Trying on atheism »« Copyright change for The Atheist Experience

Comments

  1. Narf says

    Everyone was just calling me Narf anyway, which is the important part of the old name. Since the 4 letters are distinct enough on their own, I thought I would simplify.

  2. Ragabash says

    I definitely understand where Dane was coming from on this, as I’ve also worked shifts escorting people with disabilities to a religious service, and the ettiquette of it can be a bit tricky.
    The first church I would be escorting people to honestly wasn’t too bad, it was one of the more progressive churches in town and the pastor was a family friend heavily into inclusion, love your neighbour and generally the less objectionable relgious teachings.
    The second church years later was another story. I sat through the Father’s Day service, and the sermon was about how men should be “Biblical men”, and how if families would just live as the patriarchies the Bible sanctions then all the problems of the world would go away. I kept looking around wondering why none of the women in the audience were walking out.

    But I digress. From my experience, nobody questions if you don’t participate, but if they do it’s best to deflect them with a simple statement of “I’m not a member of the church, I’m bringing (person) to the service today” and try to keep their attention on socialising with the person being escorted who is there very likely for the sense of community. Chances are at worst you can deflect an badgering questions by saying you’re on the clock and your client made the choice of attending church. A lot of religious people, from my experience, treat working with the mentally challenged as some sort of noble sacrifice, much to my amusement. I have the greatest job in the world, getting to come home from any given shift knowing, and often seeing, that I’ve made a real difference in people’s lives, and that gives more meaning to my life than any relgion could even dream of providing.

  3. Steve2242 says

    I don’t know if you are able to contact the autistic gentleman, I think his name is Russel, from Torrance, CA. However, one suggestion for improving his ability to write on a blog is to use “voice recognition” software that can convert speech to text. There are a number of programs out there that do this and help people who are visually impaired or who have problems writing due to arthritis or other issues. This might or might not be a good suggestion for him, as I’m not sure of the nature of his writing impairment. Just a suggestion.

  4. corwyn says

    I watched the stream, and it was interrupted by about 10 commercials. This basically made it too confusing to bother with. Are other people experiencing this? Am I doing something wrong?

  5. unfogged says

    When I watch the ustream via http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-atheist-experience I get one ad at the start that runs for about 30 seconds and then no more interruptions. Unfortunately if the connection drops and I have to reconnect I have to go through the ad again.

    For the last several weeks I’ve had a lot of trouble with the channel 16 link. That used to be the best way to watch but it now repeatedly stops for anywhere from a few seconds to a minute or more and then picks up where it left off. I don’t have that trouble watching other things so I don’t think it is on my end.

    I mostly watch ustream now despite the initial ad as it is has been more reliable. It also has the aftershow.

  6. says

    Were there any theist calls this week? It’s usually not a good sign when there are only a few comments. I think I’ll wait and listen as I go to bed tonight. Seems like the calls are in a bit of a dry spell to end the year. Hope everyone has a good safe holidays…

  7. says

    Caller Cyrus asked about the link between cancer and evolution:

    Cancers arise spontaneously and are caused by the same force which drives evolution: mutations, which are changes in DNA which occur due to errors in copying, or via exposure to radiation, etc.

    Many mutations are benign, and lead to no obvious phenotypic changes; some do; other mutations cause changes in the immune system, and others cause tumors to arise.

    That’s why radiation, radon gas and cigarette smoking are all associated with causing lung cancer: they cause a higher rate of mutations.

    So perhaps it’s best to think of cancer as the COST paid for the same process that drives evolution: mutations.

    Adam

  8. says

    Adam, how much radiation does it takes to provoke a cancer? do you think having an x-ray to check your lungs can in fact give the cancer to your lungs? or a radiative liquid they use to check if your throat is okay can give cancer? I always hated x-rays and radiative liquid they use to check if the throat is ok.

  9. says

    the “free-thinker” that the girl was talking about in the show, was he a pastor or just a believer? Maybe he meant that “he thinks that we have free will” or the girl has misunderstood between “free thinker” and “thinks we are free”.

  10. says

    Caller Octavio asked about Moses’ murder of the Egyptian, and his attempts to cover it up.

    For one, remember that killing of non-Hebrews was NOT forbidden in the OT, eg many genocidal campaigns were later conducted by the Israelites at the order of God. The 10 commandments “Thou shalt not kill” ONLY applied to fellow Hebrews, not to Gentiles.

    So remember that as an alien living in Egypt (he was supposedly a member of the royal family as an adopted son of the Pharoah’s daughter), Moses was subject to Egyptian law.

    The interesting aspect is that if the Egyptian owner was beating his slave, he was perfectly within his rights under Egyptian and even later Mosaic Law (eg Ex 21) to do so, just as long as the slave didn’t die within a day or two. Moses was NOT allowed to intervene in the matter, but it may have been viewed as manslaughter under both Egyptian and Mosaic Law, since it was the “heat of the moment” situation, and not premeditated murder.

    The curious lax punishment at Jehovah’s “just” and “righteous” hand is also seen in the Cain vs Abel situation you mentioned during your call, where a careful reading of the account in Genesis 5-6 points moreso to manslaughter, NOT murder, serving as a dramatic foreshadowing to the later feature of Jewish law, the ‘city of refuge’ system.

    I wrote about ancient Hebrew system of crime and punishment on my blog:

    http://awgue.weebly.com/why-did-god-seemingly-allow-cain-to-get-away-with-murder.html

    But back to Moses, the account likely serves to demonstrate Moses’ sense of justice and compassion for his few Hebrews, who supposedly were held as slaves in Egypt (and of course Moses supposedly liberated them).

    You’re right, in that God didn’t mention the killing as a problem that prevented Moses the murderer from serving as his servant; in fact, it would serve more as a qualification FOR the job.

    The same goes for Levi, who in Genesis 24 is seen murdered the entire village of the Shechemites after incapacitating them (he lied to them, telling the town-people that they could intermarry with the family of Jacob, but ONLY AFTER getting circumcised). Of course, while in pain after circumcision, Levi and his brother slaughtered the entire town.

    The moral of the Dinah account is to teach Jews of the dangers of intermarriage with Gentiles: your brother just might flip out and KILL your new husband AND exterminate the entire town! Levi of course was God’s chosen servant to serve as high-priest under Moses.

    Loverly, eh?

    BTW, I’m an atheist, but such accounts in the Old Testament are actually useful to demonstrate the ancient and brutal morality that is found in the Bible, since it existed in the ancient World. And some Xians dare say that the Bible is the source of “perfect morality”, and want to use it’s ancient immoral and brutal legal codes today, in 2013, as if there’s anything of value to be found in it?

    Adam

  11. says

    Ericvon asked:

    Adam, how much radiation does it takes to provoke a cancer?

    Ericvon, that’s a figure which no one can absolutely say for certain, since everyone is different: it depends on WHAT type of cancer you’re talking about, your immune system, your risk factors, etc.

    But yes, there are standards, eg radiological technicians (i.e. those healthcare workers who take your x-ray in a lab) who are more likely to be exposed to radiation on a daily basis take certain steps to protect themselves against needless exposure (walls with lead shields, etc) and often wear radiation monitors, since there’s OSHA standards for maximum-permitted annual exposure.

    But as far as a patient being exposed to radiation via routine diagnostic testing (eg x-rays, barium enemas, etc), it’s low enough that it doesn’t cause a significantly-greater risk; I also wouldn’t be getting an x-ray on a daily basis, LOL!

    Fact is, people are exposed to radiation levels that far exceed the cumulative exposure of multiple x-rays whenever you fly on an airliner (due to having less atmosphere at higher altitudes). But no one worries about the elevated risk of cancer from taking long intercontinental or transoceanic flights.

    But as always, it’s all about assessing the risk vs benefit, i.e. if the doctors wanted to rule out a malignant brain tumor due to some neurological symptoms I was experiencing, the last thing I’d should be worried about is the risk of developing some NEW mutation in a brain cells that might cause a new cancer to emerge.

    Adam

  12. Aaroninmelbourne says

    There were comments by both Sherry and Octavio that address different aspects of the same misconception that I think are worth addressing: Octavio said in passing that “You can’t prove there is a God”, while Sherry discussed how the pastor said “Everyone worships a God”. These appear to me to be different aspects of the same vague defense mechanisms of theism that should be unpacked:

    The core problem is that people use “God” without having an actual definition. A usable definition must be more than just a set of characteristics, and needs to be sufficiently specific to mean it cannot be used for anything else. This is actually more difficult than it sounds, and quite frankly, dictionaries are really poor at this so provide little help. To illustrate, take an everyday concept like “automobile” and try to create a definition: almost everything you think of is a characteristic that is not unique to automobiles; there are automobiles that are exceptions to those characteristics; and even in combination characteristics are poor identifiers. This problem becomes insurmountable if the definition is for something for which we do not have identifiable examples, such as “God”.

    This problem has serious consequences when you consider Octavio’s and Sherry’s statements: Octavio’s is based on the non-definition-based Abrahamic-deity characteristic that “God wouldn’t allow himself to be tested!” (does that mean that any child who refuses to be tested in school is therefore by definition a God?) Sherry’s is based around the lack of a solid definition that would even create a gap to allow for “non worship”, and by the sounds of it, a series of characteristics where anything could mean “god” and anything would be “worship” to allow said pastor to claim that “(moving goal posts)… therefore, everyone is part of my group… aren’t I such a freethinker!” Sorry, end snark.

    However, the question then becomes “How can you believe in something which you are unable to either produce, or even define, and which (in some beliefs) even defies testing? How can you ever get from an undefined and undefinable, non-producible, untestable, concept that’s so vague that it allows and disallows any interpretation at the whim of each person using it even simultaneously… to therefore a deity?”

    It would make a hilarious plot for a farce play if people didn’t take it seriously.

  13. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’m with you. However, for me, the bigger problem there is “worship’ and not so much “god”. I think worship itself is offensive and abhorrent. Nothing will ever get my worship. Ever.

    I can give thanks where it’s due. I can be respectful where it’s due. But worship? Not a chance. Anyone who wants or expects worship can kiss my ass.

  14. says

    I too was at one time in my life a care-giver in which taking residents to church was part of my occupation. Being an atheist in a church doesn’t make me a theist no more then being a theist on an atheist blog makes me an atheist.

    I would have to agree with Ragabash that the occupation does have it’s own rewards and that it throws a lot of the misconceptions of atheism out the window.

  15. bigzebra says

    HI there!
    The picture quality seems much better. Did you guys upgrade your lighting system or something? Just curious.

    Thanks again for all the work you do.

  16. Joan says

    This week’s episode included a brief discussion of near death experience. I agree that NDEs are highly subjective and these experience are indeed influenced by one’s religious expectations. People living in Christian-dominated cultures seem to encounter Jesus, Muslims encounter Muhammed, Hindus encounter Krishna, etc. In ancient times, NDE subjects encountered those gods that prevailed in their cultures.

    But leaving the subjective aspects of NDE aside however, I think there could be an objective reality to these experiences. In other words, it may be possible for consciousness to exist apart from a physical body and brain, and this possibility could (and should) be examined scientifically. Some subjects have NDE experiences while they are in surgery and are under general anesthesia. I would like an NDE doubter to explain how this is possible, since a person under general anesthesia neither thinks nor dreams.

  17. says

    My wife said exactly the same thing during the show. Programs like Dragon actually do work amazingly well for translating speech to text and they’re getting better all the time. I also agree with Russell that this gentleman, other than some pauses, did just fine in his discussion on the show.

  18. Robert Olesen says

    Yeah, I’m kinda missing the theist callers. Even the make believe ones aren’t really that bad IMHO as they give the hosts something to address. Remember, there are lots of people seeing this show for the first time and you never know who might just wake up – even if the discussion is spurred by a troll.

  19. chris lowe says

    Knot to split heirs…But the NDE explanations do seem to be a more likely argument from a Christian standpoint of a much larger debate on whether the body is separate from the soul. There are belief systems that strive to achieve out of body experiences that have nothing to do with the circumstance of death. Hinduism, Buhddism and certain mezo-amerindian religions ascribe to this. Their common conclusion seems to be that any detachment proves the soul is immortal.
    Atheists (and I include myself among them) really have no answer about the existence of the soul nor have any explanation to replace its concept.
    At any rate, here is my mostly intuitive (I’m not a scientist by any stretch of imagination) thoughts on the subject so far: Perhaps the “soul” is the creation of the brain that melds your essence as a human being with your experience to create your personality. Since all is dependant on the vitality of the brain…when your brain dies all it created dies with it. One factor that seems to bear this out is when the brain degenerates so does your personality degenerate to the same degree. There does not seem to be any proof that it just goes somewhere else intact. Martin is right about NDEs being replicated and perhaps these effects are merely a natural part of brain death.

  20. chris lowe says

    I’m detecting a kind of fatigue coming to the debate on the theistic side. But what has been raging over the last few years has been the political debate between religiosity and secularism. We up here in Canada can only watch in morbid fascination as this uniquely American ideological struggle plays out. I’m surprised more of this does not spill over into the show, though it might be the hosts don’t want to get into that too much.

