So have you heard the one about the pastor who wants to sentence gays to 10 years’ hard labor? »« Alex Gabriel takes on the anti-atheist tone police

Comments

  1. Monocle Smile says

    My favorite part about tone trolls is when they act as if they have some massive majority of people who support their position. The classic “Don’t you think most people listening will have [X understanding] rather than what you really mean?” is getting old.

    While certain *ahem* frequent posters will disagree, I have consistently felt that people who value style over substance are just looking for a reason to get offended and wouldn’t be open to reason regardless of style.

  2. says

    There are Liberal Atheists, Conservative Atheists, Pro-choice Atheists, Anti-choice Atheists, Skeptical Atheists, non Skeptical Atheists, Open Carry Atheists, Gun Control Atheists.
    Atheism is the rejection of the ideas of Gods because of the lack of supporting evidence. All the other issues are not related to Atheism. Secular Humanism has a more defined set of morality.

  3. subzerobob says

    I am not a rooster, don’t compare me to one. Once neuroscience why experience must be accompanied by feelings, then we talk about the implications. You cannot say that it is so before hand. It doesn’t make your explanation more reasonable than mine.

  4. subzerobob says

    feelings are Not physical in nature. They might be caused by something physical, but they can be caused by non-physical experience such as the intent to remember the smell of a rose. If you claim that this is physical, then the burden of proof is on you to provide the evidence. I would be very interested to see what type of evidence you would accept for non physical things.

  5. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Could you provide a little more context please? What is your position? What is “their” position as you understand it?

  6. ironchew says

    Subzerobob, your call was an incoherent mess. It was obvious you were on a script and Matt kept throwing you off, so you ignored him and said, “Okay, but…” ad nauseum.

    I am not a rooster, don’t compare me to one.

    Tracie’s rooster analogy was a fresh take on corellation =/= causation, which you had a really hard time understanding — again, because you were on a script and understanding that concept would’ve thrown you off.

    Once neuroscience why experience must be accompanied by feelings, then we talk about the implications. You cannot say that it is so before hand. It doesn’t make your explanation more reasonable than mine.

    An honest attempt at grappling with a subject based on evidence and the best theories we have about it is always more reasonable than just making up bullshit. Sorry, but you’re wrong.

    feelings are Not physical in nature.

    The concept of what “feelings” are is distinct from the physical states the brain is in when it experiences a particular emotion. You’re making the claim that it’s caused by something supernatural, so the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that.

  7. Monocle Smile says

    Why am I not surprised that you have so little self-awareness that you shamelessly link a blog post under which you are frighteningly racist?

    Bobby, try again when you can understand simple concepts like analogies. Until then, communicating with you will set off a downward spiral. I leave further prying to masochists like Narf and EL.

  8. subzerobob says

    “…just making up bullshit.” That’s your subjective opinion. And besides the first step in the scientific process is to guess:
    http://youtu.be/EYPapE-3FRw
    I don’t see how my guess is a bad one – If an accident keeps happening, at which point are you going to start guessing that there must be something intrinsically present to move you away from thinking that it is just an accident?
    “Sorry, but you’re wrong.” – seems like you certain of it and you have information that demonstrates my error, in which case I would like you to present me with your convincing evidence which will demonstrate that I am so wrong. And please – this time not just your subjective opinion.

  9. Monocle Smile says

    the first step in the scientific process is to guess

    Uh, making an EDUCATED guess is different than making shit up that has no plausible mechanism.
    Secondly, you didn’t learn a damn thing from your last call. You’re claiming your hypothesis is a conclusion and you flat-out fail to grasp this easy concept.

    Bobby, the reason people don’t feel the need to give you a free crash course in neuroscience is because A) you’re entirely undeserving and B) it’s pretty clear that you wouldn’t understand a word of it. It’s the same reason I wouldn’t teach vector calculus to someone who struggles with algebra and makes no effort to improve.

  10. subzerobob says

    rooster analogy is a strawman fallacy. I am not primitive and the rooster doesn’t have intellect. if you showed a wrist watch to the rooster would it know that it is a machine and that the wrist watch was created?

    Re: neuroscience, if you go reductionist all the way down to the comprising elements, then please explain to me at which point of the painting process does a painting declare itself beautiful?

  11. subzerobob says

    “You’re claiming your hypothesis is a conclusion and you flat-out fail to grasp this easy concept.” NO – you are failing to understand basic definitions: agnostic panentheist means I don’t claim to know that my belief is true, but I do think that it is reasonable one and I think that your atheist view is reasonable as well. I just don’t think that either one of our entirely different views is more reasonable than the other. Please save all the other insults for your children, that is if you are capable of raising any. If you can’t explain it to a 6 year old, you don’t understand it yourself. All I am asking is for you to give me what is so convincing about the “no god” hypothesis? As that is the only alternative to my hypothesis. If you can’t convince me, it still doesn’t mean that mine is better, just that I am not convinced by your hypothesis. Don’t take it personal. Live with it, and let me live my life the way I feel is right for me.

  12. ironchew says

    Bobby, the reason people don’t feel the need to give you a free crash course in neuroscience is because A) you’re entirely undeserving and B) it’s pretty clear that you wouldn’t understand a word of it. It’s the same reason I wouldn’t teach vector calculus to someone who struggles with algebra and makes no effort to improve.

    Not to mention that this isn’t “The Neuroscience Experience”. I would hazard a guess here that Bobby is actually more intelligent than he lets on and he probably could learn vector calculus, but when he gets into arguments with omg!atheists he has to win at all costs.

    Bobby, not everything in life is a competition. You’ll never find the silver bullet script to convert the TAE hosts and that shouldn’t matter, but when you resort to blatant dishonesty to keep your script from “losing”, it just makes you look bad and there isn’t any point in continuing the discussion.

  13. subzerobob says

    attacking my character doesn’t change the validity of my claim that the Piraha are not an exception because it also happens to them (though in a a bit more initial state)

  14. subzerobob says

    i am not out to win, I am out to stop your “superior intellectual kind” from blasting theists as unreasonable, irrational, idiotic, asinine, fallacious, unsound, stupid, imbecile, moronic, retarded and downright crazy cretins, First and foremost – your camp should control its hounds, because last time I checked the answer to every question that I have is “I don’t know.” For a show that doesn’t know anything, you certaining come of as the experts in everything. You bring out the neuroscience field, which in the past decade has made absolutely no progress in explaining consciousness. All we hear is Dennett’s promise that one day it will be explained by explaining all the easy problems that create the illusion of a hard problem. Well the time promises is over. Now is the time to try something different – how about we try to investigate how to incorporate non-physical things like intent, instead of ignoring it because if we can’t examine then it might as well not exist. Lets pretend for a second that it exists, and lets think – how can we develop a method that goes beyond the scientific method – beyond the subject/object split?

  15. ironchew says

    Now is the time to try something different – how about we try to investigate how to incorporate non-physical things like intent, instead of ignoring it because if we can’t examine then it might as well not exist. Lets pretend for a second that it exists, and lets think – how can we develop a method that goes beyond the scientific method – beyond the subject/object split?

    Or you could, y’know, make some testable claims about your ideas. By necessity this would push them into the realm of natural hypotheses, but that’s only because the supernatural is an ill-conceived safe zone for unfalsifiable ideas.

    Make testable claims about these entities, and have the intellectual honesty to reconsider those claims if they are proven false.

  16. subzerobob says

    you think I am comfortable with it? why would I give you the time of day then? I am considering your position as well. However the essential error I think is this: I don’t think we need to push anything out of a category where it currently is, into a category where it doesn’t belong. Non-physical things like intent don’t belong solely in the physical realm. This is a fundamental flaw in the current ignorant approach. All I am saying is – it is time for a major paradigm shift and lets try to go forward with something (no matter how radical) such as going Beyond the current objective science, and incorporating new ideas and methods which might actually achieve to break the subject/object split barrier.

  17. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @subzerobob:

    how about we try to investigate how to incorporate non-physical things like intent, instead of ignoring it because if we can’t examine then it might as well not exist. Lets pretend for a second that it exists, and lets think – how can we develop a method that goes beyond the scientific method

    So you have NO methodology for investigating the thing you’re insterested in, and the best you can do is pretend whatever details you imagine are accurate?
     

    i am not out to win, I am out to stop your “superior intellectual kind” from blasting theists as unreasonable, irrational…

    Say something reasonable and rational then.
     

    last time I checked the answer to every question that I have is “I don’t know.”

    A tautology. Any question you presently have is necessarily one that has not been satisfactorily answered yet. Otherwise, it would no longer be mysterious.
     
    Then again it’s trivially easy to build sentences with question marks for rhetorical purposes. Or to pose incoherent questions about things you don’t understand well enough to speak about.
     
     

    Non-physical things like intent don’t belong solely in the physical realm.

    [Citation needed.]
    Or are we supposed to be pretending this?
     

    it is time for a major paradigm shift and lets try to go forward with something (no matter how radical)

    Your impatience is noted.
     

    new ideas and methods which might actually [] break the subject/object split barrier.

    SUCH AS?
    And how would you determine if a approach yielded accurate answers?
     
    Why are you fixated on that question, instead of all the other unanswered questions you currently have?
     

    you certain[ly] come [off] as the experts in everything.

    No one here knows everything.
     
    Pointing out a particular unknown does not shatter some perfect record know-it-all-ness. Many of us know more about various subjects than you do, however.
     
    And any question that you are seriously interested in having answered – but which has eluded expert analysis so far – will not suddenly be resolved by telling us you are dissatisfied.

  18. subzerobob says

    Tracie’s analogy is oversimplifying the problem and it is also very cleverly used to demonstrate to the audience “what kind of an imbecile we have to deal with” She doesn’t necessarily have to say that the rooster is me, but the implication is clearly there, and that’s why I am addressing it. This is something that is very commonly done on TAE and very poorly. If only they used the right analogies it would be better. But this where the lack of formal philosophy training becomes evident. Besides Mr Ibis3, you supreme intelligence superior your highness (sarcasm) wouldn’t you say that a better analogy would be showing a wrist watch to the aboriginal example that was used in the 19th century which let to the formation of deist idiology which even some atheists accept today? Fast forward to modern day – aren’t the cosmological constants and the panentheistic view the same thing in modern day? The watchmaker analogy is better fit here than this rooster crap. Pick the right analogy, that’s all I am saying here.

  19. subzerobob says

    re: Methodology – I think it is time to look for ways to go beyond what we are currently doing/working with, rather than pushing and shoving things that don’t belong or don’t fit in where we are trying to fit them into. This looks primitive to me, like hammering parts into slots that don’t fit these parts. This is the main error in methodology and unless we develop something beyond what we are currently working with, I don’t think your solutions of push and shove are sound. Excuse my impatience while I am continuously watch you waiving that hammer.

    re: Satisfactory answers – No, I am not satisfied with your camp’s answers. Especially when I keep hearing “I don’t know.” Or “Go and ask the experts!” After I listen to the experts I check out the opposing views and what I find out is that we still don’t have any answers to questions which are more than 2000 years old.

    re: SUCH AS? About the new method which goes beyond the subject/object split. First let me explain what do I mean by the subject/object split: Someone could perceive themselves as being on vacation in Hawaii and they are not actually on vacation in Hawaii, yet that person could have the same emotional experience even though there is no objective anything causing it. The first question is – where did the intent came from which caused all the neurons in the your brain to move and produce these thoughts? And the second question is – what about covert intent? Covert intent is when one is deliberately fooling people – aware of both possible states of minds and continuously fooling either side that he/she is one of those states of minds. This is why it is impossible to stay simply objective, but you have to account for some type of subjectivity. I assure you that there are people who are already working on this. And it is very complicated because there are physical elements to this. Think of it like ISP (Internet Service Provider) and clients relationship – there are many physical aspects to the connection and already they all yield different results (clients receive different speeds in mbps) even in the cases when clients are using identical equipment, location, and time. So the majority of the variation can be attributed to the physical, but even when you try to isolate the environment, you still get quite a bit in variance in readings. This is just the physical, now add the subjective – like the will for someone to be connected to source, or even covert intent – telling you one thing, when they mean another. Your question of SUCH AS, really becomes very ignorant of all of this complex structures. Ultimately it has to be something some kind of connection beyond the physical means. But we are not there yet, because currently nobody is trying to incorporate the subjective. But there is a movement to start adding subjectivity measurements such as PHI. The neuroscientist Giulio Tononi is trying to make such attempts, check this out: http://vimeo.com/53787308

    I had one more question for Matt: When you say that you are secular humanist, does that mean that you put the well being of humans above all other living things? If yes, then why and what makes humans more important then every other living thing? And how about encountering and advanced intellectual alien species who also believe that there is a God – will your doctrine of secular humanism tell you that they are imbeciles and if they are hostile, or want to destroy us for some reason, then why aren’t they more important than humans and why don’t we just let them destroy us? Why is humanity so important to secular humanists?

  20. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @subzerobob:

    it is also very cleverly used to demonstrate to the audience “what kind of an imbecile we have to deal with.” She doesn’t necessarily have to say that the rooster is me, but the implication is clearly there

    Any suspicions the audience has that you are an imbecille would be informed by the apparent difficulties you have understanding analogies, more than any unfavorable opinion of birds tainting the conversation.
     

    the formation of deist idiology which even some atheists accept

    The definition of atheism is not believing there are gods. A deist believes there is a god of some sort. Someone who agrees with the atheist position would not simultaneously accept deism, by definition.
     

    aren’t the cosmological constants and the panentheistic view the same thing

    Constants are numbers. Physicists use formulas to make predictions, and insert constants for some quantities to fudge the math, to make formulas match repeated observations (example: predictions in multiple situations always off by exactly 3? Make “+3″ part of the formula). The constants made famous by ‘fine-tuning’ arguments are the few numbers left which haven’t already been explained as a ratio of other things. They are numbers that have no special meaning attached to them yet, aside from how widely they’re used in math.
     
    Panentheism is… not math. At best, a panentheist might try to claim credit on behalf of his/her god for arbitrarily deciding the values of those quantities. “God of the gaps” is an apologetic strategy of pointing to any lingering ignorance and asserting somebody’s god did it. That does not make “cosmological constants and the panentheistic view the same thing”.

  21. subzerobob says

    Oh, I forgot to also ask you: If you don’t know, then how is your stance more rational than mine? As an agnostic panentheist I also don’t claim to know that panentheism is true. But I sense from you a certain type of certainty that my claims are wrong. Can you please provide me with your reasoning and evidence on why you are so certain that I am wrong?

  22. subzerobob says

    RE: skycaptain: No, panentheism is a view, an explanation. Goes something like this – because there is a God, everything in the universe steers towards formation of intelligent life and even beyond that. It has explanatory powers, but doesn’t stop you from further investigation and inspire you to do further research. It is just a hypothesis that’s all. And you are just looking at that view and saying – Ah, I am not buying it. All I am doing here is asking you – why? And you are giving me a lecture on how wrong I am about how I am being perceived, what this is and that is, and keep dancing around the issue, and then keep wondering – Why is this guy not getting it? What is your alternative non-theistic view(s) and why should I pursue investigating them/be convinced by them instead of mine? To me the worst possible view is the Nothing view, because it doesn’t inspire any further research. There is nothing further to search for past Nothing. My view still remains mysterious and gives me hope to look for something greater than the collective physical elements and constellations that ultimately and (it seems to me) inevitably lead to the formation of not just life but intelligent life. And it opens me up to all sorts of interesting questions such as: Is the appearance of the Mind in the Cosmos teleological in nature? In other words, does nature inherently tend towards the definite appearance of the Mind in the Cosmos? And is the Mind appearance the definitive end result, or is there something even bigger inevitably going to happen? If something bigger than the Mind is coming, then what could that possibly be? Are Technological Singularity and Transhumanism inevitable outcomes of all the possibilities in nature? Could advanced aliens really be just some type of advanced technological/robotic lifeform that can live forever?

  23. Narf says

    I’m not sure I have the patience to engage, myself. In the past, he has spent the whole time speaking in disjointed, borderline word-salad. He doesn’t seem to have improved here. It’s hard to have an argument with someone who doesn’t work within the bounds of any sort of argument progression.
    I’d need a hold button or something, instead of the current reality, in which he can ramble on for 2,000 words, past an initial, incoherent point, and he thinks that he constructed an argument, when in reality he has lost everyone rational after the first 50 words.

    Basically, I can’t even figure out what the fuck Bobby is trying to say, in most of his comments so far. The only coherent thought I’ve been able to extract, so far, is his assertion that intent and emotions are some sort of non-physical thing.

    The default position, when nonphysical things have yet to be demonstrated, is that everything he’s talking about is just an emergent property of the physical. Yet, he demands that we have the burden of proof to demonstrate that something is physical, and his untestable, undemonstrated non-physical bullshit is the default position. When someone is that full of shit, I don’t know where we can even start.

