Advice for kids coming out to their parents »« On Sye Ten Bruggencate’s response to Islam and the Outsider Test

Open thread on episode #869

Top Ten list of things I learned at the Sye Ten Bruggencate debate

10. “Everyone knows that God exists”
9. “It requires God to doubt the existence of God”
8. “I don’t do Bible studies with non-believers”
7. “Adam and Eve *did* die that day — they died spiritually”
6. “Stealing is wrong because God is not a thief”
5. “I don’t do Bible verses, bro”
4. “Because the Bible is true, the Quran is false”
3. “God will not be mocked”
2. “God loves you so he’s sending you to hell”
1. “Brain in a vat, brain in a vat, brain in a vat!”

Comments

  1. Mark Massingill says

    LOL, I like it. Don’t forget that Sye has his own reality as well, the “real” one where his god is true.

        • favog says

          Exactly. If a brain is in a vat, with some sort of interactive false sensory input set up to fool the brain, what’s the simplest possible arrangement? It’s to reify whatever thought passes through the brain on it’s own. To that brain, it looks like they’re creating an entire universe! The interactive sensory input could and would set up a subroutine to “be” anything. Including, quite possibly, Sye Ten Bruggencate. So if it’s rational for Sye to presuppose that there is a God, it’s equally rational for me to presuppose Sye’s God is a brain in a vat.

          • adamah says

            Or, we can cite the principle of parsimony to cut the crap, and state the obvious, ie that for which observable evidence exists:

            There are 7 billion human brains sharing the same ‘vat’ (it’s called ‘Earth’), only a large % of them have imagined invisible superior brain(s) they credit for making the vat, telling us we must share their delusion, too, or superior brain will be angry.

            Problem is, they cannot agree on even the basic characteristics of the power (yet oddly, undetectable) brains, and the count is at what: 100,00 superior brains (and growing)?

            Oldest scam in the book, and people still fall for it…

          • favog says

            Adamah. you’re trying to take all the fun out of the process of ridiculing Sye by creating an absurd position that is logically equivalent and even indistinguishable from his.

          • adamah says

            Sorry Favog, didn’t mean to be a killjoy, lol!

            You’ve heard the old saying, “sarcasm is lost on small children and dogs”? I think we can also include fundie Xians to the list, as it goes in one ear and out the other, without eliciting a response. I just walked past a church with its doors wide open, and they were speaking in tongues: if you said ‘solipsism’ to them, they’d think YOU were speaking in tongues, lol!

            I tend to view solipsism like the atheist’s analog of theology: deepity, AKA mental wanking-off, in that it’s fun to do, but utterly unproductive, and done solely for one’s personal amusement.

          • favog says

            I think a great example of that failure to get sarcasm is in the Dogma Debate broadcast with Sye right after the debate with Matt. Toward the end, there was that one guy who had a question which was basically just throwing the same presuppositional structure with a nonintelligent force which he claimed told him there was no God. Eric Hovind was with Sye for that part, and they didn’t find that amusing though the audience sure did. But Hovind, in referring to that question in context of answering another later on, showed that he didn’t laugh because he didn’t even realize there was a joke, let alone that he was the butt of it.

          • adamah says

            Yeah, you’re referring to Teiler from Memphis who asked Sye to point out any flaws in his logic, and then proceeded to describe the presuppositions (AKA unstated assumptions) underlying the scientific approach, except as applied to God’s existence.

            (The irony is science relies on presuppositional logic, too, since it MUST, in order to not get bogged down in time-wasting ‘brain in a vat’ type questions that only encourage gazing into one’s own navel (vs gazing into a telescope).)

            Sye didn’t bite, though, saying he “wouldn’t want to hitch his wagon to that star”, not recognizing it for what it was….

            I didn’t take it as Teiler being ‘sarcastic’ in the least: he was describing the necessary assumptions of science, and seeing if Sye and Eric recognized it (they didn’t).

            Not that Sye’s response would likely be any different, if he HAD: with Sye, EVERYTHING is about God.

            Adam

        • Innocent bystander says

          Because he has a revelation from God. What’s more his revelation tells him that every sorry one of us has a revelation from God and even more his revelation tells him all our names and addresses and God’s Gestapo will be paying a call on all those that deny it.

  2. Kilgore says

    Interestingly enough it is my understanding that “only” about 6,000 stars are actually visible to the dark adapted naked eye at a dark sky site. That number increases dramatically (to say the least) with even the smallest telescope.

      • Kilgore says

        Actually I meant the entire sky, both Northern and Southern hemispheres added together. When you go to a Bortle class 1 or 2 (Black or Gray) site at night and look up, it looks like an uncountable number of stars are visible (so many that it can be confusing), but they’re actually eminently countable. On the other hand, even my little 14-inch SCT can see many more stars than are in even the largest modern star catalogs I routinely use (UCAC4, NOMAD, etc).

        • says

          You heathen. There is no southern hemisphere as the bible clearly describes the firnament with the north star and therefor it follows that no firnament without the north star is possible => the southern hemisphere is impossible. So says it the bible and I will not discuss that with a non-believer!!!

          How wonderfull to be right all the time ….. really it’s liberating …. and all it takes is to seriously diminish your input.
          ;)

  3. Monocle Smile says

    Could Kyle from Georgetown be any more obnoxious? Seems like he was pissed about being cut off last week after being extremely stupid at the end, so he decided to be pedantic this week…but was entirely wrong in his approach.

    All of his “jurors do this” shit was pulled straight from his ass. I can almost guarantee he didn’t actually pull out statistics or actually investigate this in any manner.

  4. Monocle Smile says

    Wow, Zack’s call tops Kyle’s. Holy cow. That guy clearly had an ax to grind, and that seemed to be his only motivation. Parts of his story may have been true, but I’m not buying all of it. The Jonah 2:6 bullshit tipped the scale for me.

    • says

      I agree. Zack was completely butthurt about the meanie atheists having the nerve to exist all over the place. I think he was convinced that his cohorts do poorly because the show is rigged somehow… and you don’t even believe anyway… or something!

      Personally, I am kind of stumped when someone uses the “argument from vague science sounding stuff pulled from a voluminous tome of randomness”. I went to a muslim talk on campus that used examples, from the koran, that were nearly verbatim. They were supposed to prove the same thing for Islam. They even had a “mountains having roots” bit of scripture. Apparently that magical piece of insight made the rounds. Overall, it’s a hard argument to counter, for me. Because the real problem is how in the world they can find these tidbits tangentially related and interesting, never mind irrefutable proof of an omnipotent creator being.

      Both callers were frustrating to me. (for what it’s worth I prefer even the most frustrating and long theist call debacle over an atheist bonding/ advice session. Assuming there is actually an option, of course)

      • says

        Ran into this type of Christian who was mad that a woman had the temerity to self identity as an atheist. The woman was making a comment about a hilarious video and saying that she enjoyed a video with some religious elements to it in spite of being an atheist. People went ape shit and just attacked what was essentially an innocent, complimentary comment. Not to mention there were 1,001 praise God comments. And no, this wasn’t a religious video per se.

        It was an Epic Rap Battle video where one the characters played Joan of Ark.

        ….I asked one of her attackers what was with all the hate and he was like, “I don’t want to hear I am an atheist blah, blah, blah…” and I commented “What if I don’t want to hear” I am a god lover blah, blah, blah?. Not my position and yet you don’t see me attacking the theists on there making comments…”

        What the heck man….what the heck…

    • adamah says

      Zack, if you’re reading, ‘atoms’ is a Greek word, and the existence of tiny invisible particles that make up matter was hypothesized and discussed about 600 yrs BEFORE Hebrews 11 was written. That’s a long time BEFORE, as distant in the past as the Middle Ages are to our present day.

      Paul, the supposed author of Hebrews, was a Hellenized (ie subject of Rome, but influenced by Greek thought) Jew, and lived in what would be analogous to a college town filled with discussions of classical Greek thinking, including the hypothesis of the existence of atoms.

      Besides, Zack, where do think atoms come from? If God made the visible from the invisible atoms, then why doesn’t it say that God made invisible atoms?

      The final nail in the coffin is Hebrews 11 is ALL about the topic of FAITH, offering MULTIPLE examples of “Heroes of Faith” found in the Old Testament (starting with Abel). It’s topic is NOT “I’ve got a secret that I’m letting slip out, since I’m Divinely-inspired Paul and this clue will allow Zack to supplement his faith in 1,900 years”.

      In fact, the irony is if you even knew what faith was and how it is supposed to operate from a Xian theological perspective, you’d realize the exquisite irony of seeking such obtuse and indirect hidden clues in an attempt to support your beliefs. By looking for evidence, you’re demonstrating your LACK of faith, much like Doubting Thomas who was chastised by Jesus for only believing after he perceived evidence.

      The topic of scientific ignorance as found in the Bible is an area of special interest of mine: I need to compile my research into an article, since it’s one of the weakest possible arguments to support faith. From the role of the various organs of the human body indicating anatomical ignorance (hearts, kidneys, liver) to the firmament (Hebrew word, Tariq), the half-dome which God walked on top of, or opened the floodgates to cause the Flood of Noah, it’s a shockingly and amazingly ignorant view of Cosmology.

      Adam

      • Monocle Smile says

        Boom. Headshot.

        I was wondering about the timeline of atomic theory, and I thought it probably predated Hebrews.

        Another point is that Zack was totally wrong about the Hebrew word for “sphere.” They DO have a word for “ball,” and that’s not the one that’s used in Isaiah.

        Clam divers knew all about mountains and valleys under water. Clam diving has been a thing probably longer than language has been around. Furthermore, Zack is conflating the simple observation of something like mountains and valleys under the seas with science’s study of the MECHANISMS pertaining to how those things came about.

        • Berry Sweet says

          Democritus: Lived almost 500 years before Hebrews was written. And I understand the new testament is written in Greek, therefore the writer of Hebrews could have already had this concept of atoms in mind. As Democritus was an influential Ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher primarily remembered today for his formulation of an atomic theory of the universe… Sorry Zach no revelation from a god:(

      • says

        God fails at communication again. The bible is all about stories… why not an analogy to something like rock walls that are made out of individual rocks. Except, we’re talking about really really small rocks.

        But no, we get this bizarre “made of things unseen” phrase… but you are seeing atoms everywhere… just a whole lot of them at the same time. The verse says nothing about whether individual atoms are visible…. so it’s heavily open to interpretation.

        Second, even if it had a perfectly accurate description of something scientific that we can validate today, there’s a number of possibilities:

        1) They guessed well

        2) An unknown technologically advanced group of humans let them in on this fact, and then was wiped out by a volcano or something

        3) Aliens clued them in

        4) A universe-creating guy, for who knows what reason, let them know about this specific fact

        #4 is the most absurd… and yet, as usual, they dart straight for the single most unlikely explanation without any evidence to back up the conclusion.

        • says

          When he talks about it “being more likely” that the scientific knowledge was granted by a god? How exactly is he deriving that probability?

          Without hard numbers, we at least have some rudimentary qualitative approach – assessing precedence and assumptions. The more precedent something has been in the past, in terms of being confirmably true, the more likely the claim is true. The more undemonstrated assumptions it makes, the less likely it’s true.

          The god explanation is both zero-precedence, and making many massive absurd assumptions. So how exactly is he thinking this is likely?

          Also, when he’s rationalizing why the “invisible” in the second verse would likely have explicitly stated “God”… it’s scary because it sounds like he’s constructing an entire world view out of something as casual as “Well it seems to me like it would have said God there, despite the Bible being very poetic, and that means it MUST have been particles, which means the Bible MUST be the inspired word of God, which means God MUST exist.“… does he approach everything that way?

      • xscd says

        By looking for evidence, you’re demonstrating your LACK of faith

        That’s one of the things I frequently think when listening to or reading Christians or other religious people. To the extent they find themselves defending their beliefs, they actually question or doubt them.

      • John Kruger says

        He is going to have a hard time when he gets past the picking and choosing stage of science supporting the Bible. The sun came before plants, bats are mammals and not birds, and rabbits do not chew cud. The Bible says the opposite of all three of those things. I wonder how those verses fit into his “science verifies the Bible is true” schtick.

        Funny how the Bible science ends up telling us in a mystical way only about stuff we have already discovered and nothing as yet undiscovered. Muslims seem to like this kind of argument even more than Christians, but they both fail spectacularly in the same ways.

        • says

          In hindsight, I do wish they had asked the caller this basic question:

          If you think that stuff aligning in science demonstrates the Bible is divinely inspired, would you agree that if the Bible gets the science wrong, that’s evidence against it being divinely inspired?

          If the answer is not “yes”, then move on.

          • xscd says

            That’s a great question! If “the Bible got it right!” is “proof” that the Bible is accurate and has information that only God could have known, then when the Bible is clearly wrong, uh–what does that say about God’s so-called “omniscience”?