  21. says

    I’m an open atheist and remain a member of the Catholic parish in which I grew up–and continue to attend ‘Mass’ when I can. Listening to the caregiver speaking with Russell and Don brought to mind some important parallels with my experience. The Catholic Church (local and universal) aren’t very forthcoming; I’ve emailed the priest asking if an unapologetic atheist is welcome as an enrolled member and he won’t reply, though I continue to receive mailings and personalized contribution envelopes and my name appears in the church directory. I stand, sit and kneel when everyone else is, though I don’t genuflect and don’t take ‘Communion.’ I often read a book (on dead wood or Kindle) during the entirety of the Mass and have twice been confronted by folks who considered my reading egregiously rude (‘unless you’re reading a religious book’ one of my confronters hedged). I politely told the complainers that to the best of my knowledge, all are welcome to attend Catholic Mass; when I am in the church I am quiet and never confront anyone nor do I proselytize. I somewhat disagree with those who demand atheists sit in the back pew, though–accommodationist me!–I almost always do. Reading helps one get through the boring parts, of which there are many, and silently communicates to the brain-alive that one does not deem the surrounding proceeding to merit the submissive/worshipful reception it demands.

  22. corwyn says

    I would like an NDE doubter to explain how this is possible, since a person under general anesthesia neither thinks nor dreams.

    But we have EVIDENCE that they do, namely NDEs!

    Even under general anesthesia the brain is still functioning, otherwise people would be declared dead under those conditions. Read the explanation of Sam Harris, a neuroscientist, on the subject.

  23. jacobfromlost says

    I read somewhere that NDEs don’t always involve religious imagery. I seem to remember accounts of people experiencing Gnomes, Elves, etc, as well as a wide variety of imaginary characters, settings, etc. (And also the common experience of dying, being revived, and not experiencing ANYTHING unusual–something that apparently doesn’t dissuade the NDE believers in the least.)

    We don’t often hear those accounts because they don’t fit the story believers want to hear.

  24. says

    I have a friend who once supervised a group of these sorts of in-house care providers. One of her providers had to accompany a client to their Christian church services. The caregiver was a devout Muslim, and one of her required daily prayer times happened to be right in the middle of the client’s church service.

    Her “solution” to the problem of what to do? When her prayer time arrived, she stepped out into the aisle, unrolled her prayer mat, and proceeded to perform her Muslim prayer ceremony out loud in the middle of the sermon. A riot very nearly ensued.

    So whatever rout the caller chooses to take… It should be something like the opposite of that.

  25. says

    But leaving the subjective aspects of NDE aside however, I think there could be an objective reality to these experiences. In other words, it may be possible for consciousness to exist apart from a physical body and brain, and this possibility could (and should) be examined scientifically. Some subjects have NDE experiences while they are in surgery and are under general anesthesia. I would like an NDE doubter to explain how this is possible, since a person under general anesthesia neither thinks nor dreams.

    A basic burden of proof may not have been met here.

    First most of the time, we only have claims that people accurately remembered things when sedated. We have no confirmations. Whenever we do set up tests (like having a card with a number on the top of a cabinet), the supposed NDE instances fail miserably to validate.

    Second, it’s not like its a mystery what happens in the surgery room. We dream about scenarios all the time that’s derived from bits of information from our lives. Our brains are really really good at extrapolation. Combine that with maybe, while on a lighter level of sedation or semi-consciousness, the brain picking up on discussions of people around them, and filtering that into the experience.

    Third, often when we try to corroborate these stories, we actually find that either the accounts have been heavily exaggerated, or that they were almost entirely made up.

    Forth, we have zero indication that it’s even possible that minds can exist without a physical medium. We have zero confirmed instances of this ever happening. The total body of scientific knowledge would be contradicted by this idea, as the assertion violates known physics and biology left and right. Given that, it’s exceptionally more likely that the explanation lies in one or more of the possibilities above.

    Assertions that violate the preponderance of evidence have a very very low statistical rate of actually turning out to be true.

    All we have is some claims of NDE experiences. The causal mechanism, and the demonstration of that mechanism is non-existent. When approaching investigating reality, it’s far more accurate to follow the evidence to the conclusion, instead of starting with a conclusion, and trying to bend the data to supporting it.

  26. KsDevil says

    But by studying cancer and the evolutionary properties it can exhibit, treatments can be developed for other types or permutations of cancers.

  27. KsDevil says

    How much of a free thinker can that pastor be when suggested he call TAE, he indicated the woman was satanic (if I heard that right)?
    I suppose he was free to think anything he wanted and that might qualify as a definition. It still sounded insulting.
    At least the pastor didn’t claim to be a critical thinker.

  28. Snuffy says

    Gavin: What keeps you in attendance? Are you there for the sermons, the comfort of being part of a large group, the tradition, or something else? Just wondering…

  29. petrander says

    Great idea! Another possibility perhaps is a video-blog, where he can just talk and talk while recording himself and then edit it into perfection. Although I am not sure if that is an option either. Autism can mean a wide range of cans and cannots. To of my children have high-functional autism, and they seem to have different issues all together. On the other hand, I haven’t seen them write long essays yet…

  30. John Kruger says

    Are you certain you mean Genesis 24? That seems to be all about Abraham’s servant fetching a wife for his son Issac. There was no mention of Levi that I could find. I only ask because the story you present seems like a real black eye for biblical “morality”, and I would like to present it elsewhere.

  31. says

    Sorry, Genesis 34 is the account of Dinah and the Shechemites, where Levi and Simeon violate the agreement reached with the Shechemites (the Bible even says they tricked them in verse 13).

    BTW, it’s important to understand ancient courtship and marriage rituals in the time and place the story is set: it was standard practice in the land for a young man to “speak tenderly” to a young women (sweet-talk) her and then sleep with her, and THEN if the son wanted her as a wife, he’d appeal to his father to arrange marriage with her patriarch (women were property of the family patriarch). Many translations try to white-wash this practice which allowed premarital sex by claiming Dinah was ‘raped’: that’s an inaccurate rendering of the Hebrew word.

    Anyway, Jacob, her father, was willing to align their families via intermarriage, but the brothers double-dealt with the Hamor and sons, and murdered them all instead, and took their livestock, slaves, wives, etc. Jacob and sons were merely passing through the land, but apparently expected everyone to just know and to follow THEIR cultural practices.

    Adam

  32. Raymond says

    I know that this is pretty late, but I just got back and read this blog. I wanted to respond to this point, specifically, because I have some relevant experience. I once died and had an NDE. You are 100% right, no religious imagery at all, unless religions claim exclusive rights on light. So, to me, that is the final answer to the question about NDE’s. Only a person’s personal predispositions influence what happens in an NDE, and their interpretation of what happened. I know that you cannot accept this as proof, but at least count it as a data point.

  33. Raymond says

    Growing pains. We are young (as a nation), brash, and think we know everything. This whole debate won’t go by the wayside until people here in the U.S. realize that we aren’t the best in anything, let alone everything.

  34. AhmNee says

    I believe you’ve either misstated or misunderstand evolution. Mutation, which is arguably what a cancer is, is only one part of evolution. Evolution has multiple mechanisms that work together including natural selection, genetic variation, genetic drift, etc. Mutation is just one of those mechanisms.

    To my amateur understanding, a cancer is essentially a deleterious mutation. Humanity has stunted the survival of the fittest portion of natural selection so we necessarily lean on our medical understanding to fix what any ongoing evolution of humanity could not. And that’s a good thing.

    I was told something of evolution that I had never though of on my own. That is that evolution is just adaption for survival not for the better. If it helped us survive and carry on our genes, evolution would happily turn us all into gibbering, mouth-breathing idiots. So, like religion, it’s best to cast off the old ways and rely on our understanding of the world to forge a better path. Through SCIENCE!! :D

  35. AhmNee says

    I don’t think you really meant the “total body of scientific knowledge”, did you? I mean, certainly there would be aspects and schools of scientific thought that would be untouched by such a revelation should it ever gather any credible evidence.

    Also, there’s nothing in physics that says there can’t be a conscious mind made purely of energy, is there? We just have no credible evidence of one existing anywhere we’ve looked. Ever.

  36. steele says

    Raymond,

    Oh yes who is the best again, China, Canada….who? Europe is a joke. When did it become a crime to be proud of your country, ever heard of “American Exceptionalism”. Sorry Raymond to disappoint your socialist buddies up there in the Hockey Rink we call Canada but we are the best in almost everything that counts. Try reading Tocqueville

    “I am inclined to believe that if faith be wanting in (a man) he must be subject; and if he believe, he must be free.”

    “When the religion of a people is destroyed, doubt gets hold of the higher powers of the intellect and half paralyzes all the others. Such a condition cannot but enervate the soul, relax the springs of the will, and prepare a people for servitude. (…)When there is no longer any principle of authority in religion any more than in politics, men are speedily frightened at the aspect of this unbounded independence. (…) Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot. Religion is much more necessary in democratic republics than in any others.(…) How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed?”

  37. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    AFAIK, all studies looking into material wealth, freedom, happiness, life satisfaction, well-being, education – whatever measure of societal health you can think of – the US ranks dead last in western industrialized countries. It sits right above Turkey, and below all of Europe.

    So, while I love and have pride in (some of) the values of this country, I’m not an egotistical prick nor delusional.

    PS: If you called me a socialist, thank you. I do believe that we have a moral obligation to help out to some degree others in society, and thus socialism is the morally required answer. Also, socialism and capitalism are not mutually exclusive. I am both a capitalist and a socialist.

  38. unfamiliar w/ your ways says

    wow Steele, react inappropriately much?

    The point about who is “best” is that no one country can be considered best. By measurable rubrics, we are definitely not best (thanks, EnlightenmentLiberal).

    I don’t believe anyone called Nationalist Pride a crime, but I do think it is generally held to be in very bad taste. Like being racist. Or homophobic. You obviously have no problem with the exclusion of others, demostrated in your attempted insults to Canada and socialists (none of whom apparently care what you think lol)

    Now the completely unrelated Tocqueville quote…

    Obviously Tocqueville had never seen the end of religion, so his speculations about the supposed breakdown of society are meaningless. As a historian, he surely knew these idle musings were not going to be central to his legacy. The questions are 1) why you consider it worth remembering and 2) what you hoped to accomplish by showing it to us.

    You realize no one here gives you any credit for appeals to authority… (so I’d advise against further quoting us your authorities). He may have been an exceptional historian, written some nice things about our American early days, but his opinion on religion in a society gets as much traction as (or less than, as he isnt here to voice them himself) yours.

    But yeah, Tocqueville is demonstrably wrong in his assumptions/opinions about human nature, which is the only thing you’ve illuminated for us by quoting him, so I don’t really see what the point was supposed to have been…

  39. Troy Brooks says

    The reason I am a Christian is because I don’t know how to disprove the proof for God and who God is.

    I see trillions of cause and effects in nature, and no hard evidence of something from nothing, so this evidence is an overwhelming preponderance of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to know that the first event of the universe like all the events of the universe have a cause and can’t come from nothing (i.e. non-existence).

    And there can’t be an infinite regress of cause and effects in nature either, because if there had been, you would have, by that very definition, an eternity to come into being before now, so you should have already happened. And you should never have existed because a past eternity of nature would go on forever never reaching this point of your existence. So a past eternity of nature is inherently contradictory and a man-made superstition.

    Therefore, nature needs a cause outside of itself, outside of time and space, being uncreated whom we call God. But God can’t have morals below our own; or be inaccessible as that is beneath us; or be impersonal for we are personal beings; or not have a mind because a mind is needed to create a mind and the mind can’t come from the lesser non-consciousness; or not have self-consciousness, because consciousness is needed to create consciousness in creatures.

    There are only 3 religions or faiths on the planet that are accessible and pervasive enough worth taking a gander for a personal God: Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. Islam is false because you can’t come along six centuries later without anything to support your claim that Jesus never died on the cross or event went to the cross.

    Hinduism fails because its god is amoral which is below our own morality. And reincarnation, coming back as a chicken, if you are overly sinful doesn’t tackle sin expediently in this life since you always get another chance.

    That leaves only Christianity which, therefore, must be true. And it is proves itself to be true, because there is no naturalistic explanation to account for the eyewitness testimony of the Apostles in various group settings. Group hallucinations are impossible. The swoon theory wouldn’t make Jesus look like a risen Messiah to convince anyone He is God. The original eyewitness Apostles are human beings, and human beings don’t willingly die for what they know is a lie so they truly believed it. And legends theory breaks down because there was not enough time to develop. Jesus has more sources of Him within 150 years of His death than any 10 figures in antiquity. And the earliest still surviving papyri are closer to the events of Scripture than for any other person in antiquity. If Jesus didn’t do what He did then nobody did. He was a liar, lunatic or God. Since He was not a liar nor a lunatic, He is God.

    This is how we know Jesus is God the Son and that Jesus entered His creation to atone for the sins of the world to save people whosoever believes in Him. Those who do not go to Hell as that is their free choice to want to be eternally separated from the love of God and God Himself.

    And so that’s why I believe in Christian sites and not atheist sites,
    http://biblocality.com/forums/forum.php

  40. says

    About Octavio saying “You can’t prove there is a God.”, is an invalid exchange of burden of proof. The bible claims that God created heaven and Earth which means that if I’m to believe it’s true then the truth needs to be established, other wise how can I know if it’s true or not. The author could have been writting about a dream they had, a fantasy, or they could have been delusional or even insane for all I know. If it’s like X-tians claim that the bible was written by men who were inspired be god then it’s not a testimony but rather hear-say which is not evidence. You can’t prove there is a Santa Claus would apply just as much as what Octavio said. As for Sherry, she is delusional and in denial believing that everyone worships God. I do not believe in god(s), ergo I do not worship god(s), which defines me as an atheist. Unfortunately there are people who are unable to make that distinction between their fantacies and reality.