    In the next comment down, he says something about the intent to remember the smell of a rose. Intent seems to originate in the brain, so it would sure as hell help if he could provide any evidence for something to the contrary. He doesn’t understand what brains do, so he makes up all of this outside, untestable bullshit. I think that people who hold positions like his are just scared of the idea that he is his brain.

  24. Narf says

    Basically, for me, it boils down to the simple fact that panentheism is just as undemonstrated as the claims of theists. Our stance is more rational than yours, because we reject claims that are not supported by evidence and have been formulated in such a way as to be untestable. Get back to us when you figure out a way to test your claims of the nonphysical, because everything you ramble about seems to just be an emergent property of — or a pattern within — the physical.

  25. subzerobob says

    Yeah, I am not fond of seeing your responses either. We speak different languages and you blame it on my inability to form arguments. In which case we can’t even begin to argue. Instead you want to just win outright on technically by arguing who has the burden of proof. Another unproductive waste of kbs space on the internet. Please don’t respond to this. Apply yourself – you know what I mean, we’ve been through this before. You are not better than me in any way. You are just more arrogant. That’s all. Besides – I’ve had much more engaging conversations with atheists much much smarter than you. I just wonder why atheists don’t turn on atheists and start telling each other slurs and insults. Just because they are atheists they have to protect and respect each other? Special pleading to atheism? This sickens me. Your group is not special. You bring nothing new to the table. You liberate noone. Your ideas don’t come from free thought – someone has already thought of all of this before you. There is no autonomous thought in anything that you say. It’s all been done before. You don’t hold any ultimate truth. People should listen you. Especially when the “I don’t know” and constant reluctance to offer views in which you believe in, come forth as the basis for your supreme righteousness. If you don’t know – you are not better me. I don’t know either. I just think that my belief is reasonable, and I think that your “No God” hypothesis is also reasonable, but I don’t hold your belief. And I am simply convinced that mine might just be the truth.

  26. subzerobob says

    sorry, I mean to type: people shouldN’T listen to you. this blog lacks after post editing functions. Altogether very 1998.

  27. Narf says

    We speak different languages and you blame it on my inability to form arguments.

    Not my fault you’re incoherent.

    Instead you want to just win outright on technically by arguing who has the burden of proof.

    For fuck sake, man. If you had anything intelligible, demonstrable, and useful, I would want to know about it. You’re coming to us. You are trying to sell us on this thing, and then you tried to turn it around and place a burden of proof upon us to prove you wrong.

    Don’t give me shit about trying to win on a technicality, because I demand evidence for the nonsense you’re pushing. Hell, I demand a coherent concept, before we even get to the evidence, for that matter.

    Please don’t respond to this.

    Get bent.

    Apply yourself – you know what I mean, we’ve been through this before.

    No, I have no idea what you’re talking about. You seem to be under the horrible misconception that you’ve made sense at any point in the past.

    You are not better than me in any way.

    I can form a coherent thought, so that disproves your statement right there.

    I just wonder why atheists don’t turn on atheists and start telling each other slurs and insults. Just because they are atheists they have to protect and respect each other? Special pleading to atheism? This sickens me.

    Ho … ly … shit. Do you pay any attention to this very blog? The last 4 or 5 posts on here demonstrate that you have no fucking clue what you’re talking about.

    And let me skip the half of your post that is just posturing that demonstrates that you have no freaking clue what freethought even means.

    And I am simply convinced that mine might just be the truth.

    What convinced you? When you can’t even express a coherent argument for the non-evidence that makes you think you’ve found the truth, why should we take you at all seriously?

  28. pac1261 . says

    @skycaptain
    I realize you’re trying to reason with subzerobob but I have to object to this:

    Constants are numbers. Physicists use formulas to make predictions, and insert constants for some quantities to fudge the math, to make formulas match repeated observations (example: predictions in multiple situations always off by exactly 3? Make “+3″ part of the formula). The constants made famous by ‘fine-tuning’ arguments are the few numbers left which haven’t already been explained as a ratio of other things. They are numbers that have no special meaning attached to them yet, aside from how widely they’re used in math.

    I have no idea what you’re trying to say here. I think you are confusing math and physics. For example, 1836 is simply a number. As a number it has no more “significance” than any other abstract number like 1835 or 1 or 100000. However, the ratio of the mass of the proton to the mass of the electron happens be about 1836, and that fact has huge significance in physics. If the mass ratio were 100000 instead of 1836 then our universe, if it could even exist, would look profoundly different.

    Also, physicists don’t go around sticking arbitrary fudge factors into their formulas until they get agreement with experiment. That would violate the fundamental scientific principle of falsifiability: if you can freely adjust the formula to fit the data, you have no way of testing whether the formula is correct or not. The formula comes from a theory, and is a mathematical representation of a specific set of physical assumptions.

  29. subzerobob says

    Why is rejecting claims the more rational stance? For example in the dying bees case – when the bees farmer made the claim that something other than a weird unfound bee disease is killing the bees, but doesn’t have proof of it, and you reject it because you called it baseless assertion and ridicule him by saying that you are more rational because he doesn’t have the evidence to support his claim; then 90% of his bees died and he sold the bees farm; you moved on and the new bees farmer started to suspect that it is a pesticide killing the bees; but the pesticide company started to reject his claim for the lack of evidence and calling him irrational; then the new bees farmer found out that in every geographical area where the bees were dying the pesticide was used; but the court didn’t take that as evidence. Now all of the bees are dead and you are more rational and we still don’t know what killed the bees. How is that better? How is that promoting and encouraging further research? It is frustrating, and aggravating. Now 10 years later (it turns out that a small bee population survived) and the pesticide company went out of business; no pesticides were used and the bees population recovered. Do you still feel that you did more good with your more rational – reject the claim stance?

  30. Narf says

    sorry, I mean to type: people shouldN’T listen to you. this blog lacks after post editing functions. Altogether very 1998.

    People abuse the hell out of edit functions in fora like this. Don’t be stupidly slanderous over issues which are the way they are for very good reasons.

    We have enough problems trying to hold the theists and woo-peddlers to any kind of honest argumentation, as it is. Just proof-read before you hit Post, and you’ll be fine. Worst case, add a correction, like you did. Sometimes the moderators clean up stuff like that for you.

  31. Narf says

    What are you talking about? Do you have a link to an article about this?
    At any point, did anyone bother to run tests to see what effect the pesticides had upon the bees?

    Plus, you’re throwing up this bullshit metaphor, saying that we are the court. The link between the geographic usage of pesticides and the bee deaths is the sort of evidence I’m asking for. It wouldn’t be solid, but it would be a start.
    The next step is to demonstrate a causal link within that correlation. This is how science works.

    So, where’s your evidence that compares to the evidence of the geographical usage of pesticides and bee death? You use words like research, but you don’t actually seem to mean research, when all that you present to us is baseless assertion about emotions being nonphysical.

  32. subzerobob says

    what convinced me? we went over this before. here:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2014/01/19/open-thread-for-episode-849-spirituality-in-healthcare/
    but just quick summary – I was born in an atheist regime eastern block country, but somehow the feeling of god
    was always there for me. The turning point for me was when I started to reflected on the will to stay alive of every living thing. I came to the conclusion that this will to come to life must be intrinsic in the universe even in non-living matter. The ultimate proof for me would be if we ever encounter other living alien intelligent life perhaps from a distant galaxy with the only possibility of it to have evolved independently. To me it would mean that the universe has this intrinsic property to have intelligent life to appear. And the will to stay alive to me invokes an intentional agent – one that is inside every physical matter and parts of the universe. I call this intentional animating agent – God.

  33. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @pac1261:
    Article: Wikipedia – Fine-tuning

    In theoretical physics, fine-tuning refers to circumstances when the parameters of a model must be adjusted very precisely in order to agree with observations. Theories requiring fine-tuning are regarded as problematic in the absence of a known mechanism to explain why the parameters happen to have precisely the needed values.
    [...]
    The necessity of fine-tuning leads to various problems that do not show that the theories are incorrect, in the sense of falsifying observations, but nevertheless suggest that a piece of the story is missing. For example, the cosmological constant problem (why is the cosmological constant so small?)

     
    * Apologies for linking a stub article. Is that wording clearer?

  34. pac1261 . says

    @subzerobob

    If you don’t know, then how is your stance more rational than mine? As an agnostic panentheist I also don’t claim to know that panentheism is true.

    Let’s say we shuffle and cut a deck of cards. They’re all face down. Person A says, “I don’t know what the top card is.” Person B says, “I believe the top card is the Ace of Spades. I am an agnostic Ace-of-spade-ist. So I don’t claim to know that the top card is the Ace of spades.” Now you ask, why is A’s position more rational than B’s? It’s true that both deny absolute knowledge of the top card. But B has taken a position by saying he is an “Ace-of-spade-ist” and A hasn’t. Now in the case of cards, we know that B has only a 1 in 52 chance of being justified in his Ace-of-spade-ism. We have good reason for saying that Ace-of-spade-ism isn’t very rational, even though there is some small chance of its actually being true. We also note that there are 51 other -isms that are equally valid.

    In the case of theism, or panentheism, or any other sort of -ism, we don’t have any simple statistical tools to guide us to an assessment of its likely truth. But that makes the case for these beliefs even worse. At least Ace-of-spade-ism can demonstrate the existence of its pre-requisites: You’ve got a deck of cards. Some of them are spades. One of those is the Ace. A far better foundation than any religion I know of.

  35. Narf says

    Now imagine that we’re doing the same thing with an invisible, intangible deck of cards, which is what we’re looking at in the case of theism/deism/panentheism. That’s what you’re proposing with your nonphysical nonsense, Bobby.

  36. Narf says

    The ultimate proof for me would be if we ever encounter other living alien intelligent life perhaps from a distant galaxy with the only possibility of it to have evolved independently. To me it would mean that the universe has this intrinsic property to have intelligent life to appear. And the will to stay alive to me invokes an intentional agent – one that is inside every physical matter and parts of the universe. I call this intentional animating agent – God.

    And that’s complete and utter nonsense. Finding another alien form of life would demonstrate nothing of the sort.

    Things that tend to survive are those things with the ‘will’ to stay alive. It doesn’t even have to be a ‘will’. Freaking digger wasps have some rudimentary programming (do NOT take that literally … although you’re probably going to anyway, because you’re you) that functions well enough for the purposes of their survival. Better problem-solving programming makes for more likely survival and passing on of the genes, so those with a freak improvement in their programming will be more likely to pass on their genes.
    This is so basic, in evolutionary theory.

    You don’t understand what a logical progression is, and you don’t understand what evidence is. I don’t know how to help you realize what nonsense you’re spouting.

  37. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @subzerobob
    That’s so laughably stupid that I don’t even have the correct words to mock you.

    Protip: If your assertion about material reality is not falsifiable, then you have a bad assertion.

  38. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @subzerobob

    Oh, I forgot to also ask you: If you don’t know, then how is your stance more rational than mine? As an agnostic panentheist I also don’t claim to know that panentheism is true. But I sense from you a certain type of certainty that my claims are wrong. Can you please provide me with your reasoning and evidence on why you are so certain that I am wrong?

    Are you claiming better than 50% odds that this “god thing” exists? You seem to be reserving “knowledge” for absolute certainty. Absolute certainty is a strawman. Almost no belief do we hold to absolute certainty.

    We atheists admit when we don’t know. You seem to revel in making shit up. That’s the difference. That’s why we’re the good guys.

  39. pac1261 . says

    @subzerobob

    the dying bees case…90% of his bees died

    An important empirical fact is that 90% of the bees died. Don’t you think there has to a natural reason for that? In principle, science can discover the reason given enough time and effort. Saying “I don’t know” and walking away will not, of course, help the unfortunate farmer. But neither will it help to hang a cross over each beehive or sacrifice a lamb to the almighty or to sing a few songs every Sunday morning.

    Which is better – to say “we don’t know why the bees are dying,” or “we do know why the bees are dying, it’s because your beehives are possessed by demons.”

    Or perhaps, “It’s because the farmer is a sinner and his wife is a witch, and whoever disagrees with that is an enemy of the state.” In the former case, we at least have the option of doing research to figure out why they’re dying. For the latter case (as long as we’re all telling stories) how about this: we lynch the farmer and burn his wife at the stake. The minister’s cousin takes over the farm and converts it to a tobacco plantation. The state legislature passes a bill subsidizing “faith-based beekeeping.”

    Knowing is better than not knowing, but admitting ignorance is better than faking knowledge.

  40. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @subzerobob

    If you claim that this is physical, then the burden of proof is on you to provide the evidence.

    I’m not entirely sure what you’re getting at, but I think I get it enough. Almost no atheist, skeptic, or scientist, makes the assertion which you think is false.

    This goes back to one of my comments else-page. It’s about basic epistemology. In a proper epistemology, if some purported material causal fact about our shared material causal reality is untestable, now and forever, then it’s garbage. It’s nonsense. I don’t know what “feelings are physical” even means. It’s not right. It’s not wrong. It’s not even wrong.
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong

    What many atheists, skeptics, and scientists say about feelings is this: Your mind is the result of the physical processes of your brain. Without your brain, there is no mind. There is no afterlife. I can change any part of your mind by changing the relevant portions of your brain. There is no soul with causal power above the brain. If there was such a thing as a soul, that would mean particles in your brain sometimes don’t obey the physics of other mindless particles, and that would be detectable. We haven’t detected it, and going by the evidence, I lay very strong odds that it will never be detected because it does not exist.

    None of that has anything to do with whether “feelings are physical”, whatever that means.

  41. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I am not primitive and the rooster doesn’t have intellect.

    How do you know this?

    There are many (other) animal species which show much more intelligence than you give credit. Reminder: Humans are animals too. There’s no magic which separates humans from the rest of the animal species.

    Re: neuroscience, if you go reductionist all the way down to the comprising elements, then please explain to me at which point of the painting process does a painting declare itself beautiful?

    See here:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2014/08/24/open-thread-for-aetv-880-matt-and-tracie-take-viewer-calls/#comment-296222

    Further:
    You’re operating under some assumptions which I think are wrong (or not even wrong), and thus I don’t think your question is terribly meaningful or coherent.

    Your mind has no behavior independent of the brain. When something “declare[s] itself beautiful”, that is reducible (good word choice!) to a particular state or pattern of particles in the brain. That’s absolutely right.

    What’s the difference between a rock and a human brain? Configuration. The human brain has the configuration for computation. The rock does not. Then we can talk about brains in the middle forming a smooth continuum. At some point, one of those intermediary brains is capable of the computation to recognize itself, and to recognize itself as beautiful.

    The final question, and one which I cannot answer because I do not know. You may also be asking “why am I aware and a rock is not?”. Dunno. No one does. Sorry. Similarly, “how do brains create minds?”. Also don’t know. Sorry. It’s like asking “how do magnets work?”. Sorry, can’t do. I can describe the rules by which magnets work, but I cannot give an explanation for why it’s those rules and not some other rules.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO0r930Sn_8
    It’s an unavoidable “limitation” of the scientific reductionist approach. I can explain a great many things from a very small set of starting points, but I cannot explain the starting points except to say that I have lots of evidence that the starting points are true.

  42. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    NO – you are failing to understand basic definitions: agnostic panentheist means I don’t claim to know that my belief is true,

    No one here gives a rat ass if you don’t know it’s true. You believe it’s true, and that’s why we’re calling you out on it. We care about whether your beliefs are justified. We don’t give a rat’s ass if you want to call that belief “knowledge” or not.

    As they said in the show, everyone is entitled to their opinions. But opinions can be wrong, and we can correct you when we think your opinions are wrong, and we can be upset when you openly hold opinions which you cannot justify.

  43. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    your camp should control its hounds, because last time I checked the answer to every question that I have is “I don’t know.”

    Lies. You are making a distinction between a mere belief and “knowledge” which everyone else here does not respect. To us, it’s all the same thing. You do claim to have a belief that there is a god.

  44. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @subzerobob

    I think it is time to look for ways to go beyond what we are currently doing/working with, rather than pushing and shoving things that don’t belong or don’t fit in where we are trying to fit them into. This looks primitive to me, like hammering parts into slots that don’t fit these parts. This is the main error in methodology and unless we develop something beyond what we are currently working with, I don’t think your solutions of push and shove are sound. Excuse my impatience while I am continuously watch you waiving that hammer.

    You are attempting what is known as an argument from absurdity, aka a reduction ad absurdum. This is a very useful and correct tool in logic. What you are doing is constructing an argument from a hypothetical premise, a premise taken for the sake of argument, and from that you derived an apparent absurdity. By the basic rules of logic, that means the premise is false. Your argument loosely is: Conventional science cannot answer these questions. Science is the only correct way about knowing about our shared material causal reality. Thus these questions are answerable. That is an absurd conclusion, and thus one of the premises is false. The form of the argument is valid. The argument is not sound. It’s not an absurd conclusion. Perhaps some questions will forever be unanswerable. This is basically an appeal to consequences fallacy.

