Corey’s posts. I’m not usually aggressively mean, but this guy is too much. There is no possible way that any human-being with an ounce of intellectual intelligence can be this obtuse. I must have read 6 posts outlining exactly what kind of evidence we want, but he just ignores it. If I had to guess, he is probably some 15 year-old and excited to get a rise out of “grown-ups.” The blind indoctrination is just not consistent with someone who has actually had to survive in the world. Even the most blind theist I have ever talked to, at least had some arguments.
    This child doesn’t even have an argument, let alone evidence.

    You know what Corey, if you can, provide an argument for your case. Screw evidence for a while. Just make an argument already.

  105. Paulth says

    Justin,

    No, evidence is NOT proof. Like unfogged says, evidence is the bricks; proof is the wall.

    If you see a person with blood on his hands, you have evidence of someone being cut, but you don’t have proof of anything. He could have cut himself, or someone else, or no one at all: the blood could be from an animal. In fact, it might NOT be evidence of someone being cut: he might be a nurse who had to clean up spilled blood, or a butcher, or…

    See? Evidence is not proof. Now, ENOUGH evidence can add up to proof:

    If he’s also holding a bloody knife, standing over a bloody body, and screaming, “I did it, I did it!” then you might be said to have proof–that is, enough evidence that adds up to a true/false “proof.”

    So no, evidence is NOT proof.

  106. says

    Corey,

    When you make an argument, it’s a good idea to try to read the counter-argument so that you can dispel any objections people might have. When you said “If you want evidence for a creator then look out your window,” you were basically making the Argument from Design which is an attempt to prove the existence of God based on the natural order of the universe.

    Take a look at the following article. Study it. It will help you shore up your own argument. You’ll be able to get an idea of what a skeptic might say to you when you make the Argument from Design. Cheers

    http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Argument_from_design

  107. Jed as well as any other says

    Guys, I think Cory shot his load with the “look at the world around you” argument. I don’t think he has anything else.

    And, I agree with Martin from an earlier post–I think that an omnipotent, omniscient, transcendent being is an impossibility. A god might exist–hell, I know with certainty of at least one that did exist: if you ever see any grainy black-and-white, pre1945 footage of emperor Hirohito, you’re looking at a god worshipped by millions as such. Anything else? Well….

  108. maudell says

    I think Corey unknowingly provided evidence for the ‘brain in a vat’ argument.

  109. jerramfahey says

    I feel bad for the guy. I was just looking at his Facebook page and the only people that comment on his posts (which are all religiously-oriented) are his family. I wonder if he took up religion to fill the loneliness of having no friends, or if becoming an obsessive Christian pushed all his friends away… So Corey… do you like video games?

  110. says

    And while I don’t (believe it or not!) like to taunt people too much, I have to say that if this accurately sums up Corey’s understanding of what his religion really teaches, we shouldn’t be too optimistic about getting sound arguments from the kid.

  111. says

    If you do not want me calling or e-mailing you then close down your organization and get off the air.

    I just want to point out that this is literally the same advice that Justin Vacula, who’s about to attend the Women in Secularism conference this weekend despite his opposition to the conference’s existence and goals and his personal animosity towards many of the speakers and other attendees, has given to prominent atheist women who endure persistent harassment at the hands of mostly fellow atheists, mostly men.

    I am pointing this because I hope that those who are reading, who are more or less “on the fence” so to speak, with regards to the ongoing “deep rifts” in the atheist/skeptical community vis-a-vis feminism, can take note of the similarities between the anti-feminist faction and the creationists and kooky Christians we all are accustomed to dealing with at this point. Note also, that the actual goal here is not to end the harassment, but to shut down a voice that threatens his cultural hegemony by intimidation, similar to what PZ noted Justicar/Integralmath doing just the other day.

    I just want you to notice it, and ask yourself next time someone tells an outspoken feminist that if she doesn’t like it, she should just get off the internet, why so many atheists regard that as valid advice, when they see right through it when it’s directed at an atheist.

  112. says

    I think this needs to be our collective answer the next time a theist asks us what kind of proof we require. We not only want them to pray to heal an amputee –They need to have God do something to indicate he was the one who did it–I dunno, lightening that spells GOD DID THIS in the sky–small potatoes for an all mighty creator.

  113. Raymond says

    Hey now! I have no family or friends, and enjoy video games, but still manage have some intellectual integrity ;) Don’t let him off the hook that easily.

  114. says

    I do believe you are right–maybe that is why he was so frustrated! Corey had nothing and this grated on his wee wittle bitty nerves, Zues bless him.

  115. says

    Precisly–some of the most intellegient men I have encountered seem to also be roaring mysgynist (AMAZING ATHEIST come to mind).

  116. says

    Corey, Corey, Corey. Can you not see that the points you are making (intentionally or not) with your “my dog pooped out the universe” argument are EXACTLY (emphasis added) the points the AEXP team are making: That simply making a claim is worth exactly nothing? That anyone can make a claim, no matter how implausible? That the only claims worth considering are those for which evidence is provided? And that additional claims to personal knowledge are extraordinarily poor types of evidence?

    You are making our argument for us.

    If you are so convinced you are right, just give us one — JUST ONE (emphasis added) — piece of evidence that you think is persuasive.

  117. changerofbits says

    I’m pretty sure remembering the white washed Sunday school stories is not equivalent to “studying and reading”…

  118. says

    Bravo, Russell! I listen to AXP all the time – you’re my favorite podcast – and as soon as I heard his voice I remembered what a total tool he was. Very well said!

  119. changerofbits says

    Another thread that I’ve noticed is the whole “might equals right” meme that is the basis of gods objective morality and also seemingly a source of anti-feminist entitlement. No, your god/extra testosterone isn’t a valid premise for any rational argument.

  120. bradman1203 says

    Let’s establish a dialogue with Corey’s dog. Really, could it be any less rewarding?

  121. Will Boucher says

    Why should it be a binary proposition? AND works just as well as OR in this case.

  122. Will Boucher says

    Strange, this reply ended up on the wrong post It was supposed to be between laughter and a hit to the testicles.

  123. Lord Narf says

    But what am I going to do with my huge box of Troll Chow? I went to Costco and got one of those economy sizes.

  124. Lord Narf says

    And wasn’t there another one, a few months ago, in which a caller said something to the effect of, “I don’t want to tell you my beliefs, because then you’ll challenge them.” Was that in an e-mail that was relayed on the blog, perhaps?

    I forget the context, but I remember it was somehow associated with an ACA outlet, and I’m remembering it connected to Russel, somehow. Meh, damned memory.

  125. Matrim says

    If you’re pretty dang sure, then he’s not a Poe, he’s just a fake. The whole point of a Poe is that you CAN’T tell if they’re fake or not.

  126. Lord Narf says

    Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh. Yeah, who would have thought we would have something to which we could compare the Argument from Trees and have the trees come out on top.

  127. Lord Narf says

    Shame, since you’re one of the few regulars who can seriously put forth an alternate god, without being snarky.

  128. Lord Narf says

    GOD LOVES the smell of burning flesh …
    GOD LOVES watching his chosen people subjugate and rape the young, virgin daughters of those they conquer …

  129. escuerd says

    I made a bold claim, yes! I am willing to bear the burden of proof and provide evidence. Your responsiblilty however is to tell me what evidence you would like.

    Corey, this is not actually anyone’s responsibility.

    Someone with evidence who wants to be taken seriously must present that evidence for examination, not ask what kind of evidence someone else demands. When a scientist comes up with an idea, they don’t go around asking “What kind of evidence will you accept?”. They try to think of ways to test their idea against reality that will be convincing. Skeptical colleagues may point out problems with their evidence, but the claimant doesn’t get automatic acceptance because the skeptic failed to point out the problem beforehand or because they haven’t demonstrated that the claim is false. Many times pieces of evidence come about that never would have occurred to most people before seeing it. But if the evidence is convincing, it stands on its own merits, not because it matches someone’s specific prior expectations.

    You’re playing game here, and it’s both transparent and annoying. When someone answers you asking for evidence that is not, in fact, available, you’ll simply say they’re setting their expectations too high and making unreasonable demands. On the off chance that someone only demands very meager evidence of the sort you might actually provide (it’s pretty clear to everyone that you don’t have any actual evidence to offer or you’d have done so), you’ll insist that if they don’t convert, that they’re goalpost shifting (you’d actually be right in that case, but good luck finding someone who’ll be convinced by your “evidence”).

    All that said, I’m going to give you some sincere personal advice here, man, and I hope that you’ll give it due consideration. Don’t tie your sense of self-worth to your arguments. That’s a bad idea, because inevitably, over the course of your life, you will make some bad arguments (and again, I have to reiterate, you’re making some extremely poor arguments here, insofar as you’re making any at all). You have to be willing to sincerely know, feel, and accept that you’re not perfect in order to strive to become better. This is as true for most aspects of life as it is for arguments. Narcissism and overweening pride are natural, but self-defeating and self-destructive impulses. They can be overcome.

    A closely related issue is that you need to learn to handle rejection. I know, it’s hard, especially when you feel that you have some particularly good argument that’s more deserving of someone’s attention than anything else. But the fact is, Russell, or anyone else for that matter, isn’t obligated to give you the time of day. He does so for lots of people, but some are offering a bit more for value for his time than others. If you want their attention, make it worth their time. Put your arguments out there and be ready to hear them criticized. It’s a lot of work, and it can be hard on the ego, but it’s really worthwhile.

    If you keep sending emails because you don’t feel someone’s giving you enough attention, well…let me give you an analogy. You know the guy who is in love with someone and calls her three times a day despite her not answering and clearly showing no desire to engage with him? The one who reads her social network profile all the time and feels slighted when she spends any time talking to other, clearly less deserving people while refusing to acknowledge all that he has to offer her? The one who, at best, comes off as pitiable, but more often just creepy? Yeah, don’t be that guy.

  130. unfamiliar w/ your ways says

    “If you want proof you are out of luck…”

    Not we, dear boy, but you. We want evidence, and therefore you are out of luck.

  131. unfogged says

    It was supposed to be between laughter and a hit to the testicles

    My new favorite phrase!

  132. Tyrant says

    Corey,

    I’m sorry to tell you, but you are entirely wrong and deluded.

    I know because I am God.

    As God, I am telling you to get off the Internet and stop calling in to AXP.

  133. mike says

    chanfrofbits

    You can just stand by and watch him get kicked in the stones then.

  134. mike says

    Unfortunately its not an act, at least it wasn’t an act years ago from what I saw. Years back when Justin was just 10 or 11 yrs old or so he appeared on the Christian television show “100 Huntley Street” which is a Canadian xian show with crazy glassy-eyed hosts with dumb smiles on their faces, anyway his mother brought him on the show as she was a single-mom and very religious. So its not an act for his Mom and she brainwashed him but maybe he can break the indoctrination

  135. changerofbits says

    Sure, I’ll just stand back and watch, with my phone camera rolling video and the police on the line.

  136. Kazim says

    Ok, enough of that guys. I know you’re joking but please stick to what Corey is saying, and let’s not threaten him with violence. As the great poet Schwarzenegger said, “He’s guilty of acting like an asshole. If I arrest him, I have to arrest half of Congress.”

  137. vgerdj says

    Corey just turned “You just have to have faith” into “you have to be specific about what evidence you would like” as a way to avoid the whole evidence thing.

  138. julian the apostate says

    Before I’d ever heard the term ‘Argument from Trees’ or ‘Look at the Trees’ argument I always thought of this as the ‘look out the window’ argument because that’s the form in which it’s been most commonly presented to me by theists. I am amused to find that Corey used it specifically in that form.

    Another thing to note is that isn’t just theists who make this type of argument. “Just look out the window” is a common phrase used to mean that whatever claim is being made should be obvious. So all Corey is doing is falling back on a common rhetorical ploy that his assertion is too obviously true to require real evidence. After all those demands for what evidence do you want, the best he can come up with is absolutely no evidence at all.

    I’ll tell you what evidence I would like to see for your god, Corey – $5 million appearing right now in my bank account, completely legal and unencumbered. Time to run along, Corey. You’ve got a lot of praying to do.

  139. julian the apostate says

    I don’t know about the universe, but I’m beginning to believe your dog farted your intellect out of his ass.

  140. says

    The evidence that God exists? Well if he deposes 1 million dollars in my bank account today without telling you my number’s account and he appears to me after to tell me it was deposed, it will do the job for me. (Can you provide that evidence in asking him to provide that evidence?)

  141. says

    It’s hilarious how you missed the point. Matt doesn’t really believe that M&Ms created the universe but there is no more evidence of your claim than there is of his. Believing something doesn’t make it true. Asserting a claim with no evidence is not rational.

  142. says

    I don’t think anyone has asserted that one person is better than any other. The critique is of your argument (or lack thereof), not of you personally.

  143. says

    “If you do not want me calling or e-mailing you then close down your organization and get off the air.”

    So they are required to respond to every email and put every caller on the air for as long as they like? That’s an unreasonable request from anyone to anyone. I have freedom of speech but I don’t have a right to an audience. I have freedom of the press but I don’t have a right to use YOUR printing press. I don’t have a right to anyone else’s time. You are asserting a right that you do not have. It’s their show and they are free to take whichever calls they choose and talk to them for however long they wish. The caller is not the one with the rights in this situation. Given that most of the callers make the same already-refuted “arguments” it’s a courtesy to the viewers to cut off people who have nothing valid to contribute to the discussion. and if you don’t like it, then start your own show and say whatever you want.

  144. says

    You still don’t get it. You have to prove that your dog Wiggles created the universe. No one has to disprove your claim. If you cannot offer evidence that other people are right to dismiss your claim. The burden of proof is on the person making the claim.

  145. says

    This type of argument he gave is typically a red flag about his basic understanding of epistemology.

    We have an observation – nature – and many people can come up with many contradictory assertions as to how it came to be. They aren’t all demonstrated because nature exists… but that’s the implication of his argument.

    Instead, people can assert causes for nature, and then they have to actually demonstrate that connection.

    That’d be the “causal mechanism” aspect of the evidentiary standards I had mentioned far above.

    See, Corey, this is why our position is rational, and yours isn’t. We can actually explain, and detail to painful levels, exactly how, and why, the epistemological framework we’re using is structured. In the previous post, for instance, I gave four good reasons why the burden of proof is the way it is. On the other hand, I’ve never even heard of an argument about why it should be any other way.

    Seriously, learn the basics to the standards of evidence, and scientific epistemological framework, and brush up on the common logical fallacies, if you ever want to be anything other than a laughing stock.

  146. Jed as well as any other says

    @ SallyStrange

    I agree–in part. However, you could just as easily apply that same point to the “Plussers;” not so much for content, as for style. A recent example, right here on FTB, was the valedictory posting by NonStampCollector; he made the point that while the feminists have all the arguments on their side, their methods don’t appear to be the same (e.g., Carrier and his “…if you don’t like it, get the fuck out!’ remark–for which he’s apologized, regardless of the sincerity of that apology.) And, what was the result of NSC’s making that observation? A torrent of abuse from the feminists, that ironically validated the observation.

    Cory unintentionally demonstrated a very salient point: he had no argument, and so had to resort to casuistry and evasion. Similarly, the MRA’s (for, indeed, that’s who they are) also have no argument, and so have only one methodology to employ. But feminists DO nave the arguments on their side, yet by employing the same methodology as their critics, and then seem confused as to why no one takes their arguments seriously. Let’s make this plain: deleting comments, blocking posts, trying to silence all criticism, regardless of its tone, is NOT an argument, it’s a hissy fit.

    Take a hint from this thread: Cory was allowed to say what he had to say, until it became plain (I suspect, even to Cory) that he literally had noting to say. How did we do this? Not through pwnage (why do we spell it like that?), not through puerile emotionalism, but through argument. When Cory kept asking, “Well, what sort of evidence do you want?”, someone replied (my apologies–I’m pretty much blind, so it’s hard for me to scroll up so as to give due credit): “Cory, just give us the evidence you have.” In other words, she(?) used a simple straightforward, REAL argument, with–as all good argumentation has–an underlayment of irony, and Cory was finished. Remember, when you try to block or control comments, the irony is not on the people you’re blocking, but on you. And that is, ironically enough, ironic.

  147. Jed as well as any other says

    And, since I’m blind, I really should copy and paste these things to Wordpad or something, and use my reader software to review, BEFORE clicking “Submit.”

    “noting”? “nave”? “…and then seem confused…”? (doesn’t follow syntactically).

    Sorry.

  148. Kazim says

    Couldn’t disagree more. Corey was not merely allowed on this thread, he was invited, specifically because I thought he would be enjoyable fodder for the commenters this one time. However, do not mistake this temporary entertainment for an obligation to let all fools like Corey have unlimited run of the comments section. I can, and do, regularly ban people for engaging in behavior like Corey’s. If they private message me, I block them. If they email me, I set up a Gmail filter to dump them to a spam filter. In cases of extreme persistence, they also receive a deliberately insulting automatic bounce message. If they are pests on Facebook, I block them.

    Everyone is free to avail themselves of all these options, and nobody is obligated to put up with rude people. In many cases, their behavior can cross the line from mere rudeness to predatory or stalking behavior. In those cases, the law is also on your side, preserving your right not to talk to them.

    While arguing with jerks can be interesting in limited amounts, it is not a requirement in order to be an intellectually honest person. And I don’t think you should be lecturing people for shutting out groups like MRAs, as it is not their job to be fighting stupidity in their personal lives at all times.

  149. says

    No, Corey, we’re not the ones who have to specify what evidence you have to provide. You’re the one making claims about your God, you’re the one claiming you know something about God that we don’t — therefore you’re the one who has to produce whatever evidence YOU think proves your assertions. We know you don’t have any such evidence, which is why you’re trying to pretend we have to do your work for you.

    You’re not fooling anyone, Corey — we all know that if you had any evidence to back up any of your claims, you’d be bringing it without waiting for us to say or do anything.

  150. Lord Narf says

    Right there with you. If we had Corey in every post of the blog, it would get very old, very rapidly. This particular post is a special case, since it was set up just for him.

  151. says

    anyway, that guy isn’t real. can’t beilieve you are wasting your time on him. or it is Corey Heart with his famous song ” I wear my sunglasses at night” :D

  152. says

    always found funny that the “bad guy” in the bible is called Lucifer. “Lucifer” doesn’t mean “the one who carries the light”? and the “light” is a metaphor for “knowledge”? no wonder why christians hate knowledge…

  153. says

    ROFLMAO–well he makes a few valid points, I agree with perhaps 50 percent of what he says…if it weren’t for the roaring woman hate, I’d be more of a fan.

  154. Lord Narf says

    He’s not even the villain in the Bible. It’s later church doctrine and context-interpretation that gives us our current concept of Satan.

  155. jacobfromlost says

    I posted this in the comments a year ago (January 16, 2012):

    ………………
    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 healthy).
    * 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.

  156. Jed as well as any other says

    Russell–

    Note words above: “…regardless of tone.” Yes, you’re right, trolls, ogres, orcs, and their ilk are quite annoying, and thus, once their tone is manifest, appropriate action can be taken. We see eye to eye (very very figuratively.) But, this is an open forum, with a comment section, and this section is an invitation to comment. And whether you like it or not, the tone of the comment matters; merely disagreeing or presenting an opposing argument is not a reason for getting blocked. Blocking or deleting is not an argument; if it were, then the best way to win a debate would be murder–that also would silence the opponent. If you don’t want comments, then why have a comment section?

    And, that’s where this gets really bizarre–I’m making what I consider is a fairly reasonable, and, I think, innocuous point: if you have a good argument, then make that argument. Shutting down the argument is not an argument. It is, as I wrote, a hissy fit.

    You have every right to deny someone the use of your billboard–after all, it’s your billboard. You just don’t have the right to immunity from criticism for doing it. Of course, the irony is, that is often the reason the comments are blocked in the first place. It must be quite maddening to try to stifle criticism, and then get criticized for it.