  41. John Kruger says

    That is the one. Just when I think I know all the really nasty bits of the Bible a new one gets dropped on me.

    This one really puts apologists in a bind, either you must defend the heinous betrayal and murder, or condemn Simeon and Levi and deal with the awkward fact that they never suffered any inconvenience, and even got quite a bit of plunder, for their actions. Thanks for the education.

    Odd that other pieces of the bible make such a big deal of verifying virginity before marriage, which seems quite at odds with the courtship process you describe. It is not the only time the Bible would be inconsistent, regardless.

  42. steele says

    unfamiliar,

    You and Enlightenment Liberal seem to not get the point, which doesn’t surprise me.

    you state:

    “The point about who is “best” is that no one country can be considered best. By measurable rubrics, we are definitely not best (thanks, EnlightenmentLiberal).

    I don’t believe anyone called Nationalist Pride a crime, but I do think it is generally held to be in very bad taste. Like being racist. Or homophobic. You obviously have no problem with the exclusion of others, demostrated in your attempted insults to Canada and socialists (none of whom apparently care what you think lol)”

    LOL, well thanks for basically calling me a racist, way to conflate patriotism with racism. I have been called worse by better people so no biggie. As far as the “measurable rubics” that is not the point of American Exceptionalism. American Exceptionalism is about the spirit of the country and the belief in America if you work hard and play by the rules you can get ahead no matter who you are or where you come from. Try reading what the founders thought of this country, and guess what they didn’t have national healthcare either!

    I’m sorry you and Enlightenment Liberal think socialism is somehow worth defending. I am all for socialists like you and him to give all “your” money to the government if that makes you feel better. I somehow doubt you would be socialist if the goal of the government was to distribute as many Bibles to people as possible, would you? It is funny that Enlightenment Liberal seems to think socialism is some type of moral system when it is one of the most amoral systems imaginable. Socialism limits moral choices by deferring to the state moral responsibility that the individual should have.

    You obviously didn’t pay attention to what I was responding to when you state:

    “Now the completely unrelated Tocqueville quote…”

    umm the Tocqueville quote was completely relevant to the discussion Raymond and Chris Lowe where having.

    Chris Lowe states:

    “I’m detecting a kind of fatigue coming to the debate on the theistic side. But what has been raging over the last few years has been the political debate between religiosity and secularism. We up here in Canada can only watch in morbid fascination as this uniquely American ideological struggle plays out.”

    Canada much like Europe has already given up the struggle between religion and secularism and they are more than happy to hand over power and control to the state to make their moral choices and dictate how to live their lives….kinda just like Tocqueville said about enervating the soul.

    Further it is obvious you know very little about Tocqueville as he was basically an agnostic/atheist and could very clearly see the “the end of religion” whatever it is you mean by that, lol. He saw the old Europe and its hierarchies collapse and he saw the coming reign of democracy. He predicted the problems of slavery in America and that Russia and the United States would one day be huge rivals. Does this mean he was right about everything or an “authority” NO but he has a much more informed opinion than you obviously do.

    Let me clear something up for you Unfamiliar unless I am quoting the Bible I don’t really consider anything authoritative, so your standard pap atheist argument about appeals to authority because I quote somebody who has thought about something deeply and said something profound or insightful into a subject doesn’t make it an appeal to authority, so your dismissive point is quite absurd. Sometimes quoting others who have said what you are thinking in a succinct and concise manner just makes it easier to get the point across.

    Further back to Tocqueville, just because what he said hasn’t completely come to pass doesn’t negate his basic point, which he pointed out quite frequently, that giving all the power to the government and secularizing society is harmful to society. I do understand you think he was wrong about human nature because as an atheist you don’t believe in sin or evil so you won’t understand the depths of human depravity because you think most humans are basically good. That is why you don’t think you need a Savior as well I would imagine you think of yourself as a very good and informed person, right?

    Oh one more appeal to authority for you as well Tocqueville:

    “There all many things that offend me about the materialists. I think their doctrines pernicious, and their pride revolts me…..when they think they have sufficiently established that they are no better than brutes, they seem as if they had proved that they were gods.”

    “Fixed ideas about God and human nature are indispensable to men for the conduct of daily life, and it is daily life that prevents them from acquiring them.”

    Thanks

  43. Narf says

    There’s a great deal wrong with almost everything you said.

    The reason I am a Christian is because I don’t know how to disprove the proof for God and who God is.

    That’s not how this works … or at least it doesn’t if you’re rational. Do you believe every random claim that people make, if you can’t directly disprove it?

    The burden of proof is on the person making the claim. Christianity has not been sufficiently supported with evidence, so there’s no need to disprove it.

    I see trillions of cause and effects in nature, and no hard evidence of something from nothing, so this evidence is an overwhelming preponderance of evidence

    There are two huge problems here.

    First off, you need to go read up a bit on your recent cosmology. Read some Lawrence Krauss or Stephen Hawking. The modern formulations of the Big Bang Theory neither state nor imply creation ex nihilo. You’re arguing against cosmology the same way that creationists argue against evolution, by taking something that’s horribly out of date then twisting it to try to make it say something that it doesn’t say, like turtles evolving from rocks and crocoducks.

    Second, the argument you’ve created from your misunderstanding of modern cosmology is an unsound argument. All of the examples of causes leading to effects that you’d care to throw out there do not rule out the possibility of an initial event that was not caused by anything outside of itself.

    Your initial statement about believing in a god because you can’t disprove it is directly at odds with your rejection of an uncaused universe.

    And there can’t be an infinite regress of cause and effects in nature either, because if there had been, you would have, by that very definition, an eternity to come into being before now, so you should have already happened. And you should never have existed because a past eternity of nature would go on forever never reaching this point of your existence. So a past eternity of nature is inherently contradictory and a man-made superstition.

    This is borderline word-salad. Are you quoting from William Lane Craig or something? This feels like his glurge.

    Therefore, nature needs a cause outside of itself, outside of time and space, being uncreated whom we call God. But God can’t have morals below our own; or be inaccessible as that is beneath us; or be impersonal for we are personal beings; or not have a mind because a mind is needed to create a mind and the mind can’t come from the lesser non-consciousness; or not have self-consciousness, because consciousness is needed to create consciousness in creatures.

    Yeah, definitely WLC … and it’s no more nonsensical than when he says it.

    Your first sentence is the classic argument from ignorance. It was ignorant when Thomas Aquinas presented it, and it’s no less ignorant when a modern apologist tosses it out on the stage to let it lie there, stinking and steaming.

    Your second sentence disproves your god. You haven’t read your own holy book, have you? Yahweh is an immoral monster. He
    does have morals below our own.

    That whole section demonstrates the fact that you don’t understand a damned thing about science. Work in chemistry, biology, and physics demonstrates the organization of matter into patterns and systems of increasing complexity and order, within localized systems, at the expense of an increase in entropy to something outside the system … usually an energy source, such as our sun.

    A basic understanding of science should indicate to any thinking person how stupid this whole last paragraph of yours is.

    There are only 3 religions or faiths on the planet …

    And I’m going to cut you off there and ask you to examine every religion on the planet and get back to me, before I accept any kind of statement that only three of them meet some condition.

    All your crap about the Bible can be dismissed out of hand. The Bible is a compilation of stories written down decades after the supposed events of the stories. Then copied … poorly … for hundreds of years after that. You don’t need to come up with half-assed explanations like group hallucinations or the swoon theory, when a far simpler explanation is that someone made it up, sometime in the decades between the supposed events and the writing down of the stories.

  44. unfogged says

    I see trillions of cause and effects in nature, and no hard evidence of something from nothing, so this evidence is an overwhelming preponderance of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to know that the first event of the universe like all the events of the universe have a cause and can’t come from nothing (i.e. non-existence).

    You are extrapolating the laws of physics as we see them now beyond a point where they break down. We do not know what came before (or if “before” even applies). To simply make up something to fill in the blank may be satisfying but it is ultimately meaningless. Simply stating that your god is somehow outside our universe and therefore didn’t need to be created is just begging the question.

    … because a mind is needed to create a mind … because consciousness is needed to create consciousness in creatures

    Evolutionary theory supplies a solid explanation for how our brains developed and every scrap of evidence we have shows that “mind” and “conciousness” are products of physical brains. There is exactly zero evidence that there can be a mind without a brain.

    There are only 3 religions or faiths on the planet that are accessible and pervasive enough worth taking a gander for a personal God: Hinduism, Islam and Christianity.

    In your opinion. Millions of people throughout history would disagree including the Jews. Also, popularity or pervasiveness is not evidence of truth.

    Islam is false because you can’t come along six centuries later without anything to support your claim that Jesus never died on the cross or event went to the cross.

    The issue is that Christians have virtually no evidence that Jesus ever existed so not accepting that claim is quite rational. Personally, I’m fine with accepting that the stories were based on a historical figure and even that he got himself into trouble with the authorities and was killed. That much is pretty mundane stuff. The miracle claims, on the other hand, are totally without justification.

    Hinduism fails because its god is amoral which is below our own morality.

    Keeping slaves is moral? Killing children for the acts of their parents is moral? Offering your daughters for raping is moral? Applying infinite punishment for finite crimes is moral? Christianity likes to pose as the epitome of morality but is, in fact, based on one of the most hideously immoral doctrines ever conceived.

    And reincarnation, coming back as a chicken, if you are overly sinful doesn’t tackle sin expediently in this life since you always get another chance.

    Right, giving people another chance to atone for their mistakes definitely doesn’t conform to Christian morality. How would the believers in heaven get to enjoy knowing others were being tortured forever if those sufferers had a way to redeem themselves.

    That leaves only Christianity which, therefore, must be true.And it is proves itself to be true, because there is no naturalistic explanation to account for the eyewitness testimony of the Apostles in various group settings.

    No, something can be held to be true only if you have actual evidence for or you can actually demonstrate that every other possibility is untrue. Simply claiming that you are justified in dismissing all other options is nonsense. Perhaps the actual truth hasn’t been discovered yet.

    Group hallucinations are impossible. The swoon theory wouldn’t make Jesus look like a risen Messiah to convince anyone He is God. The original eyewitness Apostles are human beings, and human beings don’t willingly die for what they know is a lie so they truly believed it.

    Mass hysteria is documented. People can get caught up in events and convince themselves that they saw or heard things that they didn’t. People can be mistaken about what they did see and hear. The followers of Jones and Applewhite and Koresh and many others sincerely believed and died for their beliefs. That doesn’t make the beliefs reasonable, let alone true.

    And legends theory breaks down because there was not enough time to develop. Jesus has more sources of Him within 150 years of His death than any 10 figures in antiquity.

    Legends can certainly grow over 150 years. The earliest known writings are some 30 to 40 years after the events they describe which gives plenty of time for the stories to be embellished.

    And the earliest still surviving papyri are closer to the events of Scripture than for any other person in antiquity. If Jesus didn’t do what He did then nobody did. He was a liar, lunatic or God. Since He was not a liar nor a lunatic, He is God.

    The few early writings were used as the basis for the later writings. Other writings that didn’t conform to the official dogma of the more powerful factions were rejected. Copies of copies don’t add any new evidence of anything except an effect marketing campaign. As for not being a liar or a lunatic, what’s the evidence ruling those options out? Legend, at least in part, still seems like a viable assumption.

    This is how we know Jesus is God the Son and that Jesus entered His creation to atone for the sins of the world to save people whosoever believes in Him. Those who do not go to Hell as that is their free choice to want to be eternally separated from the love of God and God Himself.

    Yes, more Christian morality. Substitutionary atonement is immoral and makes absolutely no sense. God killed himself instead of having people kill animals so that he could forgive them? Right. Makes perfect sense. Anybody who doesn’t think that is moral gets tortured forever because they have higher moral standards than iron age tribal peoples? Right. Makes perfect sense.

  45. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    There is no Christian god. Christians are often decent and moral human beings in spite of people being Christian. All of our cherished values of western society come from the European Enlightenment which was an explicit rejection of religious values in favor of non-religious values. Freedom of speech and conscience? Secular; definitely not Christian. Democracy itself? There are no elections in the bible, only kings, with the king of kings, the eternal celestial unelected tyrant himself at the top. Democracy is the right of man to rule over man for man himself. There is no place for any god. Right to self determination? Again nowhere in Christian tradition. Only by rejecting Christian tradition can you get that right.

    I’ll state it like this. If you are well off materially, and someone is starving, then you are morally obliged to make at least some effort to help. If it could be shown that a 1% income tax rate could pay for programs to ensure that no one in the country ever went hungry again, then it is a moral obligation to fund this program. Even if 90% of the money went to corruption and waste. Even if 90% of the recipients were lazy bums. That you say otherwise makes me sick. You have no right to your “morality” which is to let people starve.

    Furthermore, the actual cost of such a program is well below 1% income tax rate. It’s so small as to be negligible. That people like you and the US Republican party is now attacking food stamps is beyond the pale. I really do think this is naked pure evil. You are so wound up with yourself, with your head so far up your own ass, that you are going to play these political games while people starve.

  46. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Troy Brooks

    Your mistakes, in no particular order.

    “Something coming from nothing” happens all the time. Learn some quantum theory, including virtual particles, radioactive decay, and in general quantum field theory.