            The truth is, all of our gods-as-human-creations seem about as flawed, prejudiced, wrong and capriciously cruel as us. Although I’m all for private, personal spirituality, if it is fulfilling in one’s life and doesn’t hurt anyone else, organized, institutionalized, socialized religion really makes my skin crawl, when it creeps into our communities, invades our schools and our children’s lives, insidiously inserts itself into our government and tries to determine our laws, etc. (did I use enough negative stack-the-deck words in that sentence?) :-)

          • says

            Also, the corollary:

            If Democritus or Plato or Aristotle, or the Vedas or the Sumerians or the Egyptians got some scientific facts right (and much more accurately) hundreds of years before your bible passages were written, why aren’t you convinced that the Greeks, Hindus, Sumerians and/or Egyptians weren’t divinely inspired? Why are you worshipping Jesus instead of Zeus, Vishnu, Inanna or Isis?

      • xxxxxx says

        the existence of tiny invisible particles that make up matter was hypothesized and discussed about 600 yrs BEFORE Hebrews 11 was written. That’s a long time BEFORE, as distant in the past as the Middle Ages are to our present day. ,/blockquote>

        This was exactly what I was thinking. If this caller simply had researched (as he actually explicitly claimed during this call to have done) a bit about the topic, he would have quickly found Democratus. And if he read what this ancient Greek wrote and contrasted it with Biblical “prediction” of atoms, the caller would have not only instantly realized that this BIblical statement in Hebrews cannot in any way be called a prediction (because Democratus ideas were already extant at the time of the Bible’s writing), but he would easily see that the simple statement of “what is seen was not made out of what was visible” — a supposedly divinely inspired revelation from God about atoms — is an utter failed pedogogical attempt when contrasted to Democratus’ words on the subject (even given that Democratus’ ruminations on the topic pale in comparison to what modern atomic theory says). Hebrews 11:2 isn’t a a prediction but rather a childish misinterpretation, at best, of an extant rudimentary idea of the day. Heb11:2 is more akin to what kindergartener might regurgitate a few months after they were presented with a child-appropriate presentation on the atom by his/her teacher == vague, non-specific, and if we didn’t have prior knowledge of what the child was attempting to explain to us, we likely would have no idea what the child was talking about.

        • Matt Gerrans says

          Was it Romans or Hebrews that says “The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons (except in the case of hydrogen-1…”

          • adamah says

            Lol!

            Hi Frank,

            The usual Xian apologetic is that Jesus didn’t come to reveal scientific knowledge to make this existence better, but to “spread the Good News of the Kingdom”, offering the gift of eternal salvation. M’kay?

            The problem is, Jesus healed in the name of God to PROVE he was sent from God, saying he was anointed with Holy Spirit and authorized by God to forgive humans of their sins: this was Jesus’ MO for effecting a cure (the belief was diseases like leprosy were punishment from God for sins, so Jesus foregiving your sins caused a cure).

            Jesus ALSO claimed to prophesy future events, relaying ‘insider information’ from Heaven that was only available to a prescient (future-knowing) God, who gives the gift of prophecy to some of his servants. The gift of accurate prophecy was supposed to validate God as the source, serving as proof.

            These reasons are exactly WHY ending up on the wrong side of science about something like the value of hand-washing before meals (or washing dishes/pots/utensils after you eat/cook) is so damning: it shows Jesus was thinking just like any other mortal of his time, and was completely out of the loop, not foreseeing the emergence of the germ theory of disease a millennia later; he had no Heavenly insight into the creation or existence of microorganisms (bacteria/viruses/fungi) which anyone with a microscope today can see for themselves.

            What a missed opportunity to offer the World circumstantial evidence as proof, truly reflecting God’s glory simply by revealing even a tiny morsel of knowledge that science later confirmed to be true. Jesus could’ve turned water into wine, not to avoid social embarrassment for the host, but to distill the wine to yield ethyl alcohol, the active ingredient found in Purell. The technology for building stills existed even in 1000BC: all humanity needed was the knowledge, a simple push in the right direction.

            Instead, there’s nothing, nada.

            We have the challenge of being told that faith is a desirable trait (!), and are told to IGNORE all the false prophecies, the massive contradictions, etc.

            Adam

          • Frank G. Turner says

            @Adam and Matt Gerrans
            That was not me who made the comments about protons and neutrons and charges and clouds, though as a Chemist and as someone who believes in unambiguous explanation (as indicated by another post) it sounds like something I WOULD have said. Give credit to Matt Gerrans where it is due though. He and I do think alike. As I have often said, if one were to re-write the Bible to sound more favorable to someone like me instead of sounding like a newspaper full of poetry it would sound more like a textbook or a set of instructions on how to put together a couch you bought from IKEA.
            .
            Oh and I believe that the distillation process was actually being developed in Greece during the time when Jesus supposedly lived. I remember having a conversation with someone who had come to think that the wine Jesus made was no alcoholic since liquor is evil (typical JW or Mormon or other teetotaler Protestant argument who does nto have the first clue about Chemistry). I went into this extensive discussion about how ethanol fermentation (which the individual had very little clue of) was a natural process caused by yeast found on the surface of grapes and present in all grape juice that we have learned to stunt with modern technology but which ran rampant in those times so wine was basically discovered by accident (though some developments into doing it on purpose was present before the common era). Of course I then went into how the ethanol is the waste product of the yeast and potentially fatal to the yeast microorganisms in large enough quantities so the maximum percent of ethanol present in the wine without distillation is quite low (14%) and how in those days it would take a long time to get even that high. Averaging at about 3-4 percent (referencing the last supper) it would take nearly the whole bottle to have as much ethanol as a single glass of 12-14% wine.
            .
            Counter arguments where your typical, I am divinely inspired or my pastor said it so I believe it, or that just can’t be true, etc. bull-crap arguments. One Mormon woman did accept that perhaps the wine was alcoholic after understanding about fermentation limits but failed to see that her superiors in her church were either lying to her or did not know what they were talking about or both. (One of her arguments against evolution came from a principle that we can easily demonstrate today is false via Xenobiotic grafting and after reading it she was open to evolution (at least of animals other than humans) but still refused to see the A&E story as factually incorrect.
            .
            Oh and by the way I did get an interesting response to the “what is the deeper metaphoric meaning of Noah and A&E if they are not really fact” stories that was not crickets chirping. The response to A&E was that we are all brothers and sisters derived from one source (life, God, earth, whatever) so we should treat one another with respect and compassion even if we disagree (although Cain and Abel did not do a very good job of that, but some stories are about what NOT to do). Of course there are other stories that make that point much less ambiguously. The response I got to the Noah story was that it is about feeling like you are against everyone else in the world, like you are going to have to struggle against insurmountable odds and that you can succeed (again this is demonstrated by other stories better). It is a moot point as that is really trying to see the meaning in retrospect rather than getting a clear, direct description of the original author’s intent from the original author The answers did demonstrate though that a believer had actually thought about that rather than being blind sided by the question as many believers are. I find that the show tells people that often at the end of the call (Matt Dillahunty makes an effort) but many don’t seem to want to do so. Funny how a drive to have certainty and completion drives so many to NOT learn and research more.

          • blue says

            Romans. Hebrews is where it says (KJV) “yeah, verily the hadron shall comprise three quarks, yet God does hate when all partake of the same colour, this is an abomination unto the Lord. And the Lord spake untoeth the quarks, ye shall be uppeth or downeth, and charmedeth and strangeth, ye shall be toppeth and bottometh, so sayeth the Lord unto you, for he is a just and loving God. And, forsooth, if one should come among you with word of vibrating strings, cast them from your fellowship, for ’tis vile slander and unscientific to boot. Thus spaketh the Lord, and His word is truth. And it shall come to pass that in a mountainous land many peoples will join to cause impacts up to 7 TeV, and thus shall be revealed mine very own particle, and it shall be good.” and so on and so forth.

            Of course, this was Hebrews 11:41, and was cut by the secret Nicene council science group for being far too advanced for the time. You should see the section in Leviticus describing how to isolate penicillin from bread, great stuff, but you know, we weren’t ready.

          • Frank G. Turner says

            @blue
            .
            LOL
            .
            To give you an idea of how well we must have been thinking alike, I was making up in my mind a hypothetical lost book of Numbers (I had actually written some of this down yesterday) in which a description of opposite forces drawn together but in separate clouds beyond the reach of the eye, save but by glass in the shape of eyes arranged in lines. One force at the center and composed of a force, which shall be called positive, and a middle force that shalt prevent said repulsion of similar positive force in said central heart prevented and the other cloud variable in shape by the power of other central forces. As so forth these 2 central forces, one neutral and one positive, shall themselves be made up of 6 separate forces themselves not positive and negative but up and middle and down, etc.

          • adamah says

            Frank said-

            comments about protons and neutrons and charges and clouds, though as a Chemist and as someone who believes in unambiguous explanation (as indicated by another post) it sounds like something I WOULD have said. Give credit to Matt Gerrans where it is due though.

            Yeah, sorry for the confusion guys, as the lol! was indeed intended for Matt’s “Bible as college chemistry textbook”
            comment, but I suffered a unfortune episode of premature postjaculation before I could preview it (I HATE it when that happens!).

            Frank, back to your IKEA instructions, when the Bible mentions a scientific understanding, it usually is WRONG; so it’s probably just as good the Bible DOESN’T share it’s knowledge and wisdom of the physical World with humanity, but instead gets vague; otherwise, we’d have believers insisting the Earth is mounted on the back of turtles standing atop turtles.

            For a downpouring of ancient ignorance of physical science on display, one only need of read the book of Job, where YHWH launches into his “Where were you when I did so-and-so?” diatribe against Job. It’s all there, my fave being the store-houses of rain and hail up in heaven (you know, where hail is stored separately from the rain, until weather angels get the order to drop one or the other thru openings in the firmament onto the Earth)?

            Sometimes, the old “but it’s poetic!” objection is preferable, since it means there ARE limits to the believer’s credulity, a point past which they’ll say, “This CAN’T be true: is the Bible just yanking my chain!?!”

            Unfortunately, some are seduced by the poetic approach used, as if God is a great poet.

            Oh and I believe that the distillation process was actually being developed in Greece during the time when Jesus supposedly lived.

            But not for the purposes of making a simple liquid hand sanitizer, eg Purell, with instructions on how/when to use it.

            That’s my point: the technology for distilling was present, and the only thing lacking was Spirit-guided direction, where Jesus only had to reveal the then-unknown knowledge that small poisonous insect-like creatures (too small to be seen with the naked eye) existed, a fact which later would’ve been verified when microscopes were invented.

            Jesus only had to explain these tiny living insects cause a host of human illnesses, some of which could be easily-avoided by using distilled wine, carried around in a flask and applied to one’s hands, esp if soap and water weren’t available.

            (BTW, soap is ANOTHER easily-made substance which was discovered and used long before Jesus was born, but not used as a preventative for disease transmission until a few millennia later. Jesus couldn’t be bothered to say, “Hey, if you just use THIS stuff (soap) over HERE (hands), you’ll dramatically reduce deaths from disease.”)

            And for cryin’ out loud, Jesus certainly wouldn’t pooh-pooh the practice of hand-washing, which IS known to be effective, even as practiced by the Pharisees (and it turns out the lil’ critters really don’t seem to care about the religious beliefs of humans, since they don’t discriminate between when a Jew carries out ‘ritual hand-washing’ and when a non-believer washes his hands: they get carried off, just the same).

            Of course, the ‘germ theory of disease’ didn’t fit into Jesus’ act, which relied on the common misconception that illnesses were a punishment from God(s) caused by the sins of the afflicted individual, hence healing results when God grants forgiveness of their sins.

            Jesus was wrong on THAT hypothesis, since we know eg leprosy results from bacterial infection, ONLY, and is easily-treated by oral antibiotics (and there is no correlation between sin/foregiveness and leprosy; people who don’t confess and repent get well, just as long as they don’t forget to take the pills).

            The World Health Organization reports millions of humans have been treated and cured of leprosy within the last decade alone, which dwarfs the handful of lepers Jesus claims to have cured. And even if we accept that Jesus cured leprosy (let’s just forget all about spontaneous resolution as the immune system overcomes pathogens, etc), it’s just not that impressive to modern readers, who will become increasingly less impressed as time goes on. In the line adapted from the movie “There Will Be Blood”, medical doctors are “drinking Jesus’ milkshake”.

            On another note: it’s funny that evolution gets all the flak, so why aren’t Xians like Sye/Eric rushing to attack Pasteur’s ‘germ theory of disease’ with their typical arguments (eg “it’s ONLY a theory”)?

            Why aren’t they even trying to defend the Bible’s long-disproven ‘Sin theory of disease’? Where are all the religiously-motivated ‘germ theory deniers’?