    Yes, Russell, you have every right to protect yourself from reading or hearing something. But, since you took me to task for “lecturing”, allow me this one point: You have every right to protect yourself from have to read or hear something, but does that then allow you to arrogate to yourself the right to decide what others can read or hear? And, don’t we have a right to protest when the exercising of your right infringes on our right to hear something and decide for ourselves what we think of it?

  157. Lord Narf says

    He’s a guy who Mick Jagger hung out with, apparently. Mick wrote a song about the guy. There seemed to be some confusion about his name, though.

  158. Lord Narf says

    They’re generally pretty lenient, before they ban someone. You have to be a persistent asshole who refuses to listen, when told by the moderators to chill out.

  159. says

    Each admin has their own criteria. It takes quite a lot for me to be willing to bring the Mallet of Loving Correction down on someone. One thing I’ve found is that no matter how much rope you give a comment troll, you can let him rave for weeks and weeks in hundreds of obnoxious comments over multiple threads…and still, the minute you finally ban him, he’s off somewhere whining about how censorious you are and how you can’t handle opposing viewpoints.

  160. dekomitri says

    @40, Agreed m6wg4bxw, there were more than a few people trying to communicate him in good faith but he outright ignored them and continued to parrot the same tripe. Clearly a Troll, might even be a POE.

  161. Mr. Dave says

    While this is an excellent reply, it is also a completely wasted effort. Considering what you are trying to communicate with and its history with the show, you’re not likely to get any return on the investment of your time. Others however, can just now mass-reply to this character with a link to this and simply dismiss him out of hand, if they don’t just do the more efficient thing and simply ignore him. The latter is all he really deserves at this point.

  162. HiEv says

    I never said I was never wrong. You asked me if I am always right and I [..] said that I am always right.

    While you didn’t literally write the words “I am never wrong”, by writing “I am always right” you are indeed saying that you are never wrong. (Unless you’re positing some way to simultaneously be both right and wrong about the same thing at the same time?)

    This is like saying, “I never said, ‘I stole your pudding and ate it,’ all I said was, ‘I took your pudding without your permission and somehow it found its way into my stomach.’” Do you see how silly that argument sounds? One statement is functionally equivalent to the other, even if they use different words to say it.

    If you do not want me calling or e-mailing you then close down your organization and get off the air.

    You are aware that The Atheist Experience doesn’t exist solely for your benefit, right? This is an even sillier thing to say than what you said in the line above this.

    Yes, I made statements that God exists, but you are the ones that say “Prove it.” If YOU (emphasis added) want proof then you have to be specific about what evidence you would like.

    No, they really don’t have name the evidence. Seriously, do you think any scientist in the world ever came in with some extraordinary scientific claim, but they refused to give anyone evidence for that claim until someone told them exactly what kind of evidence they would accept first? It’s absurd!

    If you’re making a claim then it’s your job to provide the evidence, any evidence, that your claim is not only probable, but more probable than any other explanation. You’d give them your best evidence first and then just keep giving more until they’re convinced or you run out of evidence. If you run out, you go look for more. That’s how science works.

    If some creationist says to me “prove it” regarding evolution, I could give them dozens of examples off the top of my head, and even more if I did just a bit of research. I could even describe the different kinds of evidence in general, and then fill in specific examples if they said one of those general kinds of evidence would be especially convincing.

    What I would not do would be to give them carte blanche to ask for whatever kind of thing they want as evidence, because then they say stupid things like, “prove my grandpa was a monkey” or “show me a cat giving birth to a dog”, because creationists fundamentally don’t understand how evolution works. However this is exactly the kind of thing you’re asking for, and we know from experience that it’s a huge time waster, so it’s better to just ask to see the best evidence the claimant has. At that point it’s only a time waster if the claimant then does whatever he can to avoid giving any evidence, at which point he stops being worth talking to. (Hint: This is where you are at currently.)

    As far as the evidence goes, I’d say it has to be a testable claim where “God” (some intelligent creator deity) is the most plausible explanation with strong evidence supporting it. The evidence should be objective, meaning it can be independently observed and measured by different people and they will get the same result. This means no “look at the trees”-type arguments, where it’s just a subjective feeling you have, or anecdotes about what you heard from someone, who heard from someone, about what happened to some guy, though there isn’t any physical evidence showing it had to have happened that way. Also, the evidence should be collected and examined in a way that removes bias and error as much as possible, preferably in a double-blind situation with a large sample size. So no giving studies with no control group, tiny sample sizes, or selective sampling or removal of data to prevent negative results. The result should be strong statistically, meaning it’s most likely not a product of chance, and robust, meaning that independent testing finds the same or very similar results. And finally, there should not be a more probable alternative explanation, meaning one with better evidence and/or higher prior plausibility.

    Got anything like that? No, of course not. Which is why you continue to duck out of giving evidence. There isn’t any really good evidence for gods that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve looked pretty hard, so there’s almost zero chance you’ve stumbled across some.

    Have a nice day! :-)

  163. HiEv says

    If you claim that you can fly your car to the moon, then saying, “My car is red and has racing stripes and flies to the moon by magic”, that isn’t evidence, that’s just a more specific version of your earlier claim.

    In the same way, saying your dog farted the universe into existence isn’t evidence, it’s just a more specific version of the original claim.

    “Evidence” is things like, “If my claim is true then you should find that X is true and Y doesn’t happen,” and then show how you tested to find out that X is true and Y doesn’t happen. Get it?

    Also, are you sure you’re not just a dyslexic who believes in dog? ;-P

  164. John Kruger says

    As a frequent participant in the AXP comments, I must say that I cannot come up with even one example of a person being banned exclusively for content. I have had back and forth conversations with some theists that go on for hundreds of comments in a particular thread that never result in a ban, mostly because the theist was not being abusive and was actually engaging in conversation and responding to points given.

    Every ban I have witnessed here, and I have not disagreed with even one instance, invariably involves spamming the comments section with repetitive assertions that were responded to many times (with the responses largely ignored) or egregiously abusive personal attacks.

    The whole canard about FTB being a place where all opposition is censored is a fictional red herring used to distract from the fact that nobody is being convinced by the bad arguments the MRAs present and no one is tolerating the bad behavior they resort to when they become frustrated with their failure.

  165. Lord Narf says

    You mean he might be a faker? If enough people think he’s a faker, that makes him a Poe, whether or not he’s really a faker.

    But judging from the evidence on other sites, like Facebook, he’s almost certainly not a faker, just an idiot.

  166. Jed as well as any other says

    To Lord Narf & Martin Wagner : I’m familiar with the AXP blog, and I would have to agree with you that they’re pretty damned lenient (they’re putting up with me!). This is my fault–when SallyStrange started this particular thread, she made a generalized comment, and I followed suit; I was addressing a certain milieu within the atheist community, not this blog in particular, which, again, I agree, is remarkably tolerant of assholes like me. Sometimes we confuse the medium and the message, and my own ineptitude at communicating compounded the problem. Sorry.

    To John Kruger: see above. As for MRA’s, I can’t agree more. I just chose them as the most egregious and hence, the most convenient example. Again, sorry if I didn’t make myself as clear as I could have.

    Finally, a little esprit de l’escalier: Russell asked if you guys nave to put up (and, by extension, provide good arguments) to every jerk who posts some wise-ass comment. The answer is a qualified “yes”–if, that is, it’s your intention to change their minds. Otherwise, this is all just self-indulgent tripe.

  167. John Kruger says

    I think in a large degree a ban is put into effect once their behavior demonstrates all attempts to change their mind are going to be futile. Russel seemed to be in a pretty masochistic mood and gave Cory a special invitation and pass, but you really need to be overly optimistic to think that any of this has changed his stance on anything. Far better, I think, to just ban him and save everybody a lot of wasted effort. We all get in a troll wrestling mood sometimes, but generally speaking it is a wasted effort that has only very limited entertainment value.

  168. Kazim says

    Russell asked if you guys nave to put up (and, by extension, provide good arguments) to every jerk who posts some wise-ass comment. The answer is a qualified “yes”–if, that is, it’s your intention to change their minds. Otherwise, this is all just self-indulgent tripe.

    And that’s where your failure to grasp what’s really going on comes in. It is NOT my intention to change the mind of every jerk who posts some wise-ass comment. That isn’t in any way realistic, and the outside chance that it could happen to some jerks is not worth every single thread being derailed into flame wars.

    You are *totally free* to head for greener pastures in an unmoderated area of the internet if you find the culling of jerks offensive to your tender sensibilities. But to portray it as if everyone has an obligation to cater to your preferences, that’s what sounds like self-indulgent tripe to me, thanks very much.

  169. changerofbits says

    C’mon, what kind of god would resist the power to troll his own creation?

  170. Green Jelly says

    Corey doesn’t sound like he has grown up from his childhood playground days. Best way to deal with Corey – “I know that your wife is a slut. Don’t ask me how I know.”

  171. changerofbits says

    Meh, if Corey had continued to engage, we could have easily added an order of magnitude to that post count.

  172. says

    Corey wrote: “If YOU (emphasis added) want proof then you have to be specific about what evidence you would like.”

    Easy, 1 Kings 18 under the watchful eye of JREF’s 1 million dollar challenge.

    Specifically, I expect you to pray and set bull meat on fire without trickery.

    No excuses were allowed for the priests of Baal, indeed they were taunted, and when they FAILED, 850 priests were taken and slaughtered because they could not prove their god was real.

    I’ll accept you checking yourself into a mental institution as a substitute because only an evil being would murder people for being wrong.

  173. Jed as well as any other says

    I’m currently reading a wonderful book, The Poetry Lesson by Andrei Codrescu. among the dicta to his students is this: try to find a place where you can listen to what you aren’t meant to hear.

    You stand in opposition to this, Russell–and I’ll leave it up to you to determine with whom you stand. Who else doesn’t want people to listen to what they aren’t meant to hear? Hmm?

    What did Mr Carrier say? “If you don’t like it, then get the fuck out”…?” And, as you’ve pointed out, he “apologized” for this remark. Now, I thought I was pretty civil in all my comments, and yet, your response was, in essence to parrot Mr Carrier’s command; leading me to question both the sincerity of his apology, and the sincerity of your citation of his apology.

    Fine, Russell, I’ll get the fuck out, and take my “tender sensibili8ties’ with me. After all, they’re just too delicate to stand up to ad hominem attacks. (Oh, by the way, that WAS your intent with the “tender sensibilities” crack, wasn’t it?)

    The irony is, I wasn’t looking for a victory here, just poi9nting out that sometimes–just sometimes–we seem to act to silence dissent, to stifle the mere advancing of an opinion. And, what was your response? Trust me, Russell, a victory imposed on one’s self is not particularly sweet.

    I’ll go, as you’ve made it plain that my opinions aren’t welcome here. Ironic, huh?

  174. says

    I agree to an extent with what you are saying but will give you an example of why the stance is not so cut and dry. The ACA is currently manning the videos over on YOUTUBE for TAE. For a short time, comments were disabled but they have been re-enabled. To the moderator’s credit he/she is allowing even criticism of the fact that the comments were disabled in the first place. I saw comments where people even compared the action to communistic censorship *dramatic rolling of eyes*. Yet, one Christian just had to post the N-word along side callin’ folks faggots and cunts. Well now, that person was banned. Such a thing does NOTHING to foster intelligent discourse, it is just harrassment. Now, where the line is drawn is in the eye of the beholder, but if you have a site and want to run it a certain way it should be left up to your discretion what the criteria for banishments are regardless what some random posters may think if it. In that spirit, I would invite you to create a forum where anything goes, including insults, tirades from mentally ill folk and, racist language and see how coherent and civil things stay…not a way to foster communication dude.

  175. jacobfromlost says

    I only wrote this reply once, but I’ve reposted it several times now in various AE threads where a theist wants an example of what we (I) would accept as evidence. This is at LEAST the third time I’ve reposted it…and none of the theists who *demanded* to know what kind of evidence we would accept ever reply with anything coherent. They either don’t reply at all (as I note Corey has not), or they reply with some kind of “You know that isn’t ever going to happen so you are being unreasonable” argument.

    One, I *don’t* know that would never happen. And two, this is the very same kind of evidence I accept for all kinds of other demonstrable claims. *shrugs*

    At least I have a stock reply I can just paste in comments whenever this topic comes up. (I can think of various other lists of mutually confirming evidence I would find compelling also, but I think my list above addresses a lot of implicit–if not explicit–claims theists often make about their gods. Problem is…none of these kinds of lists of evidence ever prove to be real.)

  176. chiptuneist says

    Pretty sure you can make the same point without the slut shaming, Jelly…

  177. Mr. Dave says

    Well, you’re getting some good mileage out of it then. I do appreciate you writing it, it’s just a shame to need to use it.

    One thing Ive brought up before, regarding theistic “evidence”, is how it routinely fails in the court of law to defend the heinous things some of the more ardent believers have done, using religious beliefs or claims to justify them. Those who kill their children claiming they were saving them from hell because the “end times” are here or their god told them to do it, typically wind up in prison or the looney bin. I have read about those going to prison for negligent homicide because their reliance on faith healing and refusal of real medical care for their children. It looks like faith and repetition of claims doesn’t translate well when they wind up in a venue that must only consider real evidence.

  178. says

    I’ll go, as you’ve made it plain that my opinions aren’t welcome here. Ironic, huh?

    Aren’t you going to try to get banned so you can prove your point?

  179. changerofbits says

    *slowly clapping*

    Well, Jeb, it seems you’ve reached your goal of nailing yourself to a cross.

    Seriously, are you wining bonus miles on your AMEX every time you get a FTB mod to reply to one of your posts?

  180. says

    Man, go over to the Atheist Experience YT channel…I swear so many of us can be little babies. It isn’t a right to be able to comment on someone elses page or channel no more than it is a right to sabatoge a newspaper to write your own editorial. People are claiming that threatening to disable the comment section is censorship and stifling freedom of speech ( I am not even kidding. I said what I could but gave up since most seemed quite contet tto bathe in gross hyperbole and martyr themselves. Unreal.

  181. says

    Why is it not possible for a burning bush or cloud of fire to occur. Some miracle with no scientific explanation? Why are those things claimed to have happened thousands of years ago but are not possible in our time?

    We are out of luck? No you are the one out of luck. Not that luck should be necessary for someone who believes in the god of the Jewish/Christian Bible who does extraordinary things on demand all the time up until the point that we have better documentation of history at which point said god stops. Hmm..

  182. says

    Even if the world around us were evidence (and it’s not), that wouldn’t solve the problem of WHICH supernatural being created it.

  183. says

    This is totally off topic, but can someone explain to me the phenomenon of heterosexual men who don’t like women? That would seem to be an oxymoron, but to the contrary it’s a common occurrence. I don’t understand it. Hypotheses?

  184. says

    I agree but only up to a point. After while, refuting the same nonsensical “arguments” over and over becomes tiresome and the moderator starts deleting the messages. That’s not censorship. It’s just saving time. Those bullshit “arguments” have been presented many times and shown to be nonsense. I feel the same way arguing against the idiotic talking points against gay marriage. The person making the arguments is not going to change their mind so it really is a waste of time to rehash things that have been said better somewhere else.

    However, if someone has the time and energy, arguing with such people may be useful to readers who have not yet heard the counterarguments to the stupidity being offered at their church, on their favorite “news” channel, or on talk radio. Sometimes it’s useful, not because the poster will change their mind, but because in many parts of the country, all people hear is the bigoted propaganda. At my parent’s church last Sunday (it was Mother’s Day and getting out of going would have been more trouble than it’s worth) we heard the usual strawman diatribe against feminism (and abortion too). That’s all some people hear on these topics and some of them are open minded and curious and maybe a few of them (like me way back when) will bother to do some reading on their own and realize how nonsensical the ideas they are being taught really are.

    But I don’t think everyone is obligated to tolerate fools on their own website. As the moderator the freedom of speech/press belongs to you, not the reader or the person wanting to post their own comments. If they don’t like it they can start their own blog at no cost.

  185. says

    I’ll use the comment I heard Matt make once on AXP. An omniscient deity would know what evidence would be needed to convince us of his/her/its existence and be able to reveal that knowledge to Corey.

  186. Lausten North says

    I think we could lower the bar, and religion would still fail. Rather than ask that people who believe in God be successful, show immunity, can predict things, etc. how about if they are just not d-bags? I would be happy if, after First Communion, a young person, when presented with a simple question like, “can you prove a negative” ( something you can just google and learn about), would respond by saying, “well, that sounds a bit counter intuitive and I guess I hadn’t thought about it, can I get back to you?”

    Unlike Corey here who apparently has lots of time and a computer and is presented with an overwhelming negative response, yet shows no humility. I would be happy if all Christians were simply reasonable. If they understood basic rules of civility like, no one knows everything, there are a lot of things that no one knows at all, all knowledge is contingent on future data, don’t blame anything on your dog farting. Science is attempting to teach these things and has had some trouble with public relations lately, probably due to the nuclear bombs, but anyway, if Christianity could figure out how to make people nice, I’d drop a few bucks in the collection plate now and then.

    And I don’t mean just some Christians, all of them, Westboro Baptists, Michelle Bachmann, Bill O’Reilly, Hillary Clinton, all of them.

  187. mike says

    I have a friend who is a dyslexic agnostic. He sits around all day pondering the existence of dog.

  188. jdoran says

    It’s a lack of emotional maturity that is (to some extent, though the exact amount is highly arguable) protected and endorsed by many cultures. That doesn’t mean the misogynist’s libido stops working.

  189. says

    The replacement of patriarchal values with egalitarian ones has given women more agency. Confronted with a generation of women fully aware of the choices at their disposal and the ability to say “No” whenever they please, men find themselves in the position of having to improve as human beings or be left on the shelf. The ones who can’t compete in an egalitarian sexual marketplace, but are still burdened by feelings of being denied something they’ve been taught is their birthright (like the gorgeous female playmate of their choice), they lash out at their perceived loss of power, a power that they don’t realize was illusory all along.

  190. mike says

    Ya…uh, Corey…maybe you could hand the keyboard over to your Dog, I have a feeling we’d get a more intelligent conversation from it.

  191. mike says

    Ok Corey, forget evidence, forget proof, how about just your reasons. What are your reasons for believing in a god character, surely you didn’t just wake up one day and it popped into your head – you must have some reasons why you came to such a conclusion. My guess? Someone told you. That’s it, someone just told you with no good reason and no good evidence, perhaps when you were a little boy, and now here you are clinging to and defending this idea like it was your very own–and it’s not. Someone told you their idea and now you’ve convinced yourself that it’s true and you’re feverishly defending it! How sad is this, arguing for someone else, if it were me I’d feel like a fool.

    Unless, of course, you have some of your own reasons for this belief??

  192. Lord Narf says

    Uhhhhhhhhhh, say what? Someone kick Eric. He’s stuck in some sort of code.

  193. Lord Narf says

    You made a good point in there. If religion was truly, objectively demonstrated to have some positive effect, you could make an argument for it being useful to society and supporting it for those reasons, even if the mythology itself is false.

    But that’s not what we find, when we do scientific studies of religiosity. We find that non-religious societies do much better than religious societies, when it comes to societal health. The religious sorts will speak endlessly about the good that religion does for society, but they’re either lying or are ignorant. Preachers generally preach a message that is good for their pocketbook over the good of society.

  194. says

    I’m coming in to this game a little late, but I want to commend Paulth for trying to help Corey understand the issue here. I’m an optimist (or overly faithful in human nature, maybe), but I believe that Corey is on the level. I think he really does believe the things he’s saying, and really does believe that he’s right.

    But he also doesn’t understand the basics of knowledge.

    I don’t mean he’s unintelligent; I mean that he doesn’t understand epistemology. Claims are not evidence, but I don’t think Corey understands the distinction. So kudos to Paulth for making the effort to reach him on this level.

  195. leftwingfox says

    I’ve seen this rodeo before.

    Theist asks what evidence would convince the atheist of god.

    Atheist states some measure of evidence that might help convince.

    Theist then provides incredibly shitty evidence, usually by pointing to a bible passage, an easily debunked “miracle”, or lies on a creationist website.

    Atheist points out said “evidence” would never be accepted by a scientist, philosopher or court of law.