    Your argument that time cannot be unbounded in the past has a particular implicit premise. It’s very, very hidden, but you have it. That premise is: “if there is an unbounded amount of time in the past, then there is a hypothetical human-like observer who existed at the first time, and who would have to experience an unbounded (e.g. infinite) amount of time to reach the present day.” The problem is that this is akin to assuming that there is a first time. However, under the premise that time is unbounded in the past, there is no first time, and there is no such observer. If we model time with the Real Number line, any hypothetical observer on that Real Number line exists only at specific points on that line, and the difference between any two Reals is also Real (and finite). Your argument which purports to show a contradiction with “no first time” can only do so by implicitly assuming that there is a first time.

    You readily rejected the plausibility of “something coming from nothing” because you’ve never seen it before, and yet you’re quite ready to accept the plausibility of something outside of space and time. Double standards much?

    You nakedly assert that god cannot have morals inferior to our own. Why? Why can’t god be evil? Or indifferent? Or selfish? Or sometimes vengeful and sometimes remorseful? Etc.

    You nakedly assert that god cannot be “inaccessible” to us. Why? Even if the rest of your reasoning holds (which it does not), you arrogantly assume that we humans are the object of god’s design. Perhaps the aliens of Rigel 7 are the object of god’s design and we are just an accident. I can name a mutually exclusive accessible god for every star in the observable universe. It is sheer unsubstantiated hubris to assume that all of this was made specially just for you.

    You nakedly assert that god cannot be impersonal. Why? What does us being personal have to do with it?

    You nakedly assert that god has a mind. Why? Because minds only come from minds? This is just wrong. Learn some neuroscience. Minds come from brains, and brains are just chemical machines – atoms in a particular configuration. Your mind was formed when your brain was formed in your mother’s womb. Your brain is just the collection and formation of atoms. Each atom does not have a mind, but when you bring them together in the proper way, you get a mind. If we take literal dirt, separate out the constituent chemicals, create organelles, and a full artificial cell from that literal dirt, and then create a full artificial human DNA genome from that literal dirt, put it all together, and put it in a chimp’s womb – there is every reason to expect that the thing which comes out will be human in every observable way. It will be human. A human grown from literal dirt, incubated in a chimb’s womb, made entirely from stuff without a mind. What do you say to that?

    Finally, there is a good explanation as to how Christianity started without a divine Jesus, or without a historical human Jesus altogether. You can either wait for the peer reviewed book by Dr Richard Carrier coming out in a couple of months, or you can watch the videos of Dr Richard Carrier. I think he makes a very compelling case that the evidence we have not only is consistent with the hypothesis of no historical Jesus, but the evidence actually fits much better the hypothesis of no historical Jesus.

    In short, the idea goes like this: Mohammed was a human in history who had “visions” of the archangel Gabriel, and he wrote down the teachings of that archangel. Joseph Smith was a human in history who had “visions” of the archangel Moroni, and he wrote down the teachings of that archangel. Paul was a human in history who had “visions” of the archangel Jesus, and he wrote down the teachings of that archangel. Look up the modern scholarship. If you look at all of the historical letters and epistles of Paul, you never see him mention anything about an Earthly Jesus. Only with the much later accounts of Jesus in the gospels do you get a historical Jesus. The gospels were written down decades, if not centuries, later. The gospels are also wildly fictitious in style and content. The gospels also contain many known significant falsehoods, such as eclipses that never happened, zombie apocalypses that never happened (Matthew 27:52-53), and so on. If you throw out the flagrantly fictitious gospels, there is absolutely no historical record of an Earthly Jesus. None. And the rest of what we have fits much better if Jesus was originally just a figure in heaven just like the archangels Gabriel and Moroni.

  47. Monocle Smile says

    I wasn’t going to respond, but some of this crap is too asinine to let slide.

    Firstly, secularizing a nation has absolutely nothing to do with giving up “moral control” to the government. Nothing. That’s an equivocation fallacy driven by psychological projection. You can’t imagine morals coming from within, so you think they MUST come from something “higher.” That’s not even close to true. Secularization is about not allowing fiction to dictate policy. Religion is almost entirely fictitious.

    American Exceptionalism is about the spirit of the country and the belief in America if you work hard and play by the rules you can get ahead no matter who you are or where you come from.

    This has become less and less true since the founding of this country. What’s worse is that the biggest proponents of this idealistic bit of naivete (see: Koch brothers, Karl Rove, etc.) are the ones working the hardest to make it impossible.

    Try reading what the founders thought of this country, and guess what they didn’t have national healthcare either!

    Spare me. A great deal has changed in 250 years. both in technology and society. Also, that healthcare quip is pretty laughable, since the mortality rate in those days was wildly high, especially among the poor, and the rich and powerful (as the founding fathers were) have no personal need for national healthcare. Furthermore, the words “promote the general Welfare” (yes, with a capital W) appear in the Preamble, which is yet another point of mockery for your little jibe.

    unless I am quoting the Bible I don’t really consider anything authoritative

    I’m tempted to write off everything you post as meaningless, given the total lack of self-awareness and reason involved in this tidbit, but I’ll continue.

    just because what he said hasn’t completely come to pass doesn’t negate his basic point, which he pointed out quite frequently, that giving all the power to the government and secularizing society is harmful to society.

    Not only is Tocqueville DEMONSTRABLY WRONG, as has been pointed out already, but no one gives a shit. Combine this passage with your crap about American Exceptionalism not relying on any metrics earlier, and your argument seems to be “I’m right regardless of facts.” Congratulations, you’ve morphed into Friedrich Hayek, but with even more empty rhetoric.

  48. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’ll one-up you on substitutionary atonement. The only way to make sense of substitutionary atonement is if you buy the idea of sin as something which accrues, like a debt which is owed. You have to understand sin as as a debt which is paid for in punishment. This is the retributive theory of justice, which simply states that wrongs deserve punishment for its own sake. This view of justice is sick and twisted. It’s naked sadism. You never punish criminals for punishment’s sake.

    To be extraordinarily clear, if it was in my power to give Hitler a good and happy (after)life, and it was very cheap or free for me to do so, and I could guarantee he could never escape, then I would (also ignoring deterrence, possibility of rehabilitation, etc.). Moreover, I would say that it’s morally required to give Hitler that good (after)life. Part of being a decent and good human being is to try and improve the lives of others. The idea that you need to punish people as a basic premise is sadism. It is evil.

    Also to be clear, there are plenty of good reasons to isolate and punish people, including the deterrence theory of justice, rehabilitation, confinement for the safety of others, etc. But only under those values can punishment be justified. The concept of “sin” is morally repugnant and is beneath any caring human being.

  49. corwyn says

    And so that’s why I believe in Christian sites and not atheist sites,

    Must be nice to have such a malleable notion of belief. Being able to believe or not. in things regardless of abundant evidence. This atheist site exists, and you conceded that, by writing a post on it, and yet you can IN THAT VERY POST, claim disbelief in it. Astounding really.

  50. Narf says

    It’s pretty sad, bringing some of the lamest arguments that WLC vomits out onto the debate stage. You think this guy is a poser, man?

  51. Monocle Smile says

    Troy Brooks is YouTube user Parture, who’s called into the show and posted giant blocks of garbage text on a number of atheist blogs. He’s pretty much a slightly less creepy VenomFangX.

  52. Narf says

    Ohhhhhhhhhhh. So, real believer, just utterly vapid and probably unreachable, so only worthy of mockery, for the sake of entertainment. Gotcha.

  53. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    >.>
    Pedantics. Funny, but I hope you realize that this is not what he said nor meant.

  54. Narf says

    He’s fun to mock, though. You can tell the tiny bit of text that he actually wrote, because it’s nowhere near as grammatically coherent as the bulk of his post, which is text he stole from an apologetics website, possibly WLC’s. WLC is a shitty writer and an even worse philosopher, but the guy can at least write a comprehensible sentence, even if the thoughts in those sentences are loaded with bald assertions and non sequiturs.

  55. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Indeed. I know It’s been said before, but at first I thought that WLC was respectable. But he’s actually one of the worst of the bunch, and just has a fancy suit to look nice.

  56. Narf says

    Yup. I don’t think we’ve had one recently who can compete with C.S. Lewis, and he’s immediately dismissable after you stumble across the 5th false choice in as many arguments, in his foundational arguments.

    Plus, he’s a much better writer than most of the current crop, so it takes marginally longer to sniff out the bullshit. It’s only a positive relative to the others, but that’s the best kind of compliment I can come up with for a Christian apologist.

  57. steele says

    Enlightenment Liberal,

    Ah the enlightenment, the age of reason, so how come all of your arguments smack of emotionally laden drivel?

    you say:

    “You have no right to your “morality” which is to let people starve.

    Furthermore, the actual cost of such a program is well below 1% income tax rate. It’s so small as to be negligible. That people like you and the US Republican party is now attacking food stamps is beyond the pale. I really do think this is naked pure evil. You are so wound up with yourself, with your head so far up your own ass, that you are going to play these political games while people starve.”

    I know I am so heartless to all those starving people, I kick puppies for fun too! LOL! How many people on food stamps have starved this year, I am just curious on the statistics on that?? I did see a young man the other day getting his Red Bull on his EBT card so I know it couldn’t have been him!

    Coming from an atheist, who again has no basis for morality, I find it funny that you want to impose your morality upon me. I could go on and on about the obvious hypocrisy of this but I won’t, please just tell me where do you get all this moral indignation from? Evil, what is that it doesn’t exist according to your world view, its just some of the herd not following social etiquette.

    “There are no elections in the bible, only kings, with the king of kings, the eternal celestial unelected tyrant himself at the top. Democracy is the right of man to rule over man for man himself. There is no place for any god. Right to self determination? Again nowhere in Christian tradition.”

    I am afraid you are wrong again

    Exodus 24:3

    3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules.[a] And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

    1st Samuel 8:6-9

    6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

    Israel accepted and rejected God, of course there was good and bad for doing both obviously, but of course you believe the whole thing is a fairy tale so really as Hilary Clinton says “What difference does it make

  58. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Emotion is not inconsistent with logic. Don’t be a straw vulcan.
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StrawVulcan
    Emotions sometimes help inform our values. With our values decided on, we then use logic and reason to further our values. Science can tell you what plans will work to achieve targeted ends, but science cannot tell you what the ends are.

    However, any decent human being values human happiness, material wealth, safety, well-being, and the other values of humanism.

    You are simply grossly ignorant. From the numbers I just found via google 8.5 million people in the US alone regularly go hungry for lack of food, and that includes 2.9 million children. I don’t care about your red bull guy. I don’t care if 90% of the food stamp spending goes to waste. If it can save those 2.9 million children from malnutrition, under-nutrition, then it is a moral obligation to do so.

    As an atheist, I have the same basis for morality that you do. Why do you follow your god? Why? Because your god is good? How do you know that? How did you come to the conclusion that your god is good instead of evil? Even if god is good, why do good? This is the question you cannot answer. You cannot answer it any more than I can. I do good for good’s sake. I am a decent human being who cares about my fellow human beings. Presumably you do too. Thus you have the exact same (lack of) basis of morality that I do.

    Adding a very powerful creature (“god”) adds nothing to the equation. Only by arguing that “might makes right” can this argument lead anywhere, and I hope you’re not going to argue that.

    And for the last part, about democracy, what the fuck are you talking about? Those passages lay out that god is indeed an unelected celestial tyrant. There is no democracy there. This is just externally imposed rule. You’re making my case for me. Where is the right of man to rule over man for man for the good of man? Not in those verses.

  59. corwyn says

    I am handicapped by only knowing what was written in the post. Neither clairaudience nor mind reading are among my talents.

  60. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/believe
    Emphasis added:

    1
    a : to have a firm religious faith
    b : to accept something as true, genuine, or real [ideals we believe in] [believes in ghosts]
    2 : to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something [believe in exercise]
    3 : to hold an opinion : think [I believe so]

  61. Russell Glasser says

    FYI, Troy is a guy who used to call the show repeatedly and was consistently rude, condescending, and dishonest so we eventually stopped taking his calls. Then he started calling under fake names until we shut that down as well. He also individually emailed individual crew members dozens of times and was asked by multiple people to leave them alone. He wrote several dozen posts on the old blog before being banned. He also got himself banned on the new blog, and now he’s using a different email. I hadn’t remembered him before, but now that I recognize him, he is banned again.

    This is a past clip of Troy if you’re interested.

  62. Narf says

    Oh jeeze, yeah. That guy. Yeah, I was right to link him to William Lane Craig. He probably ripped his comment straight off of WLC’s site. This guy is a numb-skull.

    “No, he’s uncreated. He exists outside of time, by the evidence that nature can’t have always existed.”
    “You don’t have to understand it, but you have to accept it by the evidence.” *garbled*
    “The evidence is that there can not be an eternity of past cause and effect, and the universe can not come from nothing.”

    I don’t think he understand what evidence is.

    Damn, I was hoping to read his response to our objections. Shame he’s banned, again. I’m sure it would have been brilliant.

  63. Narf says

    I think he was mocking Troy for saying that he doesn’t believe that atheist sites exist. That’s the cleanest reading of Troy’s statement. We know that Troy really meant that he puts his faith in Christian sites and not atheists sites, but it’s funnier to accept the more straightforward interpretation.

  64. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Well, I see his arguments have not advanced at all.

    He did have one argument in the video which he didn’t repeat in the post up-page. “There is no clear and compelling evidence against the authenticity of the Christian bible. Thus the default position is that it’s an authentic work, and the onus is on you to demonstrate it’s false.”