    You have questions, and you want answers, and you think conventional science cannot give you those answers. My response: Tough. Either work conventional science to make it able to answer those questions, or give up on those questions. If you want to posit something in our shared reality with causal power, then the only acceptable method to learn about it is conventional science. End of discussion.

    Having said that, perhaps you haven’t thought hard enough yet how conventional science might answer the question. Hundreds of years ago, it was said that science could never determine the composition of stars. Then we invented spectroscopy, and we learned about the composition of stars. Similarly, some of your questions may be answerable by science, but you haven’t tried hard enough yet.

    The fundamental problem is that you want to ask questions when there is no way to determine if you’re right or wrong. That’s all science is. Science is the method of taking a question, and answering the hypothetical “what would the world look like if the answer was X”, and then going out and seeing if the universe looks like X. Some of your questions are questions about the unobservable, the untestable, which means that we will never know, because there is no way to know.

    And again, if you try again to make an artificial distinction between “believe” and “know” and pretend what I said does not apply to you, I swear to god…

    First let me explain what do I mean by the subject/object split: Someone could perceive themselves as being on vacation in Hawaii and they are not actually on vacation in Hawaii, yet that person could have the same emotional experience even though there is no objective anything causing it. The first question is – where did the intent came from which caused all the neurons in the your brain to move and produce these thoughts?

    In both cases, it’s just the laws of physics. In both cases, the external stimulation and internal machinations of the brain resulted in some physical state(s) with a similar (or same) emotional experience. You are relying on a flawed assumption: If X causes Y, then Z cannot cause Y. Sorry – sometimes things can be caused in multiple ways.

    People can make-pretend, and because of the brain is wired, this kind of make-pretend can have real consequences. It can trigger parts of the brain for pleasure, happiness, and relaxation. You don’t really need to go to hawaii to feel happy and relaxed.

    Also: See placebo effect.

    Naturalism accounts for this perfectly fine. I don’t see a problem here.

    I have only one question for you. Can you be wrong? How would you determine if you are wrong? By what process or method would you determine that you are wrong? Give me specifics. Give me concrete examples. If you cannot do that, then you are not practicing rationality.

    PS: Sorry for so many posts. Done now.

  45. azhael says

    Why is rejecting claims the more rational stance?

    Because you have absolutely fucking nothing to rationally base an acceptance of the claim on.
    When the answer to a question honestly is “i don’t know” that’s the only rational stance…anything else is making shit up, which is not rational…

  46. says

    You have missed my point. You asserted to Matt that if a person were to invoke the holy spirit and have “feelings”—that doing this repeatedly would constitute a “test” that could be used to determine a causal link. I was pointing out this is a fallacy. The example I gave used the same reasoning. “If Y happens repeatedly after X, then X causes Y.” It doesn’t matter what you plug in for X or Y—the reasoning is what is flawed, independent of the variables. Your logic is the same as someone saying that a rooster’s crow causes the sun to rise—based on the fact that the sun comes up about 30 minutes after their rooster begins crowing each morning. This is called “post hoc, ergo proctor hoc”:

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Post_hoc,_ergo_propter_hoc

  47. says

    You said in the show that people have inherent “god belief.” But you are now trying to support your statement with a show of “spiritual” beliefs. We have given examples repeatedly of atheists (those who do not believe in gods) who believe in souls and even after lives. The soul and afterlife are spiritual beliefs. The soul, especially, is often a belief in a sort of “spirit” that inhabits the human body. However, that is not synonymous with belief in god. What you are doing here is called “moving the goal post.” It is also a fallacy.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Moving_the_goalposts

  48. says

    It wasn’t even an analogy. It was an example.

    “X happens repeatedly after Y, therefore Y causes X”

    You asserted this. I gave an example that used variables that demonstrate this reasoning fails/is insufficient to establish causal link. You seemed to think that *which variables are used* impacts the fail of this reasoning. It does not. The reasoning fails regardless of the nature of the variables used. X happening after Y–even 100% of the time–is insufficient to establish causal link. I posted the “post hoc, ergo proctor hoc” fallacy link above in another post. I suggest you avail yourself of it.

  49. Narf says

    What I got out of his response up above, near the end of the chain on comment #3, is a continual chain of unjustified jumps.

    And the will to stay alive to me invokes an intentional agent – one that is inside every physical matter and parts of the universe. I call this intentional animating agent – God.

    I would love to see him show his work on this one, although from what I’ve seen of him so far, he doesn’t have the ability.

    How the hell does the will to stay alive, programmed into us by the sifting mechanism of biological evolution, demonstrate an intentional, animating agent that is suffused throughout all matter? When you break it down, everything he says leads to complete nonsense, usually only one step away from the surface. You don’t even need to lead him down the hallway of a reductio ad absurdum, because the absurd, unjustified jumps are visible from the doorway.

  50. Narf says

    I am personally a disproof of his statement. I never had a god-belief … and the Catholic church freaking tried to instill one. As early as kindergarten, I had a vague awareness that there was something wrong with the stories they were telling me in church and CCD (Catholic Sunday school, basically). I never really believed in the whole god-concept, despite trying several tests of prayer to see if I could discover anything worth believing in. Nada.

    To borrow from another of the comments you just added:

    You asserted to Matt that if a person were to invoke the holy spirit and have “feelings”—that doing this repeatedly would constitute a “test” that could be used to determine a causal link.

    Hell, I took that test. It failed. Bobby’s proposition failed on its own logically bankrupt terms.

  51. says

    Uh. No. The implication certainly wasn’t there. She said “say YOU have a rooster”. In the analogy, you are the observer of the rooster, not the rooster.

    a better analogy would be showing a wrist watch to the aboriginal

    A better analogy for what the rooster analogy was meant to show? No. I could be wrong though. Maybe you could explain exactly how that would be an example of the same kind of fallacious thinking you’re exhibiting.

    Fast forward to modern day – aren’t the cosmological constants and the panentheistic view the same thing in modern day? The watchmaker analogy is better fit here than this rooster crap. Pick the right analogy, that’s all I am saying here.

    It is obvious that you are still not listening. What we’re trying to get across to you is that one can’t conclude anything about the explanation for an event (A) by observing that there seems to be a correlation with another event (B). Nor can you say anything about the explanation for an event (A) by observing its frequency or consistency (except that it’s probably not random noise so finding an explanation is likely possible). What does that have to do with watches and cosmological constants?

    Other than your clear lack of rational, logical thought, that is. Your reasoning is all over the place.

    Besides Mr Ibis3, you supreme intelligence superior your highness

    Thanks also for the extra sexist bonus.

  52. says

    I’d add that this is what rationality means, within context. Being rational is about evidence-based acceptance of claims… or about following the available evidence to a logical conclusion.

    … but it requires evidence. Until that happens, rationality requires non-acceptance.

  53. Mas says

    JR is back, and now he’s a secular humanist! Around the thirty minute mark he calls in, and after Matt brings up Old Testament slavery he modulates his voice.
    This is the same guy who once asked why showers don’t electrocute electricity-generating humans.
    It took years, but AE changed another life.

  54. adamah says

    Great show, Matt and Tracy!

    (It was great Matt wore his shirt which D’Addario thought showed the flames of Hell and a somewhat-lopsided infinity symbol on it…

    Methinks Matt’s shirt might’ve been like a Rohrsach Test for D’Addario?)

    ;)

    Robert from Brooklyn brought up some interesting questions, but I esp. enjoyed that 3-4 min interlude (presumably waiting for calls to be screened) where it was just Matt and Tracie talking to each other (topic was how some words that once were not considered offensive now are, due to shifting attitudes). It was a nice break, a chance to eaves-drop on the respectful interchange amongst two open-minded atheists, a nice change-up from the usual call-in format of debating theist callers.

    I’d say that kind of thing is not simply filling otherwise dead air-time, as it’s also effective to show curious questioning theists that we’re not all atheists “want to deny God just so we can sin”; we’re begging to examine the evidence, but in the case of Gods existence, such evidence simply doesn’t exist.

  55. Conversion Tube says

    Ok, ahh end call, hmmm, ok let me ask one more stupid none sensicle question. Damn, not another one, ok damn another one.

    AHHHH I’m going insane. This idiot ruined the whole show.

  56. corwyn says

    Perhaps some questions will forever be unanswerable.

    In fact, this has been mathematically *proven*.

  57. corwyn says

    Why is rejecting claims the more rational stance?

    Other have tried. I will try a different explanation.

    Rationality can be described as having confidence in propositions in proportion to the evidence one has. So, if I say: “I have invented the word ‘sriterick’ to describe a phenomenon, that I claim exists.” What confidence do you have that that sriterick exists? The only rational answer is: “I don’t know, you haven’t even told me what ‘sriterick’ means. This is assigning a confidence of 0 decibans (or 50/50) to that proposition. Zero evidence, zero confidence; simple as that. Without further evidence, that is the only rational response. If I were then to show you a ‘sriterick’ and it looks like a ham sandwich, then you have evidence with which to increase your initial prior probability. On the other hand, if I say that a ‘sriterick’ is a 2000 foot long creature that lives at the bottom of the ocean, you could reduce your confidence by the likelihood you assign to that possibility. The description is evidence (positive or negative) and the likelihood tells you by how much you should adjust your confidence.

    So ALL questions start out (given complete ignorance) at zero confidence. They soon move positively or negatively from that once *any* information is added. Imagine what would happen if you didn’t do that. Your confidence would not match the evidence, and you would be susceptible to scam artists, etc.

    Let’s look at your bee example. Let’s call the three hypotheses:
    Hypothesis A: My bees are fine.
    Hypothesis B: My bees are being killed by disease.
    Hypothesis C: My bees are being killed by pesticides.
    All three start at a confidence level of 0 (50/50), until I actually go check on my girls. If I find 90% of my hives are dead. That is 9 decibans of evidence that Hypothesis A is wrong, and 9 decibans that either Hypothesis B or Hypothesis C is correct (ignoring for now any further possibilities). I’ll assume equally likely, since I lack any evidence to distinguish between them.
    Updating all three hypothesis (independently) I get:
    Hypothesis A: My bees are fine. Confidence: -9 decibans.
    Hypothesis B: My bees are being killed by disease: +4.5 decibans.
    Hypothesis C: My bees are being killed by pesticides: +4.5 decibans.
    Further evidence functions similarly.

  58. corwyn says

    in which he can ramble on for 2,000 words, past an initial, incoherent point, and he thinks that he constructed an argument, when in reality he has lost everyone rational after the first 50 words.

    Perhaps we here should take Matt’s tactic, and only read as far as the first major mistake or point of contention. Making sure that we indicate that we will only read further when that point has been addressed to both parties satisfaction.

    Answering multiple points allows one person to respond only to the weakest argument, not acknowledge any valid points, and claim later, that the rest was a victory.

  59. says

    >Why is rejecting claims the more rational stance?

    It is not just more rational, it’s required and unavoidable in order to navigate reality. NOT rejecting claims when they are presented, employed as a default, results in unavoidable logical contradictions. Observe:

    Claim 1: God exists
    Claim 2: God does not exist

    If it is my default to accept claims, rather than reject them, when I am presented with claims, then I must accept both of the above claims, which is impossible.

  60. adamah says

    Subzero bob asked-

    Why is rejecting claims the more rational stance?

    You’re absolutely right: it’s NOT.

    Instead, the rational thing to do is to NOT ACCEPT the claim BEFORE examining evidence, in the first place.

    In the bee example, anyone could propose ANY hypothesis to explain their deaths (eg space aliens, Northern Lights, etc), but I’m not accepting their claim without any evidence, just as the courts don’t decide on the basis of what sounds plausible: they demand EVIDENCE.

    The same goes for belief in God, Holy Spirit, etc. Show us the science.

  61. corwyn says

    The ultimate proof for me,…

    What would convince you otherwise? Without a possible path to falsifying your claim, it can’t even be considered a hypothesis.

  62. says

    Steve the questioning Catholic seemed, at least at first, to be loitering in the general area of absolute morality. Interesting that he pressed so hard on the shocking idea that atheists and secular humanists disagree on issues he (apparently) considers morally black or white.

    I wish Matt and Tracie had pointed out then and there that, despite his seeming implication, Christians — all 40,000 different flavors — wildly disagree on the same kinds of questions.

    Re stealing teddy bears from baby graves. Bad, for all the perfectly secular reasons given by Matt and Tracie. But I do find the attachment to human remains in various cultures interesting — someone go to grad school and research this stuff!

    In researching and writing a book over the past 4 years about my grandfather, a Marine and posthumous Medal of Honor recipient whose remains have never been recovered from Tarawa, where he fell, I’ve learned that not all societies, even Western societies, attach such significance to remains. The Brits leave their fallen soldiers where they lie. It seems surpassingly strange to me that the U.S. military ethic is to recover dead bodies even at risk to living Marines or soldiers.

  63. edmond says

    BTW, that was Robocop 2 that the caller referenced, where Robocop had all the extra rules put into his brain to make him crazy, not the original film. He grabs a live electrical box Homer Simpson style, which of course perfectly reboots him and neatly erases all his directives. All those sequels sucked so bad.

  64. Matt Gerrans says

    A bit of a false dichotomy there. It is possible to value civility *and* substance.

  65. Narf says

    Except in this case, we’re rejecting the claim as unsupported by sufficient evidence. We’re not saying it’s false. Acceptance and rejection make up a dichotomy.

    “Sorry, I don’t accept this. Come back when you have more evidence.”
    That’s a rejection of the claim.

  66. Narf says

    *blink*
    Really? It’s the same guy? Were those previous calls when he was in his late teens or early 20’s or something, and he has since done a tremendous amount to educate himself? I need to listen to this episode. I haven’t had a chance, yet. Too much crap going on in the background.

  67. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Tracie
    Technically, the only way we discover causation is seeing A then B, A then B, always B following A in constant conjunction. (Paraphrasing Hume.) It’s only a fallacy when your sample size is too low, or when you fail to account for confounding variables. A controlled experiment in a lab is nothing more than inferring causation by seeing A then B, always in constant conjunction, but with proper statistical analysis, and with good attempts to control for confounding variables.

    Going on to what I think subzerobob’s point is. I think subzerobob argued that if one invokes the holy spirit and one gets certain feelings, and this happens every time, then I think this is pretty good proof of causation. It is. It’s great evidence for causation – the causation that attempting to invoke the holy spirit gives you certain feelings. It is not evidence that the holy spirit exists. It is not evidence that you are actually invoking the holy spirit. It’s only evidence that a certain mental exercise produces some particular result.

  68. Narf says

    Methinks Matt’s shirt might’ve been like a Rohrsach Test for D’Addario?

    Heh, I like that idea.

  69. Narf says

    Answering multiple points allows one person to respond only to the weakest argument, not acknowledge any valid points, and claim later, that the rest was a victory.Yeah, the problem is that if we only answer his first point of failure, he’s likely to take that to mean that the rest of his “argument” is rock-solid, and he just has to figure out how to get us to the second point of his “argument”. People who generate word-salad are usually unaware of the fact that they are doing so, because they think that deepities are profoundly meaningful and demonstrate a point as well as any detailed, scientific explanation.

  70. Narf says

    Fuck. Tag typo. Always on the ONE time that I don’t use the preview button.

    Answering multiple points allows one person to respond only to the weakest argument, not acknowledge any valid points, and claim later, that the rest was a victory.

    Yeah, the problem is that if we only answer his first point of failure, he’s likely to take that to mean that the rest of his “argument” is rock-solid, and he just has to figure out how to get us to the second point of his “argument”. I don’t see a way around his inanity, so we’re just doing it for the lurkers, anyway. People who generate word-salad are usually unaware of the fact that they are doing so, because they think that deepities are profoundly meaningful and demonstrate a point as well as any detailed, scientific explanation.

  71. Narf says

    Plus, if we try to hammer that one point until Bobby resolves it, he’ll just go and respond to someone else and ignore the one he can’t answer. If we don’t address the followup issues in one go, we never will. If they’re worth addressing, they may as well be done on the front end.

  72. Narf says

    Yup, and then you find multiple similar behaviors that come from contradictory worldviews, which all have a similar result. At that point, you have to break out of those worldviews and find the common cause.

  73. subzerobob says

    a universe that cannot support life. too bad that in such conditions I will not be around to point it out to you
    the question really should be – why when one sees machines one invokes a creator? When you look at ink and paper by themselves they mean nothing, but when the ink is formatted on the paper into a meaningful code – one suspects an agent responsible for the programming that is laid out even into the DNA of a cell.

  74. subzerobob says

    I have to admit – out of all these posts here, somehow I find myself more and only engaged in reading your posts. Even though you still tend to do the twists just like everyone else. You say that for some things we will never know, because there is no way to know. And what I am saying is – what if there is a way to know? But that way is an unknown unknown. That is to say that we don’t yet know what we don’t know – and that could be that such process exists. You are focused on how do we fit the things that we want to know into a current best process. You are focused on changing the things to fit the process. And I am saying – what if this current process is primitive and needs to be further developed? I am focused on changing the process to fit the things. Which one of those two approaches is more rational?