    Theist claims the atheist is close minded to the evidence, and is therefore just another faith-based hypocrite, declares victory and does a little end-dance.

  196. Lausten North says

    Exactly, which is why I think it’s what we should ask for. Saying you want a giant message in the sky is easy to dismiss, but asking for some consistent evidence that religion actually makes better people, hard to argue that it does. The best they have is the “real Christian” argument. If I had no other evidence, except that a really useful set of rules was written 2,000 years ago, in the middle of one of the most oppressive empires, something that was without precedent, so it seemingly “dropped from the sky”, I’d have a hard time arguing with that. I’m assuming of course that it would not come with some additional criteria, that is, accept the good set of rules, but also pray 5 times a day and follow a smaller set of unreasonable rules or something like that. And the threat of hell, that’s right out, definite deal breaker.

  197. Russell Glasser says

    One flaw though… for me that is NOT a test of whether God exists or not. Even if it were proven that believing in Christianity makes people better, it wouldn’t demonstrate that the belief is true; only beneficial. So to me, this is a pointless argument to make. It’s not evidence.

  198. Lord Narf says

    Not evidence for a god’s existence in any way, no. Some might argue for promoting it for its usefulness, despite the complete lack of evidence. Personally, I’d still prefer truth.

  199. says

    Think how bad it must be that the “look at the trees” argument is actually an improvement in his reasoning skills

    That just sums it up so nicely :)

  200. Corey says

    On the show, I stated that I know how the universe got here… GOD. I was told I had to demonstrate my knowledge… If Matt and Russell make the claim they don’t know, then why don’t they have to demonstrate their ignorance…?

  201. Peter Horsepucky says

    Are you accusing them of secretly knowing the origin of the universe? Corey, you are a zany guy.

  202. says

    The scientific epistemological framework starts with ignorance as the default state. The default state has no burden of proof – that’s silly. It’s assertions outside of ignorance that need evidence… because that’s what advances knowledge. Knowledge is based on data, and not having data means you’re ignorant. This is definitional.

    I know you think you’ve got a snazzy “gotchya”, but it’s not much more than word games.

  203. says

    You’re merely trying to shift the burden of proof again.

    What the hosts said is irrelevant in the fact that you make an assertion about the origins of the universe, and therefore, had a burden of proof to meet.

    The bottom line is, no matter what word games you try to play, no one is required or even pressured to accept what you say, until that burden of proof is met.

    This isn’t complicated.

  204. says

    Ah solipsism, the last refuge of the apologist who hasn’t a shred of evidence for their claims. “Well you can’t know either!”

    It’s possible you’re lying to me in this thread, but in that case, I’m assessing the data for a characterization you’ve created.

  205. says

    No, I’m not. Stop going cargo cult on me.

    I’ve fulfilled my burden of proof, not shifted it. You don’t have the faintest clue what you’re talking about.

    I don’t know what your purpose is here, but for me, at least, all you’ve managed to do is reinforce in my mind the idea that all apologists are non-stop blatantly willfully dishonest… but maybe I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and just conclude that you’re a troll.

  206. says

    I don’t.. then again, I don’t claim to be infallible, or have an infallible source. I’m reasonably confident based on the available evidence, however.

    Off to solipsism land we go! Are presuppositional apologetics next on this nostalgic tour?

  207. says

    well you are wrong. if we speak essentialy about Lucifer (HeLeL) he is the fallen angel who rebels against God and brought with him other angels. It is in Isaiah (old Testament) and in jewish apocryphies Book of Enoch I, II, and The Life of Adam and Eve. He is the personifation of the Evil. In the New Testament, he IS the vilain. Lucifer (the fallen angel) is refered to be The Old Snake and he also called Satan (his function: the personification of the adversary of the ultimate good “god” and his creatures (humans)

  208. says

    What evidence do you have that you don’t know?

    This already has been explained. Ignorance has no burden of proof. Non-ignorance requires evidence. Not having evidence means one cannot know, and is therefore ignorance. It’s definitional. To ask for evidence of ignorance is a contradiction.

    That particular word game is about as significant as the question “What temperature does the number 7 melt?” It’s technically a question because it has a question mark at the end, but is ultimately gibberish.

    If you don’t make any claims… how can you be confident?

    I did make claims – that you’re engaged on an ongoing effort to shift and avoid the burden of proof (mostly, at this point with an Tu quoque fallacy). I fulfilled my burden of proof by linking you to the words that you wrote, and based on my assessment of what you wrote, and given the fact that apologists trying to avoid the burden of proof is heavily precedent, this leads me to be quite confident in my assessment.

  209. says

    L. Narf, well I had a precise number in mind but I haven’t mentioned on the comment which one to verfify. But anyway no money was deposed in my bank account.

    Last call. Corey for your evidence?

  210. Lord Narf says

    Classy. You realize that saying you’re a poser is giving you the benefit of the doubt. The other option is much less flattering.

  211. says

    that was my dog who wrote really well in French “God is not great. How religion poinsons everything. it is not a code, only extra characters for my dog hasn’t fingers.

  212. unfogged says

    You can believe whatever you like about the how the universe “got here” but to say that you “know” implies that you have a high degree of certainty and that has to be based on something in order to have any meaning to anybody else. That ‘something’ is the evidence that you need to lay out so that others can evaluate it and determine for themselves if it is enough to be considered a reasonable proof.
    So far you have only said to “look out your window” which essentially boils down to “the world is complicated and I don’t understand how it could have come to be unless a god did it”. That’s called the argument from ignorance or the argument form personal incredulity. It is no more evidence than a young child not seeing any way the money could appear under the pillow unless the tooth fairy is real. Not understanding only means that you don’t know which is what the hosts said. Making up “god must have done it” is not only not justified, it curbs investigation. Belief in gods is, in my opinion, the single biggest obstacle to progress.

  213. Lord Narf says

    Satan is in there all over the place, sure. Lucifer isn’t mentioned quite so much.

    There’s a lot of merging of demonic characters, the same as there is for Yahweh. Just as modern Jews and Christians merged Yahweh, El, Elohim, and others to hide the polytheistic origins of their religion, they merged several Biblical characters (including a few that aren’t even demonic in origin, such as the snake in the garden and the beast in Revelation) into the devil. Later church traditions have warped a lot of the stuff in the Bible.

  214. says

    I’d point out that my evidence I provided may not be convincing enough… and that’s fine. That’s normal. That’s how intellectual persuasion works. You make a claim, and you back up that claim with evidence. If it’s insufficient to convince people, one gathers and presents additional evidence.

    But instead of trying to do that, you decided to go on a rampage against the audacity of the very idea that people who make claims need to back those claims up.

    If you had spent half the effort trying to support your claims, as you did attacking the very idea of the burden of proof, you might have successfully proved the previous 47 god claims humans have invented, combined.

    Instead, we’re all left unimpressed and unconvinced that you’re anything but a loon (and perhaps a troll who is just trying to annoy us with as much cliche idiocy as possible).

  215. Corey says

    You wrote and I quote… “Non-ignorance requires evidence.” Your original claim along with Matt and Russell is that Knowledge requires evidence… So which is it?

  216. Lord Narf says

    How can you be sure? Did you actually go to the bank? Or, to put it another way …

    WERE YOU THERE?!?!?!?!?

    :D

  217. Corey says

    Oh, ok you want evidence how I know… Why didn’t you just ask me? Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowing/knowledge…

  218. says

    That’s what we’ve been asking for the entire thread, perhaps interwoven in discussions about Epistemology 101.

    I couldn’t care less what the Bible says. That particular passage has not been demonstrated to be true… not to mention it doesn’t make a lick of sense.

  219. Lord Narf says

    Like he said, one part is definitional, and the other part is a good estimation of your character, based upon your behavior and the dishonesty of professional apologists.

  220. says

    I don’t know that it’s false. It falls into the category of “unsubstantiated claim”. It hasn’t been demonstrated to be true yet, because the people who claim it’s true, haven’t met their burden of proof.

    Here we go again! Have you learned nothing?

  221. Lord Narf says

    How can you know anything about God, since the Bible doesn’t provide any evidence, just unsupported assertions?

  222. says

    Due to a reasonable analysis of reasonable evidence, I’m reasonably confident that what I said is true.

    Is this what you’re reduced to? Just parroting the same idiotic question over and over?

  223. says

    I could smell the presuppositionalism a mile away. Smells like potatoes.

    If you’re going to assert that a god is required, that’s something you must demonstrate, otherwise, There’s a little bit of null hypothesis you must axe.

  224. Lord Narf says

    Alright, with that, I’m out. Have fun with him, Jasper. Maybe you can get something funnier out of him. I’ve given up on getting anything enlightening out of him.

  225. Corey says

    You can smell presuppositionalism a mile away, but you have no logical refutation for it. In the realm of intellect you are getting destroyed….

  226. says

    Again, I couldn’t care less what the Bible has to say, unless the specific assertion is demonstrated to be true.

    I don’t accept the claims as true merely because the Bible says so, any more than you’d accept what any other holy book asserts merely because they say it.

  227. Lord Narf says

    Gee, so you throw out an unsupported assertion from the Bible. Didn’t see that one coming …

  228. says

    You can smell presuppositionalism a mile away, but you have no logical refutation for it. In the realm of intellect you are getting destroyed….

    There’s nothing to refute. You’re claiming that a god is required to know anything. You’ve provided zero evidence of this. You’re trying to have a sword fight with me, with an imaginary sword.

    The core logical fallacy in your claims are:

    1) Begging the question
    2) Shifting the burden of proof

    Until you’ve solved these problems, I have no rational basis for accepting your claims as true.

  229. says

    Gee, so you throw out an unsupported assertion from the Bible. Didn’t see that one coming …

    I don’t know how I’m going to beat this fight. There’s this book. It makes a claim.

    I’m defeated!

  230. Corey says

    I don’t accept your claim of ignorance! You know that God exists…. Romans 1:18-21

  231. says

    By sufficient evidence that qualifies against the standards of evidence, utilizing zero logical fallacies, and built into a coherent case that can be peer reviewed, etc.

  232. says

    Again, I couldn’t care less what the Bible says, unless the particular claim is demonstrably true.

    Your’e of course free to believe (or not believe) whatever you like, but unless you can read minds, you have no rational basis for asserting that I know that a god exists.

    From my perspective, you’ve asserted something about my inner thoughts that is unambiguously untrue, and have obliterated your credibility in my mind. I also question your sanity at this point… more than I was before.

  233. Lausten North says

    Agreed Russell. I’m thinking of the arguments that say things like the 10 commandments or Sermon on the Mount are such breakthrough ideas and so eloquently written that they prove God. It at least addresses that. I also said they would have to show that the scripture was radically different, no one else had thought of it up until then. But that’s not really that important.

    What matters is it gets the Christian to start thinking about the value of their doctrines. If they are defending what a “true” Christian is, they have to use some reasoning. They would have to address why some Christians don’t seem to get it “right”. And, if they start thinking about the slavery and genocide parts of the Bible, eventually they may see the flaws in these parts they say prove God. I’ve seen you use this tactic on the show, so “pointless” was a bit of an overstatement.

  234. Corey says

    How do you know anything or any opinion you write on this blog is true? Are you infallible? If so, how do you know?

  235. says

    Unless I’ve missed something, your argument appears to be the assertion that we can’t know anything without a god, and you try to support this by citing two or three verses from a dusty old book.

    … is that it? Is this really your argument?

    I’ve heard the full fledged presuppositionalistic arguments. You aren’t doing them justice.

  236. says

    I’ve answered this question several times now.

    I’m reasonably confident that my claims and opinions are true due to an assessment of the available evidence.

    I do not believe I’m infallible, but that doesn’t’ mean I’m incapable of accurately assessing evidence, most of the time.

  237. says

    Because I’m using a process – reason, logic and evidence – that is time-tested to be demonstrably effective. It’s responsible for the advanced technology that you’re currently hypocritically using to debate me.

  238. Lord Narf says

    Corey, going with your infallibility thing … claiming God as your infallibility-by-proxy doesn’t help you get to infallibility, unless you’re claiming that you’re infallible at identifying God and understanding his meaning. You’d be the first. Many claim it, and they all have a slightly different thing that God is telling them.

    Absolute certainty is a useless subject to talk about, because you can’t reach it either.

  239. mike says

    Original or stolen, doesn’t matter, it got Kazim to respond and that just made my day! :)

  240. Lord Narf says

    You can smell presuppositionalism a mile away, but you have no logical refutation for it. In the realm of intellect you are getting destroyed….

    Oh, and Corey, claiming that you’re destroying someone is not the same as actually destroying them. Almost everyone reading this blog sees what an idiot you’re being. I would hope that even most of the Christian lurkers (not that most of them would be closely following the comment section) would see how childish you’re being.

    Presuppositional apologetics, at the core, fail because the entire structure is just one massive, special-pleading fallacy. They’re not even used to convert non-believers. The idiots who use them just throw out the inane questions and try to catch people on tape saying something silly, which they can then show off to their flock. They isolate out the part with the non-believer looking stupidly at the preacher, because the non-believer can’t believe someone could say something so stupid, and then they show the videos to their flocks.

    Look up the debate between Russell Glasser and Stephen Feinstein, on this blog. Russell ripped him a new one.

  241. Russell Glasser says

    Almost everyone reading this blog sees what an idiot you’re being.

    “Almost”? I’d like to see a counter-example. ;)

  242. Lord Narf says

    Almost everyone reading this blog sees what an idiot you’re being.

    “Almost”? I’d like to see a counter-example. ;)

    Alas, we’ll have to rely upon faith, for that. I just figure we’ve got to have one fundie who will eventually read this comment section and agree with Corey. At least … it could happen.

    The only thing that made me insert the almost was my general dislike of making absolute statements. Even then, I only put it in on the proofing pass, after I finished the first pass, if I’m remembering it correctly.

  243. changerofbits says

    It’s definitional. Saying “I don’t know” is the demonstration of ignorance because the definition of ignorance is lack of knowledge. In the context of the question “How did the universe get here?” the answer “I don’t know” is not an answer, but a statement of ignorance concerning the answer. If you know the answer, then your answer is a claim of knowledge. Given that Matt and Russell are ignorant of the answer, they simply want to know if your answer is the correct one. It’s your burden to convince them that your answer is correct.

  244. changerofbits says

    You’re asserting that verse based on the authority of the Bible, but atheists generally reject the Bible as an authority of knowledge. You’ve been indoctrinated to believe that the Bible is somehow special and should be used as the source of ultimate knowledge (divinely inspired in the most extreme or at least a good resource for living your life). I reject the claim that the Bible is an authority, is in any way special or is a good source of knowledge. Without using the authority of the Bible, please explain why fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowing/knowledge?

  245. changerofbits says

    The passage may or may not be true. If we can come to an agreement concerning how we figure out if something is true or not, then we can have a discussion about whether the passage is true or not. This is a serious question (I’m being honest) and I’ll ask the same question a few different ways in the hope of making it clear:

    How do you go about figuring out if something is true or not?
    What is your process for figuring out if something is true or not?
    If I make a claim, what do you think about to determine if what I said is true or not?

  246. changerofbits says

    See my reply here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2013/05/13/open-letter-to-corey-keplinger/#comment-97781

    I think this is the real issue and the source of the misunderstanding. Jasper’s response matches my response, but it’s also a sliding scale based on how extraordinary the claim is. Corey, I believe that your name is Corey, I don’t know for certain, but I don’t have much to lose if your name isn’t Corey. For claims about the creator of the universe, I’m far more critical because having the right answer would have huge implications on my life and the lives of all of humanity (which I suspect is the same motivation you have to come here and witnessing to us). Here’s a pretty good video explaining a pretty good method that you can use to determine the validity of claims:

  247. changerofbits says

    Again, we need to understand why the Bible, and this specific verse, is true or not. If we can establish that, then the verse itself is just some words in a book.

  248. says

    How do you know anything or any opinion you write on this blog is true? Are you infallible? If so, how do you know?

    Assuming that you mean “know” in the sense of absolute knowledge, the way that most presuppositionalists like to state it, we don’t.

    We can, however, as Jasper has said, be reasonably confident that something is true based on the evidence for it. This process has been proven to work for centuries. If it didn’t work, then the computer you’re using to parrot nonsense wouldn’t exist (computers, as with all electronics, work on principles of electromagnetism; which was shown to be accurate using the same process we use for god claims).

  249. grainger says

    My mind exists. My mind appears to have an array of inputs I call ‘senses’. These include Sight, Hearing, Taste, Touch, Smell, Equilibrioception, Thermoception, Proprioception, Nociception, and a few others.

    These inputs appear to be be connected together. They all give me input on some sort of joint thing, that I call the ‘physical world’. In this world I operate from within a body. If I think about moving this body, my senses show me my body moving, and interacting with other things in the Physical World. By this method I can effect change in the physical world, to my pleasing.

    Do I know the physical world is real? No. I have no evidence to suggest that it is or is not. I remain agnostic on the issue. But I am already very much invested in it, and it is incredibly entertaining at times, so I’m going to keep acting as if it is.

    When I say I ‘know’ something, I don’t mean it’s definitely 100% true. I mean it’s true, assuming the physical world it’s real. I don’t include that at the end of most things I say because it would rather be a waste of time. It’s only ever been relevant the couple times I’ve spoken to solipsists or presuppositionalists.

    If you want to talk about absolute reality Corey, then yes, none of us know anything. I would much prefer to talk about the physical world. Can we continue this conversation under the assumption that the physical world is real?

  250. says

    please explain why fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowing/knowledge?

    I’d love to hear that one explained. It’s like having an epistemological framework based upon Terseness about Spiders… or more generally, The [emotion] of [noun] Epistemology.

  251. changerofbits says

    It seems like such a small request to assume the above, but invariably theists have to “go there” because we atheist don’t have a magical sky daddy to base our worldview upon.

  252. says

    Fucking someone does not automatically entail that you treat them as an autonomous person or have respect for them, sadly. See also: Strom Thurmond.

  253. Lord Narf says

    The best we’ve gotten out of him so far is a few Bible verses. He’s got nothing.

  254. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowing…

    No. A completely invisible fiction of people from thousands of years ago is not the beginning of knowledge. Things I can hold, touch, see, etc., are the beginnings of practical, useful, demonstrable knowledge. Reasoning from examples to the general, aka inductive reasoning – that’s the beginning of knowledge.

    The beginning of knowledge is the ability to reliably separate which claims are true from which claims are false, and which claims are currently unknown. You do this through careful investigation, through gathering facts, through genuine honest attempts to show your own position wrong. If you try to show your own position wrong, but are unable to, that’s sometimes the best way to show you’re actually right.

  255. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    Let’s try this Corey. The christian bible talks about creation, and specifically mentions the firmament. The firmament is a glass or plastic -like covering over the sky that separates our world – the land and air – from the flood waters above. The firmament story in the christian bible uses the same language and metaphor and terminology as many other nearby cultures at the time the christian bible was written. This is not a unique element of christianity, but one which was shared by other cultures, and was considered to be factually, literally true. Can you at least agree with me that there is no firmament? That the firmament simply does not exist? Or do you think that going to the moon was a hoax, and satellites are a lie, and GPS is fake?

  256. says

    You can tell presuppositionalism is about reinforcing he apologists’ own beliefs, because this game they play of telling me that I secretly, deep down inside, really do know there’s a god, is a very dumb game. It’s the fastest way to get dismissed as an idiot from anyone who happens to have access to their own mind.

    So it’s not about me. He’s arguing at me to make himself feel better about beliefs he’s so invested in.

  257. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    @Corey

    How do you know anything or any opinion you write on this blog is true? Are you infallible? If so, how do you know?

    Almost everyone here – I say almost because this does not include you – has a presupposition that the methods of science work. Furthermore, that no method except science reliably works for learning about things in our shared reality with material causal power. Finally, we will not knowingly accept a claim (about something in our shared reality with material causal power) as true without sufficiently compelling (scientific) evidence and argument.

    Some people sometimes call this “scienticism” or “physicalism”, depending on the exact nuances involved.