    Reply: Nuh uh. I don’t care what lawyer said what. In the “real world”, you need to make arguments backed up by compelling evidence. This is a complete reversal of the burden of proof, and it not compelling in the last, and I am free to mock you for it.

  65. Bon_temps says

    I thought his was a good question. One frequently finds themselves in a church for weddings and funerals, and for some time I wrestled with whether or not I should mimic the church-goers during the services (Catholics are the worst with “sit”, “stand”, “kneel”, …..it’s like a low impact aerobics session)

    Some time ago I concluded that kneeling was beneath my dignity, and so I quit doing it. Eventually, I came to realize that just sitting quietly and respectfully was enough, and I no longer even go through those motions any more. I figure that if any of the congregation doesn’t like it, then it just a chip on their own shoulders and therefore not my concern.

    To date, however, I have never had anybody take obvious humbrage.

  66. says

    @ Steele

    If you feel so strongly about having YOUR religion being an influence on how the goverment is to be operated then maybe YOUR church can start paying taxes like the rest of us atheists do. Perhaps when you are able to make the distiction between your fantasies and reality then I will give you more consideration.

    You’re like one of the most narrow-minded, self-centered, self-rightious ignorant hypocrites I’ve witnessed on this blog. Your irrational suspicions of atheisim and those who aren’t X-tians like yourself is completely unfounded. You have nothing to establish your beliefs on except a book that you believe is true, when in fact this book is nothing more then a collective of rantings written by a bunch of back ward superstitious lunatics like yourself.

  67. Narf says

    Yeah, his whole line about the lawyer was pretty stupid. He never even named the guy, did he? Considering that Troy was probably borrowing that part from William Lane Craig, too, I’m sure the quote he was reading was clipped and quote-mined all to hell, as WLC does with almost every other quote he uses. Without the name of the lawyer to look up the quote, why should we believe that the quote is even an accurate representation of what the lawyer said?

    … not that it even matters. As Martin pointed out on the show, following the guidelines set forth in the quote, we would be allowing spectral evidence into court. I don’t care what else the lawyer has done; if that quote is a fair representation of what he actually said, it must have been one of the most stupid things he said in his whole legal career.

  68. Narf says

    The handful of times I was dragged to mass, after I turned 18, I more or less did the same. Grab a seat and wait for the rest of the people to get on with their stuff.

  69. Monocle Smile says

    The lawyer was Simon Greenleaf. Not that anyone gives a shit. He died in the middle of the 19th century and was known for his contributions to Christian apologetics. Because of course.

  70. Narf says

    … oh, and if Simon Greenleaf was a Christian apologist, I revise my statement about that quote probably being one of the most stupid things he said in his career. I’m sure that was just one of many, in his role as an apologist.

  71. Tim H. says

    For whoever is interested, Pastor Stephen Feinstein of 2012′s interminable debate with Russell has re-started the blog where his half of the debate took place:

    http://sovereignway.blogspot.com/

    Looks like he’ll be using the space to summarize the works of theologian Francis Schaeffer, of whom he is a fan.

    He also advises all readers “let us gird up the loins of our mind (1 Peter 1:13) and be sober-minded so that we can think about thinking. “

  72. Narf says

    Well, at least he seems to realize how much work he has to do, before he can think properly.

  73. says

    @ Steele

    You may not be a racist however that doesn’t mean your not a bigot. Religions do not unite people as one they divide people with a false sense of security, unproven testimonies and a set of laws that requires one to be prejudice. One of those commandments found in your bible would be to kill a witch if they put a curse on you and that curse is the cause of your suffering. This implies that you would also have to believe in witch craft as an actual supernatural power that is being cast from the witch. If your god is above reproach and is not to be questioned then you being unreasonably biased are more inclined to blindly to carry out those orders without question even if those orders are prejudiced. Unreasonable biased is prejudice because reason means of sound mind and judgment not sound mind and partial judgment. In other words Steele pop your enormously large head out of your fat ass and learn what it means to be OBJECTIVE!

  74. says

    Troy’s straw man theory is well supported by his superstitious doctrines and requires no proof because his imaginational theory cannot be proven. I’m unable to prove the Easter Bunny’s non-existence so hence forth he must exist as well. I think Troy needs to be on medication seeings how he is unable to make that distiction between his imagination and reality. Man was not created in the image of God, gods are created in the imagination of men.

  75. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    Finger on the pulse, then.

    How exactly is a long-dead lawyer supposed to influence things?

  76. Narf says

    By setting a whole lot of legal precedence with the cases he brings. If you bring a case to the Supreme Court, the ruling on that case can influence the rulings of lower courts a hundred years later, unless there’s a later Supreme Court ruling that overturns yours.

  77. steele says

    Narf,

    you state to Troy Brooks:

    “First off, you need to go read up a bit on your recent cosmology. Read some Lawrence Krauss or Stephen Hawking. The modern formulations of the Big Bang Theory neither state nor imply creation ex nihilo. You’re arguing against cosmology the same way that creationists argue against evolution, by taking something that’s horribly out of date then twisting it to try to make it say something that it doesn’t say, like turtles evolving from rocks and crocoducks.”

    I don’t know what you are referring to with Krauss but if with Hawking’s model it does not eliminate a beginning. Here is a quote from William Lane Craig’s book Reasonable Faith, which I know you will immediately discount lol.

    “Hawking simply declines to reconvert to real numbers. If we do, then the singularity reappears. Hawking admits, “Only if we could picture the universe in terms of imaginary time would there be no singularities. . . . When one goes back to the real time in which we live, however, there will still appear to be singularities.”85
    Hawking’s model is thus a way of describing a universe with a singular beginning point in such a way that that singularity is transformed away; but such a description is not realist in character. Vilenkin recognizes the use of imaginary time as a mere “computational convenience” without ontological significance.86 Remarkably, so does Hawking in other contexts.87 This precludes their models’ being construed realistically as accounts
    of the origin of the spacetime universe in a timelessly existing four-space. Rather their theories are ways of modeling the real beginning of the universe ex nihilo in such a way as to not involve a singularity. What brought the universe into being remains unexplained on such accounts.”

    I have included a paper by Alexander Vilenkin for you to get more current on your cosmology.

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1204.4658.pdf

    Note the summary

    “At this point, it seems that the answer to this question is probably yes. 2 Here we have addressed three scenarios which seemed to offer away to avoid a beginning, and have found that none of them can actually be eternal in the past. Both eternal inflation and cyclic universe scenarios have Hav > 0, which means that
    they must be past-geodesically incomplete. We have also examined a simple emergent universe model, and concluded that it cannot escape quantum collapse. Even considering more general emergent universe models, there do not seem to be any matter sources that admit solutions that are immune to collapse.

    2 Note that we use the term “beginning” as being synonymous to past incompleteness.”

    I am aware of their definition of beginning so don’t bother me with definitions.

    Lastly

    where you state:

    “Second, the argument you’ve created from your misunderstanding of modern cosmology is an unsound argument. All of the examples of causes leading to effects that you’d care to throw out there do not rule out the possibility of an initial event that was not caused by anything outside of itself”

    Well that isn’t really a knock down argument against Troy Brooks point and is basically an argument from ignorance on your part. Cause and effect are pretty established principles not to be taken lightly and causally discarded as you have done in this post. I would agree that what you said is possible but your argument as is needs a lot more work.

    Thanks

  78. Narf says

    I don’t know what you are referring to with Krauss but if with Hawking’s model it does not eliminate a beginning. Here is a quote from William Lane Craig’s book Reasonable Faith, which I know you will immediately discount lol.

    Dude, we’re talking about recent models of cosmology, and in response, you pull out a quote mine by William Lane Craig, which he pulled from a 1988 book by Hawking? Have you read a book by Stephen Hawking, rather than reading quote-mines of his, quoted by shitty apologists?

    The guy has written many books. Read those, if you want to know what Hawking thinks. When the only bit of Hawking you know is from a book by one of the worst popular apologists … no, I’m not going to have any respect for you.

    I’m just going to ignore the rest of that, since I’ve already read Reasonable Faith, and it’s complete bullshit.

    Well that isn’t really a knock down argument against Troy Brooks point and is basically an argument from ignorance on your part. Cause and effect are pretty established principles not to be taken lightly and causally discarded as you have done in this post. I would agree that what you said is possible but your argument as is needs a lot more work.

    Dude, are you completely ignorant of the logical fallacies? That isn’t even close to an argument from ignorance. As in, it’s not that it doesn’t count as an argument from ignorance because of a slim technicality … it doesn’t in any way resemble the form of the fallacy. You just pulled that completely out of your ass, without bothering to check what the fallacy applies to.

    If you accuse someone of a logical fallacy, you damned well better know what that fallacy is.

    Since when does me pointing out that he made a black-swan fallacy constitute an argument from ignorance? You’re an idiot.

  79. Monocle Smile says

    Vilenkin’s models aren’t accepted as a consensus by cosmologists, not that you’d ever admit to being wrong about anything.

    This also doesn’t mean anything. I’m actually okay personally with Vilenkin’s work, and there are no religious implications whatsoever despite the lies of WLC. You claim to both understand what “beginning” means in this context and imply that it necessarily means creation ex nihilo, which gives away the lie of the former. What’s also hilarious is that William Lang Craig ADMITS to the origins of the universe being “unexplained,” then spends the later chunk of his book rhapsodizing about how these findings prove Christianity! Why would ANYONE with an IQ in the triple digits take this clown seriously?

    Either way, a “beginning” doesn’t imply a cause, since we have a decent body of examples of causeless effects. Causality is NOT absolute nor even a “law,” which is something else Craig lies blatantly about. Causality is merely a commonly confirmed hypothesis. When we get to smaller scales, things like quantum fluctuations and nuclear decay are governed by stochastic processes rather than causality.

    Narf is right that you incorrectly labeled the truthful indication of a black swan fallacy as an argument from ignorance. You need, at the very least, a logic 101 course.

  80. says

    What I find astonishing is it happens to be their god which created everything and that this god is completely irresponsible for his choices and actions and yet that retard Steele seems to think that X-tian’s are the one’s who hold the patten on morality. What a convenience it just happens to be their god who is the only one that exists and not anyone elses. Steele on a previous post ask me if I had given consideration to Pascal. It just so happens that Pascal’s wager is a wager of a coward and I don’t think that god would want some coward in his kingdom. So is that what kind of X-tian you are Steele? A coward that’s afraid of their god’s wrath?
    I’m not the type of person who is afraid of any kind of idle theats like the one in John 3:16.

  81. says

    @ Troy

    “The reason I am a Christian is because I don’t know how to disprove the proof for God and who God is.”

    WTF are you talking about? You can’t disprove proof? Since there is NO PROOF of any god then the lack of proof is there for ignorance. Ignorance only proves that one is uncertain and has no knowledge of what their beliefs are based on and has to resort to speculation as their best answer. This kind of thinking demonstrates that even though the answer is ridiculous and has no premise to be true it’s still the one answer that provides the individual with the best sense of security that guards against certain parts of realitiy.
    In other words it’s what gives you that fuzzy warm feeling that makes you feel safe and secure against the realities that are found in life itself. That’s why it’s important to respect the truth no matter how hard it is so that you’re not fooling yourself and are able to move on with your life. When I was an alcoholic I too found comfort and security in a bottle and I would still be an active alcoholic today if I decided not to face the truth and it is the truth about myself that has finally set me free.

  82. steele says

    Monocle,

    You are right, I thought I was wrong once but I was wrong…lol. All kidding aside

    you say:

    “Causality is merely a commonly confirmed hypothesis. When we get to smaller scales, things like quantum fluctuations and nuclear decay are governed by stochastic processes rather than causality.”

    Yes Yes fine and good and which interpretation of quantum mechanics do you subscribe to?

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

    However lets not get into quantum mechanics as I am not a physicist and I will agree there are different opinions on the subject and since that is the typical answer to anything unexplained in the universe.

    “Narf is right that you incorrectly labeled the truthful indication of a black swan fallacy as an argument from ignorance. You need, at the very least, a logic 101 course.”

    Ok thanks for the logic lesson, I feel so much better for your fallacy analysis, lets use yours and Narfs logic for a second

    Narf says:

    “Dude, we’re talking about recent models of cosmology, and in response, you pull out a quote mine by William Lane Craig, which he pulled from a 1988 book by Hawking? Have you read a book by Stephen Hawking, rather than reading quote-mines of his, quoted by shitty apologists?”

    Umm I provided a link to a paper written in 2012 by Vilenkin that addresses the Hartle-Hawking Model but maybe that is not recent enough for you two.

    I could really care less about your logic lessons or IQ tests Monocle,

    1st Corinthians 1:18-25

    18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

    20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach[b] to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    Also you and I can disagree about the definition of the “beginning” I don’t base my conclusion on Vilenkin, Krauss, or Hawking.

    Genesis 1:1

    1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

    While not a deductive proof it does sound proofy to me, lol

    Besides all that Narf Says:

    “Second, the argument you’ve created from your misunderstanding of modern cosmology is an unsound argument. All of the examples of causes leading to effects that you’d care to throw out there do not rule out the possibility of an initial event that was not caused by anything outside of itself.”

    So he is critiquing Troy Brooks use of cause and effect and then positing an initial event event that was not caused by anything outside of itself, well show me the proof of this uncaused initial event or you are arguing from ignorance, black swan fallacy whatever you want to call it.

    Finally I actually agree with many of Narfs critiques of Troy Brooks but as far as his cosmology he doesn’t know his head from his ass and to try to critique Troy Brooks based on his own misunderstanding is fallacious whether I got the right fallacy or not.