  75. subzerobob says

    The impossibility here doesn’t come from accepting claims by default, the impossibility here comes from forcing you to accept two contradicting claims. I certainly am not that dumb to ask anybody to be in such stupid position to accept two contradicting claims as both being true. Somehow either you think I am really that dumb or you want to portray me as that dumb. I can only wonder why? To mock me, just because I am a theist? What I meant to say is – why is the “No God” position more rational than the “God” position. Both positions have reasons. As long as you present your reasons for either one of these positions, then you are rational. The question really is: Why does the opposing view think that my reasons are bad reasons, then plug in some subjective opinion about my “bad reasons” and then claim that this is why I am irrational, because how can I possibly not see that my reasons are bad ones, and ignoring their own subjective opinion about my reasons. Just because you can present many different possibilities of other explanations which could be painting a picture of a really in which we don’t even live in, doesn’t mean that my explanation is not exactly what we dealing with in reality. This is precisely why either one of our positions is not more rational than the other. And precisely why you always keep saying that you will be happy to change your mind if the evidence becomes available. Like I said before – we are working on it. But the problem is that we have still primitive tools. I think that once we further develop better methodology we will be able to move forward from this stalemate. And many from your camp say that we will never know, which is really encouraging and motivating to do more research and learn more (sarcasm).

  76. Narf says

    a universe that cannot support life.

    You do realize that this is exactly the reason that the fine tuning argument is so stupid, right? Any life that is capable of forming will form within a universe that has laws that allow it to form. We evolved in such a way to fit within our corner of the universe. The universe was not created just for us.

    When you look at ink and paper by themselves they mean nothing, but when the ink is formatted on the paper into a meaningful code – one suspects an agent responsible for the programming that is laid out even into the DNA of a cell.

    *sigh*
    For fuck sake. No matter how many times you people are corrected on this, you just keep spitting it out again and again and again.

    DNA is not a code. Those letters are not there in nature. We assigned those letters. DNA is just chemicals reacting in a way that’s dictated by the nature of the chemicals. DNA is just the set of chemicals that developed on our planet, from the elements available in huge quantities here.

    Comparing DNA to a written book is inane. No one laid out the “code” in our DNA. The pattern that defines our species and the individual variations of the individuals within our species are a result of evolution, not a designer.

    Your arguments are as stupid as those of any other creationist out there. If you don’t have anything new that wasn’t disposed of decades ago, you’re not even worth talking to on the subject.

  77. Narf says

    … what if there is a way to know? But that way is an unknown unknown.

    Then, when you present us with a method that discovers reality in a way that’s demonstrably better than the scientific method, you’ll have something to talk about. Until then, you’re just flailing wildly and making shit up.

    You are focused on changing the things to fit the process. And I am saying – what if this current process is primitive and needs to be further developed? I am focused on changing the process to fit the things. Which one of those two approaches is more rational?

    No matter how many times you ask the same useless, rhetorical question, the answer is still, “Your approach is not rational at all, so it doesn’t even come to a question of more rational.”

    You find a method, first. You demonstrate the global effectiveness of your method of discovery, and only then do you start making use of your method of discovery to examine this area of study that you claim exists. If your method is only “useful” within one specific area which we have no reason to think is even a thing, that demonstrates the uselessness of your proposed method.

    I have to admit – out of all these posts here, somehow I find myself more and only engaged in reading your posts.

    I’d be insulted by that statement, if I was you, EL. :D

  78. Narf says

    The impossibility here doesn’t come from accepting claims by default, the impossibility here comes from forcing you to accept two contradicting claims. I certainly am not that dumb to ask anybody to be in such stupid position to accept two contradicting claims as both being true.

    *sigh*
    You just don’t get it, do you, Bobby? Your proposal that we accept claims without sufficient evidence will result in us accepting contradictory claims, every time. That’s why rejecting unsupported claims is the more rational approach, and that’s why your repeated, leading questions are faulty. That’s what Tracie was saying. The first thing, accepting claims by default, leads directly to the second thing, accepting two contradictory claims.

    You don’t even understand what she was responding to, do you? She explicitly made the connection in her last sentence. This is why your call was a complete mess. Your ability to comprehend what people are saying in response to your assertions is … just not there.

  79. subzerobob says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal
    thanks for helping me to set Tracie straight. I couldn’t have said it better. On the second part though – you still didn’t talk about my other points that invoking an agent has certain explanatory power especially under my watchmaker view: at which point do you stop and say that If an accident keeps happening then there must be something wrong with the ‘no intrinsic purpose’ view; at which point are you going say that it is not just a mental exercise but that there is something intrinsically and necessarily (inevitably) present in your physiology that makes this happen. Like – why must such thing develop in our physiology and if we ever encounter intelligent alien life that has also independently and evolutionary developed this trait and believe that there is a God; at which point do you stop saying that this happens by accident but instead invoke that there is something (animating force; aka God) is intrinsically present in nature that guides the evolutionary process towards the inevitable creation of intelligent life and even beyond?

  80. Narf says

    On the second part though – you still didn’t talk about my other points that invoking an agent has certain explanatory power especially under my watchmaker view …

    And the obvious reason for this is completely beyond your grasp, isn’t it?

    This is exactly what I was talking about down in my third comment off of #20, Corwyn.

  81. subzerobob says

    @Traci
    under my panentheistic view, god is in everything and everything is in god. hence I view spirituality as manifestation of God. I think that the Piraha’s description of spirits in nature is still more of an initial state of belief system – kind of like proto-polytheistic state. I think that beliefs can evolve and I think that a later stage of this development in belief is of monotheistic kind. I think that world religions know this too and have been preying on this tendency of humans of such tribes in order to conquer them. The important thing to me is that all humans have it, and that even the Piraha already show that this is also happening in their physiology as well. And the most important question is – why must this happen in our physiology? Also I do think that panentheism and the belief which the Piraha are expressing are mutually compatible. I cannot explain it, but I definitely feel it.

  82. subzerobob says

    the neuroscience which you describe is focused on examining the phenomenon after it has already occurred. Thus the non-physical things get completely ignored. What I want to know is – what happens moments before you utter “I am”? What causes the movement of neurons to the left hemisphere of your brain? Where does this will to think come from? Neuronal prediction of free will. “…it is also possible that some form of unconscious process is what is causing modification in our behavioral response. I am stating that our methodology might work best for building bridges, but it is still primitive because it won’t work for non-physical things.

  83. subzerobob says

    @Traci
    your example introduces confounding variables, such the already existing explanation as to why the sun rises and the failure in your theory to account for inconsistencies such as the dead rooster and sun still raising. I don’t like your “example” because it was used as an analogy – like I am this dumb primitive caveman looking at my rooster to findout if the sun will rise. It is oversimplifying and borderline strawman by means to attack my character (my intellect) and thus to ridicule me – portray me as moron. Something that your show is very well trained at doing to your callers. No wonder why everybody thinks that the callers are all morons. Your examples are really bad examples because they are designed to make your callers look like idiots. Like what EnlightenmentLiberal said above: the only way we discover causation is seeing A then B, A then B, always B following A in constant conjunction. I attempted to argue that if one invokes the holy spirit and one gets certain feelings, and this happens every time without any inconsistencies or outside variables (such as taking drugs for example), then I think this is pretty good proof of causation.

  84. subzerobob says

    what I am adding is that the evolutionary processes are guided by intrinsic fundamental animating force inside everything. Hence I am saying that because of this force the formation of codes and patterns is inevitable in the universe. this is why it Einstein said that we are in position of entering a library and seeing books that are written in a language which we don’t understand, but we suspect that someone has written those books.

  85. Narf says

    And we’re asking you for evidence of any such guiding force. The theory of natural selection works just fine without it, so it’s irrational to assume any such thing, without good evidence. Whenever we ask you for that evidence, you give us more woo-woo, nonsensical assertions.

    Unfortunately for you, the laws of physics, as is, provide ample mechanisms for the emergence of patterns out of chaos. Your ignorance on the subject does not equal evidence for something else. Go read some Victor Stenger or something.

    And you’re aware that Einstein had a poetic bent, right? Those who quote-mine the hell out of him make continued use of that trait of his. Einstein did not believe in a personal god. He said so explicitly, in his private letters. That knocks out your panentheism, too.

  86. subzerobob says

    I don’t see a problem when two different people accept two contradicting claims (one claim per person and opposite of each other). I see a problem when one person accepts two contradicting claims.
    Also – I don’t think that either one of those people is more rational unless it is clearly demonstrated that one of the claims has really bad reasons for it to be accepted but that person chooses to accept it despite the bad reasons -in which case that person would be still reasonable but not as reasonable as the other person. But if a person doesn’t offer any explanation as to why he or she accepted it, only then might one conclude that the decision was irrational. For example: somebody buys really expensive coffee when accross the street the coffee is the same and for a fraction of the price. If this is pointed out to that person and he or she doesn’t say anything further or can’t think of anything to say (such as – it is not worth it for me to cross the street and risk my life, or I am brand loyal to these guys here, or I like to pay more for coffee, even just saying “cuz I felt like paying more” etc. etc.), only then might that person’s purchase constitute as an irrational behaviour – because there was no thought behind it.

  87. James Fajardo says

    I’m so confused. Around which part of this episode is the call from Bobby with the ‘rooster’ discussion? First caller is Ryan in Baltimore then Emmanuel from N. Carolina followed by Chris in Texas, then Emmanuel in California and lastly Steve in Brooklyn. Are you guys talking about a different episode/online discussion from elsewhere? Was the uploaded episode shortened to edit this caller out? I’m lost.

  88. Narf says

    I don’t see a problem when two different people accept two contradicting claims (one claim per person and opposite of each other). I see a problem when one person accepts two contradicting claims.

    No. We’re not talking about two different people. One person is going to end up accepting contradictory claims, if they’re going to be consistent and accept things for bad reasons. If you’re going to believe in panentheism for no good reason, with horrible or nonexistent evidence, then you have to accept other claims for equally bad or nonexistent evidence.

    If you don’t, you’re completely inconsistent and have abandoned any attempt at having a consistent worldview, never mind a rational worldview. At that point, you’re just believing what you want to believe, because it makes you feel good. Honestly, I think you’re doing that anyway. You just haven’t accepted that you are.

    Also – I don’t think that either one of those people is more rational unless it is clearly demonstrated that one of the claims has really bad reasons for it to be accepted but that person chooses to accept it despite the bad reasons -in which case that person would be still reasonable but not as reasonable as the other person.

    No, no, no, no, no.
    Accepting something without a good reason IS a bad reason. If you actually give a damn if what you believe is true, you shouldn’t accept a claim without decent evidence. And nothing you’ve ever said is evidence for anything. All you keep doing is spouting word-salad about some new method of discovering what is true.

    You don’t have that method. You’re just daydreaming about this amazing method that is going to prove all of your nonphysical nonsense and show that science has it all wrong.

    That is not rational. That’s not even in the same vicinity as rational.

    This isn’t some sort of competition. Just because you don’t believe in as much insane crap as the tinfoil-hat-wearing, 9/11-was-an-inside-job, I-was-anal-probed-by-aliens crowd, you don’t get to say that your irrational, unsupported assertions are rational.

  89. Narf says

    I don’t see a problem when two different people accept two contradicting claims …

    And an additional point. You can believe whatever nonsense you want, and I’ll just dismiss you as another irrational nut. I’ll let you go about living your life however you want, as long as it doesn’t negatively impact my life.

    When you come to us with your claims and can’t give us any good reason that you believe the stuff, never mind why we should, you have a problem.

  90. Esquilax says

    All humans have this spiritual thing built in, do they? Well, I don’t, and I’ve never believed in any kind of magic stuff, so therefore not all humans have it, and you are wrong. In fact, a couple people have pointed out their own experiences of not sharing your generalized view of humanity too: what do you have to say, now that contradictory evidence is right in front of you?

    Additionally, this commonality of spiritualism is extremely easy to explain via an evolutionary model; it’s nothing more than a cognitive shortcut used in order to explain things we don’t currently have the ability to explain truthfully. Actually, it’s a series of cognitive errors, each one deriving from different purposes, that’d take too long to comprehensively go through. The point is, though, that the information on this is out there, complete with matching studies and evidence to support it, if you had bothered to look for possible explanations for what you see, instead of just coming to the conclusion that feels nicest to you, and stopping.

  91. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    What I want to know is – what happens moments before you utter “I am”?

    A brain state in a particular external environment which mechanistically leads to the next brain state which causes the body to vocalize “I am”.

    What causes the movement of neurons to the left hemisphere of your brain?

    The predecessor state of neurons in the brain, and the surrounding environment.

    It’s like asking why does any particular particle move in a particular way. It’s because the laws of motion plus the predecessor state entail that the particles move in that particular way.

    Where does this will to think come from?

    Physics. It’s just particle physics.

    but it is still primitive because it won’t work for non-physical things.

    You still haven’t demonstrated that a non-physical thing exists non-trivially. I doubt that such things exist, although it depends on what you mean. What experiment have you done to show the existence of an existing non-physical thing? Could you be wrong? How would you know that you are wrong?

  92. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @subzerobob

    And what I am saying is – what if there is a way to know?

    There isn’t. This is presupposition to me. I am a presuppositional scientist, and a presuppositional scientism-ist and skeptic.

    If you can observe it, then you can make a test. Physical or not – irrelevant. That’s one of my presuppositions. If you can see it, taste it, etc., then you can do tests (barring a completely one-off phenomenon). That’s what I mean when I say I am a presuppositional scientist.

    If you want to claim that some thing can affect my senses, some thing external to my own mind, whatever it is, physical or not, then you better have the evidence. You better have done the tests. That’s what I mean when I say I am a presuppositional scientism-ist and skeptic.

    There is no other method. I reject the very idea out of hand and with great prejudice. I reject the idea that you can learn about something in our shared reality without observing it, without gathering data on it, without testing it. I reject out of hand the notion that you can learn about something sitting in your armchair philosophizing about it without access to data.

    I am focused on changing the process to fit the things. Which one of those two approaches is more rational?

    The only rational approach is to embrace science and skepticism. Any other purported “way of knowing” or “way of learning” about our shared reality is bullshit. End of discussion.

    If you want to bring up some evidence, some data, for your ideas, then we can talk about it. We can use inductive reasoning, specifically Bayesian reasoning, and start constructing models on the evidence which can inform our expectations of future sensory experience. That’s all science is. You can do science without materialism. I am not a presuppositional materialist. I am a presuppositional scientist. The answer might not be material, but the only acceptable way to get to the answer is science. (PS: However, we do have lots and lots of evidence that the only real stuff is material.)

  93. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @subzerobob

    what I am adding is that the evolutionary processes are guided by intrinsic fundamental animating force inside everything.

    How do you know that? Where is your evidence? Could you be wrong? What would the universe look like if you were wrong? These are questions that a skeptic would ask themself. Have you? I’m asking these questions to you for you (and for me). I want answers. I want an answer to the question about what you think the universe would look like if there was no such animating force, and there was only the forces of mindless particle physics.

  94. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @subzerobob
    I don’t understand how you’re not getting this. Let me try.

    “The ball is red” is a positive assertion about our shared reality.
    “The ball is blue” is a positive assertion about our shared reality.

    If you don’t have good evidence on the matter, then the only acceptable position is “I don’t know”. It is not acceptable to say “I know the ball is red.” It is not acceptable to say “I believe the ball is red.” If you have no evidence about the ball, then that’s where the conversation should end. Don’t go on say and “I believe the ball is blue.”

    That’s what everyone here is trying to get at. If you start accepting claims without good evidence, then you’re going to accept both “the ball is red” and “the ball is blue”, which is logically contradictory and thus insane.

    Similarly, if you start accepting claims without good evidence, then you’re going to accept “There is a god” and “There is no god”. Both are assertions about our shared reality. Without good evidence, you should not believe either. The only acceptable position without good evidence is “I do not believe there is a god. I do not believe there is no god. I don’t know.”

    PS:
    Part of the problem comes from the common English usage where “I do not believe X” often means “I believe X is false”. By a pedantic analysis of grammar, that’s not correct. Be careful in such discussions. Confusing those two can lead to error. “I do not believe X” is compatible with “I don’t know”. “I believe X is false” is not compatible with “I don’t know”, because saying “I believe X is false” is taking a stance and saying “I do know – I know X is false”.

    Again, for the purposes of this conversation, there is no useful difference between “I believe” and “I know”. In practice, the difference is merely one of degree. “I know” generally merely means “I believe this to be true to a strong degree of confidence”.

  95. Narf says

    He already sort of answered that.
    Corwyn

    What would convince you otherwise? Without a possible path to falsifying your claim, it can’t even be considered a hypothesis.

    subzerobob

    a universe that cannot support life. too bad that in such conditions I will not be around to point it out to you

    He doesn’t seem to understand how falsifiability works. That’s one of many things that he doesn’t understand about science. Maybe you can get through to him, since he’s at least claiming to listen to you. We’ll see how long that lasts.