    This is the position of skepticism, of most atheists as far as I know, of most scientists (excluding their religious beliefs). It is the position that “I don’t know” is the default position, and only after having seen sufficiently compelling evidence should you accept a claim as true – or false!

    You have a presupposition that the bible is true. We don’t. Instead, we think that the method of science works. From that and the available evidence, we have deduced that the bible is largely fiction – in the same way that Spider-Man is largely fiction – and that’s why we are not at all swayed by your quotes of it. To us, it makes just as much sense to quote the bible as it would to quote Captain James T Kirk from old Star Trek shows – which sometimes it does, but in those cases, it makes sense only because the message is sound, despite being from a fictional starship captain.

  258. Raymond says

    Because the “proof” that I don’t know something IS that I don’t know it.

  259. Raymond says

    If you scan down through all the comments, citing only Corey’s comments, you may notice that he’s just playing a game with us. It’s the old “Why?” routine interspersed with occasional acknowledgements of other posts. I dare say this child is having fun getting a rise out of us, and that’s it. And even if it’s not true, if he can’t make an argument other than christian solipsism after 1 week and 300+ posts, he never will.

  260. says

    Almost everyone here – I say almost because this does not include you – has a presupposition that the methods of science work

    Actually, for the sake of precision, I’ll take exception to that. I don’t presuppose that the method of science works, I conclude that it works, based on my experience.

    The only presuppositions we need are those which, if rejected, result in a complete inability to say or think anything at all. E.g. the basic rules of logic, like the rule of identity.
    If something isn’t what it is, then no sensible statement can ever be made because every statement is correct and incorrect at the same time, no matter what it is. That includes the statement “god exists”. So, we don’t need any presupposition that is not also required by the theist.

  261. Lord Narf says

    It’s still decent practice, explaining things to stupid/willfully-ignorant people. People will drop off when they get bored with it.

  262. Russell Glasser says

    I can ban him any time you guys want, but it seems like you’re still having your fun, so…

  263. dekomitri says

    Holy guy on a stick! We got our selves a real live Sye Ten Bruggencate wanna-be troll.

    On the bright side. I think I’ve finally figured out how to answer the “How do you know your reasoning is valid?” question and it was this thread that got me there.

    Thanks Corey!

    …glory, story, allegory, Montessori…

  264. nathan says

    Such negativity and ill will all over this website. Are there any discussions that don’t dissolve into arguing and bitterness, foul talk, name calling, and the like? It comes from all sides of the “discussions”, too, i am not singling out any particular belief. Here’s to hoping that there can be civil discussions found concerning the topics of belief, faith, religion, lack thereof, eternity, etc;

  265. changerofbits says

    We’ve gone from establishing the burden of proof, to the argument from ignorance, to the argument from biblical authority and on to a review of epistemology (so last decade from an AXP caller perspective). Assuming Corey doesn’t get grounded from the Internet for chatting with us, I predict the argument from personal experience is up next. If Corey is actually more literate than shown in this thread, we might get surprised by an attempt at one of the popular non-Christian specific apologetic arguments. I’m not holding my breath, though…

  266. mike says

    I thought that Sye Ten Bruggencate was the dumbest theist I ever heard of, then along came Corey…

  267. Corey says

    Russell, you are right I have been offensive to you in some of my remarks, and that was not Christlike, and for that I sincerely apologize. I don’t think you are a bad guy. However I do wish you and Matt would take responsibility for what you say. Matt made a knowledge claim, and told me how reasoning works…Hello? how does he know that what he said is true? He would have to be infallible for me to except his claim.

  268. Corey says

    If you are making a claim that your reasoning is valid….Then how do you know? Can you demonstrate that your reasoning is valid without using your own reasoning? No, you cannot!

  269. Lausten North says

    Corey, during my first crisis of faith, I read C.S. Lewis and was convinced by his argument that we can’t ground rational thought in a system that evolved from something non-rational. Fortunately I continued to listen to others who had already worked through this fallacious argument and figured out that starting with a premise that nature is consistent throughout time and space and we can experiment on that and learn from it is a workable and rational process. For a longer discussion, pop over to the Reasonable Doubts on FtB and look for episode 57.

  270. Lausten North says

    Yes good point. One of the tenets of civil discourse is to accept that no one knows everything. No one is an expert on all topics and we should give someone time to absorb any new information we present to them. Also, when presented with new information, we should ask for time to absorb it. Both sides should be providing reasons for holding whatever stand they take and no one should claim 100% certainty. Now, who’s following those rules and who isn’t?

    I would suggest, if you apply these tenets to their fullest, you will find that religion can never follow them completely. Religion might be able to evolve and change and become more reasonable, but words like “faith” and “belief” assume certainty, not reasonableness.

  271. dekomitri says

    Hi Corey, by your actions I don’t believe you are here in good faith. So I’ll respond for my own sake.

    I know because I experience this knowledge. I experience it’s consistency within correspondence, coherence and practice and therefore I label that as truth.

    Could I be wrong? Yes, but I have no reason to believe that I am wrong.

    How do I know if my reason is valid? …because I experience it as valid. Yes, this means I have to presuppose the validity of my reason and my reason is not accounted for. A presupposition is a necessary assumption. You will notice that this assumption cannot be avoided; it permeates thought entirely, therefore we have no reason to believe it is unnecessary.

    You may think you have a solution. You do this by defining a THING with valid reason and having that thing telegraph valid reason into your brain. Ta-da! Reason accounted for.

    Wrong. You have an argument from ignorance.

    The truth is: You don’t understand the term “God”. You can’t comprehend it. It’s magical thinking. In other words your reason is accounted for by a thing you can’t understand which is exactly the same as saying you don’t know what accounts for your reason. This makes our positions equal.

    At this point you are either here to have a discussion or you are here to troll. If you want to have a discussion the ball is in your court to consider whether what I just said is true and respond accordingly. And before you do so please understand, while it’s entertaining to consider possibilities, what I care about is truth.

    Cheers

  272. dekomitri says

    Hey mike, Sye’s argument’s are indeed dumb, however they are very well delivered. Sye does his research and practices for debate. This makes people under-estimate him. That is why there are over a hundred debates
    out there with atheists stammering and grasping for words. Fortunately I have yet to see another presuppositionalist that even comes close to his caliber. This is because Sye sells presuppositional apologetico to Christians as an argument meanwhile it’s how he argues that gives him success.

  273. says

    Look, let’s cut to the chase.

    I don’t know why the logical absolutes are the way they are (or the laws of physics for that matter). They apparently exist, however, and appear to be consistent. We’re looking into why, as we speak, but for the moment, we don’t know.

    It’s like fire – we don’t have to account for its existence to acknowledge that it exists, and has uses. The fact we don’t know, however, is not a reasonable justification for asserting that a sky wizard is responsible.

    If you’d like to assert that God is responsible for logic/reason/etc, you must be able to demonstrate that assertion with sufficient evidence. Verses from a dusty old book just don’t cut it.

  274. jacobfromlost says

    Corey: How do you know that’s true?
    atheist: Because that is what all the evidence demonstrates. How do you know your god is real?
    Corey: ‘Cuz.

    Do we really need 300 comments for this discussion? lol

  275. Corey says

    On episode #813 Matt Dillahunty made a knowledge claim “That is how reasoning works.” Question: How does he know this? Can he validate his claim of reasoning without using his own reasoning? If he can… he must be infallible for me to accept his claim! If you are infallible Matt, how do you know this?

  276. Raymond says

    Woa! Hold the phone. We may be approaching a point here.

    Matt’s comment is based on thousands of years of evidence. The tests and applications of the system of reasoning have been reproduced over and over again. It has reliable, predictive power. If what you are arguing is solipsism, the belief that nothing outside your own mind can ever be known, then no one can ever prove anything to you. I couldn’t even prove that your own body exists. Most consider solipsism to be a useless argument because it has no application or predictive power.

  277. says

    Here’s the exchange in question (at ~19:20)

    Matt: Knowledge is not something you simply assert. Knowledge is something you demonstrate. If you make a claim to knowledge, you need to demonstrate that it’s true…

    Corey: Why is that?

    Matt: That’s the way reasoning works.

    You then ask, “How does he know this?”

    Well, because that’s what knowledge means. A standard definition of “knowledge” is “justified, true belief”. It’s implicit in the definition that it needs to be justified. If you reject the idea that an assertion should be backed up, you can’t also call it knowledge because that’s not what the word means.

    “Knowledge” means that you can back it up. If you can’t back it up, it’s not “knowledge”. If you don’t use words in accordance with their established meaning, no communication is possible, as is becoming quite clear from this thread.

    I wonder, do you accept the idea that some statements are correct and other wrong? Seriously, I’m not sure, so I’m asking: The idea of true vs false, do you accept that?

  278. Corey says

    No! I wrote that infallibility is necessary for me to accept a knowledge claim. Please re-read.

  279. Corey says

    Please note: If you are going to write a book in response to my assertions… Do not expect me to read them!

  280. nathan says

    There is so much going on here, i hesitate to get involved, but i also don’t want to just stand idly by. So….here goes.
    presuppositions: i understand what they are, at least, after reading some info i think i do, anyway. But, what i fail to understand is how anyone can hold any kind of belief without presupposing anything. It seems to me that there is nearly always, if not always, some presupposed belief or fact whenever anything is discussed. What exactly those presuppositions are can/do change as the subject changes, as well as changing with merely the perceptions of those involved in the discussions.
    For my part, i believe in the God of the bible. There are reasons i believe, not all of which appear to be rational or reasonable. In my perception, i believe the same holds true for those of differing beliefs. We could debate endlessly on who is right or who is wrong. It seems to me a fact that no one can prove the existence or non-existence of God, nor can anyone prove the that either belief is reasonable or not. It doesn’t even appear to me that absolute truth can be proven or disproven. (LoL, and i believe in absolute truth!)
    Even stating some of these things starts to get confusing and exhausting so quickly, just thinking of all the arguing that has preceded, and that may follow.

  281. says

    You think a few paragraphs constitute a book? I’m terribly sorry if I took your question seriously enough to give a thorough answer. I guess you didn’t really want an answer after all.
    Whether you read or not is up to you, but if you refuse to read the answers people give to your own questions, I have to wonder why you even bother asking them.

  282. says

    Why? Why would someone need to be infallible for you to accept a statement on a particular issue? Isn’t it more important if they’re right on that particular point?

    If I said that 2+2=4 and the sky is purple, you’d reject the notion that 2+2=4?

  283. Raymond says

    Most people accept that they are fallible (I would have thought all till you popped up), so we have created a system where we can find out objective truth. We can utilize many fallible people to derive a truth. This practice is utilized in all societies around the world, from the poorest 3rd world tribe to all the post-information-age nations of the world; from right this second, all the way back to the first time a brain appeared in an animal. In fact you have been using this system in order to communicate with us. Because each individual homo-sapien has limited experiences (we can only be in one place at any time, we can only see certain light waves, we can only hear certain frequencies, etc) we, mostly, agree that no single person can be infallible. Most people would even argue that human-kind cannot be infallible because of the sever limitations of the human body. So no one believes that you are always right, because you
    are, supposedly, human. But that also means that there is never a way to provide an infallible proof, from an infallible person.

  284. Raymond says

    Trying to reason with you is not a quick process. Responses have to be long to respond to you craziness. Say something less crazy and you will get shorter answers.

  285. says

    You do understand that we do not presuppose that god doesn’t exist, right?

    Nor is there any need to presuppose the existence of the natural world, the non-existence of the supernatural, the validity of logic or the scientific method, that our senses give us reliable information or any other number of things. These things need not be presupposed, since they can be arrived at from simpler principles.

    I completely reject your notion that we simply have different presuppositions. You have presuppositions. I have conclusions.

  286. Corey says

    “Absolute truth can be proven!” If that is a true statement then absolute truth exists. If you say absolute truth does not exist then, I would ask… Is that a true statement… If you say no… Look at the logic: No it is not true that absolute truth does not exist? If you say yes…Same criteria…Is that a true statement? An atheist might ask me where is your evidence that all this is true… Proverbs 1:7, Titus 1:2 and 2 Timothy 3:16 And then they will say I can’t use the Bible… Philippians 4:13 and Psalm 19:7

  287. Raymond says

    Hmm. Since you have, apparently, not read anything I have said to you, let me ask a short question.
    Are you posing solipsism as your arguement?

  288. says

    But you are answering me.
    More importantly, I took the time to answer your question and your response was basically “I’m not going to read that”. It’s not simply a case of you not responding to me, it’s that you’re specifically ignoring a direct answer to a direct question. It’s both insulting and counter-productive.

    If you don’t want an answer, then why did you ask the question?

  289. Raymond says

    You can use the bible as soon as you prove that its contents are inspired by a non-human entity.

  290. says

    What nathan actually wrote was:

    It doesn’t even appear to me that absolute truth can be proven or disproven

    My emphasis.

  291. Raymond says

    And that, even if a non-human entity inspired it, the human’s who wrote it didn’t screw up the message somehow.

  292. Raymond says

    And that in the last several thousand years of translating (the old testament), the translations did not change the original meaning.

  293. Raymond says

    You can’t use a source to prove the source is right. If something that exists, claims it doesn’t exist, it still exists regardless of it’s claim.

  294. Raymond says

    If you mean that by posing that, even if I grant you that the bible was divinly inspired, is changing my position you are wrong. I am illustrating that even if you get to “A” you have still not made your case.

  295. jacobfromlost says

    You only think it was INSPIRED by god? Why don’t you think Jesus himself typed it up on a laptop? (When you figure out why you don’t think that Jesus himself typed it up on a laptop, you will know why we don’t think it was inspired by a god.)

  296. says

    Corey, why are you here?

    You clearly don’t want to engage in honest discussion. You don’t stand a chance of convincing anyone. You’re not here to learn because you’re ignoring the answers people give to your questions.

    Why are you here? What do you hope to achieve by this?

  297. Raymond says

    Excuse me?! I am calmly trying to illustrate your fallacies in a coherent way, in a format that you will bother reading. I dare say that there is some projection going on here.

  298. Corey says

    That is a fair question, and I could ask you the same thing. I don’t stand a chance because your mind is already made up… The atheist claims when I get evidence I will believe! When you finally get your evidence it will be too late…!

  299. Raymond says

    Sorry. That doesn’t even make sense. Are you saying that you are acting desperate by changing the subject so as to not have to answer my questions? I agree. Does that make me desperate? No.

  300. Raymond says

    For instance I have replied to all of you silly accusations against me, but you probably haven’t read them. You do know that you can scroll up and see responses to your responses, right?

  301. says

    I guess that question was too hard.

    I’m here because this is my turf. I’m a regular visitor to this blog. Have been for quite a while.
    Now, try again: Why are you here?

  302. Corey says

    I am not saying I am acting desperate… I am saying you are acting desperate. Take responsibility for what you write! If you don’t there is no more basis for discussion, Ray!

  303. Raymond says

    You have got to be the most dishonest troll I have ever met. You are claiming I am desperate because you changed the subject. If you can’t even bother having a conversation, or even being mildly consistent; go away.

  304. Raymond says

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. You are utilizing a common tactic used by someone losing an argument. Change the subject and hope no one notices.

  305. Raymond says

    This is projection. The atheist point of view allows for change. The christian view doesn’t.

  306. Raymond says

    This is projection. I never mentioned the author of the message. You are projecting your thoughts onto my message.

  307. dekomitri says

    Corey: “Please note: If you are going to write a book in response to my assertions… Do not expect me to read them!”

    LOL. Ok, here is the short-form case for my Atheist position:

    I know.
    I know that it’s true.
    I do not know that it’s not true.
    I know that it’s valid.
    I know u can do no better.

    27 words. Hope that’s not too long.
    Cheers!

  308. unfogged says

    It seems to me that there is nearly always, if not always, some presupposed belief or fact whenever anything is discussed

    If you are presupposing a god then how is it rational to be starting with something that is at least as complicated as what it is trying to explain? We have zero evidence that a mind can exist without a physical brain to support it so to begin with the supposition that an immense intelligence exists? If the bottom line is that you can’t think of anything else that would account for it then that’s just an argument from ignorance. Learning to accept that there are things that you do not understand, and may never understand, can seem frightening at first but once you make the plunge it is liberating.
    On the other hand, starting with the fewest and simplest suppositions as possible and then building from there seems to me like a much more justifiable approach.

    i believe in the God of the bible

    Why that one and not the gods of Egypt or Greece or ancient Rome or China or India? There are thousands to choose from and the tales overlap in places and conflict in others. There are tales of gods that long precede those found in the bible that describe similar events and miracles. I’m assuming you choose the god of the bible because you were brought up being told that was true but can you honestly say you have any real evidence that it is true? If so, I would be eager to hear it.

  309. unfogged says

    Adding Pascal’s Wager to the argument from ignorance doesn’t do much to bolster your position.

  310. says

    ok, this is interesting. so basically any evidence corey provided is the bible. On what basis has corey dismissed other holy texts from other religions. Like the Quran for Islam, the Tripitakas for Buddhism and the Bhagavad Gita for Hinduism.

    Those holy texts do all provide proof of their gods

  311. Raymond says

    That wouldn’t have worked on him. He ascribes to special pleading arguments. His bible says it’s the correct one, that is why he believes it. And because he is solipsistic, you can’t prove the other holy texts are true. I guess he is selectively solipsistic. “Nothing outside the mind can be proven (except the christian bible).”

  312. changerofbits says

    Please note: If you are going to write a book in response to my assertions… Do not expect me to read them!

    Then I’m done. Russell, you have my blessing (for whatever that’s worth) to ban this willfully ignorant fool.

    Corey, as one last gesture toward honest discussion, I’ll leave you with a couple of Bible versus to ponder:


    Proverbs 18:13


    James 1:19

  313. says

    but that is what the other books do as well.. so how did he came to the conclusion that the bible the real truth and the others aren’t? The whole solipsistic argument opens a whole new can of worms of insanity. Since that means that he isn’t in control of his mind and that his mind likes to intentionally deceive himself. meaning; that which he has no frame of reference of knowing anything is true. it is then like some bad hallucinogenic trip where everything changes every time you blink

  314. Russell Glasser says

    Yep, play time’s over. Corey’s made it clear that he resents having to read what anyone else says to him, he’s just here to hear himself talk. He can do that anywhere else. Say good night now, you’re not welcome to come back.

  315. Raymond says

    As for how he came to believe it was the correct one, it’s probably the first one he picked up. Nothing more complicated than that.

  316. Artor says

    I don’t think he’s a Poe, I think he really is as stupid & ignorant as he makes himself out to be. The mind boggles.

  317. nathan says

    i have come to the conclusion that God exists. others have come to many other conclusions. anyone can reject the notions, claims, evidences, beliefs, and presuppositions of the others. One chooses to believe the sets of evidences they have been exposed to and comes to a conclusion that God doesn’t exist, while others, exposed to differing or same sets of evidences, come to an entirely different conclusion.
    Somewhere before or during that process, one will suppose something, almost certainly, otherwise it would be awfully hard to conclude a thing. If, this is a process following from A to Z, one type of presupposition that could occur would be prior to engaging in the process. Another type of presupposition that will occur is during the process, when because of A, B, etc; i suppose C,D,E, therefore, i view F,G, and H, in such a way as to conclude I-Z. Whereas, others come to conclude Z for different reasons, or others still conclude R, or Q, or whatever.
    We all presuppose, we all think, we all believe, and we all think and believe similarly and differently, and we come to different and same conclusions. There is evidence for and against God, and there is evidence for and against believing in or against Him, for atheism, and against it.
    All will have their ends and consequences, and until such time, no one will be able to absolutely prove that another is right or wrong, they can simply conclude to make some choice in the matter.
    I do believe the scientific method, reasoning, and logic are tools that can be applied to aid in discovering truths. I don’t however, believe that they can or will determine the validity of, or lead to, all truths. I do believe that God is the all-knowing source of truth, and i don’t see that as conflicting with science, reasoning, or logic. I do understand how this can be confusing and frustrating for people, it is frustrating for me as well, no matter which side i approach it from. I think one reason it is frustrating and confusing for us humans, is we don’t know everything, but we often claim and refute things without even realizing that we suppose that we can know everything, or that we have the means to.
    i dont claim that God can be proven, i believe He has provided enough evidence and my conclusion is to take Him at His word. I don’t believe that atheists have disproven God, i believe they have provided their evidences, and i conclude that God is not disproven. i don’t conclude that all atheists are irrational morons, nor do i conclude that all Christians are fairy tale believing yahoos.