    Thanks

  83. steele says

    Sir Real,

    you say:

    “Steele on a previous post ask me if I had given consideration to Pascal. It just so happens that Pascal’s wager is a wager of a coward and I don’t think that god would want some coward in his kingdom. So is that what kind of X-tian you are Steele? A coward that’s afraid of their god’s wrath?”

    You were critiquing a Pastor for believing because of Pascal’s Wager, I was merely suggesting you read Pascal before you go knocking this Pastor for why he believes what he does. I am sure you believe all kinds of things for worse reasons then his, lol.

    As far as being a coward, yes I am afraid of God’s wrath

    Philippians 2:12-13

    12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

    As far as your critique of God’s morality well, who are you O man?

    Romans 9:20-26

    20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,

    “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
    and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
    26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
    there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

    Lastly as far as a pattern for morality, it is Christ

    Hebrews 12:2

    2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

    Its not that you can’t be moral Sir Real, I am sure you are a better person than me No Lie, I’m just saying based on atheism you just have no reason to be is all.

  84. says

    Steele quoted the Bible-

    1st Corinthians 1:18-25

    18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

    20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?….

    25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    Well then, Steele seems to think he’s delivered a knock-out blow there, since who could possibly imagine the Bible’s writers could possibly write scriptures that serve as internal validation? See, I’d have expected the Bible to contain scriptures that say, “You know, atheists just might have a point, since there actually is NO proof of God”? NOT!

    So why not just go to your “big-guns” and quote Psalms 14, and let the Bible call all of us atheists fools? You KNOW you want to….

    Anybody who’s IQ is at least that of a precocious 10 y.o. would be utterly ashamed to quote boastful braggadocio found in the Bible, and expect to be taken seriously.

    You DO understand that in a debate with non-believers, quoting the Bible is the move of a FOOL, an admission of defeat, i.e. an act of someone who knows he’s got nothing and can only manage to sputter out useless noise.

    This is the point when believers like Steele would be better-advised to simply rely on their cherished faith (which doesn’t require logic) and exercise their right to remain silent, at the risk of being thought a faithful fool by others (rather than opening their mouths and proving themselves faithless fools who’ve actually got nothing).

    Adam

  85. Raymond says

    Thanks Steele. I needed a laugh. Christians plugging their ears, closing their eyes, and repeating bible verses over and over again always makes me laugh. Reminds me think of my daughter when she was 6 being reprimanded. I am a little disappointed, though. Given some of your previous responses, I thought you might have an argument more sophisticated than “Nu-uh. I’m right. La-La-La-La-La-La-La . . . ” Oh well. Maybe next time.

  86. Raymond says

    Wow. Hard to believe that an off-hand comment would produce such a strong response. You made a blatant straw man. I specifically said: “. . . best in anything, let alone everything . . .” You then proceeded to change what I said to us “being the best.” If you don’t understand the difference between the two statements, go read up until you do.

    My statement is simply meant to imply that the nationalism we experience has blinded us to the truth. Ideally nationalism would prompt a country to greater heights, but we have fallen into complacency instead. As long as people think we are, and always will be, the best; we will never seek to improve our system. We will be, and currently are, left in the dust as the world flies by us. Once people in general realize this, they might be prompted to reassess our system to promote better growth. My hope, of course, is that people will see how much religion is holding this country back.

    There’s no inherent problem with nationalism. Just the way we have reacted to it.

  87. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @steele

    Let me one-up you: Even Vilenkin doesn’t say what you say he does. See another paper of his one year later:
    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/gr-qc/pdf/0110/0110012v2.pdf
    I admit that my knowledge of math and physics is woefully inadequate to understand most of the paper, but my scientific training is enough for at least the purpose of this discussion.

    Let me add some emphasis.

    IV. Discussion.
    Our argument shows that null and time-like geodesics are [...] past-incomplete in inflationary models[...]
    This is a stronger conclusion than the one arrived at in pre-vious work [8] in that we have shown under reasonable assumptions that almost all causal geodesics, when extended to the past of an arbitrary point, reach the boundary of the inflating region of spacetime in a finite proper time (finite affine length, in the null case).

    What can lie beyond this boundary? Several possibilities have been discussed, one being that the boundary of the inflating region corresponds to the beginning of the Universe in a quantum nucleation event [12]. The boundary is then a closed spacelike hypersurface which can be determined from the appropriate instanton.

    Whatever the possibilities for the boundary, it is clear that unless the averaged expansion condition can somehow be avoided for all past-directed geodesics, inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the Universe, and some new physics is necessary in order to determine the correct conditions at the boundary [20]. This is the chief result of our paper. The result depends on just one assumption: the Hubble parameter H has a positive value when averaged over the affine parameter of a past-directed null or noncomoving timelike geodesic.

    The class of cosmologies satisfying this assumption is not limited to inflating universes. Of particular interest is the recycling scenario [14], in which each comoving region goes through a succession of inflationary and thermalized epochs. Since this scenario requires a positive true vac-uum energy [...], the expansion rate will be bounded by [...] for locally flat or open equal-time slicings, and the conditions of our theorem may be satisfied. One must look carefully, however, at the possibility of discontinuities where the inflationary and thermalized regions meet. This issue requires further analysis.

    No one has yet provided a theory unifying gravity (general relativity) and quantum mechanics. We know that our current theories are limited, and in some cases wrong. When physicists see naked singularities of black holes, they don’t think that there are naked singularities. They think that their physics is incomplete. The same is true when the physicists see this math. You can watch the authors of your paper and mine talk about this in some interviews on youtube. They are quick to point out that their results are limited only to currently understood physics theory, and their results show that modern physics theory is wrong – or at least incomplete. Which everyone already knew anyway. Work has been going on for many decades trying to bring together general relativity and quantum mechanics.

    In short, you have been lied to by William Lane Craig. You have been misled. There is no scientific consensus that time is bounded in the past, and the work of Vilenkin et al does not show that either, and Vilenkin et al does not believe that either.

  88. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Steele
    (Quotes Genesis of all things)
    You are aware that all of Genesis is a complete fabrication, right? We have overwhelming evidence that more or less everything in the book of Genesis is false. Your quoting of Genesis is just as compelling to me as if you quoted Captain James T Kirk of the USS Enterprise. (At least Kirk often has better speeches and better morality lessons.)

  89. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @steele
    I see you are quoting many bible verses. That’s great! I have a question for you then.

    Captain James T Kirk of the USS Enterprise once met god. God asked Kirk to bring his starship closer. Kirk asked god “what does god need with a starship?”. Apparently you know something about god, so maybe you could answer my question. It’s been bugging me ever since I saw the movie based on a true story in theatres called “Star Trek V”. steele, what does god need with a starship?

    /snark

  90. steele says

    Adam,

    You are actually one of the few on here that make me genuinely laugh.

    you say:

    “Anybody who’s IQ is at least that of a precocious 10 y.o. would be utterly ashamed to quote boastful braggadocio found in the Bible, and expect to be taken seriously.

    You DO understand that in a debate with non-believers, quoting the Bible is the move of a FOOL, an admission of defeat, i.e. an act of someone who knows he’s got nothing and can only manage to sputter out useless noise.”

    I do appreciate your evaluation of my IQ, Monocle was just saying how I couldn’t even hit triple digits, so now I feel a little better that I am at the level of a 10 y.o.. I do agree with you quoting the Bible has little effect on non-believers and I don’t think just throwing Bible verses at atheists alleviates my responsibility in the debate at all. As I told Enlightenment Liberal sometimes I just use that to highlight a point I am trying to make not really to convince you so much.

    But if you wish to consider me a Fool so be it

    2nd Corinthians 11:16-21

    16 I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. 17 What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would[a] but as a fool. 18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. 19 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! 20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. 21 To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that!

    Matthew 11:25-26

    25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[

    I know more useless Bible quotes!

    you also state:

    "This is the point when believers like Steele would be better-advised to simply rely on their cherished faith (which doesn’t require logic) and exercise their right to remain silent, at the risk of being thought a faithful fool by others (rather than opening their mouths and proving themselves faithless fools who’ve actually got nothing)."

    Interesting point I will have to consider that a little, I like how you phrased that. I did think about your response about how as an atheist I didn't really understand what I didn't believe in; is that an oxymoron, lol? That was probably true to a certain extant, I frankly love it when atheists tell me I wasn't really an atheist...kinda like a Christian saying to an atheist that they were never really a Christian I find both irritating. Be that as it may I do know about what I believe now, not that I know everything or does that make it true for you but lets not commit the genetic fallacy here, hope I got that fallacy right for everybody.

    Lastly Adam since you did request it, I hope this will put to rest all the debate but I doubt it.

    Thanks

    Psalm 14:1-7

    1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
    there is none who does good.

    2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
    to see if there are any who understand,[a]
    who seek after God.

    3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
    there is none who does good,
    not even one.

    4 Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
    who eat up my people as they eat bread
    and do not call upon the Lord?

    5 There they are in great terror,
    for God is with the generation of the righteous.
    6 You would shame the plans of the poor,
    but[b] the Lord is his refuge.

    7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
    let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

  91. steele says

    Enlightenment,

    Thanks for the link I appreciate it. You are right about everything you say other than:

    “Let me one-up you: Even Vilenkin doesn’t say what you say he does. See another paper of his one year later”

    The paper I provided Narf was from 2012 and the one you provided is from 2003, it is just minor correction to what you are saying but I just thought I should point it out. I do still understand your main point and point well taken.

    Thanks again

  92. says

    @ Steele again

    If I did critiqued this pastor in how he believes then I’m sorry, however it still doesn’t change the fact that Pascal and his wager is a wager of a coward. It’s called irrational suspicion in which a person is afraid of someone or something that doesn’t exist. I’m not afraid of god and his wrath because I do not have any reasonable doubts to be afraid. John 3:16 is nothing more then a promise for those who do believe in god and a threat to those who choose not to believe, and as an atheist I do not take any threats lightly not even an idle one. This does nothing to unite people as one, the only thing it does is to divide. I sometimes ask myself does it seem fair that god who has an illegitimate child who is inpecunious doesn’t even pay any kind of child support while I myself work at a homeless clinic helping the poor. Am I to be held accountable for my disbeliefs by a god who refuses to hold himself accountable for his own negligence?

  93. mike says

    Why would you continue to go to church if you’re an atheist? If you don’t belong to the club, you probably shouldn’t be there and all you’re doing is increasing their numbers which makes it look like there’s more believers than reality. You say you bring a book or a kindle for the boring parts, seriously? Now I detest religion and catholicism is among the worst but it would seem kinda rude if you’re just “hanging out” while the believers are worshipping. I hope you don’t tithe, though that also could be seen as rude because you are using their facilities…What possible purpose does it serve to go there and read a book every week? I don’t get it. I wouldn’t go to a KKK meeting as a non-member and sit and read a book while they do whatever they do. WTF

  94. mike says

    I did the same thing too. One summer years back I had 5 weddings to go to (actually 6 but 2 were on same day diff cities!) and most were catholic. I never did the kneeling part and by the last few after the initial standing, I wasn’t even standing anymore, just sitting quietly until the end. There were quite a few ppl who just sat and lots didn’t go for communion, maybe only half.

  95. mike says

    @Tony Brooks You’re not seriously this dumb are you? Either you’re a POE so not gunna waste my time, or you are this dumb and not gunna waste my time.

  96. corwyn says

    there’s nothing in physics that says there can’t be a conscious mind made purely of energy, is there?

    Probably. ‘pure energy’ is a phrase from science fiction, what exactly do you mean by it? E=MC^2 tells us that all matter is essentially energy. So my conscious mind is an effect of a brain which is made purely of energy. But that likely isn’t what you mean. If you mean something without matter, then are we talking about the currently know forms of energy? We know how those things actually work in most circumstances, and most of them involve matter in some way. Gravitational potential energy, for example, requires mass (i.e. matter); Electricity requires electrons; etc. So it comes down to what do you mean by ‘purely of energy’?

  97. says

    AhmNee said-

    Also, there’s nothing in physics that says there can’t be a conscious mind made purely of energy, is there?

    Nothing in physics, aside from what Corwyn cited as Einstein’s famous equation which every schoolchild knows: E = mc^2.

    That equation actually DOES indicate that although matter and energy can be inter-converted into each other, if the matter side of the equation drops to zero, so must the energy side of the equation. As said, there is no such thing as ‘pure energy’, existing apart from matter.

    It seems fairly self-evident to say that much like every other material in the known universe from which consciousness has emerged that we’ve studied, ALL emergent processes that result in consciousness require matter AND energy (in the case of the human brain, constant energy is consumed by the brain in the form of blood glucose, required to feed all those hungry neurons, or the individual loses consciousness).

    Point being, Einstein’s equation tells us that disembodied consciousness detached from matter is impossible.

    So keeping God alive as a possibility existing as energy only would require throwing out Einstein and his famous equation, which of course has been experimentally confirmed in many different experiments, and is exploited every day via man’s use of nuclear energy.

    Adam

  98. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Also, there’s nothing in physics that says there can’t be a conscious mind made purely of energy, is there? We just have no credible evidence of one existing anywhere we’ve looked. Ever.

    Perhaps not. Science has nothing to say about things which do not interact with our material reality and our senses. However, science does have a great deal to say about minds without braining doing anything which we might detect, which some people call “miracles”. Miracles do not happen. The evidence is rather persuasive.