  96. Narf says

    And phrased yet another slightly different way …

    On the matter of your earlier issue with exclusive statements, Bobby, here’s why rejection of a claim is more rational, when we have insufficient evidence to come to a conclusion:

    X is true.
    X is false.

    Rejecting both claims is perfectly rational, if you don’t have enough information. You’re treating the claims consistently.

    Accepting both claims is insane. If you don’t have enough information, if you accept one because it feels nice, then you’re being unfair to the other claim. You’re not forming your beliefs based upon a rational examination of the evidence.

  97. Frank G. Turner says

    My favorite part about tone trolls is when they act as if they have some massive majority of people who support their position. The classic “Don’t you think most people listening will have [X understanding] rather than what you really mean?” is getting old.
    .
    I think that a lot of where that attitude comes from is when people live in a community that constantly enforces confirmation bias. Isolated communities of puritans developed in this country which purposefully boxed themselves in and blocked out alternate forms of thinking. As a result, many children grew to adults believing that as long as they felt and acted a certain way they would be able to function in a larger society and that a larger part of society would agree with them. Hence the mistaken “don’t you think the majority of people..” fallacy. What they are really saying is “don’t you think the majority of people will agree with me” as they don’t realize that the community that they grew up qith does not represent the majority of people, they don’t know that they grew up in a skewed community.
    .
    Furthermore, the isolation prevented them from getting comfortable with alternate philosophies and ways of thinking and eventually became UN-comfortable with other ways of thinking. I have met more than one person who grew up in said type of community that actually got uncomfortable and even upset that the outside world worked differently than the community that they grew up in. Subsequently, many of them attempted to force the outside world to conform to the ways of thinking that they grew up with (look at all the right-wing nut jobs that behave that way).
    .
    Fortunately for us and unfortunately for them the “free market of ideas” spoken about in antiquity became a reality with the internet so it is becoming even harder for them to try to force their ideas and way of thinking on greater society. Some accept that and try to develop an understanding of the outside world and others (many) kick and scream like spoiled children covering their ears and going “la la la I can’t hear you” and try to fight it. (I got this idea listening to a lecture by AronRa on The Thinking Atheist).
    .
    I have made the suggestion that what people really need is to be pulled out of isolated communities at an early age in order to realize that the outside world does not necessarily work the way your personal community does. Puritans in this country (all the isolated fundamentalist Xtian communities) of course object to this because they want to indoctrinate their children and create “thought clones” of themselves. Of course as the world develops and immigration occurs and their children go off to colleges in the outside community and learn different ways of thinking their children eventually refute their parents way of thinking. So despite attempts to isolate their communities from variability of thought the world eventually pushes its way into their communities and the internet, the new “free market of ideas” does not make it any easier to isolate their communities.

  98. Frank G. Turner says

    Individuals are individuals with their own ideas that don’t necessarily conform to majority rule. Not all Asians are good at mathematics, not all evolutionary biologists are atheists, not all republicans believe in gun control, etc. Many people like to believe that every individual in a group conforms to a majority opinion as it prevents them from having to think about people as individuals and having to take everyone on a person by person basis which can be time consuming and inefficient.
    .
    Matt said something in the show about how in religious groups one person will often speak for the group. IN that case I often say, if you took a person by person poll of that group, a “whole population” sampling instead of an inferential “random sampling” of the population, how representative of the whole population was the inferential sampling? Was it really random? Was the sampling you took skewed by confirmation bias?

  99. Esquilax says

    I attempted to argue that if one invokes the holy spirit and one gets certain feelings, and this happens every time without any inconsistencies or outside variables (such as taking drugs for example), then I think this is pretty good proof of causation.

    It’s proof of causation of the feelings you’re having, not of any god that’s behind them. People’s emotions don’t necessarily map to an external reality, after all. You can be totally happy about a thing that you’re convinced is real, and yet still be wrong about that. What you’re trying to do is extrapolate the fact that you have a specific set of feelings upon thinking of a certain concept into evidence that the concept itself must therefore exist, but why should that be? If I have certain feelings consistently whenever I think about the Terminator, is that evidence that the Terminator actually exists, or that I have a certain opinion about the character?

    Better yet, if I have even stronger feelings than you do every time I think about you being wrong, does that make you perpetually wrong? If I have super strong feelings at the idea that gods don’t exist, does that somehow counteract your feelings and make the god you believe in stop existing?

    Or should we all just recognize, here, that feelings are not a one to one map of external reality?

  100. Narf says

    Post show, I’d guess. You can see why they wouldn’t want to have him on the actual show itself. The last thing we need is more theists whining about how they only take the theist callers who can’t string together a coherent thought.

    Bobby is a longtime caller, so we have a great deal of history of him presenting his incoherent arguments, which we can argue about on here for weeks.

    I’m watching the actual episode, now. I tried to pull up the UStream listing to check the pre- and post-show. I’m not seeing it in the archive, yet.

  101. unfogged says

    Steve the questioning Catholic seemed, at least at first, to be loitering in the general area of absolute morality.

    The impression I got was that he was looking for a new monolithic authority to replace the one he was leaving behind. The church provided a definitive framework for right and wrong and he’s assuming that atheist groups also have that same collective approach and top-down declarations of morality.

  102. Narf says

    I’m not showing anything for this episode on there. I followed your link, and I only got up through episode 879. Guess I’ll have to wait a few days.

  103. Narf says

    What would you call this, failed-squared? It fails because the proposed test is poorly constructed and the essence of confirmation bias, and then it fails as proposed, on top of that.

  104. unfogged says

    Episode 879 on ustream is the same as episode 880 on the ACA page; looks like the show numbers are out of synch

  105. Narf says

    Ohhhhhhhhhh. They must have gotten off on a skipped week, and no one has fixed it yet.
    Thanks. I’ll pull that up.

  106. Narf says

    I just got to that part, myself, after many long pauses. That isn’t JR. JR is a local, in Austin, I believe.

  107. Monocle Smile says

    evolutionary processes are guided by intrinsic fundamental animating force inside everything

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

    Your claim is an outdated, laughable bit of nuttery.

    Bobby, you don’t even realize how fractally wrong you are. You make wild claims, then when we point out that you have zero evidence to support your claim, you whine that our current methods of acquiring data and knowledge are insufficient to even attempt to gather evidence.

    Do you not realize that I could do the exactly same goddamn thing with stuff I made up on the spot? I mean, I think you DID make this up on the spot, but it’s special pleading at its finest.

    Also, stop whining like a fucking baby. You put on this feigned persecution complex before anyone mocked you; it’s very, very obvious that you’re desperate to be the victim even when no perpetrator exists. Grow the fuck up.

  108. adamah says

    SZB asked-

    The important thing to me is that all humans have it, and that even the Piraha already show that this is also happening in their physiology as well. And the most important question is – why must this happen in our physiology?

    It exists in us because it confers a HUGE advantage in terms of survival. The emergence of self-awareness and rational thought gives Homo sapiens a significant advantage over all other species, emerging as the dominant species on planet Earth (for better or worse).

    The attempt to try and figure out why things happen to us confers a selective advantage, a powerful means to supplement instinctive behaviors (which are found in other living organisms). It’s an advantage over not only other species, but also over other members of our species (and arguably a disadvantage if someone is a member of the out-group and doesn’t “go with the flow”).

    Hypothesizing the existence of God was actually a satisfying explanation in ancient times; now, it’s questionable, as mankind is arguably emerging to move beyond it (caveat: that is true, only if you just ignore examples of ISIS, etc).

    Also I do think that panentheism and the belief which the Piraha are expressing are mutually compatible. I cannot explain it, but I definitely feel it.

    I presume you’ve actually learned as much as you can about the Pirahã?

    And if you can’t explain and/of justify the connection, your feeling (gut instinct) should rightly be accorded ZERO persuasive power by others, since your hunch is only yours (and you’d do well not to fool yourself by making decisions driven by your emotions and desires, which are henbane to rational thinking).

  109. adamah says

    Narf said-

    Except in this case, we’re rejecting the claim as unsupported by sufficient evidence. We’re not saying it’s false. Acceptance and rejection make up a dichotomy.

    “Sorry, I don’t accept this. Come back when you have more evidence.”

    That’s a rejection of the claim.

    Yeah, I commented primarily to mention the overlooked temporal element of the requirement for more EVIDENCE, since technically it’s not a PERMANENT rejection of the claim, but a demand for additional evidence.

    The rational position is that if there’s insufficient evidence on which to make a decision, one should demand further evidence (and since Matt and I identify as atheists, we’ve obviously seen sufficient counter-evidence to decide and adopt the ‘hard/positive/strong atheist’ position).

    But if Bible God appeared tomorrow and presented undeniable evidence that He exists, it would be irrational to claim God didn’t exist. As a rationalist first-and-foremost, I’d be forced to admit I was wrong, ditching my atheism in a heart-beat.

    (And before someone irrationally jumps to the other extreme, I’m not implying I’d WORSHIP God: we all believe in the existence of things we don’t worship, eg I believe in the Sun, but don’t worship it as Sun Ra).

    But more directly to the point you raised, sure that’s valid. However, I suspect you’re projecting the bias of someone who’s never believed, since there’s an important distinction to be made whether we’re talking about rejecting the CLAIM of a theist who’s trying to convert others, vs rejecting or shedding one’s PERSONAL BELIEF in God. That’s a potential source of confusion (and a possible equivocation fallacy, based on what is being rejected: the belief, or the claim?).

    e.g. Matt previously accepted a belief in God on invalid evidence, but then had to shed, reject, or unburden himself by disbelieving in God. He rejected his BELIEF, but only after realizing he’d previously made the mistake of accepting the belief on insufficient evidence. That’s why theist claim atheists who once were believers now REJECT God.

    Those who never believed in God in the first place (e.g. the Pirahã tribe) are ‘non-believers’, and cannot ‘disbelieve': they’ve never accepted Bible God in the first place, so there’s no belief for them to ‘dis-‘ (prefix meaning ‘to separate from’, as in ‘disband’, ‘disconnect’, etc).

    Hence they would reject the CLAIM, only, since there’s no prior personal belief.

    In the context of the thread, SZB is a believer, so he’d have to reject his personal belief in pantheism.

  110. adamah says

    MS said:

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

    Your claim is an outdated, laughable bit of nuttery.

    MS, do you even understand what the outdated theory of phlogiston was about (hint: it’s now explained by the chemical reaction of ‘oxidation’, whether combustion or rusting)?

    Hence, what does that remotely have to do with what SZB was talking about (an inherent life-force he claims exists)?

    That’s why the one making the claim has the burden of proof to justify it: you don’t need to disprove it (a difficult task, esp. when one is ignorant of the history of chemistry).

    Hence when you say stuff like this:

    Bobby, you don’t even realize how fractally wrong you are. You make wild claims, then when we point out that you have zero evidence to support your claim, you whine that our current methods of acquiring data and knowledge are insufficient to even attempt to gather evidence.

    Do you not realize that I could do the exactly same goddamn thing with stuff I made up on the spot? I mean, I think you DID make this up on the spot, but it’s special pleading at its finest.

    It comes off as exquisitely ironic, since you’re doing exactly what you claim to protest.

    Perhaps you should take the fine advice you dole out to others?

    Also, stop whining like a fucking baby. You put on this feigned persecution complex before anyone mocked you; it’s very, very obvious that you’re desperate to be the victim even when no perpetrator exists. Grow the fuck up.

    “Grow the fuck up”?

    Yes, indeed, that’s good general advice that applies to dogmatic ideologues of all stripes, whether antitheists, theists, or feminists, alike.

    However, this is not thread on that topic, and your doling out non-sequitorial posts on phlogiston hardly gives you sufficient justification to tell others off.

  111. Monocle Smile says

    Adam, I’m going to have to start exploring other languages to find new methods of telling you to go fuck yourself.

    Maybe I’ll see if there are any books about how to communicate with narcissistic attention whores, because I’m out of ideas.

  112. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @subzerobob
    Something can only have explanatory power if it is falsifiable. This is definitional. If it’s not falsifiable, then it’s merely a “just so” story, aka no explanatory power.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-so_story
    Something has explanatory power if it helps you predict future observation.

    This includes things like geology and astrophysics, where all of the experiments are in the past. In geology, most of it has already happened. We can explain the processes of the past. Geology has explanatory power because it predicts what we should see when we go look at the world. It gives predictions of future sensory experience, even though it might be about events in the past.

    Explain how you might be wrong. Explain what the world would look like if you are wrong. Otherwise you are just posting drivel.

  113. Frank G. Turner says

    Pardon me for not having gotten to this sooner but I only just watched the after show.
    .
    @ adamah
    MS said:

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

    Your claim is an outdated, laughable bit of nuttery.

    MS, do you even understand what the outdated theory of phlogiston was about (hint: it’s now explained by the chemical reaction of ‘oxidation’, whether combustion or rusting)?

    .
    I think what MS was getting at (I could be wrong feel free to correct me) was that the “intrinsic force” mentioned by Bob here is similar to the “intrinsic force” represented by phlogiston that has since been debunked by quantitative procedures. It sort of like the idea that the body looses a small degree of mass after death even in an enclosed state which would represent a physical soul (which under controlled conditions said experiments have failed to demonstrate this hypothetical ability to quantify a soul).
    .
    I too have often considered an intrinsic force throughout the universe. I do not believe that this force is super-natural or magical in any way. One might have various words for this force (and the word “force” is probably a bad word for it as I don’t mean that it is mass times acceleration, I just use this for lack of a better4 word). What many call this force (as I prefer to do) the “force of nature,” which essentially identifies the physical laws of the universe.
    .
    What I think gets many a theist frustrated is that they personify this force of nature which they claim to basically be “God.” Yet they have no empirical method for demonstrating that this force has a personality of its own, its own consciousness so to speak. I thought of this many times in my life (even as a theist). I asked myself, how do I know that the universe has its own personality? Does that personality have to have consciousness and can it make decisions?
    .
    Think about that Bobby, does an intrinsic force have to be someone (or more accurately some-THING) that made a conscious, rational, intentional decision to guide the universe or could that guidance (which one can hardly call “guidance” so much as “non-randomness”) simply have arisen as a part of the pattern of the universal laws? IT may not seem like that this could have happened but that does not mean that it didn’t.
    .
    Keep in mind, just because something is not random does not mean that it is intentional. That is probably difficult for you to imagine, how we as human beings could have arisen both without intention but not completely randomly either.

  114. Frank G. Turner says

    I got the same impression myself. It makes sense from the standpoint that when an individual realizes that the conclusions that they have come to in life are incorrect but has developed a framework for how they think. Essentially he has not consider the possibility that it is the framework that needs to be remodeled but only the conclusion changed. They talk about that a lot in the show, one’s “epistemology” so to speak.

  115. Frank G. Turner says

    at which point do you stop saying that this happens by accident but instead invoke that there is something (animating force; aka God) is intrinsically present in nature that guides the evolutionary process towards the inevitable creation of intelligent life and even beyond?
    .
    At which point was it suggested that this happens by accident? Just because something is not intentional does not mean that it is by accident. If you study evolution pretty deeply there are a LOT of things that did not happen by accident NOR were done intentionally either.

  116. ad84 says

    the first call is either from a complete psychopath or (what I’d rather that was the case) a false flag from a Christian or other type of believer thinking along the lines of “whoo hoo, stoopid athiest can’t argue against desecration of graves if there’s no god”
    luckily the hosts saw through it and handled the call perfectly.

  117. James Fajardo says

    Thank you for the link. Now that I’ve listened I kinda regret asking for it, damn, haha.

  118. Frank G. Turner says

    @ironchew
    Tracie’s rooster analogy was a fresh take on correlation =/= causation, which you had a really hard time understanding
    .
    Actually it is not a “fresh take,” it is a really common analogy used to describe causation vs. correlation. When I was first learning about science I read that analogy in a textbook. That is probably why it was used in that it is so basic to an understanding of correlation vs. causation..
    .
    What Bob here fails to comprehend is that a LOT of people who don’t have certain basic understandings of logic who often happen to be theists convinced that they have to “spread the good news” (i.e.: force their views about Xtianity on others and claim that it is for noble reasons) DO call the show rather regularly, more so at some times than others. And many never have studied ideas like logic or rational thought or evolution, etc.
    .
    I am not saying that all theists are individuals who don’t make an effort to understand such concepts. Heck one of my favorite evolutionary promoters is Catholic (I have mentioned Ken Miller many times and he has been brought up on the show often). What Bob here may not get is that many Xtian communities who did not want their children to learn about science, much less evolution (this started before “On the Origin of Species”). So in some instances a strong correlation DOES exist between those who are unfamiliar with science and certain types of Christian religious belief, particularly here in the USA but it does happen in other countries as well. And correlations also exists between atheism and strong scientific education as well as correlations between atheism and oppressive religious upbringing which may lead to the atheist/agnostic having a better understanding of religion than those who claim to practice said religion.
    .
    So it is not exactly a coincidence that many theists who call the show sound like idiots as they have little understanding of logic, science, and/or their own religion and that those who host the show DO have a good understanding of these things. Of course despite the fact that this is not a coincidence it is not done intentionally either. I think THAT is something (mentioned below) that Bobby had not thought of before, that something is not planned / intentional nor is coincidental / accidental either.
    .
    One could make the claim that these results are planned because many Xtians do not want their children to learn about science because it might lead to them becoming atheists. However, it is not like those parents realized that by failing to let their children learn about Xtianity and science that those children would one day sound like idiots when they spoke to atheists.