  318. Artor says

    Well actually, yes. He does indeed lose. He is self-evidently a loser. It must suck to go through life as stupid & ignorant as Corey

  319. says

    well that is a cop-out answer. you are just afraid of offending anyone.

    if 2 people make a claim on the same subject:

    1+1 = 2

    and the other

    1+1 = not 2

    you can’t say that they are both correct but then only believing in one answer. You are just afraid to give the valid reason to chose to believe in that selection

  320. unfogged says

    i dont claim that God can be proven, i believe He has provided enough evidence and my conclusion is to take Him at His word.

    What evidence have you seen that convinces you? If I understand your claim, the god you are presupposing to exist has provided the confirming evidence and you are accepting that he is telling you the truth. If you did not presuppose that god would you evaluate that same evidence the same way and reach the same conclusion? When you already have the answer and mold all evidence you find to fit that answer you haven’t learned anything.

    I don’t believe that atheists have disproven God, i believe they have provided their evidences, and i conclude that God is not disproven.

    For the most part, atheists aren’t trying to disprove any god. The position is that not enough evidence has been presented that supports the conclusion that there is a god and that the evidence offered so far can be shown to be a fallacy, an unsupported conjecture, inconclusive, or simply irrelevant. I am among the atheists that do believe that no gods exist but I freely admit that I can not prove that and am basing my belief only on the fact that the records of thousands of years of searching has turned up nothing of consequence. For all I know there is a god who is the reason for our existence and we are simply the equivalent of rats in a laboratory study carefully designed to prevent our knowing the larger reality. Since it doesn’t affect the reality I experience it doesn’t make sense to me to form any beliefs about it.

  321. Artor says

    I think he is unintelligent. It doesn’t take a lot of smarts to learn some really simple concepts, but Corey seems unable to grasp…anything. I agree that Corey probably doesn’t think he’s a lying dipshit, but that’s the Dunning-Kruger effect for you. I’m willing to bet cash that Corey learns nothing from Paulth’s earnest attempt to educate him.

  322. Artor says

    Sure, there’s the Eddas written by Snorri Sturlson, a real historical person. They explain it in detail, so it must be true, right? What more evidence could you want? I’m listening…

  323. says

    anyone can reject the notions, claims, evidences, beliefs, and presuppositions of the others.

    You do realize that these different terms are not remotely equivalent, nor share a common status of validity, right? I’m seriously wondering if you understand the words you use.

    And no, you don’t get to simply reject the evidence other people present. At least not if you want to be a reasonable person.

    One chooses to believe the sets of evidences they have been exposed to and comes to a conclusion that God doesn’t exist, while others, exposed to differing or same sets of evidences, come to an entirely different conclusion.

    If so, the proper approach would be for such people to share the evidence they have and find out which position is supported by the totality of the evidence. That’s what sensible people do.

    Somewhere before or during that process, one will suppose something, almost certainly, otherwise it would be awfully hard to conclude a thing

    Well, undoubtedly it’s easier to simply presuppose that something is true, rather than actually backing it up, but, again, if you’re a reasonable person, you will recognize that that’s simply not how you do things.
    While, as a matter of practicality, we rarely go back to first principles in every discussion, you should be able to do so. If you can’t, you’ve got an unreliable world view.

    …when because of A, B, etc; i suppose C,D,E…

    Then either A and B actually leads to C, D and E (in which case it’s not a presupposition, but a conclusion supported by evidence) or they don’t (in which case it’s simply wrong and should be rejected).

    We all presuppose, we all think, we all believe, and we all think and believe similarly and differently, and we come to different and same conclusions

    And some of those conclusions are correct, others wrong. By investigating the arguments presented and the evidence used to back them up, we can find out who’s right. This is distinctly different from simply presupposing that you’re right.

    I think one reason it is frustrating and confusing for us humans, is we don’t know everything, but we often claim and refute things without even realizing that we suppose that we can know everything, or that we have the means to.

    No, we don’t. We just don’t make claims we can’t back up. I don’t need to know that there’s no god to reject your claim that one exists. The fact that you can’t prove your claim is reason enough to reject it. Nothing else is required.

    i dont claim that God can be proven, i believe He has provided enough evidence and my conclusion is to take Him at His word

    You can’t “take him at his word” until you’ve established that he exists. You’re question-begging like crazy, here.

    You entire post comes off as a major deflection. Basically, you want to believe something and not have to back it up. That’s fine, you can do that, but you don’t then also get to call yourself a reasonable person. You’re not.

    If you actually have evidence, then present it. If you don’t, then stop pretending you do. Put up or shut up.

  324. Artor says

    Show me a single, well-documented example of something defying the laws of physics. There must be reliable, unbiased witnesses, physical evidence, a thorough investigation to prove there is no fraud or subterfuge, and a way to reproduce the results to show that it was not simply a random fluke. Also, this explanation will need to stand the test of scientific inquiry, since every other instance of this kind of “proof” being offered, later discoveries have always, always shown that the answer is not Goddidit.

    Alright, something like that would indeed convince me that there is something god-like that science cannot explain. Presuming such a god is omnipotent, it should not be difficult to find such sorts of things. Your book is full of examples that don’t stand up to these standards, can you show me a real one? Once that has been established, we can start to work on specifically which god is responsible. Yahweh is only one of thousands of candidates.

  325. changerofbits says

    Nathan, I appreciate your position and perspective on the subject. There is a lot we don’t know and any honest atheist will agree that we can’t absolutely know (even if we we don’t agree with your conclusion and claim that there is no God). One of the goals of atheist activism is to just enlighten more people to be like you so we can all get along in the effort to reduce suffering and enhance goodness in the world in which we find ourselves. I will ask and encourage you to spread your perspective to your fellow believers whenever you have the opportunity.

  326. Artor says

    Sex =/= like. They hate them, but they want to fuck them. I can’t figure it out either.

  327. Artor says

    Incidentally, you just answered your own question about pwnage. O/P is an easy typo to make, often done by people typing fast in chat, and given the cavalier attitude toward spelling common to most users of “1337″-speak, it quickly became the preferred form.

  328. nathan says

    i’m not copping ou on anything. and, i realize that, unfortunately, someone somewhere will always be offended, maybe it will be me, LoL, i don’t know.
    i dont recall saying that both are correct. if you think that i implied that, i did not intend to. i did intend to show that neither side can prove or disprove the other. that is all.
    i can choose to believe something, the presuppositions don’t really matter, unless we are demanding proof. we are all biased in some way, so that goes out the window, too. i could sit here and argue that i don’t presuppose, i am not biased, etc; i don’t think i am presupposing, but others disagree, who is right? they say so , i say so, wah wah, blah blah. How does one prove a presupposition exists? because they say it does, or provide a line of reasoning? that is evidence, and someone else could come to a different conclusion.
    as to the statement that God’s existence can be shown to be a fallacy, conjecture, etc; that is the conclusion of some, and not others.
    i am not sure if there is a common ground to discuss this from, i hope that there is. i have already been accused of presupposing God’s existence, and using that as a basis for my evidence. I could just as accurately respond with an accusation of presupposing, but what that would do to foster any discussion, i fail to see.
    i will try to relay my personal experience:
    at a young age, i was taught about God. at some point, preschool age, i began questioning the whole system, and even attempted dialogue with God Himself. I chose to believe, not because i already thought there was a God, but because the evidence at that time led me to believe it. throughout my childhood, preteens, teens, young adulthood, even at the present, i face opportunities to choose what i will believe. at times, i have chosen to try and believe that the evidence is not for God, but, time and time again, i find that the evidence for God has not been disproven, merely argued against. I am not claiming proof for either side of the debate. i only conclude to believe that God exists, not because i already thought He did, i didn’t even know about Him until i was told. To me, that fact alone makes presupposing preposterous.
    Again, there is evidence for, and against, and cases could be made philosophically and otherwise that any of these evidences should stand or fall. At the end of any day, it remains that we don’t know, we can only choose one way or the other. I get choosing against Him, or not for Him, or whatever, i have been there, and face it probably daily. I choose to believe in God because of lots of reasons, some of which, GASP!! , are not measurable by quantifiable data. Imagine that. I don’t see there being any difference on the other side.
    choices, we are all free to make them, based on whatever method we desire to use to determine them. evidence, we can choose to view it, discount it, believe it, give it more or less weight, etc; all we can do is discuss what we know so far, up to this point in time. and, since we all have different experiences, have different amounts of evidence and knowledge, and perceive things differently, we are naturally going to come to different conclusions.

  329. Artor says

    Lucifer was the god of the Etruscans, essentially Prometheus, who brought fire (light) to mankind. He was the mate of Diana the Huntress. Xtianity used his name and the image of Pan (cloven hooves & horns, big dick, etc. Neptune’s trident, for some reason.) to dress up their devil, since their own source material was so shitty.

  330. nathan says

    lyke x, i find it unreasonable that you are demanding me to prove my belief.
    we are both free to have our beliefs. you are even free to belittle mine and call me names. labeling me as unreasonable just because you don’t believe the same thing doesn’t make it true.
    if you would like to find some kind of common ground to start on, i will try to have a discussion with you. i don’t understand the negativity.

  331. nathan says

    i appreciate the kind comment, changerofbits. i wish i could always keep that perspective, it isn’t always so. thx for the kind words, i will strive to participate with that goal in mind.

  332. grainger says

    Talking with a reasonable theist would be nice after reading all of Corey’s stuff. :p

    I think I understand all the common arguments for God’s existence, but I’m always interested to hear different understandings of them, or hear new arguments. Which arguments do you find convincing, and which do you reject?

  333. says

    well that is a big text of nothing you’ve written. You haven’t given an answer. just evaded it.You can choose to believe anything. But in order to believe in something you need a frame of reference that validates your choice. The only thing you claim is that there isn’t enough evidence in disproving God. that is a shift the burden of proof.

    Apparently you have a standard on how much evidence is needed to fully disprove a god?

    but you also stated that there is no quantifiable data. Doesn’t that conflict your whole belief in a God? Since that is evidence for no God(s) and Goddess(es).

    How do you selectively accept that there is a god and not a goddess? or a whole bunch of god and goddesses. Is that just because you weren’t with people who haven’t shared that information with you?

    So please state your reasons to believe in a Single God. instead of multiple gods/goddesses. You said you have lots of them.

    I Think that you are the reincarnation of Corey. Your writing style is exactly the same

  334. says

    lyke x, i find it unreasonable that you are demanding me to prove my belief.

    I’m not “demanding” anything. I’m simply pointing out the clear and obvious truth that people who believe things without being able to back them up are not reasonable people.

    labeling me as unreasonable just because you don’t believe the same thing doesn’t make it true.

    I’m not labeling you as unreasonable because you believe something different from me. I’m labeling you as unreasonable because you’re being unreasonable.
    You believe whatever the hell you like, but if you’re not going to back it up, you can’t expect me to take it seriously, nor to respect your opinion in the slightest. Reasonable people back up what they say. Those who don’t are full of shit.
    Guess which one you are.

    if you would like to find some kind of common ground to start on, i will try to have a discussion with you. i don’t understand the negativity.

    First, I’m “negative” because you’re displaying a complete disregard for truth. I find that despicable beyond my ability to express. It is dishonest, immature, irresponsible and, if I can be forgiven for some colorful and metaphorical language, constitutes treason against human nature.
    Second, as long as you maintain that it’s reasonable to believe things and not back them up, there will be ZERO common ground. See, I care whether my beliefs are true. You clearly don’t. I’m not going to change my position, so unless you change yours, there’s nothing more to say.

    If you don’t know the answer, the reasonable thing to do is NOT to simply pick whichever option you like, and as long as you think it is, no real discussion is possible.

  335. unfogged says

    as to the statement that God’s existence can be shown to be a fallacy, conjecture, etc; that is the conclusion of some, and not others

    If that was my statement then that is not what I said. I said that the evidence offered to demonstrate the existence of a god has always turned out to be a fallacy, conjecture, etc. There is an important distinction there.

    i have already been accused of presupposing God’s existence, and using that as a basis for my evidence.

    That is how I interpret much of what you have posted and as such wasn’t an accusation but merely a restatement of what I took from your words. If it is correct then you are not getting your point across.

    i didn’t even know about Him until i was told. To me, that fact alone makes presupposing preposterous.

    I would not expect you to presuppose a god before you had been told of the concept. What it looks like is that now that you do know of it you have latched onto it as a convenient explanation for difficult questions. My objection is that even if it turns out to be the correct answer you do not have sufficient justification to accept it at this point (or at least you haven’t explained that justification).

    I chose to believe, not because i already thought there was a God, but because the evidence at that time led me to believe it.

    You have repeatedly said that the evidence leads you to believe in a god. What evidence? “The universe” is only evidence for the universe, not why it is the way it is. The bible is a book very much like many others. If you actually have any evidence please present it.

    I choose to believe in God because of lots of reasons, some of which, GASP!! , are not measurable by quantifiable data. Imagine that.

    I don’t have to imagine it because I see the consequences of that sort of thinking every day. Climate change deniers, marriage discrimination supporters, the Iraq war, a whole host of things based not on objective, quantifiable data, but on superstition and wishful thinking and denial of rational thought. your best reason so far for believing in a god is the core reason I try to speak out against such unfounded belief.

    Please understand that I appreciate your being willing to go as far as admitting that you don’t find it unreasonable to look at the evidence and decide that there is no good reason to believe in a god. That’s much more than many theists will allow. What I would ask you to consider is why you do accept the evidence you have. Look at each item critically and divide them into a categories like “I don’t see any other way”, “because I want the world to work this way”, and “I was told this without evidence”. If you have anything left that is in the “objective, testable evidence” bucket let us know. If not then I wish you well but you are believing something without good reason.

  336. says

    @nathan
    In the interest of attempting some kind of productive conversation, I’d like you to give your opinion on the following:

    1) What is the difference between assertions and evidence?
    2) What is meant by the “burden of proof”?
    3) What is atheism? What is the difference between weak and strong atheism?
    4) What is the principle of Ockham’s Razor?
    5) If a claim is made with no support, what the reasonable attitude towards that claim?
    6) If a person claims to have evidence, yet does not present that evidence, what weight does it carry?

    If you will respond to those points, I think we might just be able to get somewhere.

  337. Lord Narf says

    I can ban him any time you guys want, but it seems like you’re still having your fun, so…

    As long as he stays in this post comment thread, I say let him go forever.

  338. jacobfromlost says

    nathan: i find it unreasonable that you are demanding me to prove my belief.

    Me: Actually the only thing that most people need as proof that YOU BELIEVE something is you saying that you believe it. If you think it has any truth value, then you must be able to provide evidence of it to others. “Evidence” is a defined term: it is verifiable, reproducible, predictive, and falsifiable. If it isn’t all those things, it isn’t evidence.

    nathan: we are both free to have our beliefs. you are even free to belittle mine and call me names. labeling me as unreasonable just because you don’t believe the same thing doesn’t make it true.

    Me: “Unreasonable” is a defined term: it means that which isn’t reasonable (ie, based on reason). Believing something despite the fact that you have no good reason to is UNREASONABLE by definition. A “reason” in this context isn’t just a personal motivation, but a logical, reasonable conclusion based on the evidence (evidence is a clearly defined term in this context also). Thus you are not being labeled unreasonable because we don’t believe your claims–you are being labeled unreasonable for claiming things THAT ARE NOT SUPPORTED BY REASON. This isn’t some kind of prejudice, presupposition, or bias. You simply are claiming things, saying you have no evidence for them, and then calling foul when it is pointed out that this is unreasonable. I know you THINK you have “evidence” for your claims, but you don’t because, as I said, EVIDENCE is verifiable, reproducible, predictive, and falsifiable. It is extremely simple to supply that kind of evidence for anything that is true, and extremely difficult to supply that kind of evidence for things that are not true. That’s how we can tell what is true from what is not, what is reasonable from what is not. It’s not a bias against you. It’s just the way reason works, and it isn’t our fault that is they way reason works. We cannot change it, and neither can you.

    nathan: if you would like to find some kind of common ground to start on, i will try to have a discussion with you. i don’t understand the negativity.

    Me: The negativity is just a side effect of being frustrated that you don’t understand what reason–or evidence–is. It is quite frustrating when people claim to have evidence…and then reveal they don’t know what the word “evidence” means. It is also quite frustrating when one claims to be reasonable by not in any way relying on reason.

  339. says

    Heck, I like you too Nathan,I even -think we could hang even if we do not agree with the same things….wish we encountered more Xtians like you–at least you ATTEMPT to have a reasoned dialogue…

  340. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    @LykeX
    You realize that’s a circular position right? You saying that you know that basing future expectations based on past experience works, because of past experience? You’re using the scientific method to verify the scientific method? You’re using inductive reasoning on evidence to verify inductive reasoning on evidence? Sorry, I have to reject circular justifications out of hand, and you should too.

  341. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    So, would you rather invent a fiction and claim absolute certainty? Or would you rather pretty sure of some facts that can aid you in your life? I notice that you’re using a computer, typing posts on the internet? Isn’t that a bit hypocritical to use the benefits of the methods of science and wholesale reject the methods of science?

  342. says

    You realize that’s a circular position right? You saying that you know that basing future expectations based on past experience works, because of past experience?

    No. I’m not claiming that it’s a certainty that the world will work the same way in the future, nor is that a requirement for the validity of the scientific method. It’s a fact that using past experience to predict future events has worked very well in the past. Until there’s a case where it doesn’t work, we’re justified in continuing to use that as a working model. As long as we don’t claim metaphysical certainty, there’s nothing circular about it.

    Also, if you do anything more than suggest that as a possibility that the world might be different in the future, then you’re making a claim that needs to be backed up. At most you can say “it could be at some point” and I can counter that with “well, but it isn’t right now”.
    If the laws of nature should suddenly change, then we’d surely notice and then we will deal with that, as it happens. As long as it works, it works. Refusing to use a method that clearly works right now because it might stop working at some undefined future point is just silly.

  343. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    That’s still circular – sorry. Using inductive reasoning to justify inductive reasoning is circular. You don’t attempt to justify inductive reasoning and the scientific method. The only option is merely to fiat it.

  344. says

    Sorry, I don’t know what it is you think is circular, nor am I clear on what it means to “justify inductive reasoning”.

    Let’s try this:
    If the world has any consistent ruleset, then past experience will be a useful guide to the future. If the world has no consistent ruleset, then it doesn’t matter what the hell we do or think because it will have no predictable effect on anything.

    If that doesn’t do it, then you need to be clearer on what you mean.

  345. nathan says

    lykex, in response to 1): according to one dictionary’s definition(s) an assertion is an unsupported statement, while evidence is data used to support a belief or disbelief.
    if i were to hold these definitions as our common ground, then there is evidence for either of our arguments, as evidence has been defined as data used to support a belief or disbelief.
    i can see how the other definitions of the word evidence may lead one to believe or disbelieve in another way. i don’t see that they would then be deemed unreasonable.
    concerning 2) thru 6)….i have done some reading on the points, and when i can attempt to formulate a civil response, i will try to do so.
    i can say that one definition of atheism is a disbelief in God. i can tell you that i have read of ockham’s razor and i will have to read some more before forming an opinion that at least attempts to be unbiased.

  346. says

    if i were to hold these definitions as our common ground, then there is evidence for either of our arguments, as evidence has been defined as data used to support a belief or disbelief.

    Let me make a slight adjustment, here. Evidence is not simply data used to support a position, but data that actually does support that position. You can’t just claim something as evidence for your claim. You have to show how the data you cite is logically connected to the claim you’re making. E.g. you can use data to establish a premise, which you then use as part of a deductive argument for your position.