            (Perhaps they’re currently busy with “PIE denial”, arguing against the Proto-Indo-European theory that explains the emergence of various foreign languages in an effort to defend the Bible’s ‘Tower of Babel’ theory?)

            Every time a modern-day believer like Sye takes a modern medicine to cure some bacterial infection, it’s like he’s insulting Jesus, calling him a fake!

            Sye, where’s your FAITH?! You’ve gotta bee-leave with your whole heart, brutha Sye! Fear not one who can kill the body, but the one who can destroy both the body AND the soul!

            I remember having a conversation with someone who had come to think that the wine Jesus made was no alcoholic since liquor is evil (typical JW or Mormon or other teetotaler Protestant argument who does nto have the first clue about Chemistry).

            Non-alcoholic? That’s a new one, lol!

            Genesis tells us righteous Noah (the archetype of Jesus) planted the first vineyard, and supposedly was the first human to make wine.

            Not only that, Noah got DRUNK on his wine, which we now understand is the result of ethanol content (unless someone wants to claim it’s only a metaphor, and Noah was getting intoxicated on Holy Spirit? No takers?).

            You’ve gotta luv how apologetists suggest Noah as the father of cultivation of grapes, yet Noah didn’t know the aged grape juice would get him juiced (and speaking of cause and effect, that excuse should fly for HOW many times after waking up with a massive hangover? Once? Twice?).

            Isn’t this the same Noah who God warned about the Flood? But warning Noah of the dangers of excess consumption/drunkenness didn’t warrant even a slight “heads-up” from God, a tip shared with humanity for everyone’s benefit right from the start in Genesis?

            ;)

            Oh and by the way I did get an interesting response to the “what is the deeper metaphoric meaning of Noah and A&E if they are not really fact” stories that was not crickets chirping. The response to A&E was that we are all brothers and sisters derived from one source (life, God, earth, whatever) so we should treat one another with respect and compassion even if we disagree…

            Allow me to suggest your threshold for what constitutes ‘deep metaphorical meaning’ seems rather low?

            In fact, I’d consider that explanation as being equivalent to the sounds crickets produce by rubbing their hind legs together, except only louder: that interpretation is quite a stretch, involving some heavy-handed insertion of morality that simply isn’t reflected in the original account.

            It’s reaching a non-sequitorial conclusion (“respect”? “compassion”?), since it contradicts many elements of the story (including God handling down the death penalty for disobedience: where’s the display of “compassion”?).

            That’s like suggesting “the boy who cried wolf” is a lesson in harmony and forgiveness, rather than a warning not undermine one’s credibility by lying, else you earn a reputation as a liar.

            Since we’re speaking of it, I view the account of Adam and Eve as a variation on a theme found in other pre-existing myths, serving as an introduction to the first human pair who supposedly screwed the pooch for the rest of us by not obeying God (thus setting the groundwork for an incessant series of “appeals to Divine authority” that follow, with parables to demonstrate that God is a badass not to be messed with, as YHWH don’t take no guff).

            As far as the functionality provided by the Torah, I see it as law code intertwined with mini-vignettes which offer a made-up history and explains and justifies the laws (which are later presented in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deut).

            The parable of A&E thus serves as a GREAT intro that delivers the unstated message that paying close attention to semantics and little details of what follows is VERY IMPORTANT (analogous to the gruesome pictures of auto accidents shown at the beginning of virtually every drivers ed course since the invention of cars). Eve didn’t pay close attention to the serpent’s and God’s lawyer-like use of “weasel words”, and look at the train-wreck that resulted!

            The story is an attention-grabber, and it’s clever (and the Yahwist should be sued for copyright infringement for ripping off the story and motifs from the ancient Mesopotamians, lifting ‘the tree of life’, the serpent who’s associated with wisdom, etc).

            The other problem is the stories supposedly telling what NOT to do are often confused with the ones explaining WHAT to do, one example being Lot, whom the Yahwist was using every trick in his arsenal to suggest Lot as a drunken non-worshipper who was saved on account of his relationship to his “righteous” uncle Abraham (as stated in Gen 19:29).

            However, skeevy Lot is declared “righteous” in the NT by 2nd Peter, since the Lot character needed a reputation make-over in order to be shoe-horned into the role.

            (Judaism depicted Lot to demonstrate the concept of ‘transferrable righteousness’, whereas Xianity relied on salvation based on one’s ‘individual merits’, the result of ones actions/works as an individual. Hence the needed reputation makeover to make Lot support Xian theology.)

            Even though the Yahwist concludes the story with Lot hidden from God’s presence (the same fate suffered by Cain), 2nd Peter decided to give Lot a posthumous promotion to Heaven!

            I wrote about the rehab of the reputation of Lot, an easily-seen contradiction existing between the OT to NT, as explained in a 3-part article:

            http://awgue.weebly.com/article-pt-1-revisiting-sodom-was-lot-supposed-to-be-viewed-as-a-righteous-man.html

            Adam

          • adamah says

            Frank said-

            Frank said-

            (although Cain and Abel did not do a very good job of that, but some stories are about what NOT to do). Of course there are other stories that make that point much less ambiguously

            I’ve written how the Cain account seems to have been misread as depicting murder, not manslaughter, supporting my argument by examining later passages in the Bible that describe the punishment for manslaughter (which fits Cain’s punishment).

            Both are killing, but one (manslaughter) is a bit less bad than the other (murder)….

            The Yahwist was a clever writer who relied on subtlety, but he overestimated the comprehension of his audience, and his cleverness left much confusion in its wake, and makes the writings of Paul and Peter seem as if they’re NOT “spirit-breathed”?

            The response I got to the Noah story was that it is about feeling like you are against everyone else in the world, like you are going to have to struggle against insurmountable odds and that you can succeed (again this is demonstrated by other stories better).

            Sure, but that’s not “deeper metaphorical meaning”: it’s merely the contents of any typical Sunday School lesson on the subject, adding details to the Hebrew account to insert details which the plain text don’t say.

            Understand I’m not saying I disagree, just that it’s moralizing and imposing how you would feel, if inserted into the same situation.

            Not surprisingly, the angst generated by the story of God hitting the reset button has fueled much speculation, with extra-Biblical tales and mythology springing up to surround Noah (like water from the great storehouses in the deep)

            eg the JWs rely on Noah to justify their preaching work, based on the questionable addition by the unknown author of 2nd Peter, claiming Noah preached salvation; that claim directly contradicts details given in the Genesis account itself, as explained in this article:

            http://awgue.weebly.com/genesis-vs-2nd-peter-noah-didnt-preach-bupkis.html

            There is no offer of salvation or repentance in Genesis, which wasn’t needed, since per Paul in Romans, there was no sin in the World before the Flood!

            Yet more Bible contradictions!

            Xianity has a long history of evolving doctrines, and no one has noticed or cared, for the most part: most people believe what they WANT to believe, let the evidence be damned.

            It is a moot point as that is really trying to see the meaning in retrospect rather than getting a clear, direct description of the original author’s intent from the original author.

            I always say that many Xians would be shocked to discover how foreign the Near East is today, much less travel in time to the Ancient Near East, where they’d see alien cultural practices, values, and norms (even assuming you magically could speak fluently and understand their spoken language, be it Aramaic, Hebrew, etc).

            That’s the irony: believers claim the Bible is “God-breathed”, working to get closer to the authors’ original inspired message in an effort to get closer to learning God’s intent.

            But when presented with evidence produced by those engaged in such efforts, Xians will simply deny, deny, deny any evidence which doesn’t comport with the familar comforting story they know (eg Frank’s example of the woman who just couldn’t handle the concept of Job being a fictional character in a parable, only, even though it’s disclosed as such in the opening verse. It’s seems to me like a PRETTY IMPORTANT MATTER to ask oneself before proceeding: is this story historical fact or fiction?

            Sadly, it’s incredibly difficult to avoid donning custom filters when viewing the world, the best recent example being that of Jarad Miller, the guy who killed two cops in Las Vegas.

            Here he is in a YouTube video, explaining why all we need is the “Golden Rule” (he even talks about murder):

            http://youtu.be/xG1AkjzMCOY

            He grappled with pseudo-intellectual issues that were well-above his paygrade (he apparently was a listener of Alex Jones nonsense). The dude worked himself up into a paranoid lather, and killed two cops.

            The answers did demonstrate though that a believer had actually thought about that rather than being blind sided by the question as many believers are. I find that the show tells people that often at the end of the call (Matt Dillahunty makes an effort) but many don’t seem to want to do so. Funny how a drive to have certainty and completion drives so many to NOT learn and research more.

            Many people put less effort into determining the truth of what they believe than they put into deciding what they’ll eat for lunch. When the rubber meets the road, most people simply don’t care WHAT they believe, caring more about HOW their belies makes them FEEL.

            They create their own “personal myth” and tenaciously latch on to it (we all do, some more than others).

            A common saying amongst atheists is, “you cannot choose what you believe”: unfortunately, that smells suspiciously like projecting their values onto others, telling themselves THEY cannot choose what they believe, so no one else could, either.

            Unfortunately, it’s just NOT the case for everyone (it’s an ‘appeal to personal experience’ fallacy), and to accept it you’d have to ignore mounds of evidence from psychologists pointing to the power of denial and self-delusion, both tactics utilized by Xians to protect their cherished beliefs.

            YES, believers like Sye ARE in essence choosing their beliefs by consciously protecting them from challenge by refusing to even examine counter-evidence, or refusing to discuss the Bible with non-believers; they use such tactics without blushing, operating under a banner that the Bible renames “protecting their faith” (even though the Bible ALSO tells Xians to strengthen their faith by testing it in the fire. Talk out of both sides of your mouth much, Bible?).

            Adam

          • Frank G. Turner says

            @ adamah
            The response I got to the Noah story was that it is about feeling like you are against everyone else in the world, like you are going to have to struggle against insurmountable odds and that you can succeed (again this is demonstrated by other stories better).
            .
            Sure, but that’s not “deeper metaphorical meaning”:
            ,
            When I said “deeper,” I mean it technically. Having actually thought about that shows that a person put a LITTLE bit more thought into it (i.e.: it is better than nothing at all), not a lot (i.e.: maybe I should read some scholars outside of my normal approved area.
            .
            Many people put less effort into determining the truth of what they believe than they put into deciding what they’ll eat for lunch. When the rubber meets the road, most people simply don’t care WHAT they believe, caring more about HOW their belies makes them FEEL.

            They create their own “personal myth” and tenaciously latch on to it (we all do, some more than others).

            A common saying amongst atheists is, “you cannot choose what you believe”:
            .
            Emotions are very powerful in many people and often come before facts in their minds. Some of us are much more stoic and put our trust in empirical information, hard observable evidence, others can’t or won’t.
            .

      • Hope says

        “Things we see are made up of things we don’t see”? Holy shit! Whoever wrote Hebrews knew about thetans thousands of years before L. Ron Hubbard was even born! The Bible proves Scientology!

        • adamah says

          Hope said-

          “Things we see are made up of things we don’t see”?

          I suspect it’s a rebuke of those Greek heathen materialists who suggested matter had no beginning, but always existed; that’s in contradiction to the Genesis account, where God used no pre-existing matter, but simply uttered everything into existence. Of course, there were no eyewitnesses.

          In fact, Zack should’ve claimed it’s referring to the Big Bang, since at least THAT would be closer (but not aligning with current scientific thinking).

          It’s a red herring, though, since Hebrews 11 is NOT about atoms, but FAITH (check out alternative Bible translations if you think it’s referring to atoms, since they all handle the Greek quite differently and some don’t give the slightest suggestion of atoms).

          ‘Barnes Notes on the Bible’ has this to say about Hebrews 11:3, explaining why the creation narrative of Genesis appears at the beginning of a discussion of the “heroes of faith” (eg Noah, Abraham, etc) found in the Old Testament:

          The “faith” here exercised is confidence in the truth of the divine declarations in regard to the creation.

          The meaning is, that our knowledge on this subject is a mere matter of faith in the divine testimony. It is not that we could “reason” this out, and demonstrate that the worlds were thus made; it is not that profane history goes back to that period and informs us of it; it is simply that God has told us so in his word.

          You have to believe the creation account based on FAITH, which means believing DESPITE OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY that insidates it isn’t true. THAT’S what faith means. The NT Bible tells you have to believe the OT Bible, which IS a circular appeal to authority.

          I find it incredibly ironic that Zack is engaging in eisegesis (ie reading a desired interpretation into the words by seeing a reference to atoms which isn’t there), using Hebrews 11 of all chapters, the famous chapter which is extolling the virtues of faith to believers, explaining WHY possessing it is crucial to gaining salvation and offering examples worthy of emulation, per Paul!