  119. Frank G. Turner says

    @subzerobob
    I have to say that I admire something, you are making a definite attempt to understand much of the philosophies and ways of thinking of those around you. You may make a lot of failed assumptions (don’t we all), but you are making a definite attempt to understand. It may be tough but keep at it.
    .
    I am guessing that they have directed you to talkorigins. I don’t know if you have listened to people give lectures on evolutionary biology (I often recommend khanacademy to people).

  120. Monocle Smile says

    Frank, I can’t possibly agree with that. From where I sit, I see Bobby trying his level best to MISunderstand everything we’re trying to say.

    And no, not all of us make a lot of “failed assumptions.” Speak for yourself.

  121. adamah says

    Frank said-

    I think what MS was getting at (I could be wrong feel free to correct me) was that the “intrinsic force” mentioned by Bob here is similar to the “intrinsic force” represented by phlogiston that has since been debunked by quantitative procedures./I>

    Yeah, Frank, I know what MS was thinking, but that still doesn’t change the fact MS posted bad info that constitutes a ‘categorical error’, comparing phlogiston to SZB’s intrinsic animating force.

    Phlogiston was attempting to explain why (mostly) inanimate substances burn, and it’s completely irrelevant to SZB’s proposed ‘intrinsic life force’ (supposedly found in all animate beings). Why?

    The phlogiston hypothesis was falsified by experiment (with metals that GAINED mass as they burned, when they should’ve DECREASED in mass).

    In comparison, the hypothesized ‘intrinsic life force’ is unfalsifable (and unnecessary, since it’s offered as a solution to a non-existent problem in science).

    Oh, on this:

    What many call this force (as I prefer to do) the “force of nature,” which essentially identifies the physical laws of the universe.

    It sounds like you actually believe in this “intrinsic life force” thing, Frank?

    Is that right? Where’s your evidence to even suspect it exists?

    Oh, PS: some scientists object to the loaded phrase, “physical laws”, since it implies a law-giver (ie God) responsible for enacting these laws and setting planetary bodies into motion, etc.

    A more-neutral phrase would be something like, “patterns of behavior observed in nature”.

    What I think gets many a theist frustrated is that they personify this force of nature which they claim to basically be “God.” Yet they have no empirical method for demonstrating that this force has a personality of its own, its own consciousness so to speak. I thought of this many times in my life (even as a theist). I asked myself, how do I know that the universe has its own personality? Does that personality have to have consciousness and can it make decisions?

    Think about that Bobby, does an intrinsic force have to be someone (or more accurately some-THING) that made a conscious, rational, intentional decision to guide the universe or could that guidance (which one can hardly call “guidance” so much as “non-randomness”) simply have arisen as a part of the pattern of the universal laws?

    Even whether it has consciousness, you both should be asking yourselves WHY you even need it. I assure you, biologists aren’t fretting over it!

    And even if this proposed intrinsic life force exists (which is obviously unproven), is it susceptible to the “survivorship effect”, where all life forms surviving today obviously have it, but what about the millions of species that have gone extinct? Is that possibly due to their having ran out of this proposed “intrinsic life force”?

    (Again, a biologist simply explains it as a failure to adapt to changes in the environment, with actual evidence to explain how and why extinction occurs.)

    How does one explain those who commit suicide at a young age? Were they lacking in sufficient ‘intrinsic animating life force’?

    (Biologists explain it as caused by depression or the like, a risk factor for suicide.)

    As others have stated, such proposed forces are quite unnecessary for biologists to explain life; worse, if tacked on, it adds bulk but adds ZILCH explanatory power.

    Biologists don’t need any such extra baggage to carry about in their brains.

    And when a proposed scientific hypothesis is unfalsifable, and hence remains untestable over long periods of time, the odds are good that it’s either too advanced for our current scientific methods OR it’s not worth worrying about.

    A good example is someone living in Greece in 1,500 BCE who might’ve hypothesized the existence of radio waves, but it would be completely irrelevant, until a means was developed to confirm their existence.

    Was their hypothesis correct?

    Sure, but without a means to show it, it was an idea ahead of its time.

    Bobby, you seem like a smart individual, but what are YOU doing to advance the knowledge of humankind, to help lend a hand in the human endeavor to develop new techniques to push the envelope, to detect the currently undetectable?

    Just like Matt said in the show, if a Xian truly believed the Bible is the word of God, you’d think they’d actually READ the ‘Good Book’ cover-to-cover!

    But as a panentheist, you have no excuse for not learning everything you can about the Universe and giving back to it (as a sacrifice of your time on the Planet), if you truly believe God is in everything.

  122. Frank G. Turner says

    @MS
    Look he does not have a really good comprehension of many things from where I stand, particularly evolution and the scientific method. It sounded like he was trying to gain some understanding and I was trying to say something encouraging.
    .
    I don’t know if people really make a purposeful effort to misunderstand. People misdirect and lie, but many times the liar knows well what the truth is and how people’s mistaken beliefs will benefit the perpetrator which may lead to misunderstanding. (In which case the liar’s misunderstanding is a side effect as compared to a desired goal while the victim’s misunderstanding IS the desired effect). Based on some of the past threads I can see why you might make a similar accusation of Bobby here, but I don’t know if that is really his intention. He does seem a little “Ray Comfort”-esque in that regard but I did not want to come right out and say it. You probably have a better understanding of that than I do as you have been on here longer and I defer to your judgment on that.
    .
    Regarding “failed assumptions” I see a lot of people who make judgments throughout life. A LOT of those judgments are based on things like body language and facial expressions which does not always lead to quantifiable evidence that can be verified. I have met a LOT of people (atheists included) that get very egocentric about their social skills. As such they treat judgments they make based on non verbal communication as (pardon the expression) “gospel truth” and will count the hits and ignore the misses (you know, confirmation bias) when it comes to social behavioral goals. That is the general context in which I was speaking and was not directed at you (or anyone) personally.

  123. adamah says

    Re stealing teddy bears from baby graves. Bad, for all the perfectly secular reasons given by Matt and Tracie. But I do find the attachment to human remains in various cultures interesting

    Yeah, it’s definitely a matter of differing cultural norms.

    The first thought that went through my head was imagining how the gardeners and caretakers of the cemetary grounds don’t allow such items to remain on the grave-sites: they discard of them anyway (hopefully not throwing them in the trash bin, but hopefully donating items to a hospital, family shelter, etc).

    I was wondering of the legal ramifications, and I’d think there’s good grounds for assuming the item was abandoned, and not lost (assuming one can overcome the emotional “grave robber!” accusations).

    However, the mom in question put a tracking device in a teddy bear after a few had disappeared, and that gave police probable cause to obtain a warrant and search the thief’s home. It was described inside as an ‘Aladdin’s den’ as they found other stolen items that got the ‘teddy bear thief’ 10 yrs in prison (that sentence would be a tad harsh, and incredibly costly to society, simply for nicking a teddy bear, even from a shop. I don’t know if he had prior convictions, etc, as I didn’t look into the details of this UK case).

    Of course, it’s an emotional “hot button” story that tugs at heart-strings, and thus demonstrates the need to consider the impact of all actions and words on others: atheists aren’t immune from rules of society (esp when trying to persuade believers to give up faith for reason).

  124. Mas says

    Oh well. Maybe I listened to the “Stone Church” guy compilation one too many times and think everyone is disguising their voice and location.

  125. Frank G. Turner says

    @ adamah

    It sounds like you actually believe in this “intrinsic life force” thing, Frank?
    Is that right? Where’s your evidence to even suspect it exists?
    Oh, PS: some scientists object to the loaded phrase, “physical laws”, since it implies a law-giver (ie God) responsible for enacting these laws and setting planetary bodies into motion, etc.
    A more-neutral phrase would be something like, “patterns of behavior observed in nature”.

    .
    I said that I considered intrinsic force, not that I believed in it. And I don’t necessarily identify this force as being something that “gives life” (which would imply intent) so much as something that “results” in life. What I was basically getting at was the analysis of the infinite regress and first cause argument (the whole Kalaam cosmological thing) that Aquinas made. I can’t remember who said it (I keep thinking it was Carl Sagan) who when proposed with this argument said, “why do we need to assert that the ‘first cause’ is ‘God,’ why not just ‘nature’?”
    .
    THAT is what I am getting at as an “intrinsic force.” And like I said, “force” is not a good word for it. And I would agree that “physical laws” are not good for it either. The “patterns of behavior observed in nature” does not even work for me. “Behavior” can also imply intent in some cases. Basically it is just “nature.” The idea was not that there was anything supernatural or magical.
    .
    I believe that natural processes, which are intrinsic to the universe, resulted in life. Since life is part of the universe’s natural process it may not be unusual to find life on other planets as Bobby suggested. (Note, I had been reading some of Bobby’s other posts when I posted regarding life on other planets and was trying to speak to that not being such an unusual thing).

  126. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Narf
    Your arguments are as stupid as those of any other creationist out there. If you don’t have anything new that wasn’t disposed of decades ago, you’re not even worth talking to on the subject.

    .
    I dunno if he isn’t worth talking to on it. He is further along than some creationists. At least he is not reading science and “deeming” certain things to be true like another caller. The whole idea that you get to deem certain things true or false despite observable evidence was pretty lame.
    .
    Then again Bobby seems to have been calling the show and making arguments for a while. His “DNA is a code which implies intent” principle seems to come form someone who does not get science.
    .
    Then again maybe it is just because he is not a Xtian creationist that he seems further along an I did not consider that until just now. Maybe you’re right and he isn’t worth talking to.
    .
    @MS
    Pardon what I said below, now that I think about it perhaps you are right and he isn’t trying to understand.

  127. Narf says

    Yeah, I commented primarily to mention the overlooked temporal element of the requirement for more EVIDENCE, since technically it’s not a PERMANENT rejection of the claim, but a demand for additional evidence.

    Hmm, that can be an important distinction to make for some people, true. After all, how often do we have to explain to someone why the fact that something is “just a theory” is stupid for them to point out.

    The rational position is that if there’s insufficient evidence on which to make a decision, one should demand further evidence (and since Matt and I identify as atheists, we’ve obviously seen sufficient counter-evidence to decide and adopt the ‘hard/positive/strong atheist’ position).

    Another angle I sometimes take is that the evidence for god-concepts with which we’ve so far been presented is actually flat-out disproven, in pretty much all cases; so, those things are completely false. What sort of theistic god that would be worthy of worship would allow her creations to go running around abusing each other with false god-concepts like this?

    It has a very limited scope, but that covers the scope within which the vast majority of modern religious believers work. It wouldn’t work on the Puritans, but I really can’t be bothered to give a fuck about them.

    Any but the most uncaring, hands-off deistic god is right out, and what possible benefit could there be in believing in a deistic god? It has no explanatory power, and the god itself wouldn’t give a damn whether or not you believe in it. About the only thing you would gain is not having to defend yourself against the big, scary cosmological argument! Oh no!

    But more directly to the point you raised, sure that’s valid. However, I suspect you’re projecting the bias of someone who’s never believed, since there’s an important distinction to be made whether we’re talking about rejecting the CLAIM of a theist who’s trying to convert others, vs rejecting or shedding one’s PERSONAL BELIEF in God. That’s a potential source of confusion (and a possible equivocation fallacy, based on what is being rejected: the belief, or the claim?).

    Hmm. I guess I would say that the direction I was looking at it from, from the perspective of other people …

    I would say that I’m looking at it from the perspective of someone who doesn’t believe right now, but I’m also retroactively applying it to people who currently believe. When they were presented with the idea or made up the idea themselves, they should have rejected the idea because it lacks support.

    Not that I’m completely unreasonable. I don’t expect a 5 year-old to reject the claims as unsupported, despite the fact that I did. I don’t hold everyone to my standards. :D
    Seriously though, I can think of about half a dozen major factors from the way I was raised, which made me look at the religious stories skeptically. Without those, I’m sure the religious brainwashing probably would have taken hold, for at least a little while.

    I think the main thing that makes me hit so hard on the position that people should reject unsupported claims is that Bobby is hitting so hard on “… is rational to believe.” If someone is so determined to claim rationality for his position, he needs to go back to basics and reexamine his basic stance for rational support. Without that component of Bobby’s language, I might be a bit softer on this.

    Oh, and to answer your direct question, I was speaking in terms of the claim, not the belief. There’s obviously some overlap there, but I would have to take it apart and examine it in detail, before I said anything about rejecting beliefs. You shouldn’t hold the belief if the claim is unsupported, but it sounds a little weird to me to say that someone should reject a belief. Discard … not hold … I dunno.

    I think I see the equivocation you’re talking about though, yeah. That’s one of the many things we need to hammer, when talking to believers. We’re rejecting the claim of the existence of the god, not the god himself. You’d have to demonstrate the existence of the god, and then I would reject the god for being a fucking monster. You have to complete step one, before you move to step two.

    In the context of the thread, SZB is a believer, so he’d have to reject his personal belief in pantheism.

    That still doesn’t quite sound right to me, rejecting a belief. We’re down into the realm of pointless semantics with that one, though, and I’m not sure there’s anything to gain. You like that usage of the word rejection, and I don’t, given the way we’re using the same word in reference to claims.

  128. Narf says

    It sounds like you actually believe in this “intrinsic life force” thing, Frank?
    Is that right?

    Err, I’m not seeing what Frank said that you took to mean that. The line of his immediately before your comment, about the ‘force of nature’, seems metaphorical at most.

    I think you’re reading a lot into what Frank said, and you’re possibly confusing statements about his previous, theistic position and his current position. Isn’t he an atheist/naturalist? While the distinction between descriptive and prescriptive laws needs to be made to many, I don’t think Frank is one of those people.

  129. Narf says

    I dunno if he isn’t worth talking to on it. He is further along than some creationists. At least he is not reading science and “deeming” certain things to be true like another caller. The whole idea that you get to deem certain things true or false despite observable evidence was pretty lame.

    Positionally speaking, he’s in a less extreme position than a creationist, yeah. I just don’t think that he’s any better off progressionally speaking. From what he’s said about the history of his beliefs and his reasons for adopting his current ones, I think he’s moving in the wrong direction.

    More to the point, I don’t think he has the foundational structure or the comprehension to be reached. As you mentioned, when he’s been calling into the show for as long as he has, and he still doesn’t understand what rational means, I’m ready to give up.

    I would be delighted to see him turn into a skeptic, but I just can’t see it happening.

    @MS
    Pardon what I said below, now that I think about it perhaps you are right and he isn’t trying to understand.

    Adam has a fairly long history of this sort of thing, yeah. He likes to interpret things in the worst possible way so that he can then tell us how stupid we are.

    I took one last stab at a conversation with him, up above, since it seemed to be on a slightly more neutral topic, but I dunno.

  130. Narf says

    Geology has explanatory power because it predicts what we should see when we go look at the world. It gives predictions of future sensory experience, even though it might be about events in the past.

    And it predicts things that we should discover to have been the case in the past, which we just haven’t discovered yet.

    This is the sort of thing we use the predictive power of evolution for, for example. When we see bizarre features in a flower, we predict that we’re going to find a bizarre, complementary feature in a bird or insect, with the interaction between the two species driving the co-evolution of the two features. The color of the flowers can even tell us whether we should be looking for that feature in a bird or an insect.

    It isn’t just predictions of things that will happen in the future.

  131. Narf says

    Why do you need quotes around epistemology? :D

    Sorry, I just found it funny as hell, for some reason.

  132. Narf says

    Heh, silly listener. Thought you would find enlightenment from a discussion in which Bobby was involved. :D The best you should reasonably hope for is schadenfreude.

  133. Narf says

    However, it is not like those parents realized that by failing to let their children learn about Xtianity and science that those children would one day sound like idiots when they spoke to atheists.

    I’d even go so far as to say that some of them think that the reason of Anselm and Aquinas is superior to scientific discovery. They think that the atheists sound stupid, trying to base everything upon scientific reasoning, so they don’t want their children brainwashed into that sort of bad thinking.

    … not that they’ve actually read Anselm and Aquinas, most likely, given their anti-educational bent, but they would if they knew of them.

  134. Narf says

    It was described inside as an ‘Aladdin’s den’ as they found other stolen items that got the ‘teddy bear thief’ 10 yrs in prison (that sentence would be a tad harsh, and incredibly costly to society, simply for nicking a teddy bear, even from a shop. I don’t know if he had prior convictions, etc, as I didn’t look into the details of this UK case).