    Part of the point of evidence is that it’s not simply one’s opinion, but that it’s available for examination. Essential points for evidence is that it should be public, objective and independently verifiable. Not only does that ensure that you’re not simply deluding yourself, but that is also what makes it convincing to other people.

    concerning 2) thru 6)….i have done some reading on the points, and when i can attempt to formulate a civil response, i will try to do so.

    Fair enough. I do consider those point absolutely essential as building blocks of a rational approach to reality. Well, the atheism one isn’t specifically, but it would fall in the category of defining the terms you use, which is important. Take the time you need.

  347. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    @LykeX
    That’s a completely different argument. At least now you’re not being blatantly circular.

    I’ve been thinking about this for hours. Thank you for making me think about this. I’ll spare you the details (unless asked), but I think the clutch problem is as follows.

    1- Definition: You define a “useful guide” along the lines of “a simple, computable method which produces expectations of future sensory experience, and whose results are (weakly) verifiable by the methods of science”.
    2- Claim: You argue that we should use “useful guides” to help shape our actions, to determine which methods are effective (under the above definition) at achieving our desired goals.

    I agree fully. I think anyone who honestly and knowingly disagrees ought to be called clinically insane.

    What would you say to someone who disagrees? Let’s assume just a modicum of coherency and say that they accept the choice of terms as you defined them, namely “useful guide” (and “effective”). However, they do not accept the claim that they should use “useful guides” to shape their actions, to determine private and public policy. Instead, they argue that one should use the bible. Or as more common perhaps, they argue that the bible should be paramount, and “useful guides” should be at best a supplement. What then?

    I don’t think there’s a possible “logical” reply. The hypothetical theist and myself lack sufficient common ground for me to make any possible “logical” argument to the contrary. The best I could do is point out probable hypocrisy – that the theist actually probably does consider “useful guides” to be paramount, even over the bible (assuming the evidence behind the “useful guide” was of a sufficiently compelling amount and nature).

    I cannot do the other side justice in this devil’s advocate argument. Their position is just so insane that I don’t understand it at all. You and I have both watched the show (probably), and we’ve both seen callers that say that they will behave according to guides which include elements which make them feel good (in the short term), and others will use guides which make them feel self-important, and others will use guides because the they assume desired outcomes. Of course you and I both say these guides will demonstrably lead to conclusions that we all agree will be worse off – where “worse off” is a standard that is agreed to by both theists and us. The problem is “demonstrable”. The very definition of “demonstrable” is your definition of “useful guide”. I don’t understand how they can reject that, how they can knowingly choose a plan which is demonstrably bad.

    But that is the basic problem you haven’t answered to me – why should I use “useful guides”? I agree that we should, but I take it as axiomatic, and I see no possible justification that is not circular, and I’ve spent a lot of time on this, lots even previous to today. But please, you’ve already made me think for hours when I thought I had this settled, so maybe you’ve seen something I haven’t. So please, go ahead.

    PS: Good job changing the discussion from an annoying epistemological argument over the definition of “truth” into a simple discussion about what methods we should use to shape our actions. I would have done the same thing. (Or maybe I’m projecting. Either way, please take the compliment.)

  348. jacobfromlost says

    Good grief. Evidence indicates ONE thing, not many things, and not ANYTHING. You are trying to redefine evidence in such a way as to completely gut its usefulness…and, hence, its meaning. (Again, evidence is verifiable, reproducible, predictive, and falsifiable.)

    “Disbelief” does not mean you think the claim is false. It means you think the claim has not been demonstrated true, so you give it no truth value.

    When someone asks you if you believe it, and you say “no”, it DOES NOT MEAN you believe it is FALSE…and not believing it is false does not mean you believe it is true, either. You are not required to have a belief about things that have not been demonstrated, and “lacking a belief” is NOT A BELIEF. Atheism’s only requirement is that one lacks a belief in gods.

    Lacking a belief is not a belief, by definition.

    If you don’t understand that, then try driving a “lack of a car” down the street, eating a “lack of food”, or buying things with a “lack of money”. The analogy is a one to one correspondence.

    Lacking a belief = not a belief.

  349. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    Ugg. I’m completely lost. I should read some work on the problem of induction to maybe help clear up my thoughts.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_induction
    My thoughts still feel so muddled. I was going to post more, but I deleted it. I have this gut feeling looking at these arguments that I’m missing something critical. A huge problem is that at this level, semantics becomes huge, and equivocation is very easy to do accidentally.

  350. jacobfromlost says

    “Evidence is not simply data used to support a position, but data that actually does support that position.”

    Exactly!

    If my neighbor is murdered with a gun, the police don’t come to my house and ask me if I have a trigger finger, and when I say, “Sure,” arrest me for murder. The only evidence that the murder weapon gives is how my neighbor was murdered–not who did it.

    But if we only consider this as data USED to support a position, the police could decide that a ghost with a trigger finger killed my neighbor. Or aliens with a trigger tentacle. Or maybe the devil appeared and shot my neighbor. Or maybe the gun just decided it didn’t like my neighbor very much and killed him. I can USE that evidence to support ANY of those claims…but they don’t ACTUALLY support any of those claims because we have no examples of ghosts killing people with guns, or aliens with trigger tentacles, or devils who appear randomly and shoot people.

    If the police find my fingerprints on the gun, THEN they have verifiable, reproducible, predictive, and falsifiable evidence that I touched the gun. Does that in itself mean I’m the killer? It makes it very probable, but more evidence must be gathered that ACTUALLY supports that conclusion.

    If we are to think of “evidence” as simply something USED to support a conclusion…we might as well throw out all evidence we’ve ever used as useless because it would be just as valid to say the devil put my fingerprints on that gun, and tracked my shoe prints in blood across the crime scene, and made my image appear on a security camera leaving the house at the time of the murder. Or maybe aliens did those things. Certainly that is a more reasonable conclusion than me being a murderer, and anyone who claims this isn’t a reasonable conclusion must be biased or uncivil or just plain (unfairly) hate me.

  351. jacobfromlost says

    LykeX is correct.

    I think what is hanging you up Enlightenmentliberal is that you are confusing circular logic with accepting evidence that “works”, for lack of a better term.

    If you follow any piece of evidence (or set of evidences) down to its most basic form, you have to either accept that it is what it is, or reject the obvious. The difference between using the bible in this way or ACTUAL evidence is that when you follow the bible down to the most basic support for it…you find there IS no support for it. When you follow the evidence for demonstrable things down to its most basic forms, you simply find that lots of things that appear to exist also appear to support each other in verifiable, reproducible, falsifiable, and predictive ways that are all useful and have explanatory power as time goes on. The bible doesn’t have anything like that.

  352. says

    I’m going to barge in here moment with a meta comment.

    I couldn’t help but notice that, once again, we’re having to provide the theist with ongoing Epistemology 101 lessons, before we can even begin to discuss any real evidence.

    It’s like theists keep challenging us to a house-building contests, and each time, before we start the competition, we have to teach them which end of the hammer to hold.

    I don’t think this is a coincidence. I’m a firm believer that a basic epistemological education in the general population would cause religious beliefs to diminish considerably. That’s why I’m favor of discussing these topics, even if it feels like we’re having the same conversation over and over. It’s a symptom of a chronic underlying problem in society.

  353. nathan says

    jacobfromlost: i guess that depends on which dictionary definition one chooses. the one i looked up had no less than 5 definitions, one of which i reprinted verbatim.

  354. nathan says

    i believe my opinion, so far, on ockham’s razor is this: it is merely a principle one can choose, or not choose, to apply to their philosophy, or line of reasoning. principle being defined (again, word for word repeat of dictionary definition) as thus: a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption. personally, i choose the word assumption to apply to ockham’s razor. it isn’t proven, it is merely accepted by many people, even multiple groups of people, but it certainly is not accepted by all;

  355. Raymond says

    Ockham’s Razor states, roughly, that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected. You can say that this is a philosophy you can “choose” to accept, but truth be told you use it all the time, every day. Simple example. If you are allergic to peanuts, do you assume that the pastry you are about to buy has not been in contact with nuts, or do you find out for sure. The only difference between a theist and an atheist is that atheists apply common logic, such as Ockham’s Razor, to god claims.

    So which side of the coin has more assumptions. First, the theistic view. (I am going to use the christian doctrine because I am most familiar with it, but this all holds true for every other religion I have heard of)

    1)We must assume that there is a god, because without one there would be no holy book.
    2)We must assume that the god contacted human-kind thousands of years ago.
    3)We must assume that the people he interacted with, remembered the interaction accurately.
    4)We must assume that the people he interacted with, wrote the details of the interaction accurately.
    5)We must assume that the people who wrote those things down didn’t lie or exaggerate.
    6)We must assume that the text remained accurate for a couple thousand years of transcription.
    7)We must assume that the text remained accurate during translation.
    8)We must assume that a guy named Jesus existed (this fact is not yet confirmed).
    9)We must assume that his apostles remembered the various situations accurately.
    10)We must assume that the various tales remained accurate to reality for, at least, 30+ years after the incidents actually happened (think of a situation that happened to you 30 years ago and tell me that it hasn’t changed with time. Now add the fact that it was someone else’s experience that they just told you about).
    11)We must assume that the tales were recorded without any alteration.
    12)We must assume that the Council of Laodicea didn’t have any ulterior motives when compiling the new testament.
    13)We must assume that the people who translated the new testament weren’t coerced into changing any part of the bible during all of the translations.
    14)We must assume that the people who translated the new testament didn’t have any ulterior motives
    15)We must assume that the specific version of the bible you read is the one that is, word-for-word, the original one handed down by the assumed deity.
    16)a:We must assume that said deity has decided that he would not give any evidence of his existence after the death of the assumed Jesus OR
    16)b:We must assume that said deity interacts in the present time, but leaves no evidence of said interaction.
    17)And Finally, we must assume that it is ok for a source to validate itself (because without the bible you would never have even heard about this specific god to begin with).

    This list is hardly comprehensive, but should touch on most of the larger assumptions that must be made to hold the theistic (christian in this case) belief.

    Now the atheistic viewpoint. (though I can’t speak for every atheist, most atheists I know hold these to be true).

    1)Human beings can observe reality and produce models with predictive power to explain all natural processes.
    2)All processes are natural processes.
    3)”I don’t know” is a valid answer.

    Is it possible that the christian is correct and the atheist wrong . . . yes. But just look at the assumptions and tell me which leaves less to random chance..

  356. Matrim says

    Yeah…last I checked the only actual mention of Lucifer in the Bible was Isaiah 14:12 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” Which, until it went through the wringer of “interpretation” wasn’t talking about anything other than a Babylonian king. And, if you want to talk about Jewish interpretations specifically (you did mention some Jewish apocrypha), many Jews rejected the idea of evil personified in favor of evil as a concept. This has flip flopped a few times throughout history. The point is that Lucifer wasn’t originally referring to the Devil (and, for that matter, the snake in the garden wasn’t the Devil either). And, in the Old Testament, Satan wasn’t the villain, he served as the prosecutor of humanity (you could argue that he was the antagonist, but he was not the villain).

  357. says

    oh and thanks also to Artor. “Theology” and Religious studies from a secular perspective can be realy interesting fields of studies.

    I wonder how many believers who study theology and religious studies become agnostics atheists and the end of their program. would be also a good research to do.

  358. Lord Narf says

    Yeah, there’s a hell of a lot of that stuff happening in modern Christianity. Things have become so muddled and squished all together. The most major bit is of course the merging of a henotheistic pantheon into a monotheistic religion, but that happened millenia ago.

    The Beast in Revelation is just a metaphor for the Roman Empire, the Emperor of the time, or something similar. Revelation was written in metaphor … not the usual use of the word, with which Christians try to dismiss the evil things their god did in the Old Testament, but actual metaphor.

    The serpent in the garden was a naga, Lilith, Adam’s first wife, in Talmudic legend. If you look at some paintings of the Garden, by Michelangelo, as Aron Ra said in an episode of Non-Prophets Radio, “That snake has tits!

  359. jacobfromlost says

    Dictionary fallacy. (We give words meaning and put them in the dictionary. The meaning DOESN’T COME FROM the dictionary.)

    What you need to do is think about which MEANING is relevant to this discussion. If you think “evidence” is just something USED to support a claim WITHOUT ACTUALLY LOGICALLY SUPPORTING IT, then it is completely useless in this discussion.

    You think a god exists. You apparently want others to come to this conclusion also. In order to do that, you MUST offer evidence that ACTUALLY supports your conclusion, the way all other evidence for all other claims demonstrates the claim!

    Good grief. Evidence is verifiable (I can check to make sure it exists), reproducible (others can examine it to make sure it is what it is), predictive (we can predict what the outcome should be of others examining it, or testing it, should be), and falsifiable (it is possible for it to fail the tests if it ISN’T demonstrating the claim, but it does not).

    This is very simple, and the way YOU view evidence for every other claim in your life. You just conveniently change the definition of “evidence” for your god claims so you don’t have to face the fact that you have not remotely met the burden of proof. You are equivocating on the definition of “evidence” with the word “use” in the definition. For every other claim, you view “use” as in “use to support the claim” in a way that makes it logical and reasonable. BUT FOR YOUR GOD CLAIM you suddenly switch “use” to mean “something I slap on to my claim that has no logical or reasonable substantiation of the claim”. Suddenly “actually supporting a claim” becomes “it feels good” or “I like that idea” or “it must be true because I feel it.”.

    Sorry. That doesn’t work, because the very opposite can also be claimed just as easily with “evidence” that doesn’t actually support anything.

  360. jacobfromlost says

    Nathan: i believe my opinion, so far, on ockham’s razor is this

    Me: You do realize that your opinion is baseless, right?

    Nathan: it is merely a principle one can choose, or not choose, to apply to their philosophy, or line of reasoning.

    Me: Sure, but if you choose NOT to choose it your “line of reasoning” is no longer reasonable. You don’t get to change the actual MEANING of things. You can play with the words all you want, but you can’t make reason out of irrationality. (If you add unnecessary assumptions beyond what the evidence indicates, HOW do you choose among all the unnecessary assumptions? How do you distinguish among them? How do you tell which is true and which is not WITHOUT relying on occam’s Razor? If you just throw it out and assert your claim anyway, fine. But that is irrational and has nothing to do with distinguishing what is true from what is not.)

    Nathan: principle being defined (again, word for word repeat of dictionary definition) as thus: a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption.

    Me: Dictionary fallacy, although I would agree with that definition. The problem is the definition of “principle” has nothing to do with this discussion. People can hold all kinds of principles that are useless, contradictory, unfalsifiable, or false. So what?

    Nathan: personally, i choose the word assumption to apply to ockham’s razor. it isn’t proven, it is merely accepted by many people, even multiple groups of people, but it certainly is not accepted by all;

    Me: ???? What are you saying? Do you know what occam’s razor is? Can you define it, then give some examples of it, and then please explain why it is useful? Also, could you explain who DOESN’T accept occam’s razor, and list a few of the breakthroughs they have made using falsifiable methodology by rejecting occam’s razor? Once you have the ability to answer all these questions, you’ll see why what you’ve just said is incoherent.

  361. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    @jacob
    I agree. I agree it’s so blatantly obvious that it’s hard to even call it a presupposition. I still think it is a presupposition, though.

    I also still say that the following is a blatantly circular justification:

    I don’t presuppose that the method of science works, I conclude that it works, based on my experience.

  362. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    IMHO, ockham’s razor is often misapplied, and furthermore it’s not really needed all that often. I think we can resolve most of the issues without appealing to it.

  363. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    As others have stated, when scientists and skeptics talk about evidence (for a model), they are talking about observations and facts which are true, which would be outright perverse or insane to deny, aka agreed by all, which are predicted to exist by the model, and – this is the important part – are predicted to not exist by the model.

    This is the scientist and skeptic mindset. If you want to convince us that your model of our shared reality is true, then you need evidence for that model. In other words, you have to support your position with inductive arguments from facts which would be perverse to deny, and possibly bolstered with deductive arguments.

  364. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    Well, f me. Let me try that again. Delete the above comment Russel please, lol.

    As others have stated, when scientists and skeptics talk about evidence (for a model), they are talking about observations and facts which are true, which would be outright perverse or insane to deny, aka agreed by all, which are predicted to exist by the model, and – this is the important part – are predicted to not exist by competing models. If it’s predicted to exist by all relevant models, then it’s not evidence for anything. It’s just an interesting factoid. This is closely related to the idea that the model must be falsifiable to be of interest.

  365. Raymond says

    Maybe you don’t think in your mind “OK let’s apply Ockham’s Razor to this situation,” but you do indeed apply the principles throughout your day, every day. It’s just so common that you don’t think about it. Any time you make a choice, you apply the scientific method and ockham’s razor.

  366. jacobfromlost says

    Occam’s razor is ALWAYS needed. In what situation is it ok to simply add on random assumptions to the available evidence?

  367. nathan says

    whenever i encounter some of these comments, i find myself looking into the statements, by looking up definitions, summaries of what a certain philosophy or science is, looking at related fields and theories when looking into the above, and so on and so on.
    what i am not finding is a solid, widespread consensus on how these methods, theories, and philosophies are to be applied. nor am i finding that any of these things are even completely agreed upon as to how they are defined.
    a hilarious example (this in the comments, not the research) is jacobfromlost: the definition of principle is a dictionary fallacy, although i agree with the definition. then, following up with a dismissal of the term even being relative. THEN, people can hold all sorts of fallacies, so what? LoL, exactly…… its (the definition of principle) relationship, mainly, was that ockham’s razor, in one summary was defined and summarized as a principle that was widely, and differently applied in various areas of thought or debate, as well as scientific study. in addition, it was never stated, nor presented as, a rule that is evenly applied across all study/discussion of all fields within our reality. BUT, it does seem to be treated that way here.
    another strange comment: that my opinion is baseless. how in the world would you even know? do you read minds? or is it possible that you made an assumption based on evidence that isn’t falsifiable? my opinion is based on the information i read and considered. it may be an opinion that isn’t aware of every piece of information ever written on the subject, it may be different than a lot of others, but baseless? that is beyond laughable.
    if what i said was incoherent, how did you understand it to even respond to it?
    can you prove that ockham’s razor is always needed? seriously, i don’t see that it is.
    also, i don’t agree that the scientific method is always used, it was even stated as such within some of the content i was reading to refresh myself on said method.
    to end todays research portion of my practice of reading comment, researching, then responding: i looked, additionally, into some content on science and religion. strange how i didn’t find all of the things i see being stated here. (and my research isn’t being done through christian sites, either) i am seriously just using dictionaries, multiple google searches, and sparse or little wiki-reading. (and, i have actually started steering clear of the wiki to attempt to avoid controversy)
    anywhooo, i didn’t find what i had expected to find.
    after reading all the comments, in this corey thread, and a couple others, i fully expected to be inundated, and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of evidence and correspondence and information that is in agreement with what i see here.
    i wonder, why is that not the case? (sarcasm alert) i am ‘sure’ there must be an evidence-backed, falsifiable, and provable ‘reason’.
    but seriously, if all these methods and philosophies and lines of reasoning apply to everything everywhere, and they are all but infallible, then where is all the information that espouse and agrees with this view?
    I AM NOT saying that there is none, there is. BUT, the way it is stated here, in response to my thoughts, views, etc; it is usually stated as incontrovertible fact, and that just isn’t so from what i can find.
    anyhow, that is probably all for today, have a good night.
    i would say something about unicorns, but goats with genetically modified foreheads doesn’t seem all that hilarious to me.

  368. Lord Narf says

    Yeah, it’s used constantly, without us even noticing it. It only becomes necessary to actually invoke it when you’ve got someone glomming on all sorts of extra crap, as you often do in a discussion with theists.

  369. Raymond says

    Ok. Take a step back for just a second. First, answer jacobfromlost’s question. “In what situation is it ok to simply add on random assumptions to the available evidence?” Don’t do any research, just think about the question and the premise of Ockham’s Razor. Give us an everyday situation that you believe you don’t use Ockam’s Razor or the scientific method to resolve.

  370. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    Meh.

    If the “extra” proposition is testable, then test it and see if it’s correct. Keep if correct. Discard if incorrect. That’s not Occam’s Razor.