          Adam

      • Matt Gerrans says

        I loved Jesus’ ignorance of horticulture/agriculture, when claims that a “bad” or sick tree can’t bear good fruit and a “good” or healthy tree can’t bear bad fruit. Both of these claims are false. Yes, I know it is “just” an analogy, but the purpose of an analogy is to illustrate something. If it is based on a false metaphor, then it is not illustrating properly (other than illustrating the ignorance of the speaker/writer).

        And of course, there’s the one where Jesus throws a hissy-fit and “withers” a fig tree because it doesn’t have any fruit for him out of season.

        We also know they were wrong about mustard seeds.

        You shouldn’t have any trouble finding lots of material for your article.

        • adamah says

          Hi all,

          Here’s the article I wrote on one of Jesus’ most obvious FUBAR statements, claiming that washing hands before eating a meal where bread was consumed (which is eaten by hand) wasn’t necessary.

          In order to understand why he made that claim, I had offer some background information on the beliefs of the Pharisees, as well as explaining the Jewish ‘sin hypothesis of disease’ to see why Jesus had a vested interest in denouncing hand-washing:

          http://awgue.weebly.com/why-did-jesus-protest-washing-hands-before-eating.html

          I still have to do some serious pruning to enhance readability, but feel free to leave any suggestions, comments, typos/errors, etc either here or on my site.

          Adam

    • martianspy says

      I think Matt was visibly frustrated before taking this caller. Even though Zack did not have a leg to stand on, Matt came off poorly IMO. I generally really like watching him, but Zack seemed to send him over thd edge. I hope this episode doesnt scare off any future potential theist callers.

  5. Chris says

    I think it was a good episode, John is still finding his voice but that’s fine :)

    I personally would prefer if longs calls like the one this week were cut shorter, but I recognize the show doesn’t exist for my entertainment! Although, I do think these calls are beneficial to christian callers. I want them to watch and think: “gee, people I agree with have no idea what they’re talking about. Maybe being in the majority doesn’t really mean anything, I should look into this…”

    Well those are my random thoughts, keep up the good work guys.

    • JT Rager says

      John could definitely stand to talk more, he’s probably a bit shy (who can blame him if he’s sitting next to Matt, too). However, I’ve really enjoyed his short beginnings to the show. I liked the Beatles one from last time and this list.

      If John’s reading this, I’d love to see more of them, even though (or especially since) they’re less than five minutes of the show.

    • xxxxxx says

      He was hillarious (in a cruel and unjust way). I couldn’t help but think of the Robin Williams’ radio-character from “Good Morning, Viet Nam!” (noted below as the “funny voice”) –

      Cronauer … “Remember the people who brought you Korea! That’s right! The U.S. Army. If it’s being done correctly here or abroad, it’s probably NOT being done by the Army.”
      Cronauer as funny voice … “I heard that!”
      Cronauer … “Oh-ho! You’re here! Good to see you!”
      Funny voice … “I’m here to make sure you don’t say anything controversial.”
      Cronauer … “Speaking of things controversial, is it true there’s a marijuana problem here in Vietnam?”
      Funny voice … “NO, it’s not a problem, everybody HAS it.”

      (A quote also appropos given Matt’s on-air claims to being in a state-of-doobiliciousness himself….).

      • adamah says

        Yeah, he twice mentioned being prescribed psychotropic meds, but he said he didn’t take them since they clouded his thinking (a typical complaint of people diagnosed with conditions that involve psychoses eg schizophrenia, some types of bipolar disorder, etc).

        “Christ” seemed pretty coherent to me (not much disjointed thought on display, aka “word salad”), but it was pretty clear he was battling with some kind of mental illness.

        BTW, I strongly-suspect religious thinking is absolutely TOXIC to those struggling to separate reality from fantasy/imaginary, as most schizophrenics are. They’re at-risk anyway, and cannot handle the additional pressure of being told that invisible spirit beings (demons) are real. Their minds can generate their own demons on their own, and adding vivid fodder (like from the book of Revelation) is simply adding fuel to their fires.

        Unfortunately, those who hear voices and experience visual hallucinations are also at greater risk for believing, based on their personal experiences.

        Adam

        • xxxxxx says

          BTW, I strongly-suspect religious thinking is absolutely TOXIC to those struggling to separate reality from fantasy/imaginary, as most schizophrenics are.

          I think its actually a vicious feedback loop, since the reverse is also true. That is to say that mental illness is often toxic to religious thinking as well. While some religious people treat mental illness as “possessed by demons” this is probably not the typical scenario. Historically, many cases of mental illness, as seen through the lens of religion, has often been interpretted as as somekind of superpower “gift” from the almighty…’cause, you know, god has to deligate his workload onto us humans occasionally….

          The movie “Agnes of God” is a pop-cultural display of this religious nuttery, and, in a more academic example, the link to a youtube lecture, below, by the Stanford neuroscientist, Robert Sapolsky, lays out a strong evidence based arguement for how religious treatment of schizophrenia (as a gift) may have been a key mechanism for the continuation of this mental disorder over the centuries.

          lecture

          • Matt Gerrans says

            It seems like some religions, such as Islam really like to accentuate and encourage any tendencies toward obsessive compulsive disorder, with their extremely anal retentive and detailed rules and procedures about when to pray, how to pray, how to prepare, what to to wear or not wear, how to oppress and abuse your women, etc., etc.

          • adamah says

            Xxxxx, that’s an interesting video in the link: thanks!

            Another thing atheists should be “spreading the word” about is the phenomena of visual and auditory hallucinations not being rare (some 10% of the population will experience them), and they’re not always as a result of mental illness (although they’ve been heavily-stigmatized as such).

            Support groups like these are popping up around the world:

            http://www.hearing-voices.org

            The interesting thing to me is that someone who’s brain is wired differently than you or I who experiences “crosstalk” will mis-attribute it to an external source, and if they’re in a religious environment will ascribe it to God, Jesus, Ganesh, Ahuru Mazda, etc.

            The Bible is chockful of individuals who claimed to experience hallucinations, hence the Bible will be like a beacon to anyone prone to hearing voices; it resonate in them, being an account they can easily relate to.

            The key is demystifying and removing the social stigma from such experiences (hard when we’ve all the the crazy homeless guy standing on a street, talking to invisible beings, but we don’t see the functional member of society who hears voices but is able to manage them).

            Studies over the past decade have confirmed by fMRI studies that the auditory centers of their brains light up, as if they were listening to someone talking to them in the room. They are perceiving it, all right, but as these cases demonstrate, our perceptions can be misleading.

            Adam

          • Matt Gerrans says

            Times are easier now for those who hear voices. Just get yourself a bluetooth headset and you can happily talk back to them and nobody will blink.

          • adamah says

            Matt said-

            Times are easier now for those who hear voices. Just get yourself a bluetooth headset and you can happily talk back to them and nobody will blink.

            True dat, as it’s all about the cultural context, and as Sampolsky says in the video, finding the right balance between full-blown schizophrenia and the schizotypal personality.

            Funny thing is, Jesus was protesting the introduction of such OCD-like rituals introduced into Judaism by the Pharisees with their oral Torah, but he picked the ONE ritual to declare as worthless that actually isn’t: handwashing before eating. Point being, sometimes those compulsions DO serve a beneficial purpose towards survival of the organism, REGARDLESS if the mechanism behind it is understood by it or not (ie even a blind mouse sometimes finds the cheese).

            Jesus was fighting a losing battle, one example being his protests over prayers that didn’t speak from the heart, but were simply repeated from rote memory.

            So just after slamming rote prayers, what does Jesus do, but say, “Instead, pray THIS way: “Our Father, hallowed be thy name…”, offering his disciples the “Lord’s prayer” which has been repeatedly by rote memory ever since….

            (Insert ‘Jesus slapping forehead’ image here)

            Adam

        • Hope says

          Yeah, he twice mentioned being prescribed psychotropic meds, but he said he didn’t take them since they clouded his thinking (a typical complaint of people diagnosed with conditions that involve psychoses eg schizophrenia, some types of bipolar disorder, etc).

          “Christ” seemed pretty coherent to me (not much disjointed thought on display, aka “word salad”), but it was pretty clear he was battling with some kind of mental illness.

          I must have missed that part, since I was having trouble understanding him over the phone line. But yeah, having just graduated with a Bachelor’s in psychology, I definitely came to the same conclusion as you by the end when he started talking about a Vatican cover-up of some kind. Definitely some delusions going on there.

        • C.B. Evans says

          Anecdotal: My family had experienced changes in my 20 y.o. nephew’s behavior over a period of many months, including slower cognition and an increasingly adamant belief in fundamentalist Christianity he had encountered at a church in his college town.

          He had done well at first in college, but then got distracted and began getting poor grades. His father insisted he join the military, but the only branch that would have him (mostly because of his history of therapy) was the National Guard. He was in boot camp for just a few weeks before they sent him back. He returned hinting darkly of terrible things that had happened there, but did not specify.

          Upon his return, his father berated him and challenged his manhood. The nephew went back and dived more headlong into his church. And then things really went downhill.

          What appalls me is that the church people took him in as a lost lamb … then proceeded to fill his head with all sorts of religious claptrap. As he got worse, he particularly fixated on the idea that he was a sinner, perhaps unredeemable, and eventually “God” began speaking to him in his head about precisely that. He took to scrawling notes on shreds of paper, littering his car with hundreds of them.

          When challenged in any way — I shared with him that I was once Christian, am no longer, and that people can come to these conclusions for sound reasons — I could almost see the smoke pouring from his ears as his face reddened and scrunched, his head bowed and he clearly could not take in that idea.

          At this point, I was sure something was wrong. But my family said no, he needs the support of his church.

          Shortly thereafter, police picked him up on campus raving about God and he was involuntarily committed. He was diagnosed schizophrenic and had been suffering religious mania and delusions. Today he is on medication, and while he still attends his church, he is no longer so fixated or delusional.

          But that church did him no good. Members told him he did not need psychiatry or medication, and that all he needed to do was pray, pray, pray.

          And that, literally, was what drove him into his psychotic break: the message that if he just did it *right,* all his “sins” and troubles would melt away.

          Bastards.

          • adamah says

            Hi CB,

            That’s a sobering account, but not so uncommon.

            I grew up as a JW, and remember an episode from my youth, where a 20-something single mother was experiencing episodes of demonic attack in her bed, ie she felt like a demon was attempting to rape her.

            The local JW elders (usu. uneducated window washers, trades/construction, etc) came over to investigate, looking for any objects she may have recently acquired that demons could’ve piggy-backed on to enter her home (some JWs are reluctant to buy used items @ garage sales or eBay, for that very reason). Finding nothing to blame it on, they pray with her and told her to increase her activity in the group.

            This was in the early 70s, and the bad news is it’s likely going on today, since the JWs still believe in demons and are blissfully ignorant of phenomena like ‘sleep paralysis’ (which, in hindsight, her report is a CLASSIC description of).

            The JW elders end up encountering many cases of mental illness, and usually end up disfellowshipping the obviously untreated and undiagnosed schizophrenics (for apostasy, etc), as just like Sampolsky says, every group has a limit to the amount of craziness it’ll tolerate, and voice-hearers are seen as attempting to take control (only the governing body is allowed to interpret the Bible, being the sole channel appointed by God to receive Holy Spirit).

            Adam

  6. Mattias says

    Tell Kyle about Cells. We cant see them. Tell him about Elekctrons we cant see them. With the naked eye.

    Tell him that we can actually see atoms with aid of instruments. Tell him we can see electrons and cells with instruments.

    CELLS CELLS CELLS

    • Frank G. Turner says

      As a scientist, more a Chemist than a Biologist but I do have some biology training and study under my belt, we can see some cells with the naked eye, look at your skin really closely or if you could cut into your brain (some brain cells are big enough to see) but they still have components like atoms that are not visible to the naked eye. The fact that we can see some cells with the naked eye but not others might have been a hint as to why stuff like that is mentioned in scripture but it was still just a hypothesis.
      .
      What Kyle and Zack seem to lack is an understanding of the scientific method. Also an education in unambiguous predictions would be good to learn too but it seems that some people’s proneness to superstition and wishful thinking overwhelms their reasoning (putting feelings and emotions before hard empirical evidence). Maybe give them an example of an unambiguous prediction? (One June 20, of the year 2016 the way they measure their time at Longitude X and Latitude Y between 09:33:12-09:45:23 local time John Q of social security number xxx-xx-xxxx interacting with Sally Y of social security xxx-xx-xxxx will state, verbatim, that….).
      .
      With regards to the aid of instruments I have seen them but I have been privileged enough to use an electron microscope.

    • xxxxxx says

      ….how about thoughts and imagination? Is Hebrews 11:2 telling Kyle to become a hard solipsist?

      What about molecules? viruses? bacteria? even dust mite eggs? or really, really, really small rocks? NO….IT MUST BE ATOMS, there can be no other explanation!

  7. blue says

    Adam, that would be a great article. You should write it.