    The other stolen items are probably the important detail, rather than a previous conviction. Perhaps they were much higher-dollar items, like electronics.

    Plus, once the volume of stolen items reaches a certain level, he’s probably subject some sort of law against being a fencer of illegal goods.

  135. adamah says

    Narf said-

    <I think the main thing that makes me hit so hard on the position that people should reject unsupported claims is that Bobby is hitting so hard on “… is rational to believe.” If someone is so determined to claim rationality for his position, he needs to go back to basics and reexamine his basic stance for rational support. Without that component of Bobby’s language, I might be a bit softer on this.

    Well, the fact of the matter is people have different VALUES and life circumstances that keeps them locked into religion, and discourage them from questioning their beliefs.

    eg JWs who are disfellowshipped are shunned by the community, including being shunned by one’s own immediate family members, treating them as if they’re dead. Some are employers of JW’s, who are strongly-discouraged from working for a DFed JW, so the business is disrupted (and JWs are encouraged to conduct business with other members, so someone may lose their customers overnight).

    It’s a big deal….

    As I explained in the following article, the shunning process started after Jews were prohibited from carrying out capital punishment (mostly stoning) on fellow Jews by their overlords, so they had to resort to the next best thing: social ostracism, treating someone as if they’re dead:

    http://awgue.weebly.com/would-jesus-shun.html

    The climate of thought-suppression within JWs is constant, since all understand the cost of leaving the group is so high that the individual is highly-motivated NOT to entertain such self-destructive questions, and they’ll even rationalize staying as the most pragmatic and best option (and I’d agree, in some cases, unless they’re willing to pay the significant costs of their convictions).

    To them, even contemplating asking the kinds of questions necessary is verboten, since some truly believe God is watching their every move and reading their thoughts. The NT is Orwell’s 1984, except written two millenia earlier.

    So JWs rationalize staying in, telling themselves they’re happy, and even feeling regret for doubting ones faith.

    Contemplating such a life change is a scary thing, essentially tantamount to committing suicide (which some do).

    Even as an outsider, I’d say for some it would be highly IRRATIONAL for them to completely disrupt their entire lives and leave, simply for the sake of leading an intellectually-honest evidence-based life.

    And hard as it is to accept, even us atheists have biases and bend to group-think; we lie to ourselves CONSTANTLY to protect our cherished beliefs and preconceptions (although some do it more than others).

    Oh, and to answer your direct question, I was speaking in terms of the claim, not the belief.

    Yeah, I know you were: you even specified it as rejecting the CLAIM. That’s why I brought up the ‘belief’ bit.

    There’s obviously some overlap there, but I would have to take it apart and examine it in detail, before I said anything about rejecting beliefs. You shouldn’t hold the belief if the claim is unsupported, but it sounds a little weird to me to say that someone should reject a belief. Discard … not hold … I dunno

    Well sure, ideally people SHOULDN’T and WOULDN’T believe in unsupported claims, but I’m talking about what actually IS: people DO believe in unsupported claims, as is evidenced by a World full of believers.

    Corwyn asserts that all evidence should be able to carry the same weight for different individuals, and can be assigned a fixed numerical value to a bit of evidence. That’s the basic premise of Bayesian approach.

    However, it completely ignores that people hold different VALUES, which literally means they place different worthiness on things (including evidence) than others might. What is compelling to you is not necessarily compelling to me or anyone else. If there’s nothing to compare to (eg if it’s not a matter of verifiable facts or convention), it doesn’t mean either is wrong, just that we have different values.

    As far as rejecting a belief, consider the dreaded meme which theists often accuse ex-believer atheists of: “You reject God just because you want to sin!”

    Matt and I accepted the unsupported CLAIMS of a theist years ago, but only later did we reject our BELIEF in God (me in my early teens, and at significant personal cost, since my family were JW’s).

  136. Narf says

    Well, the fact of the matter is people have different VALUES and life circumstances that keeps them locked into religion, and discourage them from questioning their beliefs.
    eg JWs who are disfellowshipped are shunned by the community, including being shunned by one’s own immediate family members, treating them as if they’re dead. Some are employers of JW’s, who are strongly-discouraged from working for a DFed JW, so the business is disrupted (and JWs are encouraged to conduct business with other members, so someone may lose their customers overnight).
    It’s a big deal….

    Oh, sure. I’d draw the distinction between rejecting claims/beliefs/whatever for yourself and rejecting them socially. Just because you reject something, you don’t have to run around everywhere, making noise about it. I just do so because of my personal decision to do so.

    I suspect that my own father was a nonbeliever, because of his aborted stint in Catholic seminary. He just remained a weekly mass-going Catholic because of my mother and his parents and siblings (one of whom is a nun). I can imagine how much worse it would be for more cultish groups, like the JW’s and some Pentecostal cults.

    Well sure, ideally people SHOULDN’T and WOULDN’T believe in unsupported claims, but I’m talking about what actually IS: people DO believe in unsupported claims, as is evidenced by a World full of believers.

    Yup. Most of that was specifically within the context of Bobby’s loaded, rhetorical questions about what is more rational.

    Corwyn asserts that all evidence should be able to carry the same weight for different individuals, and can be assigned a fixed numerical value to a bit of evidence. That’s the basic premise of Bayesian approach.

    I have my own issues with the Bayesian approach. I’ve seen plenty of Bayesian constructions, some of them in support of fundamentalist Christianity, which amount to just piling up enough bullshit — sometimes factoring in things like faith and assigning it a value … no literally, people’s faith in something makes Christianity more believable — and claiming that you have effectively absolute confidence in the thing you’re trying to support. I don’t see how the whole artifice is particularly useful.

    As far as rejecting a belief, consider the dreaded meme which theists often accuse ex-believer atheists of: “You reject God just because you want to sin!”

    Soooooo … party at my place, this weekend? You bring the drugs, and I’ll bring the hookers?

  137. subzerobob says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal
    I don’t agree with you when you say that is not acceptable to say “I believe the ball is red.”
    I think you have good reasons to believe that the ball is red, it should be acceptable and definitely not ridiculed. The only time you are allowed to express why you think your opinion is better is when you address why you think that my presented reasons are bad. And even then it is not appropriate to ridicule – even if you have absolute certainty of the truth in the alternate reasons to what I am proposing. In other words, if you asked me – Why did you buy this expensive coffee from here when the same coffee is sold across the street for the fraction of the cost, and I replied to you – because I feel that paying more for coffee is the right thing to do, you cannot ridicule me even if you know for a fact that paying more for coffee is not the right thing to do, because at least I gave you a rational (thoughtful) answer and because you have no say on how I should or shouldn’t feel.
    For me believing something can motivate you to look for the evidence to prove that it is actually true. I know that you are going to read confirmation bias into what I just said, but when peter higgs cried when they said that they have it, I know exactly how I would feel if what you call “force of nature” is actually proven to animate with intent. Until then I think peter was lucky that nobody mocked him by saying that he is making shit up. Also when you say “Physical or not – irrelevant.” I highly disagree. You reducing the non-physical to non-existent, because by definition you cannot test for non-physical stuff with objective science. In other words – I cannot bring you the horizon for you to put it in a test tube.

  138. subzerobob says

    elaboration to the above: I cannot bring you the beauty of a sunset over the horizon for you to put in a test tube.

  139. Robert, not Bob says

    And about the stolen teddy bear, of course an atheist can justify disapproving of it: it causes emotional pain to living people. (I meant to make these one comment, of course.)

  140. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @adamah:

    Corwyn asserts that all evidence should be able to carry the same weight for different individuals, and can be assigned a fixed numerical value to a bit of evidence. That’s the basic premise of Bayesian approach.

    Relevant posts, for context…
     
    Comment: corwyn (on #834)
    Comment: corwyn (on #834, later)

  141. pac1261 . says

    @subzerobob

    because I feel that paying more for coffee is the right thing to do . . . at least I gave you a rational (thoughtful) answer

    Statements that begin “I feel that…” are NOT rational. Rationality uses things like logic, evidence, previously agreed upon principles, postuates or precedents. Having a feeling is the opposite of rationality. Of course we all know that rational is not quite the same as “right” and irrational is not quite the same as “wrong.” But there is a strong correlation.

    Would you rather fly in a plane based on the principles of aerodynamics, or based only on some dude’s unarticulated feeling? And please keep in mind that working as an engineer or a scientist doesn’t eliminate those feelings that you seem to value so highly; when an aeronautical engineer finishes the design of a plane, he tends to “feel” pretty strongly that it’s going to work. These feelings, however, have a logical foundation that can be explained.

  142. Narf says

    subzerobob

    I think you have good reasons to believe that the ball is red, it should be acceptable and definitely not ridiculed.

    How many times have we asked you for evidence of your beliefs? The best we’ve gotten back from you is that we need better tools than science before we can even establish that your nonphysical nonsense is even a thing that we can examine. And yet you believe this thing, when you don’t even have a tool to demonstrate that it’s a thing.

    I’m sorry, but when you keep spraying excuses that are on par with the worst pseudo-science bullshit out there, we’re going to ridicule you.

    The only time you are allowed to express why you think your opinion is better is when you address why you think that my presented reasons are bad.

    ‘Allowed’? Really. We’re not allowed? By whom?

    Your reasons are bad. Your reasons are worse than bad. You should be embarrassed for doing such a pitiful job of justifying your beliefs, then claiming that you’re more rational than we are.

    For me believing something can motivate you to look for the evidence to prove that it is actually true. I know that you are going to read confirmation bias into what I just said,

    So, you understand what confirmation bias is, but you don’t understand why it’s a bad thing …

    but when peter higgs cried when they said that they have it, I know exactly how I would feel if what you call “force of nature” is actually proven to animate with intent.

    Peter Higgs had a solid mathematical model that demonstrated that his particle should exist, which matched up with solid, demonstrated models of reality.

    You have nothing. You don’t even have a set of tools that will examine this claim of yours, which you just pulled out of your ass. You can’t even articulate what sort of scientific tests will demonstrate this intentional force of yours.

  143. Frank G. Turner says

    @subzerobob
    For me believing something can motivate you to look for the evidence to prove that it is actually true
    .
    I agree, however one can also entertain the possibility of an idea being true without having hard belief in it and be motivated to find proof for it if such proof presents itself. You don’t have to believe something to learn from it, all you have to do is entertain the idea. THAT is why people talked about having hypothetical ideas, they are entertaining the possibility that it is true. If you read the ancients in antiquity, Aristotle talked about that, how it takes strength to open your mind to the possibility of something that you believe is false. Maybe that is something that you have never done. Try entertaining the idea that there is no intentional creator and that what has happened is just a natural part of nature and that there is nothing supernatural behind it. When you say that God is the universe and the universe is God, try taking the word “God” out as it carries a lot of unnecessary baggage (implications that have no demonstrable evidence behind them like sentience). Trying saying that the universe is nature and nature is the universe.
    .
    Furthermore, believing that something is true when you don’t have hard evidence for it can drive you to bias your search, to ignore evidence the demonstrates your belief is false and pay attention to evidence supports that conclusion. That is what confirmation bias is, paying attention to the hits and ignoring the misses. That is leading the evidence towards the conclusion that you want, not following the evidence where it leads.
    .
    That is WHY in science you allowing hard empirical evidence to present itself BEFORE forming a hypothesis, which you don’t have to believe so much as entertain the idea that it MIGHT be true. THEN you run tests to determine if it IS supported by evidence. If it is not then you reject it until evidence comes along to the contrary and if it is supported then you accept it as long as no evidence comes along that demonstrates that it is false. If you start BELIEVING that the idea is true (or false in some cases) you have entertained is BEFORE you have hard evidence then you run the risk of confirmation bias.
    .
    I cannot bring you the beauty of a sunset over the horizon for you to put in a test tube.
    .
    That STILL does not empirically demonstrate that the beauty is intentional. Is that too hard for you to understand? Does the thought that all things you find beautiful have to be accompanied by a belief in intent? To quote Richard Dawkins (FYI, this is an ANALOGY):
    Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?
    That is from “The God Delusion” and you should try reading it sometime.

  144. says

    How many times have we asked you for evidence of your beliefs?
    .
    I don’t think he gets the concept of empirical evidence, facts that can be observed by others. I have known a lot of creationists who can’t seem to understand that feelings and emotions are not empirical evidence and based on the previous conversation he seems to be in that camp.

  145. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @subzerobob
    Is that right? Specifically, do you hold that life is impossible without this “animating force”? You hold it is categorically impossible for life to just happen by chance and mindless forces? You hold that the origin of species by evolution (which is not mere chance), which is the result of mindless forces, is impossible?

  146. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @subzerobob

    I think you have good reasons to believe that the ball is red, it should be acceptable and definitely not ridiculed. The only time you are allowed to express why you think your opinion is better is when you address why you think that my presented reasons are bad.

    No. If you say the ball is red, and if you have no reason why you think the ball is red, then we make fun of you. That’s how rationality and public discourse works.

    You strawman my position. I don’t ridicule before asking. I asked what are your reasons for claiming the ball is red. You then explicitly shifted the burden of proof, and that’s when I get to make fun of you. If you say the ball is red, then the onus is on you to have good reasons and to provide good reasons.

    You reducing the non-physical to non-existent, because by definition you cannot test for non-physical stuff with objective science.

    Bullshit.

    Does your animating force affect our shared reality in any way? Is that shared reality observable in some way? Then you can do science on it. I don’t care if it’s physical or non-physical, natural or supernatural. Can it have a causal effect on our shared reality? If yes, that means it’s observable, and if it’s observable, then we can do tests on it, and we can learn about it with the scientific method. That’s the presupposition of a scientist.

    If it has no causal effect on our shared reality, then it’s not observable, and thus it’s not testable, and thus it’s entirely irrelevant.

    This is your fundamental flaw.

    In other words – I cannot bring you the horizon for you to put it in a test tube.

    I don’t know what this means.

    With a sufficiently big test tube, you could put the horizon in the test tube. Just make a test tube big enough to contain the Earth and Sun. (You might run into a materials strength problem though when trying to build such a thing in practice.)

    You can’t put “beauty” in a test tube. You can’t put “red” in a test tube either. You can’t put “fuzzy” in a test tube either. You can put some thing which is beautiful in a test tube, just like you can put some thing which is fuzzy in a test tube. Fuzzy is a description of objects in our shared reality, just like beautiful can be a description of objects in our shared reality.

    We can measure how fuzzy something is. We can measure how beautiful something is. The measurement of beauty is a little harder because there’s less of a consensus on the meaning of the word “beauty”. This is not some problem about the inability to measure. The problem is that “beauty” is not sufficiently precisely defined. In other words, “beauty” means slightly different things to different people. As soon as you pin down what you mean, you can measure beauty in the same was that you can measure fuzzy.

    Just like we can talk about rad and hip designs. We can measure the “rad”-ness and “hip”-ness of stuff, but we will run into problems because the lack of a clear meaning and consensus of those words. There’s no problem about measuring “hip”-ness. The problem is that “hip” means different things to different people, just like “beauty” means different things to different people.

  147. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Sorry, let me continue. Let me try it like this.

    Bobby, you assert that “non-physical” means “immune to scientific inquiry” by definition. I’m pretty sure that’s not the definition of “non-physical”. I’m pretty sure we define “physical” in some other way.

    Bobby, you are separating the world into two separate categories: 1- the stuff science works on, and 2- the stuff science does not work on. This is your fundamental flaw. This is because you have been lied to and misled about what science really is. Please listen.

    Science does not assume methodological naturalism. I know many people say this, including many serious and professional scientists, but they’re wrong. They’re dead wrong. Science does not require materialism. Science does not require naturalism. Science does not require methodological naturalism. It’s all wrong.

    Suppose you think to yourself “What would I see if I looked over there?”. You could make a guess. Then, you could go and check if your guess was right. In essence, that’s all science is. Science is the process of making informed guesses about what the world looks like, and checking to see if your guesses are correct.

    At no point does the process talk about “natural”. “Natural” or “physical” simply doesn’t come up. It doesn’t. That’s not what science is. “Physical” is some concept which you impose on the world. You don’t need to impose the concept of “physical” on the world to do science.

    All you need to do is impose the concept of “observable” on the world. Science is making informed guesses about future observation, and then performing that observation to see if you’re right or wrong. Doesn’t matter if it’s material, physical, magical, or divine. All that matters is that you can see it, or some effect of it.

    Please, read this comic, just the page in the link. It embodies this idea in a truly IMHO enlightening way.
    http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20081205

    To make an analogy, you are the fairy. You understand science in a limited way as only working on a Newtonian world, or a “physical world”. You’re wrong. In the analogy, I’m the lab rat. If I can see your magic wand, then I can experiment on your magic wand, and I can use the scientific method to learn how your magic wand works. I can do trial-and-error. I can move pieces around and observe the effects. That’s science. I can do science on that magic wand, and I don’t need to assume physicality, Newtonian physics, or whatever.