    If it’s not testable, then it’s vacuous, useless, and should be discarded because of its uselessness. If that’s all you mean by Occam’s Razor, then sure. I don’t think this is quite what we have in mind when we talk about Occam’s Razor, though I guess it qualifies in a rather pedantic way.

    Occam’s Razor is used when you have two models of comparable accuracy, and you want to select which to use. That’s simply not what happens in theist vs sane people discussions. You have the religious model which has absolutely no explanatory power, vs the scientific model which actually works. Occam’s Razor only comes into play when you have two models of roughly equally accurate explanatory power, which doesn’t happen in religious discussions except in the trivial “science” vs “science + god” limiting cases. Again, I don’t think Occam’s Razor in such cases, though perhaps I have a different understanding of what it means.

  371. Lord Narf says

    … though I guess it qualifies in a rather pedantic way.

    And since when have I not been stupidly pedantic? :D

  372. says

    If the “extra” proposition is testable, then test it and see if it’s correct. Keep if correct. Discard if incorrect. That’s not Occam’s Razor.

    The problem is that with that attitude, you’d never reach any conclusion. It’s always possible to come up with an “extra” proposition; any number of them. There’s an infinite number of hypotheses that will fir any available evidence. It simply isn’t possible to fit them all.

    Even if you test the extra proposition, it’s always possible to postulate the same extra proposition, with the addition that it can’t be tested by those means. For any given body of evidence, there’s literally an infinite number of possible hypotheses, limited only by the imagination and ingenuity of the individual.

    For that reason, simple testing can never be an effective means of limiting the selection to just one preferred hypothesis. That’s why you need Ockham’s razor.

  373. says

    or is it possible that you made an assumption based on evidence that isn’t falsifiable?

    This is the kind of thing that makes me wonder if you understand the words you use.
    First, an assumption isn’t based on evidence (at least not sufficient evidence). If it was,it wouldn’t be an assumption, but a conclusion.
    Second, falsifiable evidence is a category error. Hypotheses are falsifiable, not evidence. The distinction can be made like this: If a hypothesis is false, then it’s a false hypothesis. If evidence is false, it’s not evidence at all; it’s just false.

    This is not the first time you’ve given this implresion. You have a tendency of using words in an unconventional manner, with the result that I wonder if you have a clue waht those words actually mean. It sound like you’re just spouting buzzwords, rather than speaking from a position of comprehension.
    Maybe I’m wrong about that, but at the very least you’re being sloppy in your communication, which is another hobby-horse of mine.

    Here’s an idea: How about you state what you believe and make your case for it? Don’t whine about how people are being unfair or that it’s so unreasonable to ask you to justify what you think; just a straight-foward argument:
    What you believe and why.

  374. Raymond says

    It’s probably silly for me to go down this road, but I’ve always been a glutton for punishment.

    A) Ockham’s Razor can be applied whenever two models are compared. There is no pre-requisite that they be equally accurate. The theist vs atheist argument is a prime example. We use the premise to illustrate how far separated they actually are from each other. That’s the beauty of the premise.

    B) Ockham’s Razor can be applied to any number of models that address the same problem. Believe it or no, when you decide something so simple as what route to take to work, you create a series of models in you head. When you decide what you want to eat at night, you create different models in your head. Even when you decide whether or not to go to the bathroom and where, you create different models in your head. So putting aside “A,” these models are equally “accurate.” They will all resolve the situation.

    What you may or may not have known, is that hundreds — maybe thousands — of other alternatives passed through your mind before your consciousness took control. These are filtered by your mind, without conscious thought, eliminating the models that are impossible given the brain’s current state of knowledge. Then you consciously, in the back of your head, filter through the options that are impractical given your current situation. This process can be accessed by your conscious mind if you can learn to slow your thoughts down. Many people who deal with psychiatric disorders learn this to gain access to their automatic thoughts (uncontrolled reactions to certain stimuli).

    What’s left are a few choices that will satisfy your current situation, and are equally valid. The last step includes selecting the option that provides the most positive experience and the least negative experience.

    This whole process uses Okham’s Razor and the Scientific method to sift through choices to get rid of the impossible ones (the scientific method) and the impractical ones (Ockham’s Razor). So everyone does indeed use both methods all the time, every day to make mundane decisions. If you would like to refute that people create models in their head when making a decision, I can go on. Let me know

  375. Raymond says

    Don’t get on his case too much. The information you present is good, but he is new to publicly defending his position. He might not actually know the appropriate use of these concepts.

  376. Lord Narf says

    Even when you decide whether or not to go to the bathroom and where, you create different models in your head.

    So, what you’re saying is that this guy should have used Occam’s Razor?

  377. changerofbits says

    Wow, you guys are still at it.

    whenever i encounter some of these comments, i find myself looking into the statements, by looking up definitions, summaries of what a certain philosophy or science is, looking at related fields and theories when looking into the above, and so on and so on.
    what i am not finding is a solid, widespread consensus on how these methods, theories, and philosophies are to be applied. nor am i finding that any of these things are even completely agreed upon as to how they are defined.

    Welcome to the human pursuit of knowledge! Given the predicament we humans find ourselves in, I think if we did have clear agreement and clear communication, it might be evidence for a god. Something to ponder: The above can be said about Christianity or any other religion or worldview. Do you thing such a predicament would be the result of a God or nature?

  378. Raymond says

    LOL that’s pretty funny stuff. Anyway, my argument is not that he should have, but that he did. Somewhere along the line of this process, he deemed that the potential benefit outweighed the potential cost. But that doesn’t mean that his thought process didn’t run through a gamut of other possibilities. He probably thought about going to a restroom (assuming he can make it to one). He probably thought about just dropping his drawers in the middle of the walkway (assuming he could finish his shit before being arrested). He probably thought dozens of other possibilities, coming to the conclusion that the action performed was appropriate to the situation.

  379. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    @LykeX

    The problem is that with that attitude, you’d never reach any conclusion.

    I don’t understand. What do you mean? I don’t reach conclusions in science. I’m always testing.

    It’s always possible to come up with an “extra” proposition; any number of them.

    And if they add no value, if they add no additional accurate predictive power, then that’s when you discard them. If instead you have two accurate models that have comparable predictive power, then you pick the one that’s more intuitive, or easier to teach, or “simpler”, or as is often the case, the one with historical precedent. However, neither is more “true”. See below.

    For that reason, simple testing can never be an effective means of limiting the selection to just one preferred hypothesis. That’s why you need Ockham’s razor.

    I agree that simple testing cannot help you pick between equally accurate models. However, who said we need to pick one? I “believe in” model-dependent realism.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model-dependent_realism
    You seem to want to claim something more, than one of those mostly equivalent models is actually the “right” one, and I don’t know what that means.

    I do pick one according to a heuristic, but only as a matter of convenience. See above. I think calling that heuristic Occam’s Razor is fair. I agree we use it all the time. I also say that it’s improperly used frequently, and I say that in discussions with theists, it usually doesn’t come to that. There are other more fundamental disputes, like the basic disagreement over whether we should use accurate models, what constitutes an accurate model, etc. If we ever reached a place where the models have equivalent predictions, then we made really great progress, and there’s not really much disagreement remaining.

  380. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    @Raymond

    A) Ockham’s Razor can be applied whenever two models are compared. There is no pre-requisite that they be equally accurate. The theist vs atheist argument is a prime example. We use the premise to illustrate how far separated they actually are from each other. That’s the beauty of the premise.

    The problem is that the razor means different things to different people.
    For example:
    Quoting wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor

    The razor states that one should proceed to simpler theories until simplicity can be traded for greater explanatory power.

    So, here wikipedia is flatly contradicting you. I’m not saying they’re “right”, but I’ve probably heard half a dozen subtly different interpretations and applications of the razor.

    B) Ockham’s Razor can be applied to any number of models that address the same problem. Believe it or no, when you decide something so simple as what route to take to work, you create a series of models in you head. When you decide what you want to eat at night, you create different models in your head. Even when you decide whether or not to go to the bathroom and where, you create different models in your head. So putting aside “A,” these models are equally “accurate.” They will all resolve the situation.

    Yeah, and I don’t believe that one of them is the “right” one. I “believe in” model-dependent realism. (See link above – afraid to put multiple links in same post.) There is no deeper discoverable “truth” except for testability (for claims of material fact, for things in our shared reality with material causal power).

    What you may or may not have known, is that hundreds — maybe thousands — of other alternatives passed through your mind before your consciousness took control. These are filtered by your mind, without conscious thought, eliminating the models that are impossible given the brain’s current state of knowledge. Then you consciously, in the back of your head, filter through the options that are impractical given your current situation. This process can be accessed by your conscious mind if you can learn to slow your thoughts down. Many people who deal with psychiatric disorders learn this to gain access to their automatic thoughts (uncontrolled reactions to certain stimuli).

    Sure, I pick one, seemingly at random from my perspective. Well, at random, plus a heuristic that it should be simple, aka easy to compute and reason about. I make no claims that the model is actually the “right” model. Again, model-dependent realism.

    If you would like to refute that people create models in their head when making a decision, I can go on. Let me know.

    I deny one of the predictively-accurate models is more “right” or “true” than any other. I pick one arbitrarily, one that is convenient to me, because I do not make a distinction between convenience and truth. If it produces accurate results, then that’s as true as you can get.

  381. Raymond says

    Ah, but here is where we agree. I don’t believe one is inherently “right.” Whatever we eventually choose is the simplest one with the greatest potential positive proportional to the potential negative. What I’m trying to get across is that you don’t pick arbitrarily. Every decision you make is thought out. Habit makes the process much quicker in some situations, but you can still insert yourself into the process before the habitual decision is made.

    Also, I dare say I could imagine a situation with the shitting dude that was far more complex. In fact, can you think of any action that was simpler than the one he performed? In essence, he culled away everything more complex than “I’m going to shit in this planter.” So really, that quote from wikipedia does not contradict what I’m saying at all.

  382. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    What I’m trying to get across is that you don’t pick arbitrarily. Every decision you make is thought out. Habit makes the process much quicker in some situations, but you can still insert yourself into the process before the habitual decision is made.

    Perhaps. I’m not a neuroscientist, and I’m not comfortable trying to define habit, vs unconscious thought, vs conscious thought for the purposes of this discussion. For me as far as I’m aware, my conscious selection criteria sometimes results in a “best” model, and sometimes it results in effective ties between models of roughly the same simplicity and roughly the same accurate predictive power.

    Oh, one other thing. I must correct myself, insofaras that I think we can conclude based on past experience that certain “kinds” or “forms” of models tend to be more often right than wrong, where again right and wrong is defined in terms of accurate predictions. Past experience has shown that convoluted models tend to fail in corner cases or new cases, and “simpler” / “more beautiful” models tend to perform well in corner cases and in future cases. That might be an application of the razor. Dunno. But in this case, it’s a conclusion of science, and not an independent presupposition.

  383. says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal
    >blockquote>I don’t understand. What do you mean? I don’t reach conclusions in science. I’m always testing.I mean preliminary conclusion. Sure, you keep testing, but for practical purposes, you need to come to some decision about the world or you can’t act.

    I do pick one according to a heuristic, but only as a matter of convenience. See above. I think calling that heuristic Occam’s Razor is fair.

    And that’s what I’m talking about. When I speak of conclusions in this sense (which is different from the sense of deductive conclusions), I’m not talking about ideas held forever and ever, with no chance of changing them. I mean simply the most reasonable position, given the available evidence. It’s a preliminary conclusion, open to revision if new evidence comes up.

    My point is that you need to make preliminary conclusions because you will never actually get to the point of having enough evidence to make a clear choice (barring very simplified scenarios). You have to make a choice based on limited information and you don’t have the time to test all the available hypotheses because they’re essentially infinite.

    Ockham’s Razor is indeed a heuristic, used when you don’t have sufficient information. However, since we almost never have sufficient information to come to a single, certain conclusion, it’s a rather important principle.

  384. nathan says

    for anyone wondering why i started harping on about evidence being falsifiable: according to comments 73.1, 74.1, and 75.1, evidence is falsifiable.
    as to the charge that i misused the word assumption, i plead no contest, as the intended meaning of that sentence would have been better presented using other specific combinations of letters.
    lykex, in response to stating my belief and why: i didn’t think i was avoiding that; what belief is it that you are interested in, specifically? (if it is my belief in God, i gave a readers digest of that a ways back)
    and in response to changer of bits: do i think said predicament is a result of God or nature? Yes.
    Raymond, thank you for your patience, and encouragement of the same.

  385. unfogged says

    You’ve’ said that you believe in a god and that you have reasons. What I haven’t seen in your posts is the reasons, the ‘why’. Something must convince you that a god is the best answer to some question. Beyond that, something must convince you that the one particular god you believe in is a better answer than the thousands of alternatives that others have believed in.

  386. says

    lykex, in response to stating my belief and why: i didn’t think i was avoiding that; what belief is it that you are interested in, specifically?

    On several occasions, you’ve said that you’ve got evidence, but I haven’t noticed you mentioning what that evidence is (maybe I’ve missed it, it’s a long thread).

    You believe in a god. What I’d like to hear is first, a clear definition of that god. “God of the bible” is not sufficient since many people who claim that also violently disagree with one another.
    Second, a rundown of the reason why you believe that such a god exists, referencing physical evidence and deductive arguments.

    That would provide a basis for further discussion.

  387. jacobfromlost says

    Nathan: a hilarious example (this in the comments, not the research) is jacobfromlost: the definition of principle is a dictionary fallacy, although i agree with the definition.

    Me: No, you citing it as evidence of something is a dictionary fallacy. I explained how WE give meaning to words, then put them in the dictionary. The meaning doesn’t COME FROM the dictionary.

    Nathan: THEN, people can hold all sorts of fallacies, so what? LoL, exactly……

    Me: Huh? My point is that holding unsupported views gets us no closer to distinguishing what is true from what is not.

    Nathan: its (the definition of principle) relationship, mainly, was that ockham’s razor, in one summary was defined and summarized as a principle that was widely, and differently applied in various areas of thought or debate, as well as scientific study. in addition, it was never stated, nor presented as, a rule that is evenly applied across all study/discussion of all fields within our reality. BUT, it does seem to be treated that way here.

    Me: I don’t think you understand what you are saying. That is why I asked you to explain what occam’s razor is, how it is useful, and how you would reject it and still come to useful conclusions. I notice you didn’t do any of those things, but instead called it a “principle” and then equivocated it with other random “principles” that are not useful. Why?

    Nathan: another strange comment: that my opinion is baseless. how in the world would you even know? do you read minds?

    Me: No, I know what evidence is, what reason is, and what occam’s razor is. If you are basing your opinion on things other than those three things, then it is baseless by definition. Again, I don’t think you know what any of those things are. (Your opinion is just as baseless as the claim that invisible aliens pull everything down, and this is what we call “gravity”. Such a claim has no evidence, is not supported by reason, and is ignores occam’s razor. I don’t need to read minds to reject that claim as baseless.)

    Nathan: or is it possible that you made an assumption based on evidence that isn’t falsifiable?

    Me: I suspect you don’t know what many of those words mean, but no. I didn’t have to make any assumptions to point out your opinion to reject occam’s razor is baseless.

    Nathan: my opinion is based on the information i read and considered.

    Me: And the claim that invisible aliens cause gravity is also based on information that can be read and considered. So what?

    Nathan: it may be an opinion that isn’t aware of every piece of information ever written on the subject, it may be different than a lot of others, but baseless? that is beyond laughable.

    Me: No, it is exactly baseless. And it isn’t about “information written about” something, it’s about demonstrable conclusions found through falsifiable methodology.

    Nathan: if what i said was incoherent, how did you understand it to even respond to it?

    Me: I’m responding to it coherently to set you straight. You don’t appear to understand most of the words you are using. If you said, “I walk a blue dream down a long silence”, I can tell you this is incoherent, and explain what all those words mean, and that together in that syntax they mean nothing. See? I responded to incoherence. Understand?

    Nathan: can you prove that ockham’s razor is always needed?

    Me: Yes. There are innumerable extra assumptions that could be added onto any claim, and NO WAY to choose among them. Thus rejecting all of them is the only possible course IF you care about finding truth and being successful. If you don’t care about that, then you can feel free to reject occam’s razor and NOT be successful and NOT find any demonstrable truth.

    Nathan: seriously, i don’t see that it is.

    Me: First, explain to me what occam’s razor is. I don’t believe you know what it is, which is why you keep ignoring my request to explain what it is.

    Nathan: also, i don’t agree that the scientific method is always used, it was even stated as such within some of the content i was reading to refresh myself on said method.

    Me: Is “always used” for what? What are you talking about?

    Nathan: to end todays research portion of my practice of reading comment, researching, then responding: i looked, additionally, into some content on science and religion. strange how i didn’t find all of the things i see being stated here. (and my research isn’t being done through christian sites, either) i am seriously just using dictionaries, multiple google searches, and sparse or little wiki-reading. (and, i have actually started steering clear of the wiki to attempt to avoid controversy)

    Me: The problem is that you don’t understand any of the key terms.

    Nathan: anywhooo, i didn’t find what i had expected to find.
    after reading all the comments, in this corey thread, and a couple others, i fully expected to be inundated, and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of evidence and correspondence and information that is in agreement with what i see here.
    i wonder, why is that not the case? (sarcasm alert)

    Me: Because you both misunderstood what we said and what you researched? Perhaps this is why you don’t cite anything to make an argument against anything here.

    Nathan: i am ‘sure’ there must be an evidence-backed, falsifiable, and provable ‘reason’.
    but seriously, if all these methods and philosophies and lines of reasoning apply to everything everywhere, and they are all but infallible, then where is all the information that espouse and agrees with this view?

    Me: (facepalm)

    Nathan: I AM NOT saying that there is none, there is. BUT, the way it is stated here, in response to my thoughts, views, etc; it is usually stated as incontrovertible fact, and that just isn’t so from what i can find.

    Me: Look up falsifiability, look up the scientific method, look up occam’s razor. Look up THE KEY TERMS. If you sincerely think you are finding things that contradict something we say here, cite it and make your argument…rather than simply asserting we are wrong over and over again.

  388. Raymond says

    **Just a clarifier**

    When he mentioned that the scientific processed is used all the time, he was citing my response to comment 77.3

  389. changerofbits says

    I don’t think you answered my question, unless you want to change the “or” to an “and”, which defeats the purpose of the question (and its not to corner you into one or the other, but to provoke thought about which seems more likely).

    I’d like to know specifically why you “take His word for it”, which is I think the closest you came to answering the “why” part about your theism. Your worldview seems to be Christianity that consistent with materialism/science/rationality. I’m just not sure why you need the candy shell of Christianity when you’re eating the same chocolate as an atheist.

  390. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    You still cannot rule out hyper-intelligent aliens with a warped sense of humour and the technology (say, fine control over EM and gravity to start with) to back it up…

  391. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    K… I’m lost. Let me recap.

    The razor can mean:
    1- We should abandon untestable propositions as useless (for propositions about things in our shared reality with material causal power).
    2- We should prefer “simpler” models to “more complex” models as long as they are equally accurate in known cases purely because “simpler” models are easier to work with, easier to compute, easier to teach, etc.
    3- We should prefer “simpler” models to “more complex” models as long as they are equally accurate in known cases because past experience has shown that “simpler” models are more often demonstrably correct in corner cases and in new unforeseen cases.

    I think that the razor is often misapplied by both sides because of the ambiguity in what it can mean, and miscommunication, and a lack of clarity of whether it’s an independent assertion and whether it is a conclusion based on past experience.

    I think that #1 is often a point of contention between theists and skeptics.

    IMHO, the razor more commonly is understood to be #2 or #3 than #1.

    I think that #2 and #3 are often not points of contention between theists and skeptics, because the conversation never gets far enough to apply those. To apply #2 and #3, we first need to agree that using demonstrably accurate models is a good thing, and we should throw out useless propositions. If the theist can do that correctly, then they shouldn’t be a theist anymore.

    I think that #1, #2, and #3 are used all the time in real life, but I also think that the main points of contention in the religion debate are often not #2 and #3.