    I’m really annoyed with Matt in this episode. If he’d let Zack talk he’d have really displayed his ignorance. He missed the point where Zack thought string theory wouth replace atomic theory, missed the chance to show he didn’t know about quarks (which are not visible with the naked eye, and make up everything).

    • adamah says

      Hi Blue,

      What I need to do is write a series on the topic, as it’s way too big for single article.

      I have a dormant article I started awhile ago that I need to finish and publish on the blog, explaining Mark 7 and explaining why Jesus poo-poohed such accepted modern-day hygienic practices as hand-washing before eating (long story short: it was about a squabble with the Pharisees, complaining over their oral traditions, which he deprecates as “man made” rules not coming from God. So in an attempt to demand strict compliance with the written Torah, He picks on not just one, but TWO hygienic practices that modern science has verified as being important means of preventing disease transmission, even exposing his ignorance of the germ theory of disease).

      I also need to compile stuff I’ve researched on anatomical ignorance found in the Bible, since ancient men often relied on the “experts” in human anatomy (Egyptians) who mistakenly believed the center of human cognition and thought was located in the torso, not the skull: they literally believed humans thought with their heart! Even Aristotle was famously wrong on the point, where other Greek philosophers who actually worked with patients who suffered head injuries (brain damage) got the correct answer which we take for granted today, eg even a kindergartner knows where the brain is, and what it does. Not so for the Divinely-inspired writers, led by the so-called “Intelligent (cough!) Designer”.

      Modern Xians dismiss the cognitive dissonance by claiming such expressions (eg “the thoughts of the heart”, as found in Genesis’ Flood narrative, or Jesus’ use of the same expression) are only used as figures of speech: while that may be true in the modern-day (thanks to the Bibles influence), it’s only become a figure of speech after science has conclusively demonstrated the falsehood of the concept.

      Same goes for the kidneys, considered by the writers of the Bible to be organs of decision-making (hence why there’s two, to choose between alternatives, and why kidneys were used as guilt offerings after making poor choices). They didn’t know jack about their true role in blood filtration and urine formation.

      Their ignorance explains why the Psalmist exclaims how God knew the contents of his kidneys while still in his mothers womb, as if God were a neonatal nephrologist (kidney specialist) who conducted a prenatal exam to make sure the Psalmist would be able to piss once he’s born? WTF?

      Instead, the passage was intended to show God knows the wise decisions the Psalmist would make, even before he was even born.

      The evidence of such anatomical ignorance is being buried by modern Bible translations, who attempt to hide hints that otherwise would point to ancient anatomical misbeliefs; it’s basically “lying for God”, since they’ll choose a more neutral word (like ‘mind’) which buries the ancient ignorance.

      Adam

      • Frank G. Turner says

        @ Adam
        Funny how I mention in the other post that had spoken with a priest who was a Greek Scholar who said things like the passage in Luke where Jesus referenes Noah has all the indications of a being a figure of speech even though it is not written that way. It had not occurred to me that maybe it had not been given the figure of speech indicators until later so maybe it was intended literally.What you say has really given me insight into the drive to bury falsehoods (cover your tracks) taken by apologists, which basically makes me think that religion as a whole is apologism (which is basically specialized intellectual dishonesty) and always had been. Interesting that people who put such emphasis on not being dishonest are among the most dishonest of people, liars for God basically.
        .
        Of course sometimes figures of speech are intended even if not stated directly (the ancient Hebrews did have a think for hyperbole), and I often tell the story about by blind friend testifying as an expert witness despite not having “seen” anything that I mention in the other post. Why would people need to claim something was fact for fact when it obviously isn’t? You could at least claim that you did not know.
        .

        • adamah says

          Frank said-

          What you say has really given me insight into the drive to bury falsehoods (cover your tracks) taken by apologists, which basically makes me think that religion as a whole is apologism (which is basically specialized intellectual dishonesty) and always had been.

          While on the topic of atoms, I ran across the following article which suggests Xianity rejected Democritus’ hypothesized atoms, on the basis he didn’t believe in God; instead they went with Aristotle’s disproven theory (who said atoms didn’t have any space inside, clearly wrong):

          From: http://www.chemteam.info/AtomicStructure/Greeks.html

          Due to complex circumstances beyond the scope of this lesson, the Catholic Church accepted Aristotle’s position and came to equate Democritus’ atomistic ideas with Godlessness. For example, “Democritus of Abdera said that there is no end to the universe, since it was not created by any outside power.”

          Rejecting ideas not based on evidence, but simply because they don’t comport with one’s desired theology? That appears to be a candidate for inclusion in the Failure of Xianity, if it’s true, where believers end up on the wrong side of a scientific issue, once again….

    • Conversion Tube says

      I wish we could have all hosts and co-hosts on hand ready to respond and then we choose the best one.

      There are times when you can see Matt immediately frustrated because someone’s claim is ignorant. The call continues with him being short with the person and both parties behave unfavorable. I think to myself, Russel, or Jen or Tracie or Martin would handle this better.

      Then there are times when I feel one of the others are too nice and I think, where is Matt when you need him to hammer this guy.

      Sometimes it’s correct respond unfavorable. Hitch quote, “Assertions without Evidence Can be Dismissed Without Evidence.” Then just move on.

      • says

        Yea, the one time I tried to measure rudeness based on interruptions (both full interruptions and attempted interruption) while somebody else was speaking, Matt came off better than the caller and the other host. The thing is that when Matt wants to interrupt or doesn’t want to be interrupted, he sticks to it (CAN I FINISH!?!? or YOUR DUMB ASS IS ON HOLD!!!). Sometimes Matt seems to dial up his frustration/assertiveness/impatience based on the inanity of subject the caller is bringing up, rather than just the tone (rudeness) of caller, where a call that could be more cordial gets vindictive. But, he gets it right most of the time (from my perspective) and it’s easy to see mistakes as an observer with hindsight.

  8. Conversion Tube says

    The “ATOM” call was hilarious. He first argued that the Bible had an understanding of Atoms and by the end of the call he was explaining when they said circle the really meant sphere because they had no word or understanding of the phrase sphere. So we are supposed to believe the bible has some special understanding of the complicated science of atoms but not understand the difference between circle and sphere.

    Fun stuff.

    • says

      I wasn’t detecting a whole lot of deep critical thinking from him. It’s no wonder he stopped being an atheist.

      After all, if you find an old book that seemed to have “scientific knowledge” if you squinted enough, the explanation of “an invisible universe-creating foreskin-obsessed being private informed the book-writers” is the first explanation you jump to? Really? Can’t you think of any other reasonable possibilities before that?

    • says

      the end of the call he was explaining when they said circle the really meant sphere because they had no word or understanding of the phrase sphere

      It’s noteworth to point out that the concept that the Earth was already figured as well, thanks again to those wonderous Greeks.

      Eratosthenes before 200BC not only was working with the idea that Earth was a sphere, but he also managed to measure its circumference to 10% accuracy using math and a stick.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eratosthenes#Measurement_of_the_Earth.27s_circumference

      All one has to do is look into the sky, and observe to start getting this idea. It doesn’t take magic for the writers of the bible to figure that out too, if we concede that they nailed it.

      So one again, he’s leaping the single most absurd explanation for something that was reasonably easy to figure out at the time.

      • EnlightenmentLiberal says

        Props to Jasper. I always love pointing that out, and those ancient Greeks always amaze me.

  9. t death says

    concept of Atoms is older than the Bible:-
    ATOMS
    (A short history of the knowledge of the atom)
    Compiled by Jim Walker
    Not until around 460 B.C., did a Greek philosopher, Democritus, develop the idea of atoms. He asked this question: If you break a piece of matter in half, and then break it in half again, how many breaks will you have to make before you can break it no further? Democritus thought that it ended at some point, a smallest possible bit of matter. He called these basic matter particles, atoms.

      • says

        I love that.

        Invisible pants…visible ‘tackle’ (junk, perhaps, for transatlantic readers…)

        …yeah baby… it’s just that big…

        …now I feel bad that this is my only contribution to this thread…. Ah well, sometimes a cock joke’s the only sensible response…

  10. xscd says

    I love listening to Sye ten Bruggencate, Eric Hovind, Colin Pearson and Len, one of the two guys from “BibleThumpingWingnut” on YouTube. Presuppositionalists are so obviously wrong and their approach flawed, but it’s interesting figuring it out.

    I believe in God, but that’s beside the point since I don’t push him on anyone else and support atheists in the idea of strict separation of church and state. I think that atheists have a far better and firmer position in this debate than the presuppositionists.

    1. They try to force their opponent to play by very strict rules critically examining and discrediting “knowledge claims,” but then they don’t play by those same rules themselves, claim they don’t need to, and refuse to do so. In a debate, both sides have to play by the same rules and have their claims subjected to the same scrutiny and questions.

    2. Presups claim that they know with certainty, when in fact they merely believe with conviction, and no amount of conviction can create truth.

    3. Presups claim that if you don’t know something with 100% certainty, you don’t know it (or anything) at all, and that knowledge without complete certainty is not knowledge. This doesn’t take into account the fact that knowledge is what we have evidence for, and certainty grows with the body of evidence we have or discover. Although there always exists the hypothetical possibility that our knowledge could be incomplete or in error in some way, we have much knowledge that we are certain of. Unless a presuppositionist is omniscient himself, he can’t know anything with as much certainty that he removes the possibility that his knowledge is incomplete or in error in some ways.

    So presups attempt to make their opponents play by different rules than they are willing to accept, and their claims are unsupported by actual evidence. “How do you know that?! How do you know you’re not just a brain in a vat?!” — There is as little reason to believe I am a brain in a vat as there is to believe that God exists, because there is no evidence for either.

    • adamah says

      Xscd said-

      There is as little reason to believe I am a brain in a vat as there is to believe that God exists, because there is no evidence for either.

      Yup. Are you sure you’re a theist, lol? You clearly understand “burden of proof”, saying the one who makes the claim should be able to provide evidence to support the claim, whether it’s the solipsist, theist, atheist, etc.

      It all goes in the same garbage bin of unsupported and unverifiable claims, not worth wasting brain glucose thinking about, where the solipsist’s search for proof is as much of a fools errand as the theist’s search for proof of God (which requires putting in blinders to ignore MOUNTAINS of evidence AGAINST the existence of Abrahamix God).

    • Monocle Smile says

      Eh, I don’t think your theism is “beside the point,” because beliefs inform actions. I’m unsure why you’re a theist; you seem to understand how critical thinking works and how to apply it.

      • xscd says

        Monocle Smile says:

        Eh, I don’t think your theism is “beside the point,” because beliefs inform actions.

        That’s true. I agree with you and I often argue that it is very important to periodically examine and question our beliefs, because they determine not only which of innumerable data we regard as significant or important (while ignoring or discarding all the rest), but also determine how we interpret that data. In addition, our actions and decisions are based upon our beliefs, even if our beliefs are wrong.

        So I agree. However, I have several ancillary beliefs that render my belief in God harmless to others, and I am absolutely against authoritarian religion influencing our schools, children and education, our government and our laws. I am much happier with atheists than with fundamentalist, authoritarian Christians (or the same type of Muslims).

        Anyway, my own personal beliefs are not really a part of the discussion. I don’t think it’s necessary for anyone else to believe in God, I don’t believe some horrible fate is going to happen to you if you don’t, I don’t believe in “God’s Law here on Earth” (or in Sharia Law), and I believe that it is generally easier to be a healthy, happy person as an atheist than as a Christian who must sort through so many confusing and conflicting ideas, beliefs and doctrines, and discard much of that “absolute truth” they always talk about. :-)

        • Frank G. Turner says

          hey xscd,
          it’s ok, I am more of an agnostic but depending on how you measure it I do have some small degree of confidence that there could be a God (and a lot against it, at least the Xtian one). I still basically practice as a Catholic but it is more out of loyalty to the tribe than actual belief. And like you I fit in with and prefer atheists and agnostics, particularely those who actually practice moral actions like giving of themselves ot humanity vs, Xtians and fundamentalists who try to justify selfish and self centered deeds clearly at the expense of others unecessarily. Heck I wish I had found this blog and this show a long time ago, it makes sense to me and I am learning fro it.

          • xscd says

            THanks for your comments, Frank, and for sharing a little bit of your personal perspective of things.

          • corwyn says

            I am more of an agnostic but depending on how you measure it I do have some small degree of confidence that there could be a God (and a lot against it, at least the Xtian one).

            So what happens when you do the math?

          • Frank G. Turner says

            @corwyn
            So what happens when you do the math?
            .
            The math is entirely subjective as it depends on personal concepts rather than discreetly measurable quantities, which is why I only speak about it as though it were hypothetically measurable. However, if we were to assume that the measuring modes were somehow objective it would lean slightly against, about a 4.1 on the Dawkin’s scale, 1 of which is certainty in a God, 7 of which is certainty against, and 4 is pure neutrality. It acknowledges though that the factors are subjective AND that there are missing calculations from random variables.