  99. Deesse23 says

    It is indded a still widespreadf allacy that there is EITHER matter OR *something else*. Noone ever thought that the discovery would be made that Matter is exchangeable with a part of *something else*, something that -inutitively!!!!!!!!!!- seems absolutely not to be related to matter: energy.

    Many people think that Energy is something strange, abstract, ethereal, whatever.
    That it can directly can be CONVERTEDfrom matter and vice versa is KNOWN (in theory) since ca. 1905, and we do/practice it (= got PROOF that the theory works) by fission since August 6th 1945 at latest (ignoring early lab experiments with natural decay on which we dont have influence), respectively by fusion since the first H-bomb.

    So our *minds* AREa feature of our brain, which in turn IS energy (converted into matter). At least thats the current state of science. Maybe the brain is only used to run our (pysical) body, and our minds is separate, but i guess we need hints to that, and intuition or a *feeling* is not enough as the intuitively WRONG *feeling* about energy and mass shows.

    What the original poster is referring to is most probably a *mind* made out of…..something else than matter or energy (since they are interchangeable).

    P.S.: Thats why general and special relativity is so awesome. Einstein had the balls to think about and calculate (to the bitter end!) all the effects of assumptions that completely oppose *common sense*.

    Same for quantum mechanics, etc..

  100. says

    @ Steele again

    It’s been about 3 days now so where is your answer to my question about god being irresponsible? Also about your unfounded fear of a god whose existence has never been proven? Are you afraid of the Boogie Man too, or is that where you can make the distiction between your imagination and reality? If someone were to hold a gun up to my head and threaten to blow my brains out if I didn’t believe in them, then I would have a good REASON to be afraid however if I read about a god in some book that makes death theats then I’m not afraid. Do you want to know why is because I’m not afraid of something that isn’t real. This is why John 3:16 is an empty promise for those who believe and an idle threat for those who don’t. So unless you can produce something other then just a bunch of bible verses that’s just a bunch of propaganda then I really don’t have any reason to be scared of your god. Would you trust Santa Claus if he threaten to kill you if you didn’t believe in him?

  101. steele says

    Sir Real,

    you ask:

    “It’s been about 3 days now so where is your answer to my question about god being irresponsible? Also about your unfounded fear of a god whose existence has never been proven? ”

    I’m not sure why exactly you feel God is irresponsible and you don’t want any empty Bible verses ok. I’ll try not to give a canned answer even if it sounds that way. I don’t think God is irresponsible for allowing free creatures to sin against him and then punishing them for that and then offering them undeserved mercy on top of that. I get you don’t like God, even though you think he is not real, I am not a big fan of authority either but that aside Frank Turek has a line that I will borrow…If I could prove God and Christianity were real would you believe then? Seriously would you? What type of proof do you want, God in a test tube? Who would God be responsible to anyway, it is kind of a odd question if He is God, He is accountable to no one but Himself as he is the paradigm of goodness and virtue.

    I am not trying to dodge the question as I do understand what you mean I am just saying logically God cannot be irresponsible. That aside I will have to give the answer of Job and the pat answer that God’s ways are not our ways. I have read Bart Ehrman’s book God’s problem and I think it is a good example of a Christian who loses his faith in the face of suffering in the world. I don’t know if you have read it but you might like it.

    you also state:

    “Also about your unfounded fear of a god whose existence has never been proven? Are you afraid of the Boogie Man too, or is that where you can make the distiction between your imagination and reality? If someone were to hold a gun up to my head and threaten to blow my brains out if I didn’t believe in them, then I would have a good REASON to be afraid however if I read about a god in some book that makes death theats then I’m not afraid. Do you want to know why is because I’m not afraid of something that isn’t real.”

    Well I do happen to think there are a few good reasons for God’s (the Christian God) existence. I think the moral argument, the cosmological argument, and the argument from personal experience are very compelling, though not necessarily conclusive, reasons to believe in God.

    The moral argument is I think the most compelling although some disagree, I just would ask any atheist why I should be moral and don’t give me some pap evolutionary herd morality answer. If that is the case the murderer is just acting inappropriate and upsetting the herd, nothing objectively wrong though. Or good for goodness sake, what the hell is that anyway if everything is doomed for extinction and we are just random accidents on the cosmic scene.

    So if God does exist, yea I think it is justifiable to fear someone you are accountable to.

    Lastly Real I am sorry you feel threatened by God, who tells you the truth, that you need redemption and He offers it but you refuse it because of lack of what you say is proof.

    I don’t come on this blog for money, to get people to join a cult, to try and deceive anyone. I truly care about the people I talk to on here, as I am sure some of the atheists who tell me I am delusional, lol, do. I totally understand why they think that but I am compelled to share Christ even if I am mocked…not that I have a suffering Christian mentality, I think most Christian including myself are fat, dumb and comfortably immune to what is true suffering in the world at large. But that doesn’t change the fact if what I am saying is true or not.

    Anyway that is what I got, minus the Bible verses of course. Take Care.

  102. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Well I do happen to think there are a few good reasons for God’s (the Christian God) existence. I think the moral argument, the cosmological argument, and the argument from personal experience are very compelling, though not necessarily conclusive, reasons to believe in God.

    The moral argument and the cosmological argument are non-sequiturs with regard to the Christian god. They work just as well for the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the god of the aliens of Rygel 7 who made the aliens in its image. I explained this. You should have read this. Why do you persist? Do you think I’m wrong? Please explain how this is not just a naked Pascal’s Wager. Please explain why the moral argument and the cosmological argument favor the Christian god over the nigh infinite competing god hypotheses. There are a nigh infinite amount of competing god hypotheses. I can name one god for each star in the observable universe. Thus the moral argument and the cosmological argument are non-sequiturs w.r.t. any Earthly religion or any religion in which humans are special.

  103. steele says

    Enlightenment,

    While I do like your Star Trek references, thank God you seem to be a fan of the old Star Trek more than the new, lol….Captain Kirk would blow some planets up and then make out with the girl at the end, I think your analogies however much like William Shatner’s acting ability leave much to be desired.

    you say:

    “The moral argument and the cosmological argument are non-sequiturs with regard to the Christian god.”

    I don’t think they are non-sequiturs, I think they would be applicable to any true god, including the Christian God. I will agree they do not prove the Christian God, but they do limit the types of gods you could have, such as having a good and just god, extremely powerful, etc.. I don’t know if the gods of Rygel 7 fall into this category.

    These arguments only show the plausibility of the existence of a god, which as an atheist you deny exist, and I will as I said grant they are not conclusive but especially with the moral argument compelling. The Christian God is demonstrated (proved) through Christ and His resurrection and from the word of God (the Bible). I know you probably don’t even believe Jesus existed as I have seen you on Richard Carrier’s blog and promoting some of his crap.

    Lastly Enlightenment you have I believed asked “Why god would need a starship?”

    He doesn’t he uses us to spread His message!

    Romans 10:14-15

    14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

    “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,[h]
    Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

    1st Corinthians 6:19-20

    19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body[c] and in your spirit, which are God’s.

    thanks

  104. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    These arguments only show the plausibility of the existence of a god, which as an atheist you deny exist,

    Simply false. I have yet to read a famous published self-identified atheist who claims that there are no gods. Almost all atheists I meet do not make that claim. We do not deny the existence of gods. We are merely not yet convinced that there is one. There is a difference between “I do not believe” and “I believe it is not”.

    Now, if you want to talk about a specific god, such as one that flooded the Earth less than 6000 years ago? Yea. I deny that god. That god does not exist.

    But gods in general? Especially gods which don’t do anything? Yea, maybe one exists, especially those which don’t do anything.

    This is what atheism means, and we atheists were here writing books at least a century before Huxley coined the modern meaning of the word “agnostic”. Deal with it. And stop strawmanning our position.

  105. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ack, hit send too early.

    The Christian God is demonstrated (proved) through Christ and His resurrection and from the word of God (the Bible).

    Ok. Then let’s argue about what you actually believe, and why you believe it.

    I know you probably don’t even believe Jesus existed as I have seen you on Richard Carrier’s blog and promoting some of his crap.

    I believe so only weakly, and I am open to having my mind changed with new evidence and argument.

    Why do you accept the gospels and not other incompatible religious texts?

    Have you read the gospels?

    Do you not see how the 4 accounts of the 4 gospels on the resurrection are hopelessly inconsistent on important details? Thus not good evidence for an actual historical account.

    Did you not notice several miracle stories which are flagrantly false? Such as the zombies that rose up with Jesus and went to town with Jesus and yet no one else noticed? (Matthew 27:51-53) Or the several hour eclipse which astronomers all over the world failed to notice? Thus the gospels depict many false miracles. Thus not good evidence for the resurrection.

    Did you not notice how the characters in the bible are not believable, but merely plot devices? They do not behave anything like how normal people behave. For example, one time Jesus conjures food for people of a city, and his followers are amazed. Later in another city, the followers don’t know what to do because lots of people are hungry, forgetting that Jesus can conjure food. Jesus conjures food again, and his followers are amazed, apparently because they forgot Jesus can conjure food. The gospels are filled with this. This indicates that the gospels are likely fiction written by authors trying to make a specific point. Thus not good evidence for the resurrection.

    Even if Jesus rose from the dead, why think that there’s a Christian god who did it? Why not think aliens did it? Aliens are far more plausible than a Christian god. Aliens have precedent in our experiences. Aliens with advanced technology don’t violate physics. There’s every reason to think that aliens with sufficiently advanced technology could see Jesus, see clinical brain death, scan the brain, let it sit for 3 days, then come back and repair the damage which was done.

    Furthermore, we have much better evidence for aliens with sufficiently advanced technology that we do for Jesus. You can meet many living eye witnesses today who claim to have been abducted, thereby making the aliens explanation for the possible Jesus resurrection much more likely than the Christian god explanation.

  106. says

    Well, in a practical sense, what’s the difference between a god who doesn’t do anything (ie. manifest his existence in any way, shape or form) and a god who doesn’t exist?

  107. steele says

    Enlightenment,

    You need to let me know how you highlight those quotes on here that is nice. As far as straw-manning your position I really wasn’t trying to do that. To be fair I should have said atheists are skeptical that any god exists, so you are right, but you do deny the Christian God specifically and admittedly…which is the only God that really concerns me specifically so again sorry I was not trying to misrepresent your views.

    As far as the gospels I would just have to disagree with you, which is probably why I am a Christian and you are not. First off the gospels are evidence of multiple attestations to the same basic premise that Jesus was the Son of God, died, was buried, and rose from the dead. As far as the inconsistencies you see regarding the miracles such as the eclipse of the Sun, the believers who rose from the dead…I do understand your doubts about these things but I think it would take to long in this format to address appropriately and suffice it to say that I believe these events happened as depicted but I am not knowledgeable enough in this area to adequately answer them fully. There are alot of websites that do address these issues but most of them are Christian ones that I can think of right now and I think you would probably dismiss these, understandably as biased.

    What I will say is this look at Luke 1:1-4

    1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

    I know you have probably heard this before but still I think it is worth pointing out that the introduction to Luke is written in a logical and historical manner. It just doesn’t read like a mythical introduction anyway. I mean Luke could have embellished his intro a little more if was trying to create a mythic account. I know this isn’t a deductive proof and doesn’t make everything the gospel of Luke says true but I do think it conveys a hefty dose of skepticism to think at least the author of this gospel was just making crap up as he went. Why not make Jesus descend on a cloud right at the start of Luke, makes it easier then the Nativity scene.

    Your alien hypothesis, lol, while interesting I think the burden of proof is on you to prove that concocted theory. I think simplest explanation is usually the best and the belief of the disciples, 1st century Jewish Fisherman, that Jesus was raised from the dead is best examined in the light of Judaism during that time period not something Gene Roddenberry cooked up.

    Thanks

  108. corwyn says

    I think they would be applicable to any true god, including the Christian God. I will agree they do not prove the Christian God, but they do limit the types of gods you could have, such as having a good and just god, extremely powerful, etc.. I don’t know if the gods of Rygel 7 fall into this category.

    Well we DO know that the god of the bible doesn’t fall into this category, It is easy to see that the god of the bible is not good or just, or even consistently powerful. All you need to do is read it,

  109. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @steele
    Again, I deny the god which made the Earth 6000 years ago. You do not have a lock on the meaning of the word “Christian”. By far most “evolutionists” are Christian. Thus I do not deny every possible Christian god variant just as strongly. I only deny the young Earth creationist one strongly.

    Although, it makes the debate easier on me. Arguing against the Christian bible’s accuracy is hard with someone not properly educated. But arguing against young Earth creationism is easy. Just skim the following link for me.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Evidence_against_a_recent_creation

    This is one of the better resources I have for the overwhelming list of evidence that your Christian god variant, the young Earth Christian god variant, does not exist. It’s not just one piece of evidence. That list just cites the better ones. It’s hundreds of completely different independent lines of evidence pointing towards an old Earth. We still have overwhelming evidence that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and that life arose by a unguided process of evolution by natural selection, and that all life on Earth has common ancestry.

    None of this is changed by the existence of a historical Jesus who rose from the dead because he’s a god. The massive and overwhelming evidence we have for an old Earth and for evolution and common ancestry won’t simply disappear if you’re right about Jesus.

  110. steele says

    Enlightenment,

    Again, I deny the god which made the Earth 6000 years ago. You do not have a lock on the meaning of the word “Christian”. By far most “evolutionists” are Christian. Thus I do not deny every possible Christian god variant just as strongly. I only deny the young Earth creationist one strongly.