  392. unfogged says

    I agree with your #1 but not #2 or #3. The way I understand it is:
    We should prefer “simpler” models to “more complex” models as long as they are equally accurate in known cases because there is no justifiable reason to add complexity until it explains something better than the simpler model.

    Regarding #2, it isn’t that simpler models are easier to work with, just that they explain everything without needing the additional complexity.

    Regarding #3, if the simpler model is more demonstrably correct for any cases then it is a better model and other models that are less correct should be discarded. I also distrust the claim that simpler models turn out to be more demonstrably correct in unforeseen cases and regard it as irrelevant because if the model explains all known cases it is good and if it doesn’t then it is bad. Unforeseen cases, by definition, can’t be allowed for.

  393. nathan says

    lykex, you have touched on a point that is possibly the biggest reason we are in disagreement. I believe in a God that isn’t physical, a supernatural being, and that, to many here, seems impossible. The methods and philosophies espoused here simply DO NOT APPLY. if i believed in a god that wasn’t actually a supreme being, then yes, these silly human tricks would prove or disprove said god.
    i understand that you BELIEVE and have FAITH that what i believe is impossible, and baseless, etc; i simply do not agree, i was never here to convince anyone to believe what i believe, i am not a proselytizer, unless God gives me that opportunity, and if He does, it wouldn’t be my knowledge that would win someone over, it would be God making Himself known to that person.
    i will try and boil another thing down as well…. in case it isn’t already clear, although i thought it was self evident, but, silly me, oh well…. my view is that all these processes are human beings ATTEMPTS at reaching an infallible means of discovering truths. i agree that there are some pretty good methods, and some pretty good arguments, for the physical realm, and another reason for not subscribing to them is the simple FACT that they are NOT infallible. i COMPREHEND and UNDERSTAND that they “prove” soooo much to many people. But, to me, that isn’t the point, because i am not discussing whether or not a car, or a person, or a book exists, i was discussing concepts, thoughts, beliefs, and a being that transcends the physical realm. i also get that these concepts and methods “are applied everywhere, all the time”, and again, i don’t see any proof that they can be applied to the non physical. if you understand these methods, concepts, and philosophies even half as well as you hope that i would understand them, then you should be able to see that they can only apply to things that can be “verified” by one or all of the human senses. and in case that is a little too much for anyone to understand, things that are beyond our senses are not necessarily fairy tales and/or imagination. Human beings are fallible, it makes perfect sense that we do not fully comprehend God, that doesn’t necessitate that we cannot know Him at all.
    also, i don’t believe that religion and science are at loggerheads, at least, they don’t have to be. i don’t believe that evil proves God cannot exist, and i think it is sadly hilarious that one would think that an omnipotent God cannot provide free will to His creation.
    i get that you don’t agree, but i don’t believe in a God that needs to fit my understanding, or earthly bounds, or rules of science and nature. i don’t believe in unicorns, or greek mythology, or pixies, or Mordor, or the hulk, either. If God created all that we know, it is reasonably, yes, REASONABLY certain, that He could figure out how to remain in existence despite our “genius” attempts at explaining Him away.
    now, i know that you really didn’t want to hear my views on God, because you don’t believe in Him or even agree that my mind even belongs on the same website as yours, but, you asked. why, i don’t know.
    in hindsight, i probably should have remained a witness, or, kept my curiosity to questions. it was apparent beforehand, and still is, that we do not share the same beliefs. i did not join in order to assert our differences, nor did i join in for a group hug. i did join in to attempt to discuss these things, hoping that both parties would understand each others perspective a little better. i apologize for speaking too soon, or too much, as the cases sometimes were.

  394. unfogged says

    I believe in a God that isn’t physical, a supernatural being, and that, to many here, seems impossible.

    You have not listened to anything that anybody has said. It isn’t that anybody thinks a god is impossible, it is that there is no evidence that teh claim that there is a god is true. You later note that physical evidence can’t prove the supernatural so you believe it on faith and that’s fine as far as it goes. The problem is that you have no justifiable reason to believe the specific things that you do. Once you decide to abandon all evidence and just pick something that you find comforting then your beliefs have no value to anybody else.

    i understand that you BELIEVE and have FAITH that what i believe is impossible

    Faith has nothing to do with it. You have faith. Atheists have evidence, or lack thereof, to support their acceptance or rejection of claims. You believe things apparently at random with no basis. Atheists believe things for which they find the evidence convincing and do not believe things for which insufficient evidence can be found. It is a very different approach to the question of what to believe and it is simply wrong to say that atheists have faith. It would be like a carpenter saying that a computer programmer uses a hammer to hit the keys because the carpenter uses it to hit nails and they both hit things. You use faith as a tool to form your beliefs; atheists do not.

    i think it is sadly hilarious that one would think that an omnipotent God cannot provide free will to His creation

    Not an omnipotent god; an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipresent god. Evil could not get started given the attributes commonly attributed to the christian god and that is a huge contradiction in the dogma unless you build a mental block to cover the gap.

    i don’t believe in unicorns, or greek mythology, or pixies

    Why not? There are stories going back thousands of years about most of them. There are first-hand accounts of people seeing and interacting with them. The evidence for their existence is exactly as strong as the evidence for any god you care to choose.

  395. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    Meh. Glad we could resolve this argument over definitions. It seems we largely agree.

    However…

    Unforeseen cases, by definition, can’t be allowed for.

    In the nicest and most respectful way possible, I must disagree with the word games in that small quote. Ex: It is clearly evident for all to see that the history of knowledge and advancement of science is that the nature of our shared reality is mindless forces acting “pairwise” in a “linearly” adding manner, e.g. no emergentism, e.g. computable reductionism of models to physics is true. This has always been the way discoveries have been, and I’m willing to bet that’s always the ways discoveries will be. (Not absolutely sure, but about as sure of that as I am that there are no dragons in my garage.)

    In a related fashion, some people say there is an inordinate utility to math to modeling our shared reality. We can construct models like the Standard Model of particle physics which makes very accurate predictions of known particles, and purely by using the math, we can predict the existence of a completely foreseen particle, just from the “beauty” or symmetries and such of the math. I think there is something to this, to the idea that the universe seems to obey “simple” or concise rules, and not convoluted rules. This is a conclusion based on my past experience of how all past discoveries and advancements have gone.

  396. jacobfromlost says

    Nathan: I believe in a God that isn’t physical, a supernatural being, and that, to many here, seems impossible.

    Me: You need to define “supernatural being” before I can assess whether I think it is impossible or not (or not capable of being assessed as possible or not).

    Nathan: The methods and philosophies espoused here simply DO NOT APPLY.

    Me: Which ones don’t apply, and explain why they don’t apply.

    Nathan: i understand that you BELIEVE and have FAITH that what i believe is impossible, and baseless, etc; i simply do not agree

    Me: I don’t have faith that your god concept is impossible. I don’t even know what it is, as you haven’t defined it yet. I do find what you have asserted so far is baseless, by definition. If you have a basis, please supply it.

    Nathan: my view is that all these processes are human beings ATTEMPTS at reaching an infallible means of discovering truths.

    Me: No.

    Nathan: i agree that there are some pretty good methods, and some pretty good arguments, for the physical realm, and another reason for not subscribing to them is the simple FACT that they are NOT infallible.

    Me: They don’t claim to be. (You didn’t look up the “scientific method” yesterday, did you?)

    Nathan: i COMPREHEND and UNDERSTAND that they “prove” soooo much to many people. But, to me, that isn’t the point, because i am not discussing whether or not a car, or a person, or a book exists, i was discussing concepts, thoughts, beliefs, and a being that transcends the physical realm.

    Me: You talk as if you know much more than you actually do. How much philosophy have you actually read? Plato? Aristotle? I fear you have studied philosophy even less than you have studied science. (BTW, concepts, thoughts, and beliefs all exist AS concepts, thoughts, and beliefs. That tells us nothing about the objects of them.)

    Nathan: i also get that these concepts and methods “are applied everywhere, all the time”, and again, i don’t see any proof that they can be applied to the non physical.

    Me: Define “nonphysical”, and explain how you distinguish something that is nonphysical from something that is nonexistent. If you can’t, how do you know it exists at all?

    Nathan: if you understand these methods, concepts, and philosophies even half as well as you hope that i would understand them, then you should be able to see that they can only apply to things that can be “verified” by one or all of the human senses.

    Me: There is nothing in principle in science (or the scientific method) that precludes us from demonstrating that something nonphysical existed (ie, some phenomenon that affects the physical without being physical). No such thing has ever been demonstrated to exist.

    Nathan: and in case that is a little too much for anyone to understand, things that are beyond our senses are not necessarily fairy tales and/or imagination.

    Me: Very true. It’s just that they have never been demonstrated to exist, and therefore those people who claim they exist anyway have absolutely no way to know that.

    Nathan: Human beings are fallible, it makes perfect sense that we do not fully comprehend God, that doesn’t necessitate that we cannot know Him at all.

    Me: Define “know” in this context. I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

    Nathan: also, i don’t believe that religion and science are at loggerheads, at least, they don’t have to be.

    Me: Why? Explain. (You make lots of assertions, but never seem to get around to explaining why.)

    Nathan: i don’t believe that evil proves God cannot exist, and i think it is sadly hilarious that one would think that an omnipotent God cannot provide free will to His creation.

    Me: The existence of evil demonstrates that an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent god cannot exist. Moreover “providing free will” is an oxymoron (a logical contradiction). Free will cannot be provided–if it is, it isn’t free will. Moreover, an omniscient creator god knew that evil would exist in the world he created, and an omnipotent god would have the power not to create that evil, and an omnipresent god would be everywhere and have the power to stop it, and an omnibenevolent god would HAVE to stop it…or never create it in the first place. And yet evil exists, which tells us conclusively that a god with all the “omni’s” cannot exist.

    Nathan: i get that you don’t agree,

    Me: You don’t get WHY we don’t agree.

    Nathan: but i don’t believe in a God that needs to fit my understanding, or earthly bounds, or rules of science and nature.

    Me: Sure. But WHY do you believe in that god? You still haven’t explained why. That’s a pretty big omission.

    Nathan: i don’t believe in unicorns, or greek mythology, or pixies, or Mordor, or the hulk, either. If God created all that we know, it is reasonably, yes, REASONABLY certain, that He could figure out how to remain in existence despite our “genius” attempts at explaining Him away.

    Me: Key word is “if”. Now demonstrate that the “if” is so. You haven’t done that, and have given no reason to believe it.

    Nathan: now, i know that you really didn’t want to hear my views on God,

    Me: No, I did.

    Nathan: because you don’t believe in Him or even agree that my mind even belongs on the same website as yours,

    Me: My mind doesn’t belong to a website. lol

    Nathan: but, you asked. why, i don’t know.

    Me: Because I want to know why you believe in your concept of god. You still have ignored this question. Have you never considered it, even for yourself?

    Nathan: in hindsight, i probably should have remained a witness, or, kept my curiosity to questions. it was apparent beforehand, and still is, that we do not share the same beliefs. i did not join in order to assert our differences, nor did i join in for a group hug. i did join in to attempt to discuss these things, hoping that both parties would understand each others perspective a little better. i apologize for speaking too soon, or too much, as the cases sometimes were.

    Me: You don’t understand our perspective at all, and are not aware of the fact that you just don’t get it.

  397. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    I believe in a God that isn’t physical, a supernatural being, and that, to many here, seems impossible. The methods and philosophies espoused here simply DO NOT APPLY.

    Yes they do apply. If you claim your god can do stuff, like kick me in the knee, or otherwise impart force on me in any appreciable way at all ever, this is included in what I call material causal power, and the only acceptable methods to learn about things in our shared reality with material causal power, are the methods of science.

    I don’t care if you call it natural or supernatural. Hell, I don’t even know what those words mean half the time when speakers use them.

    When you say that people here claim supernatural things are impossible, I may not speak for a majority, but my response would be: You better start defining terms.

    Most of the time, as far as I can tell, the word “supernatural” seems to be codespeak which means exactly and only “science doesn’t work”. Well, sorry, I reject that naked assertion out of hand. Of course science works if the god does something in material reality. And if the god doesn’t do something in material reality, then it’s not a god. (At least not by any conventional western definition anyway.)

    These two quotes sum up the correct position well. Read them carefully. Pay special attention to the second.
    “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C Clarke
    “Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science!” – Girl Genius Webcomics

    For claims which are not about things in our shared reality with material causal power, then allow other methods to come into play. For example, I do not use the methods of science to establish truths of math.

  398. EnlightenmentLiberal - formerly codemonkey says

    @Nathan

    And you haven’t answered the basic question. The important question to all of us isn’t whether you believe in “god”. I’m pretty sure we don’t care at all about that question relative to the important one. We care about why you believe in the christian god as described in the bible. You said you don’t believe in “Mordor”, but you implied you believe in the christian god. We want to know why. In fact, we demand an explanation why. As far as we can tell, “Mordor” is about as plausible and just as demonstrably a fiction as the christian god. They both appear in books that we can demonstrate are fiction.

    Do not come back and say “Mordor” is not omnipotent and the christian god is. I could easily counter by saying Mordor is omnipotent. I could also counter that you missed the entire point if you do so. I don’t care that you believe in an omnipotent being. What I care about is why you think anything in the christian bible is worth a damn, why you think any of it is reliable or true, more so than Return Of the King or any other Tolkien book.

    PS: “Mordor” is the name of the land/region/country controlled by Sauron in Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Presumably, you meant to say “Sauron”. Even then, in the “expanded universe”, Sauron is a mere “underling” of the greater evil villain Morgoth.
    http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Morgoth
    (End geek-out.)

  399. unfogged says

    In the nicest and most respectful way possible, I must disagree with the word games in that small quote

    No need to be so nice, I’m here to learn so if I’m wrong let me have it.

    Actually, I don’t think we disagree except maybe on the use of “unforeseen”. When faced with a simpler and a more complex model that both have the same explanatory power [so far] then it is rational to choose the simpler of them. If, by extrapolating from within either model, or by finding additional evidence from unrelated investigations you find something unexpected then you may have further confirmation for the simpler model, a reason to switch to the more complex model, a need to extend one of them, or a need to find an entirely new model. My comment was that the unforeseen can’t be allowed for in the initial evaluation of the models because there’s nothing to base any selection on. It would be like deciding which god to believe in.

    On the other hand, if you are saying that it’d usually be easier to modify and extend the simpler case in the event something new is found then I might even agree with that. I just don’t find it very compelling.

  400. unfogged says

    Yes, but Morgoth was created by Eru so Sauron is just a mid-level manager of evil. Middle Earth was just being buried under TPS reports.

  401. Lord Narf says

    also, i don’t believe that religion and science are at loggerheads, at least, they don’t have to be.

    That’s one of the most wrong things I’ve seen you say, so far. Religion and science are absolutely in direct opposition.

    Science begins with evidence and sees what conclusions can be drawn from that evidence.
    Religion begins with hallucinations of schizophrenics and epileptics, then adds in the lies of con men. Then it goes running off looking for any evidence that can be used to prop up the myths that have formed out of the initial delusions and lies. That’s not how science works.

    If you’ve ever checked out websites like http://www.godandscience.org/ or other Christian science sites, and you actually know anything about the current state of scientific knowledge and the scientific method, they’re just … too painful to make it through more than a few pages. As soon as people start trying to deal with anything involving their religion, using science, they just completely throw the scientific method out the window. Hell, most of the people who create those sites are scientifically illiterate preachers who grab material from either apologists or from science sources that they don’t understand, and then they twist it to mean what they want it to mean. That’s the material that they don’t just make up from scratch …

  402. mike says

    @Nathan

    I don’t necessarily think you’re an unreasonable person, you sound more like a fairy tale believing yahoo.

  403. nathan says

    unfogged, you say i haven’t listened to anything anyone has said. and for the other assertions that i haven’t defined my God, or belief in such, or supernatural, etc;
    my response is these assertions are incorrect.
    that is my response. thank you in advance for dismissing it.

  404. unfogged says

    I know you are but what am I? Is that really what your argument has come down to?

    I am not the only one who has noted that you have not listened. You merely repeat things that are not true, particularly when it comes to your caricature of atheists or your definition of evidence.

    You have said that you believe in a god but you have not defined that god, nor have you provided any evidence apart from “the universe exists” and “the bible says so”. Neither is evidence of any god, let alone the particular one that you believe in. If I am wrong and you have defined your god and provided any reason to consider that it might be true please point out where. I do not see it.

    Your posts have been one assertion after another with nothing to back them up. Of course I dismiss them. When you have anything at all to back up why you believe what you do please post it. Until then the continued assertions that you believe are meaningless since we already know that much.

    Why do you believe the things you do? Admitting that you don’t have any reasons that could convince anybody else may be the first step on the road to recovery.

  405. jacobfromlost says

    Nathan: unfogged, you say i haven’t listened to anything anyone has said.

    Me: I said so also.

    Nathan: and for the other assertions that i haven’t defined my God,

    Me: You didn’t. If we missed it, go ahead and define him/her/it/them here.

    Nathan: or belief in such, or supernatural, etc;

    Me: Belief in such doesn’t have to be defined. What has to be explained is WHY you believe it. You have given no reasons.

    Nathan: my response is these assertions are incorrect.

    Me: They are not assertions as you have not thus far defined or explained anything yet. The best arguing against this charge is to ACTUALLY DEFINE AND EXPLAIN these things. Notice how you didn’t, again? You just said you did.

    Nathan: that is my response. thank you in advance for dismissing it.

    Me: I don’t dismiss it. It is just demonstrably wrong. If it isn’t demonstrably wrong, go ahead and define and explain all of those terms, including what method we use to distinguish your claims from magical thinking, wishful thinking, confirmation bias, pareidolia, group think, or mass hysteria. If you can’t do this, then we can and should dismiss your claims until such time as you CAN do this. We are waiting.

  406. Raymond says

    @Nathan

    Please, please, please. Just do 2 things so we can actually start talking.

    1)Define your god.

    2)Answer this. If you didn’t have the bible, how would you know your god exists?

  407. James H123456 says

    God never made a retraction.

    The simple reality is that everything is exactly as defined in the Bible. There has not been any other books about it because, it would be pointless. How many numbers do you have on the curb in front of your house identifying it? Just one, any more would be simply redundant and pointless.

    Do you know why ‘scientists’ had been compelled to ‘invent’ all this hokum about the speed of light, planets, stars, gravity and on and on and on? Jealousy. Pure and simple.

    We theist pride ourselves (in a Godly and modest way) on our open-mindedness. We look at the Words of God in The Bible (KJV1611) and look for evidence, any evidence, however unlikely, that confirms The Bible to be true. This is known as the Biblical Definitive Scientific Method (BDSM).

  408. Lord Narf says

    This is known as the Biblical Definitive Scientific Method (BDSM).

    Heh heh heh heh heh. That’s the punchline, at the end of a joke post, right?

    I so want this post to be serious, by a real creationist nut. Please tell me that the creationists actually use the acronym BDSM for their approach to “science” … or at least what they think is science.

  409. Grainger says

    Heh. I guess I’ll assume this isn’t a joke?

    You appear to be admitting you have no scientific evidence for your claim. Thanks for making that clear.

    I assume you ignore scientific evidence that appears to contradict the bible. Do you think the scientific method is itself flawed, or does a contradiction simply indicate someone made a mistake in using science?

  410. says

    I googled it just for fun. 2 of the top 3 hits I got were about growing weed. I’m going to go with it being a nice bit of sarcasm.

  411. Christopher Lowe says

    Please as someone who has recently just parachuted himself into this site, could someone please explain to me what “poe” means. Is it a reference somehow to Edgar Allen Poe? (an atheist/agnostic by the way)

  412. Christopher Lowe says

    Has anyone else noticed that J.R.R. Tolkien and John Milton (Paradise Lost) were capable of writing each others’ books? Each a vivid and fascinating epic tale. I’m sure one would be as comfortable at the other’s desk.

  413. Christopher Lowe says

    A god that never existed would be incapable of making a retraction, so in a sense you and I agree.

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