          • Matt Gerrans says

            Check out Proving History, by Richard Carrier. It is all about calculating such things and how to do it.

          • blue says

            If you practice Catholicism, do you give them money? Are you counted as a Catholic by the church? Because they have been a massive force for evil in the world (take the Magdalen laundries if you’re sick of hearing about paedophiles). Any support of them is not a neutral act. If, on the other hand, you’re actively writing letters to the pope, newspapers, priests, and speaking weekly up in favour of good to other Catholics, then you could be negating the implicit support your membership gives.

          • Frank G. Turner says

            @ Matt Gerans
            .
            Check out Proving History, by Richard Carrier. It is all about calculating such things and how to do it.
            .
            It has been recommended to me by others and I am considering it. I appreciate the added recommendation.
            .
            @ blue
            .
            If you practice Catholicism, do you give them money? Are you counted as a Catholic by the church? Because they have been a massive force for evil in the world (take the Magdalen laundries if you’re sick of hearing about paedophiles). Any support of them is not a neutral act. If, on the other hand, you’re actively writing letters to the pope, newspapers, priests, and speaking weekly up in favour of good to other Catholics, then you could be negating the implicit support your membership gives.
            .
            I give money occasionally to charities but do so directly to the charity, not through the church (which I once did) as I often disagree with some of what the church choses to support, though I sometimes learn about the charities through the church as they are ones that the church supports. I was once a Knight of Columbus and did some volunteer work for soup kitchens and collecting clothes for the needy, but I kept getting emails about abortion clinics and gay activists groups which I would not participate in and after a while that was the primary thing I saw (which I view as political, not charitable). I still get the emails but I saw atheist and agnostic groups doing more for charity and secular morality and less for politics so I considered getting involved if I could.
            .
            I am not really counted as a member by any but one parish nowadays (to which I have not been in years) and when and if I go to the occasional Sunday service I do little more than listen to the sermon (which I don’t get anything out of nowadays). In many ways my “prayer” is more like relaxing meditation to clear my mind and I probably seem like more of a Buddhist than a Catholic much of the time. What little I agree with in terms of the practices (other than a general sense of good natured inclusiveness that seems more prevalent among more explicit non-exclusive groups like Unitarian Universalists) is just that now, very little. I do like the Cathedrals though, the Gothic ones have beautiful architectural design and the art is lovely.

  11. gshelley says

    The conversation with Kyle would have gone a lot quicker if Matt had just admitted it was a stupid analogy

    • Monocle Smile says

      It’s not a stupid analogy at all. But it’s only an analogy, and it’s common to understand the limitations. Kyle went ahead and tried to pretend it was much more than just an analogy for no reason.

      Seriously, I don’t understand why people insist on being bad at analogies. Theist callers typically commit argument from analogy fallacies, either in reaching for a bad inductive argument for intelligent design or confusing the map for the place when presented with an analogy.

    • says

      … But it wasn’t a stupid analogy. It’s succinct and to the point in understanding the difference in positions, and burden of proof.

      The fact that some random caller decided to go on a pedantic parade of red herrings is the problem. That could happen on any analogy, because analogies always break down eventually.

      • says

        And Kyle missed the part where it’s an analogy to demonstrate that not believing in something doesn’t mean you have to be sure that the something doesn’t exist. In fact, his point about believing that the defendant is guilty, while voting “not guilty” in court seems to be a good analogy for Deism: “There is a god, but we’re just some carbon based warts that happen to be growing on one of his rocks.”

        • Frank G. Turner says

          There was an earlier show once where a caller talked about the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” and how that implies when you vote “not guilty” that you believe that they are innocent. You may not believe the person is actually innocent but you do believe that sufficient evidence does not support a guilty verdict. You don’t really have to believe that they are “innocent” if you understand how the burden of proof works (“not guilty” is not the same as “is innocent”), but the wording of the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” might make a person think that. We really should say, “not guilty until proven guilty,” as that does not indicate that non-guilt is the equivalent of innocence.
          .
          I think that is what a lot of theists fail to see. Being aware of Psalm 1:14, “A fool says is his heart that there is no God,” quoted by many a theist and apologist, many think is limited binary terms, that one can only belief or not belief that God exists. Many an atheist or agnostic does not say this, which is the equivalent of saying that God is innocent of existence. Many will acknowledge that a God is possible, it is possible for God to be guilty of existence. Atheists are not declaring God “innocent” of existence as Psalm 1:14 would suggest, they are declaring him “not guilty” of existence (Matt talks about this in another show) due to lack of reliable, verifiable evidence. Personal revelation would not stand up in a court of law as proof (particularly given that multiple personal revelations may stand in direct opposition to each other), so no matter how strongly a theist feels, that is not evidence.

          • Matt Gerrans says

            Well, just to remove any ambiguity: The god of the Bible is guilty of not existing. It is clearly 100% fiction.

            The only god that can be reasonably argued to “exist” is a virtually undefined god with a few varying attributes (omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving (or all-hating in Sye’s case?), etc.) that nobody actually believes in. This is the one, for example that William Lane Craig argues for, but doesn’t actually believe in. The hope is to get the reasonable rational thinker to admit that such a weakly defined being could “theoretically” exist, then you can jump from that to “the cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father who can make you live happily forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree; because if you don’t believe his is your master, you will burn forever in a magical burning lake somewhere under the earth’s crust, without actually being consumed by the flames.”

          • adamah says

            Matt said-

            “the cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father who can make you live happily forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree; because if you don’t believe his is your master, you will burn forever in a magical burning lake somewhere under the earth’s crust, without actually being consumed by the flames.”

            Well, when you put it that way, it doesn’t sound all THAT far-fetched, no sirree!

            Now, if the story had included a talking donkey, or maybe someone getting swallowed by a whale, then I’d start to wonder if maybe we were in the realm of ancient mythology, but since you didn’t mention of that stuff I’m tending towards believing its true, since who could make anything like that up?

            ;)

          • Frank G. Turner says

            @ Matt Gerrans
            The hope is to get the reasonable rational thinker to admit that such a weakly defined being could “theoretically” exist,
            .
            Invisible Elephants in my basement could also hypothetically (not theoretically, I use the terms in their scientific sense) exist, that does not mean I give any credence to their existence due to lack of evidence (invisible elephant poop would smell terrible and be very hard to clean up too). Jumping from “could exist” to “does exist” is what the snake oil salesman does, but it is a (pardon the pun) “leap of faith” and the “I must be right because I sound so confident” meme does work on some suckers. Someone sounding too confident that makes me more wary which is why I am even more critical of WLC (StB makes enough of a jerk of himself and sounds so insecure about his own views that one knows he is not “Jesus like,” so he is a LOT less of a threat to rational thinking).
            .
            And opening oneself up to a “God” existing does not mean it is the Xtian God, no one ever seems to push WLC on that one. The way WLC makes it sound his only argument in favor of that is his own personal declaration with confidence (which StB does too, WLC just does it better and which works with some suckers). I don’t know if the Xtian God is 100% fiction, I don’t think that all of the stories are 100% fiction (and it does not really matter to me as it does very little to nothing for proof of the God it discusses), but should it even matter?
            .
            What is the practical application of the Xtian God (there are a LOT of impractical applications)? Get apologia to focus on that and they may (though I doubt it) come up with a better argument then just polishing off the old crap and trying it out with new people and different wording, which is what other leaders have done like say, Hitler? Yes, they try the same tactic that Hitler did, to quote him, “If you repeat the same argument over and over again, people will start to believe you.” Boy am I glad society is moving beyond that.

          • adamah says

            Frank says-

            I think that is what a lot of theists fail to see. Being aware of Psalm 1:14, “A fool says is his heart that there is no God,” quoted by many a theist and apologist, many think is limited binary terms, that one can only belief or not belief that God exists.

            It’s important to remember the context when that was written, since the idiom, ‘saying in ones heart’ refers to EVEN THINKING the idea, much less saying it out loud (of course, blasphemy was a capital offense, requiring the person be stoned to death). Hebrews believed the heart was the center of cognition, knowing nothing of the anatomical role of the pinnacle of human thought, the brain.

            People think of Orwell’s 1984 as science fiction’s first depiction of totalitarian thought control, but the Hebrews were well-ahead of their time, inventing ‘thought crimes’ 4000 yrs ago.

            It’s tempting for modern believers to anachronistically insert a liberal open-minded interpretation of the Psalmists’ lyrical passage, but it’s not consistent with what else is known of the thinking from that period.

    • says

      It would have been a lot less painful if the caller understood the difference between being convinced of innocence and entering a verdict of not guilty.

  12. AhmNee says

    In the Dogma Debate – After debate show with Sye & Eric, there was a guy, Tyler, from Memphis who (for the sake of the discussion) claimed to be a presuppositional atheist, claimed he believed in an invisible force that wasn’t conscious that validates inductive reasoning and logic, and reveals that god does not exist.

    He completely turns their special pleading for their “revelation” around on them and Sye & Eric completely lose their shit.

    http://www.spreaker.com/user/smalleyandhyso/127-sye-ten-eric-hovind-live_2
    Between 80:50 and 82:50

    It makes me giggle. Their bald special pleading laid completely bare.

      • says

        Lovely.

        I also like the first comment that presented itself to me when I went to the page:

        *dk88
        it’s funny how “brain in a vat” is some sort of absurd thing according to Sye ….when that is exactly his position ….soul in a vat/or body/or universe…and Matt’s position is I don’t have a reason to believe this claim and I can’t disprove it just like some claimed gods*

  13. pac1261 . says

    from Heb 11:3 “so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
     
    No way this refers to atoms.
     
    We see when light enters our eyes. Light is emitted by matter (atoms). To say we can’t see atoms is absurd: everything we see is a manifestation of atoms, and nothing but atoms. To say that we can’t see one atom is just a statement about the limits of human vision, not the properties of atoms. We cannot see a bee hovering over a flower a mile away – does that make the bee invisible? We cannot see the back of our own head – does that make it invisible? [insert brain-in-a-vat joke here]
     
    Once again bad science leads to worse theology.

    • Matt Gerrans says

      Yes, it makes more sense to interpret this verse in the mystical/magical sense. What it is really saying is that God created everything ex-nihilo. It is saying that matter (what we see) was (at one point in time in the past) formed by God’s word (which is invisible, since we can’t see sound).

      Of course, this violates all kinds of physics we know, since God couldn’t have any words before there was an atmosphere, etc. It doesn’t say that things are composed of invisibly tiny particles. It says things were formed by something invisible (words). Got that, Zack? It is not talking about particle physics by any stretch of the imagination.

      If they want to claim that such nebulous ramblings amount to specific descriptions of quantum mechanics, then they will probably be beat out by Zen Buddhism on that front. We know also that pretty much every religion makes similar claims (Islam is infamous for this kind of silliness).

      That being the case, why would Zack hitch his wagon to Christianity instead of Islam or Mormonism or Scientology? I think it is pretty clear he was simply lying when he said he “used to be an atheist.” At most, he was “questioning his faith” by reading the “skeptical” writings Dinesh D’Souza and Lee Strobel.

    • says

      The caller wasn’t really an atheist, if this verse converted him to Christianity. I would have asked him what Bible verses he thought were inaccurate or untrue, when he was an atheist.

      • Davyme says

        Unfortunately, it is sometimes true that people will call themselves “atheists” without being able to justify WHY they believe as they do, and not surprisingly, some of these self-identified ‘atheists’ will eventually end up in Churches as true believers.

        Sometimes the old saw, “But you’re only an atheist because you WANT to sin!” is true, since they’re often speaking from personal experience (and improperly projecting it onto us, assuming it applies to everyone else too, a fallacy from personal experience).

        Just like there are uniformed theists, there are ignorant atheists, too.

        There ought to be a standard test before someone is allowed (licensed?) to announce being an atheist, LOL! Even a National certifying board?

  14. says

    You know, the more I read the Bible, the more irritated I grow with the assertion from presups that “God cannot lie.” Have they read this book? He lies all the time! Aside from telling Adam he’d die on the day he ate the fruit, there are multiple instances of God directly and personally deceiving people’s senses which, I’m sorry, counts as lying. He directly manipulates people with false emotions as well. He also commands spirits to lie to prophets on his behalf, and commands prophets to lie to people on his behalf. God lies. It’s right there in the Bible that their god can not be trusted!. It’s not even ambiguous. People like Sye are flat-out lying when they making this claim, even if they could somehow convince us to buy the view that the god of the Bible is real.

    • Matt Gerrans says

      And that is exactly why Sye will not discuss scripture with dirty heathens like you and I. The requirement for discussing scripture is that you first agree that you will not think about it, but simply accept it as truth.