    That’s great I am not a young earth creationist so I am not arguing for that….not quite sure where you thought I was. however I don’t think life arose and evolved by an unguided process but that is a whole different subject.

  111. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @steele

    I said:

    Now, if you want to talk about a specific god, such as one that flooded the Earth less than 6000 years ago? Yea. I deny that god. That god does not exist.

    But gods in general? Especially gods which don’t do anything? Yea, maybe one exists, especially those which don’t do anything.

    You replied:

    but you do deny the Christian God specifically

    That makes no sense if you are not a young Earth creationist. What the hell were you talking about?

    Also:

    however I don’t think life arose and evolved by an unguided process but that is a whole different subject.

    It is this conversation. If you think that god did X, then evidence against X is evidence against your god. If you think that the Christian god is incompatible with evolution by natural selection – an unguided process – then evidence for evolution is evidence against the Christian god. Do you think that the Christian god is incompatible with evolution?

  112. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Sorry Martin, let me reply. Missed it the first time or something.

    Well, in a practical sense, what’s the difference between a god who doesn’t do anything (ie. manifest his existence in any way, shape or form) and a god who doesn’t exist?

    Dunno.

    I take my cues here from logical positivism. (I am not a logical positivist. I just take this little bit from that philosophy.) What does it mean for some material thing to exist which could never impact the sensory experience of any hypothetical human-like observer? I don’t know. I think that such a question is malformed. In the terms of logical positivism, “it is cognitively meaningless”. Is makes as much sense as asking “Is the square root of a pork chop equal to jealousy?”.

    And don’t get me wrong. If god exists in our shared reality, then this is a material question about our shared material reality. To say that god is not material presumes a workable distinction between “natural” and “supernatural” which does not exist. Everyone understands “supernatural” as a culturally specific, completely arbitrary list of items. Gods and magic – supernatural. Science and technology and physics – natural. People need to read Arthur C Clarke’s third law again, and its corollary:
    “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
    and
    “‘Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science!’”
    - http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20081205

    Martin asks “what’s the difference between a god which exists and does nothing, and a god which doesn’t exist?”. My answer: nothing meaningful.

    I ask: “What’s the difference between sufficiently analyzed magic and science?”. I answer: nothing meaningful. Supernatural is a bad concept and should not be used. The concept exists only to implicitly assert that science has nothing to say about it. It’s a “shut up” and “don’t even try” card. We should object every time it is used. This is me raising consciousness on this issue.

    From the book “Net of Magic” by Lee Siegel:
    “I’m writing a book on magic”, I explain, and I’m asked, “Real magic?” By real magic people mean miracles, thaumaturgical acts, and supernatural powers. “No”, I answer: “Conjuring tricks, not real magic”. Real magic, in other words, refers to the magic that is not real, while the magic that is real, that can actually be done, is not real magic.”

  113. says

    @ Steele again!!!

    To me as an atheist proof means something that would establish the truth, not something or someone who just assumes the truth. If I were to just assume your guilt wouldn’t I as the plaintiff have burden of proof? Burden of proof means that it would be my RESPONSIBILITY to prove your guilt and if all I have are excuses, and ignorance to prove your guilt then I would be neglecting my RESPONSIBILITIES in proving your guilt which would mean I would be guilty of negligence. My opinion of the bible is an honest and objective opinion, not a subjective one like yours. John 3:16 is a prejudiced statement not an objective one. Your god is threatening those who choose not to believe in him. In other words he is DISCRIMINATING against those who choose not to believe in him. Discriminating against others and their creed is prejudice! If the John 3:16 said “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that who so ever is WHITE shall not perish, but have ever lasting life.” . Does that not sound prejudice to you? If you noticed the only thing I changed about that statement is who it would apply to.

    The reason I’m an atheist is because I choose not to be superstitious and the reason I’m no longer a Christian is because being a prejudiced hypocrite is not my definition of morality.

    “Lastly Real I am sorry you feel threatened by God, who tells you the truth, that you need redemption and He offers it but you refuse it because of lack of what you say is proof.’

    There is no need to feel sorry for me when I know that your the one who is the coward and too afraid of facing the truth, which explains why you need a god that gives you that (false) sense of security. So is the only reason Je$u$ was sent here was to forgive us of our sins, or was it to have us kiss his daddy’s giant ass so that he could tolerate us more?

  114. says

    So Steele if you like quotes then I have some as well. “Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.” Peter Drucker. Or how about “A belief in hell and the knowledge that every ambition is doomed to frustration of a skeleton have never prevented the majority of human beings from behaving as though death were no more than an unfounded rumor.” Aldous Huxley. So I don’t know were you get off on assuming I’m afraid of your god when I said an IDLE threat, or how your god can’t be possibly be irresponsible when your god is wealthy beyond our imaginations. If I were to have an illegitimate child like your god does, then it would be my resposiblilty to pay child support especially if I were wealthy. And if I neglected my responsibilities then I could be held accountable. So if this standard applies to me and anyone else who would have a child then why does it not apply to your god? Maybe it’s because your god has a set of double standards just like any hypocrite would.

    So again there is no need to pity me when your the one who is pitiful.

  115. steele says

    Real,

    So I don’t know were you get off on assuming I’m afraid of your god when I said an IDLE threat, or how your god can’t be possibly be irresponsible when your god is wealthy beyond our imaginations. If I were to have an illegitimate child like your god does, then it would be my resposiblilty to pay child support especially if I were wealthy.

    response:

    2nd Corinthians 8:9

    9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

    Philippians 2:5-11

    5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    Real even though you mangle and distort John 3:16, it is not a threat it is an offer of salvation if you can’t see that then my response to that is:

    2nd Corinthians 4:3-4

    3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

    My opinion of the bible is an honest and objective opinion, not a subjective one like yours.

    Really Real, I somehow doubt that but whatever you say. I’m not a Presuppositionalist but I doubt you are as unbiased as you claim.

    Jesus came to save the lost and pay the debt in full Real and you can put your little $ in His name but it ain’t going to change what you are or who HE is. You seem like you are a nice guy Real and care about injustice which is why it is sad and I do pity that you reject the God of righteousness. I will leave you Real with one of the verses I try and live my life by. Take Care

    Phillipians 3:7-14

    7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

    12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

  116. Narf says

    Real, why are you still talking to this half-wit? I gave up on any attempt at breaking through his incomprehension of basic logic, a long time ago. This latest Bible-verse vomit of his is a perfect demonstration of why.

  117. says

    Some people keep going to church because they have friends there and like the fellowship. I can understand that. I even know of a guy who still plays piano for his local church, even though he’s an atheist (and apparently, they know he is, but they like his playing). But the woman was right–it IS rude to go there and read a book. If you think the service isn’t worthy of attention, then why do you go at all? Better to stay home and not give them the attendance numbers that they crave. As long as you’re there, though, at least be useful and take notes so you can report on what goes in a Catholic service. That could make an interesting blog.

  118. says

    That’s probably the most interesting account of Cain and Abel that I’ve ever read. This is a story that is taught to children in Sunday School, and the warning, explicit or not, is that you had jolly well better please God in all you do, or else you’ll end up like the evil Cain! Yet, Cain still got short-shafted, because after the ordeal was done, he STILL had no idea what kind of sacrifice God actually wanted from him. God never explains it at any point in the entire story. If Christians want to use this to teach their children a lesson, maybe that lesson should be that you have to please God, but you will never really know how, because he won’t actually tell you. God is a jerk like that.

  119. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I doubt you are as unbiased as you claim.

    Not everyone is as close-minded as you. I bet almost every atheist here starts with the position “I don’t know”, and then evaluates evidence to come to the conclusion that “the Christian god – as described in the Christian bible – likely does not exist”. We have evidence that more or less all of the books of Genesis and Exodus are fiction. The gospels are wildly fictional in style, content, and mutually inconsistent on a large number of important points, such as the birth and death of the most important character, and the death is the most important part of the entire narrative.

    This is what we call projection. Projection is taking flaws which you possess, and assuming other people also have those flaws. You have faith. We don’t. We have reason and evidence. Try it some time.

  120. says

    Troy, what about the thousands of gods listed here? How do you know that any one of THEM might not be the One, True God? If you are playing the game of Which God is Real based on the process of elimination, then you’ll have to come up with lame excuses for every single one of them, and it will be a very long and tedious process, indeed.

    And then there are all of the non-god beings to consider, as well: angels, demons, fairies, elves, gnomes, dragons, ghosts, vampires, and a huge list of other supernatural entities that humans have laid claim to over the millennia. Which of these make the most sense to you, based solely on your process of elimination game? Should we believe in every weird thing that the human mind can concoct, just in case it might be real? Or does it make more sense to believe in none of them unless or until tangible, testable, verifiable evidence is presented that we can examine for ourselves, and hopefully make sense of it? If I were to tell you that there are unicorns living in the woods near my house, I doubt you would just take my word for it. Maybe I was drunk when I saw them, or high, or mistaken, or I’m just outright lying. You would demand some evidence, such as photographs, and then want the photographs tested for trickery, and then have other people go into those woods to see if they could verify the unicorns, before you’d believe me. Well, it’s the same way with God. “My God is real because I like him best” just doesn’t cut it, mate.

    This is how we know Jesus is God the Son and that Jesus entered His creation to atone for the sins of the world to save people whosoever believes in Him. Those who do not go to Hell as that is their free choice to want to be eternally separated from the love of God and God Himself.

    How would any of what you said tell us anything about the person of Jesus? Most of that isn’t even in the gospels, which is where we would expect to see it if Jesus actually said it (and assuming that any part of the gospels is truthful at all, which is highly doubtful).

  121. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You’re already granting to much with that. The form of your argument grants the premise that a god – if it existed – would make itself known to humans. What hubris. Perhaps the god cares about the aliens of Rigel 7 and not us. Perhaps this universe is a science experiment and it won’t interfere. Perhaps the god sneezed which accidentally created this universe and the god doesn’t care at all about it.

  122. says

    Silverbuttons said-

    That’s probably the most interesting account of Cain and Abel that I’ve ever read. This is a story that is taught to children in Sunday School, and the warning, explicit or not, is that you had jolly well better please God in all you do, or else you’ll end up like the evil Cain! Yet, Cain still got short-shafted, because after the ordeal was done, he STILL had no idea what kind of sacrifice God actually wanted from him. God never explains it at any point in the entire story.

    Thanks for reading! It’s an interesting story, since the rituals it’s based upon are important clues that are obviously lost to most believers.

    As Paul later speculated in Hebrews 11, Abel offered his sacrifice by using his superior “faith”, which actually implies God NOT giving explicit details of what they were to do (as God later did, in handing down Levitical laws, including the first-fruits offerings, which their sacrifice seems to be based upon, as if it’s a prototype).

    If Christians want to use this to teach their children a lesson, maybe that lesson should be that you have to please God, but you will never really know how, because he won’t actually tell you. God is a jerk like that.

    Of course, later Xian theology also says Xians are to pray to God to ask for the gift of faith, needed in order to believe in the redemptive power of Christ’s blood. So either way you cut it, God is deciding who will be gifted with salvation, since you need faith to be saved, and you need to ask for “the gift”.

    If ONLY you can believe in all of it, God will save you. Circular logic much, God? Confirmation bias much, Xians?

    But either way you cut it, God comes off like having a preference for playing sadistic guessing-games with humans, as if God believes his own mortal creations should be omniscient like Him, too.

    It’s a good thing this God character doesn’t exist, and is merely the creation of ancient mens’ over-active imaginations.

    Adam

  123. says

    @ Narf

    Your right why waste my time with someone who in my opinion needs to be on some kind of psychotropic medication. If Steele wants some prejudice book telling him how to live his life then that’s his problem. Actually I don’t even bother to read all of the shit he writes especially when most of it isn’t even true.
    If Steele wants to live a lie who am I to stop him after all everyone is entitle to their own opinion even if it’s a prejudice and hypocritical one.

    So long Steele.

    P.S. Don’t worry there is medication that can help those who are as delusional as you.

  124. Narf says

    I dunno, I stopped paying attention to him after he started throwing out logical fallacy claims like fortune cookies, without apparently understanding what those logical fallacies even are. You can’t have a logical argument with someone who doesn’t understand the basics of logic.

    His devotion to William Lane Craig was also a big warning label. WLC dispenses logical fallacies like a vending machine, in his books.

    I’ve read the books of those I disagree with. Steele pulls out-of-context quotes from the books of those he agrees with and thinks he’s getting an accurate representation of what the person that he disagrees with wrote. I’m surprised we haven’t seen the Darwin eye-quote-mine from him, except for that fact that Steele claims to not be a creationist.

    I have nothing to gain from further conversation, so I tuned him out. His follow-up spouting of Bible verses justified my action … not that I’ve read his last several comments, but I could tell from the formatting, when my eyes brushed past his comments in the e-mail notifications.

  125. skip says

    freethinker  
    Use Freethinker in a sentence
    free·think·er [free-thing-ker] Show IPA
    noun
    a person who forms opinions on the basis of reason, independent of authority or tradition, especially a person whose religious opinions differ from established belief.

    World English Dictionary
    freethinker (ˌfriːˈθɪŋkə)

    — n
    a person who forms his or her ideas and opinions independently of authority or accepted views, esp in matters of religion

    Exactly why is a simple definition a point of avoidance for the atheists on this particular show ? Is it standard practice for these two gentlemen to not accept the definitions of words ?

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