      The first time I read the Bible, what struck me even more than the lies of that tribal god, was the weird arbitrariness of them. When he “hardens Pharaoh’s heart” all he does is make things harder for his own people and Pharoah’s (also interesting that god has people! Why pick a subset of humanity to play favorites with?). The result is more death and suffering for everybody and just slowing down the whole process. What the hell is god’s purpose in this story? It is total nonsense unless the point is show what an evil dickhead character Yahweh is.

    • says

      But, if you presuppose that God cannot lie, then everywhere it seems like God is lying, He’s not, you just don’t understand how God is not lying or what you’re saying makes no sense because you think you’re a brain in a vat.

      Back to earth now, it really is telling that Sye won’t do bible study with atheists/non-believers. I wonder if he really can’t emotionally handle listening to criticism of the Bible. Or maybe he just knows that any examination of the Bible using common sense is going to look horrible in a debate to the Christian audience. Or maybe he’s even a bit more crafty and is spreading a meme that other Christians can use whenever their Bible is being questioned.

      • Frank G. Turner says

        @ changerofbits
        I wonder if he really can’t emotionally handle listening to criticism of the Bible. Or maybe he just knows that any examination of the Bible using common sense is going to look horrible in a debate to the Christian audience. Or maybe he’s even a bit more crafty and is spreading a meme that other Christians can use whenever their Bible is being questioned
        .
        I suspect all of the above. Regarding the second issue he has probably figured out that among atheists people actually look very deeply into what they are researching and will study ancient Hebrew and Greek. (Dawkins certainly speaks to Greek and Hebrew scholars about Biblical transcription and translations as indicated in his works). As such, StB probably realized that atheists who studied scripture extensively (like Matt), actually do have good arguments and that he would look like an idiot if he tried to discuss/debate them (of course I think he looks pretty foolish as is). For StB I suspect that the “debate” (if you can call it that) was an exercise in redirection to attempt to make StB look good from his standpoint, hence why he “won’t discuss scripture with non-believers.” So number 2 is likely the cause of number 3.
        .
        I myself learn more about scripture by talking to atheists and agnostics as they don’t try to hide anything or mislead you. The last thing a snake oil salesman needs is a snake chemist and snake biologist to tell the potential clients that the oil is fake and the last thing a creationist needs is an atheist or agnostic with a PhD in Ancient Greek or Hebrew (or both) telling the audience that the verse is being misquoted. If Matt had drilled StB hard on Biblical quotes and their proper translation (which Matt seems to know better anyway), Bruggencate would likely have stormed off the stage as he does in other debates (he would know that he had lost already). Though Bruggencate and Hovind sell based on emotion and facts may not deter the suckers, that may get to people who are on the fence. That’s what apologia is nowadays, trying to convince your audience with emotional and feeling because that is all that you have. They refuse to loose and can’t win legitimately so they have to try to cheat to win.
        .
        Matt if you are reading this talk to other debaters who do give StB the time of day and get them to try that. See if they can exploit a weakness. If StB won’t discuss scripture with non-believers make that the ultimatum, “I will only debate you if you discuss scripture with very well educated non-believers”, preferably an atheist with a PhD in ancient Hebrew and Greek with knowledge of culture and anthropology of those time periods who can discuss at length the ministrations of scriptural verses. Feel free to quote me to him, “if you are so confident that you are right, put your head in the lion’s mouth (metaphorically speaking).”

      • Matt Gerrans says

        “…it really is telling that Sye won’t do bible study with atheists/non-believers.”

        His abject cowardice in this regard is completely understandable.

        • says

          But, he’s not even consistent in holding that line as he did answer the question about Adam and Eve not dying as in death, but dying “spiritually”. It may just simply be oratorical way of deflecting, so he can get back to his “how do you know” presup script, than any deeper reason.

    • says

      what I found the most laughable was Sye’s assertion that The Koran described the bible and thereby meant it must be true, while at the same time maintaining that the Koran was false. Who in their right mind would use a false document to highlight the truth of something? Does he even hear himself?

  15. Shamuto says

    Where did Matt podcast his reflections on the Sye debate? On the show, he says that he will podcast his afterthoughts… can someone link?

    • xscd says

      Where did Matt podcast his reflections on the Sye debate?

      On the Atheist Analysis YouTube channel, I believe.

      http://youtu.be/r-8DTS_8HO8

      I wish it had been more of Matt’s post-debate commentary about the debate, but instead the format was a video-chat “meet and greet” asking questions of Matt some of which will not be relevant or valuable in the longer term. But it was still very nice to watch, and Matt certainly is an important voice in the Atheist community.

    • adamah says

      Here it is:

      http://youtu.be/r-8DTS_8HO8

      Btw, Matt, is seemingly forgetting “burden of proof” when he says this in the video around 22:00 (paraphrased from memory, but something to the effect of):

      “I’m not a solipsist in that I assert that I am (a brain in a vat); I am a solipsist in that I cannot demonstrate the hard solipsist’s position is false.”

      Matt’s seemingly forgetting what we all know, and he has said repeatedly to theists:

      “The one making the claim bears the burden of proof to produce supportive evidence.”

      Simply replace the word ‘theist’ in his words above to drive home the point, eg,

      “I am a theist in that I cannot demonstrate the hard theist’s position (‘God exists’) is false.”

      In his defense, I suspect Matt was implicitly referring to the total inability to disprove the hard solopsist’s claim (due to a total lack of counter-evidence inherent to the untestable nature of the claim) vs the mounds of counter-evidence that indicates the God hypothesis is a product of man’s desire to control others.

      However, that argument is well over the heads of many theists, WAY TOO ESOTERIC of a distinction for many who haven’t put as much thought into it or researched the roots of religion .

      As Sye showed, it’s also a position theists will exploit to paint atheists as useless egg-headed philosophers who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground and will spend hours pondering over the difference). Unfortunately, it’s a distraction that often works…

      The hard solipsist’s claim warrants no exceptions (AKA special pleading) from the “burden of proof” demand than the theist’s claim does.

      If only to avoid appearing to be logically-inconsistent and giving theists a toe-hold to exploit, Matt should consider applying the same level of skepticism to the hard solopsist’s claim that he does to the hard theist’s.

      Adam

      • Matt Gerrans says

        Of course, there are an infinite number of postulations like the omniscient invisible/inert god and hard solipsism that can set up conditions such that they are untestable and cannot be disproved. Lynnea provided an amusing example several episodes back and one of the questioners did likewise at the Matt/Sye debate.

      • says

        “I am a theist in that I cannot demonstrate the hard theist’s position (‘God exists’) is false.”

        Great point! I guess maybe Matt is giving hard solipsism special status since it is at the root of epistemology?

        • adamah says

          Is hard solipsism truly “at the heart of epistemology”?

          Anything beyond “I think, therefore I am” is unnecessary, and hard solipsism goes well beyond that, representing the height of narcissism and arrogance to ignore all the evidence to the contrary, as explained in the following article entitled, “why solipsism is bullshit!” (tell us how you REALLY feel about solipsism, lol!)

          http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/Philosophy/axioms/axioms/node43.html

          Being that logic is ultimately based on consensus opinion, I see no need to keep any ‘sacred cows’ around, including philosophical ones.

          Adam

          • says

            Yea, I agree, just wondering out loud why Matt thinks this a point worth making.

            I meant “at the root of epistemology” because it rejects the axioms that we are in a shared reality and that other minds exist in that reality, with which we then form consensus upon. I guess even the hard solipsist has to at least accept these axioms as the “unexplained rules of the game that the part of my mind I can’t control directly invented”. I’d love to see what an actual solipsists answer to the whack upside the head and “Bullshit, thus I refute you!” counter argument. Which seems more reasonable, that the game creator half (or “artist” half in the paper) of the solipsist’s dualistic mind just whacked the conscious half, or that other minds exist?

          • adamah says

            Change of bits said-

            Yea, I agree, just wondering out loud why Matt thinks this a point worth making.

            Beats me, since hard solipsism is not just a denial of God, it’s essentially claiming to BE God, the only brain in existence.

            That’s even worse than Jesus, who only suffering from a terminal case of ‘Messiah Complex’ while delusionally claiming to only be the SON of God (a claim the Romans didn’t take lightly, since the emperor was considered the son of God, too, and Daddy didn’t knock up some Jewish virgin girl, with Jesus now showing up on his doorstep claiming to be his long-lost brother from another mother)!

            Let’s hope Matt gives solipsism ‘air time’ for the same reason skeptics debunk conspiracy theories, or we debunk religion: it’s out there as a school of thought, and you’ll eventually encounter it at SOME point in your life.

            Some people waste decades of emotional energy indulging in such narcissistic foggy-brained thinking, but to mention it without any further clarification is puzzling.

            Adam

          • Matt Gerrans says

            I’m not sure solipsism is necessarily claiming to be the only brain in existence. I thought it was just the idea that you are living in a universe that is entirely your own imagination. It could also be occurring in just a fraction of a second. All a dream or whatever. That doesn’t mean there couldn’t be others, outside your awareness engaged in the same kind of solipsism (or not), of whom you are unaware. It doesn’t mean there might not be a “real” world outside that you are not aware of. It’s just postulating the idea that everything you are aware of may be in your own head, kind of like when you are dreaming.

          • adamah says

            Matt said-

            I’m not sure solipsism is necessarily claiming to be the only brain in existence. I thought it was just the idea that you are living in a universe that is entirely your own imagination.

            Isn’t that a distinction without a difference? Or maybe hard solopsists have a version of physics’ multi-verse?

            (someone pass me the peyote: I need to think about that one, as I just blew my own mind…. :)

            Philosophy’s roots are so tied to theism, I find many of the accepted definitions of terms to be utterly useless (like the old war-horse, “beliefs are a subset of knowledge”; that’s an idea that comes from theists’ belief that some knowledge (gnosis, as in the term, Gnostic) comes directly from God, and hence even out-ranks one’s beliefs.

            Adam

  16. says

    I am probably late to this conversation but the “atoms” discussion is totally taking the verse out of context from my reading. It says ” By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” The world was made from god’s word/command. God’s command is what is unseen but you have faith that he made and formed the world out of this unseeable command. This is talking of ex-nihlo creation. That is what you have faith in. Not that there are atoms. Typical christians taking things out of context. This is not surprising since even the biblical writers took verses out of context to justify “prophecies” about Jesus. I guess that gives them artistic license to use words of atheist, scientists, etc to support their dubious claims. Look no further than Sye harping on the “hard solipsism” that he claimed Matt believed in.

  17. Ethan Myerson says

    At about the 31 minute mark, Zack made a critical error in his exegesis. He claims that it was “common sense” that Hebrews 11:3 didn’t refer to god, because Romans 1:19(?), also about invisible things specifically mentions god. Therefore, according to him, Hebrews 11:3 could not refer to god. That analysis opens the door to the counter argument that any verse that doesn’t mention god must not be about god. I’m not sure that’s a road he wants to start us on.

    • adamah says

      I can’t follow Zack’s disjointed logic, since Romans 1:18-20 is clearly referring to the invisible QUALITIES of God:

      God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity

      18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

      It may come as a real shocker to Zack, but EVERYONE’S qualities (aka their personalities, traits) are invisible, so others must assign certain qualities to them based on visible cues (eg their facial expressions, their actions, etc).

      Ethan, if you watched Sye’s performance in the debate, clearly believers are not overly-concerned with logical consistency: they can contradict themselves, even within the same breath! Such concerns must not keep them up at night!

  18. adamah says

    Another lesson Brother Sye taught us all was that “without God, the moral lawgiver, you atheists have no basis for making any moral claim, or holding any opinion on morality, since morality comes from God.”

    Matt went with the ‘tribes in the Amazon who have no concept of God’ approach, but here’s where that seminary training can be used to deliver a “turn-the-tables” refutation, taking that Bible out of their hands and use it as weapon to beat them about the head, neck, and face, lol!

    (Sye has said he refuses to discuss the Bible with non-believers, but that doesn’t mean atheists familiar with the Bible can’t use it, placing them on the defense.)

    This response arose from a YouTube thread discussing bible slavery, where Bible-thumpin’ Gino said this:

    Actually I have a moral compass because unlike you, I have an objective moral standard to point to by which I can say that to do or not do something is right or wrong.

    You just have what you feel is right or wrong or what a bunch of people around and including you believe to be right or wrong…. why on earth should I bow before such moral concepts?

    I can actually justify Biblical morality, you cannot justify any morality at all.

    He implied above that only he, unlike us, has a conscience (remember that point for later).

    Gino then shifts gears by going to the fallacious, “ideas which comfort me must be true”:

    I would argue that such a concept is much scarier… nothing written in stone what is and is not moral….

    He continues with the almost-mandatory clichéd sign-off of believers everywhere, the thinly-veiled threat of eternal damnation:

    You can go tell him to “f*** off” but honestly you won’t be saying that when he punishes you fittingly for rebelling against him. He knows that you are rebellious and it’s natural for you to do so. That’s how all humans are when left to their own devices. This will be little comfort when it doesn’t pain him one ounce that you’re being judged forever while you can’t even think about how much “better” you are because better no longer means anything without a divine concept of good and bad, you’ll be questioning whether you made the right determination…. and you won’t be able to change it then.

    Blah, blah, yeah whatev…..

    Here’s one response, using the Bible’s own words:

    Gino, the irony is that by saying atheists have no objective basis in order to form a moral opinion, you’re actually revealing your ignorance of what the Bible ofers as the origins and basis of human morality, even arguing AGAINST what the Bible says on the matter.

    Have you forgotten about Genesis 3, where Adam and Eve are said to have obtained morality by stealing wisdom from God (the same source as you claim)?

    They ate God’s ‘forbidden fruit’, taken from the ‘Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad’. (Eve desired wisdom, a trait needed to determine right from wrong, and the fruit was said to bestow wisdom to whomever ate it).

    That disobedient act allowed the first pair to make moral determinations on their own, rather than relying on God.

    As God later confirms, “They (A&E) have become like us, knowing good and bad”, after the narrator tells us “their eyes had been opened”, knowing right from wrong.

    Thus the magical wisdom-bestowing fruit worked as claimed by God and the serpent: humans needed wisdom to make wise moral determinations on their own, and they stole the “fuel” to do so from God.

    Their disobedience gave humans the possibility of exercising their independent morality, operating apart from God-given morality: if you think of it, A&E sacrificed their lives for the sake of their offspring, AKA an altruistic action! Thanks, Adam and Eve!

    Xianity only claims that God’s morality is superior, NOT that humans don’t possess ANY morality (just that Gods is supposedly better, as evidenced by God’s instituting the practice of slavery, genocide, racism, misogyny, etc).

    In addition to Moses (the claimed author of Genesis), even Divinely-inspired Paul would heartily disagree with your position above, saying in Romans 2:14 that even non-Jews possess an inherent morality that exists apart from knowledge of ‘the law’ (referring to the God-given book of laws, the Torah), since all humans supposedly have “natural laws written on their hearts”:

    14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

    So per Paul, ALL humans have an inherent morality, even those who’ve never even heard of Christ.

    Also, note how Paul says all men have a conscience, thus disproving your earlier assertion above.

    So who got it wrong: Gino (or Sye), or Moses and Paul?

    And if you’re wrong when interpreting God’s word on the basis of morality, then what good is having it a moral guide?

    At any rate, you clearly don’t understand the basic principles offered in your own Holy Book, or you wouldn’t need an atheist to explain what you are supposed to believe (but clearly don’t, since you didn’t understand what your position was supposed to be).

    Adam

      • Frank G. Turner says

        @ Simon Firth
        .
        It is pretty much what i said before, StB probably figured out that atheists know his texts better than he does so if he did Bible studies and debate with them he would look like even more an idiot than he already does. Heck I listen to atheist programs for that very purpose.

      • adamah says

        20.1

        BTW, the paragraph that starts with, “You just have” and concludes with, “Why should I bow before such concepts?” Should’ve been in italics as it was said by Gino, not me.

        (Although the funny part is it could’ve been said by an atheist in response, esp. the “why should I bow?” line, since he’s actually the one doing the bowing, not me.)

        @Simon: believers like Sye truly think they’re the ‘Bible experts’, the ones who should be doing the teaching, NOT the ones being taught.

        It’s hardly breaking news that believers generally DO have the upper-hand, having spent MUCH more time reading their Bible.

        The problem is they’re reading in ‘sponge’ mode, NOT ‘skeptical-thinking’ mode: they’re not trying to detect contradictions, but instead are biased towards harmonizing (which is why believers are such agile back-peddlers, shot-gunning a slew of mutually-exclusive apologetic defenses without even blinking).

        There’s atheists who’ve not done their research who point out why they see as a Bible contradiction but it really isn’t, only to be easily-refuted by anyone who knows basic theology.

        Hence the idea of a believer being taught anything about the Bible from non-believers (esp an ATHEIST!) is disrupting the natural order, challenging the balance of power: they’re supposed do the teaching, the edumacatin’ (sic)! Their Bible tells them so!

        That’s why I like the idea of taking the discussion right back to the Bible as much as possible, on their turf (they don’t understand evolution enough to discuss it, accepting all the nonsense they hear on Sunday).

        Being too aggressive only triggers their persecution complex (a defense mechanism, in non-religious terms); that’s counter-productive if the person you’re trying to convince is a loved one, and you’re trying to get them to ‘see the light’.

        Instead, asking them to explain apparent Bible contradictions by asking questions (ie Socratic method) is preferable, with us playing the role of the dumb naive potential convert.

        But if they’re strangers (not family), and they’re out there publicly preaching and trying to convert others, they’re fair game.

        ON THE OTHER HAND, you can see the bigger picture and realize this is a human being who’s heart is likely in the right place, and is someone’s family member (maybe even that of a fellow atheist). Therefore, the caring thing to do is to use a gentle non-confrontational approach to avoid entrenching them deeper, not giving them an opportunity to strengthen their persecution complexes that keeps them inside. Kudos to the hosts of AXP who remember that….

        Adam

  19. says

    I am going through my chemistry textbooks (not that it matters but I hold I PhD in Chem Eng and lectured thermodynamics for 12 years) and I cannot find the part where it says atoms are invisible. Anyone aware of this property as apparently predicted in the bible?

  20. says

    Not to gloat–okay, maybe a little, but DUDE YOU SPANKED SYE! Spanked him and made him go running home to his mama. Anyone who could even fix their lips to say otherwise was not watching the same debate.

    There was a bit of a divide afterwards among many of my atheist buds that split into two camps — the diplomats admirers and the firebrand lovers. The former didn’t like Matt’s approach. I enjoy both approaches but I am partial to firebrands. I think the call it like I see them types are needed, in particular when dealing with someone as unscrupulous as Sye who tends to word salad and finesse his ay around opponents. I even had a few of Sye’s minions chase me from the comment threads onto my own videos using his inane talking points to “checkmate” me. It was sad.

    As to not discussing the bible with non believers — how can you ever make convert then if everyone you talk to is already a Christian???? Wow.

    In regards to the “everyone knows go d exist thing–I had to do a vid that mocks the concept along with others — check it out:

  21. helenaconstantine says

    Atoms were well known in antiquity; they were hypothesized by Democritus and adopted by the Epicurean school. The caller probably doesn’t know. the things unseen mentioned in Hebrews means spirits.

  22. Matt Reynolds says

    I had an interesting thought. I couldn’t help but start thinking of Sye Ten as an Andy Kaufman type character. Could it be that he is one of the worlds greatest trolls? Does he really just love to make people crazy? I have a feeling that this dude might be laughing his ass off behind closed doors. “Sye Ten” does sound a bit like “Satan” (sorta), and this could be one of the best jokes of all time. Stay tuned.

    Mr. Dillahunty showed great poise, patience and a quick wit. He is truly one of the great rationalists of our age.

    • adamah says

      Matt said-

      Could it be that he is one of the worlds greatest trolls?

      Is Sye the first Bible thumper you’ve seen? Sadly, it’s no prank: they’re a dime a dozen.

      Btw, it’s insulting to assume another person’s motives, and that works both ways: just as Sye comes off as arrogant by telling us that we really believe in God, the same works in reverse. Just like any other claim, a charge of hypocrisy needs concrete evidence to back it up.

      Besides, his motives don’t really matter anyway, since they’re irrelevant to dismantling his flimsy display of logic. As the old saying goes, ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ (a saying that ignores it’s also paved with bad intentions, too).

      • says

        I have to say that I have questioned their motives a bit myself. You see, when Sye tells us, “You truly do believe in god.” it is because his buy-bull has told him that God has written this knowledge onto every man’s heart. When we questions folks like Sye’s intentions, it is due to the fact that we simply cannot believe an adult human can swallow such tripe.

        • adamah says

          Hi Alicia,

          I hear what you’re saying, although you’re only a tad away from offering an argument from personal incredulity.

          I guess my broader point is that just like us longtime atheists can’t imagine how they can actually believe the horsepucky sauce, they also are equally-bewildered how someone can even imagine that God DOESN’T exist. Point being, it goes both ways, and since it’s impossible to determine what someone truly believes (since we still lack truth-detecting brain scans), the motive question ultimately is a huge red herring, a waste of time to worry about motives since it’s unresolvable (that is, without compelling evidence on which to suspect there are ulterior motives).

          Adam

      • Matt Reynolds says

        I think you missed my point, err non-point, really. I was simply making a joke. Are you familiar with Andy Kaufman’s style of comedy? No, Sye is not my first “bible thumper.” I come from a long line of them. No stranger to this movement either. Just having some fun. Relax, will ya?

        • adamah says

          Matt, perhaps you should use some emoticons when attempting humor? Readers cannot tell intent.

          Seeing as how your comment supports the stereotype of theist-bashing atheists willing to resort to such childish tactics as using the ‘style over substance’ fallacy (eg when you pointed out how ‘Sye Tan’ sounds like ‘Satan’, a CLASSIC example of placing style over substance, since most of us don’t choose our names), I wanted to give you a chance to clarify, if only for the sake of lurkers.

          Thanks for clarifying that it was tongue-in-cheek, and you we only going for humor.

          ;)

  23. Geoff Pulham says

    My favourite bit of the debate was when Sy said he didn’t discuss the bible scriptures with non-believers and someone shouted out: “Jesus would!” Priceless.
    On a more serious note, this is a very sad aspect of Christianity. My sister became a born-again Christian in 1993 and she said to me point blank she would not debate her faith with me because whatever rings I could run around her claims nothing would change the fact Jesus had saved her and offered her daily comfort. Very sad that she pretty much said she would never let me in.
    It reminds me of how my grandfather, a committed Baptist, would get all silent and hurt whenever my Dad (who rebelled against the church, thank God!!!!) tried to question why he believed.

    • adamah says

      Geoff said-

      My sister became a born-again Christian in 1993 and she said to me point blank she would not debate her faith with me because whatever rings I could run around her claims nothing would change the fact Jesus had saved her and offered her daily comfort. Very sad that she pretty much said she would never let me in.

      Yup, sometimes you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches if you ask the person upfront if there’s ANY possible evidence that you could show them that would convince them their beliefs are false. If they say ‘no’, then they’re close-minded (which believers consider as a positive trait, used in the name of ‘defending their faith’) and their prognosis for ever converting to evidence-based rationalism is poor (although hope springs eternal).

      Adam

  24. anonatheist says

    Even though Zack’s basis of reality is flawed, he really made Matt look flustered and foolish. Patience with these people works better than being reactionary. If you’re frustrated to the point that you can’t respond without anger and frustration, take a vacation.

  25. Manu Phatak says

    On your list of 10 things you missed an important one, the MOST important one: “US should be a theocracy, a christian theocracy.”

    Sye should’ve just opened with this line instead of saving it for Q&A.

  26. Luqin says

    Matt becomes too impatient and angry… i think so much he hangs up on people out of anger rather then objective reasons.
    He runs show where he talks to religious people.. he cannot hang up on them just because they are being unscientific. You might as well change your show.

    • xscd says

      Luqin says:

      Matt becomes too impatient and angry … he cannot hang up on them just because they are being unscientific

      Matt has done hundreds of shows and debates. How many times should he or any person very patiently answer the same question from different callers before deciding that the callers should (by this time) have attempted to educate themselves a little before calling by watching previous shows and from other sources (where their question has already been answered many times), before asking the same question again.

      I certainly don’t expect Matt’s patience to be unlimited. His religious callers certainly don’t have unlimited patience. I don’t either. Do you?

      • Luqin says

        So because he runs it for years, he should just tell people to watch all 860 episodes he made so far, because all his opinions are there?
        He used to hang up on people only when they kept repeating the same circular argument that Matt already objectively refuted or if they were just throwing arguments, trying which one would stick, without admiting that previous ones were wrong…
        Now (latest episodes) he is just angry, he often doesnt allow people to voice their opinion… he often cuts them off.

        I dont call for his patience to be “unlimited”. Matt used to make intelligent argument, that showed callers folly.. lately it looks more like a bully, because he shouts.. and rarely allows them to present themselfs.. unless the caller really “pushes for more space” it ends up with Matt talking all the time.. barely allowing people to express themselfs.

  27. saul Tube says

    Undistputable Proof of God! our One and Only Creator! YOU MUST SEE THIS!!!!

    I know there are fallacies and presuppositions and other things that I don’t know if they are or not, can someone please make an analysis and pinpoint the fallacies? and why this probably isn’t a proof of God? or even make a The Atheist Experience episode about it would be great.

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