    If you want to assert that there is some force willing life to exist, then by definition it has observable consequences. I’m not misusing “by definition”. That’s what the word “force” actually means. It means that a hypothetical world without that force would look different.

    So, you purported to answer that without that force, life couldn’t exist. You’re wrong. This is a simple, factual case where you are wrong. You are wrong because you don’t know enough biology.

    We don’t know how the first cell first arose. We have some good guesses. There are plausible physical processes which just by mindless Newtonian physics could create a biological cell from rocks. (Not literal rocks, but starting from simple inorganic compounds.) Once you get that first cell, then evolution picks up.

    Then, eventually a primitive brain evolves, like that of an ant. It has a very limited capacity of understanding the world around it. It might be as simple as “move towards hot stuff”, and that might confer an evolutionary advantage. Then, evolution continues, and a slightly more complicated computing device (brain) might come about with another rule which confers competitive advantage, and evolution selects for that. Eventually, a process like this can create a general purpose computing device like the brain of a rat, which can improve over time to create the brain of a human.

    Along the evolutionary ancestry of creating brains, over time enough complexity came about that we can start talking about a will. Does a brain that just seeks out hot stuff have a “(free) will”? What about the brain of an ant which can follow a complicated but still quite simple set of instructions – does that have a “will”? Can you describe the cut-off line please – which animals have “will” and which do not? In reality, there is no such line. It’s a gradual continuum.

    About the will to survive. There is no bright line where “will” came along. However, when it comes along, anything which has a will to die will die, and then it’s dead. Only the things that have a will to live will survive, and that’s why basically every creature we see today has a will to live. The creatures which didn’t have a will to live died, and had no kids, and that’s why we don’t see such things. It’s very basic evolution.

    You probably don’t know the first thing about evolution. I really suggest reading a good book on the topic. I suggest Richard Dawkin’s book The Greatest Show On Earth. If you read that openly and honestly, and for comprehension, you should learn what evolution is actually about.

    I don’t mean to diss you, but in all honesty you probably completely misunderstand evolution. Try to understand evolution before you dismiss it. Right now you are basing your arguments off a complete misunderstanding of evolution. That’s why you think there has to be this “universal force”. It’s probably because you don’t understand the alternative. That’s what Darwin did – he showed another way. He showed how you don’t need a “universal force”. He showed how mindless forces can create “will”. (Well, Darwin started the science that eventually did show how mindless forces can create “will”. For that, I think we need to refer to later authors. Not sure offhand.)

  148. says

    This was the best episode of the AXP in a very long time. Great job, Matt and Tracie!

    A few quick thoughts on using a word like “crazy” as a pejorative. I think calling someone “crazy” is utterly unlike calling them “gay.” When we use “gay” as a pejorative (“Stop being so gay and come to my party!”), we’re implying that it’s bad to be gay, which I hope that nobody here thinks. But when we use “crazy” as a pejorative (“You’re crazy if you think there’s sufficient evidence to believe in a god!”), we’re implying that it’s bad to be mentally ill. I hope it’s uncontroversial to say that it *is* bad to be mentally ill, that being mentally healthy *is* better than being mentally ill, that people who are mentally healthy should *not want* to be mentally ill, and that mentally ill people *should* want to get better.

    For those reasons, I think “crazy” is an appropriate pejorative, while “gay” is inappropriate.

    However, I understand that the issue is really a rhetorical one: many people don’t want to offend the mentally ill community (or their families) by using a word that is perceived as offensive. And as far as that goes, I fully support people who feel that way. Anyone who doesn’t want to use a particular world should feel free to avoid using that word. But I’m personally quite skeptical of whether it’s beneficial (or even realistic) to try to avoid giving offense. Remember that a great many things said on the AXP are offensive to Christians. Should we equally strive not to offend the Christian community?

    In my experience (anecdotal evidence alert) the attempt to avoid giving offense can often produce sterile conversations, and it often leads to people paying so much attention to policing their own language – or worse, the language of others – that the substance of an issue can become somewhat obscured. I’m all in favor of avoiding slurs and other language that might outright incite violence – even if I do think the idea that mere phonemes could inspire violence is very silly – but I’m not so sure I want to live in a world where we all must be constantly vigilant over the smallest thing we say, lest someone take offense. I’d rather live in a world where people freely exchange whatever is on their minds – no matter how offensive anyone else might find it – where people feel free to have very vigorous debates and even get passionate and call each other names as a by-product of some of those conversations, without worrying excessively about who might take offense to some innocent remark.

  149. Monocle Smile says

    I hope it’s uncontroversial to say that it *is* bad to be mentally ill, that being mentally healthy *is* better than being mentally ill, that people who are mentally healthy should *not want* to be mentally ill, and that mentally ill people *should* want to get better.

    This is extremely controversial. This assumes that all mental illness can be treated as if it’s bodily illness.

    I suffer from depression. Yes, I wish I didn’t, but while depression can be treated, it’s not like a cold. It doesn’t ever truly leave. You just learn to deal with it. And just because I’m depressed doesn’t mean I’m broken and less than human, which is what Tracie was getting at.

    Remember that a great many things said on the AXP are offensive to Christians. Should we equally strive not to offend the Christian community?

    Apples and oranges. Religion is contingent upon decisions. Mental illness (the actual illness, not the symptoms) is not. Beliefs are in no way analogous to genetic, congential, or latent afflictions.

  150. corwyn says

    One might have various words for this force (and the word “force” is probably a bad word for it as I don’t mean that it is mass times acceleration, I just use this for lack of a better4 word).

    This should be a clue. If one is using a word incorrectly, and knows it, either get a better word, or perhaps invent a better word. Calling something a force in a discussion with scientifically minded folks, is only going to bring the scientific idea of something which produces an acceleration on a mass into their minds. And they will be justified in complaining that one is not talking about a real force. Additionally, creating a definition for one’s new word will require one to develop a clarity to that concept.

    There are very few examples in the Universe of accelerations of mass which aren’t understood (dark matter and dark energy being the prominent ones). Pretty much all the accelerations near the Earth are fully understood, as are the nature of the forces involved to a degree more accurate than we are capable of computing. There is just no job for some new force to do, here.

  151. corwyn says

    If you think Bobby is actively trying to understand please explain this:

    I am not a rooster, don’t compare me to one.

    In what possible way could an analogy about a rooster demonstrating the concept of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, be taken as a personal insult? This is not the words of someone trying to understand, but rather those of someone looking for an excuse to get offended.

  152. corwyn says

    we’re implying that it’s bad to be mentally ill. I hope it’s uncontroversial to say that it *is* bad to be mentally ill, that being mentally healthy *is* better than being mentally ill, that people who are mentally healthy should *not want* to be mentally ill, and that mentally ill people *should* want to get better.

    Possible equivocation problems lurking here. It is ‘bad’, as in sub-optimal, to be mentally ill, it is NOT however ‘bad’, as in morally wrong, to be mentally ill. Making mentally ill people feel guilty about being mentally ill is counter-productive.

  153. adamah says

    Narf said-

    Err, I’m not seeing what Frank said that you took to mean that. The line of his immediately before your comment, about the ‘force of nature’, seems metaphorical at most.

    I think you’re reading a lot into what Frank said, and you’re possibly confusing statements about his previous, theistic position and his current position.

    Yeah, and that’s precisely WHY I asked him to clarify by asking QUESTIONS; I wanted to avoid making faulty assumptions and reaching a hasty improper conclusion and over interpreting his words (as you did, saying I was reading words into his statements).

    Asking questions for clarification before deciding: novel concept, huh?

    ;)

    As to why I got that impression, he said:

    What many call this force (as I prefer to do) the “force of nature,” which essentially identifies the physical laws of the universe.

    It seems Frank is trying to establish some common ground with panentheist Bobby, but I was trying to see where Frank was coming from.

    Isn’t he an atheist/naturalist?

    Of course Frank can answer that for himself, but last I checked, he disclosed being an agnostic (although still going through the motions as a practicing Catholic, for the sake of the family).

  154. Narf says

    Sadly, I don’t think that’s a demonstration one way or the other about the honesty or dishonesty of his attempts at understanding. I think he’s just that dense, and his comprehension abilities are just that poor.

    I think he didn’t understand a single sentence that Matt and Tracie said, just continued on with his spiel, when they stopped talking. I think that one or two specific words might have stuck in his brain, but he didn’t understand the sentences in which those words were used.

  155. Narf says

    Yup, the only reason to have him on a show is for comedy, and it’s pretty harsh, mean comedy, at that.

  156. says

    This assumes that all mental illness can be treated as if it’s bodily illness.

    You’re right that my words implied that it’s possible to recover completely from mental illness. I didn’t mean to imply that. I know enough people who suffer from depression to know that people do not recover completely from it.

    However, my point wasn’t that mental illness is bad because people can recover from it. My point was that mental illness is bad because health is preferable to illness. Just to be on the safe side, I just asked two people I know who have been in therapy for years for depression, and they both confirmed that they think it’s bad for someone to be depressed, and they both wish they didn’t have to battle depression.

    Apples and oranges. Religion is contingent upon decisions. Mental illness (the actual illness, not the symptoms) is not. Beliefs are in no way analogous to genetic, congential, or latent afflictions.

    I’m not so sure about this. Matt has argued for years that beliefs are not subject to the will (one does not simply “choose” one’s belief), and I find his argument very compelling. Add to this the fact that one’s religion is often a result of upbringing, level of education, and many factors outside of the individual’s control, I wouldn’t really have a problem describing religion as a sort of disease that victimizes the religious. I still don’t give a damn if I offend them, though.

  157. says

    I don’t think that saying “mental illness is bad” implies moral badness at all.

    As an analogy, let’s say that you’re driving a car and you miss an obvious turn. I say, “How could you miss that turn! What are you, blind?” I’m obviously not saying it’s morally bad to be visually impaired. I’m saying that blindness is bad in the context of driving, which it obviously is. Similarly, to say, “It’s crazy to believe that there is sufficient evidence for gods!” is obviously not to say that it’s morally bad to be mentally ill. It’s to say that being mentally ill is bad in the context of evaluating claims, which it obviously often is (at least in certain forms of mental illness).

  158. says

    Reading this over, I guess the problem is that the word “crazy” tends to paint with too broad a brush, possibly implying unfairly that all mental illnesses are equally irrational. That would be problematic, but I tend to think that virtually nobody means this when using the word “crazy” and virtually nobody interprets the word in this way.

    I’ve used and heard “crazy” as a pejorative throughout my life, and never once have I thought that people with depression were identical to paranoid schizophrenics, for example.

  159. Narf says

    adamah

    (quoting Frank G. Turner): What many call this force (as I prefer to do) the “force of nature,” which essentially identifies the physical laws of the universe.

    I took that as a simple clarifying, definitional statement. I’m not sure what you took it to mean. *shrug*

    Yeah, and that’s precisely WHY I asked him to clarify by asking QUESTIONS; I wanted to avoid making faulty assumptions and reaching a hasty improper conclusion and over interpreting his words (as you did, saying I was reading words into his statements).
    Asking questions for clarification before deciding: novel concept, huh?

    Your followup questions made your whole progression of questions come off as very leading and presumptive, to me. Right here:

    It sounds like you actually believe in this “intrinsic life force” thing, Frank?
    Is that right? Where’s your evidence to even suspect it exists?

    Why ask for evidence, if you’re not already convinced that he believes in some sort of mystical force, rather than him simply using the term ‘force of nature’ to mean the physical forces of our universe?

    I’m not sure you understand the way that what you’re saying comes off, if your claims of honest, clarifying questioning are sincere.

  160. Monocle Smile says

    In that case, it’s an inaccurate labeling. Believing things for bad reasons isn’t a sign of mental illness, at least not by itself.

    Also, there are plenty of mentally ill people who are perfectly capable of evaluating claims properly. I’m with Matt that using “crazy” colloquially like you do in your context should be fine, but I understand Tracie’s point as well.

  161. Narf says

    However, my point wasn’t that mental illness is bad because people can recover from it. My point was that mental illness is bad because health is preferable to illness.

    I can’t agree with this formulation of the statement any more than I could agree with your initial statement.

    I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, in addition to the depression issues that come with Bipolar Disorder. OCD is considered a mental disorder/illness. I would fight anyone who tried to ‘cure’ my OCD.

  162. adamah says

    Narf said-

    I’m sorry, but when you keep spraying excuses that are on par with the worst pseudo-science bullshit out there, we’re going to ridicule you.

    Narf, how is that NOT an “appeal to ridicule’? You even admitted it (the bit in bold), lol!

    Where did you get the odd idea that the “appeal to ridicule” fallacy got redacted from textbooks, as if it’s been declared ‘fair-play’?

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_ridicule

    Appeal to ridicule (also called appeal to mockery, ab absurdo, or the horse laugh[1]), is an informal fallacy which presents an opponent’s argument as absurd, ridiculous, or in any way humorous, to the specific end of a foregone conclusion that the argument lacks any substance which would merit consideration.

    Appeal to ridicule is often found in the form of comparing a nuanced circumstance or argument to a laughably commonplace occurrence or to some other irrelevancy on the basis of comedic timing, wordplay, or making an opponent and their argument the object of a joke. This is a rhetorical tactic that mocks an opponent’s argument or standpoint, attempting to inspire an emotional reaction (making it a type of appeal to emotion) in the audience and to highlight any counter-intuitive aspects of that argument, making it appear foolish and contrary to common sense. This is typically done by making a mockery of the argument’s foundation that represents it in an uncharitable and overly simplified way.

    I suspect you’re committing the ‘Dillahunty Fallacy’, that it’s OK to resort to ridicule (or other fallacious arguments) after someone decides they’ve “won” the right to do so, after deciding they’ve successfully refuted the argument of the opponent (it’s an idea likely inspired by playing video games like ‘Mortal Kombat’).

    It’s self-justified circular logic.

    There’s no rule that one earns a “right” to mock or insult, and I challenge anyone who claims otherwise to PROVE IT, offering credible evidence (and not some random blog which some fool set up). Instead, present even ONE recognized expert on the subject who’s published a peer-reviewed textbook on the subject of logical fallacies (we’ll tackle the ‘consensus opinion’ issue later).

    If someone is honestly committed to following principles of rationalism, there’s NEVER a time when it’s OK to appeal to ridicule, EVEN IF the ideas ARE ridiculous on their face, or even if the person persists in their belief after being challenged with an sound argument (using reason and backed by evidence). Even then, it’s not acceptable to appeal to mockery and/or group-think.

    While it may be tempting, it’s better to just agree to disagree and disengage; not for THEIR sake, but so YOU don’t violate YOUR commitment to the principles of rationalism.

    Here’s some quotes on ridicule, offered by some of the greatest minds in rationalism from the past:

    “Ridicule dishonors a man more than dishonor does.” -Francois de La Rochefucald

    “Ridicule is the first and last argument of a fool.” -Charles Simmons

    “Resort is had to ridicule only when reason is against us”. -Thomas Jefferson

    If anyone has a beef with not being allowed to ridicule, then take it up with Thomas Jefferson, one of the f
    founding fathers and an influential person in the rationalist movement.

    (Yeah, that’s an appeal to authority, but if anyone is doubting the qualifications of Thomas Jefferson, then I might be tempted to ridicule them, but won’t…).

    ;)

    Bobby said-

    The only time you are allowed to express why you think your opinion is better is when you address why you think that my presented reasons are bad.

    That’s just not so, Bobby, and it’s a lot like the urban legend, above.

    A person is ‘allowed’ to present their opinion at any time (hopefully it’s backed with some explanation and evidence as to WHY they hold it).

    And except in limited situations (i.e. true binary decisions), demonstrating how the other person’s position is wrong doesn’t automatically show your position is right. That’s a ‘false dilemma’ (exclusion of valid alternatives).

    Bobby, you really should consider taking a course on logical fallacies, as you’re going to be sunk when sorting through the evidence without relying on some principles (and the rules of rationalism are easy to learn, but hard to actually apply to ones own thinking, thanks to inherent biases like ‘cognitive blind spots’ and the ‘introspection illusion’).

  163. Narf says

    I don’t think that saying “mental illness is bad” implies moral badness at all.

    I disagree with the evaluation of mental illness as either a morally or qualitatively bad thing. Our artistic heritage would be greatly impoverished by the removal of mental illness from our species. I often say, myself, something to the effect of, “It’s a good thing that I’m psychotic, so I don’t have to rely upon hard narcotics.”

  164. Monocle Smile says

    Matt has argued for years that beliefs are not subject to the will (one does not simply “choose” one’s belief)

    I think you misunderstand. If this were the case, then no one would ever change their mind about anything, ever.
    We DO make decisions about what we care about and what we prioritize when it comes to reality. If I decide that I care more about truth than feeling good, then my beliefs become forced to reflect that. I may not entirely choose what does or does not convince me of something, but I do make decisions on where I set the bar. In addition, we DO make decisions on whether or not to be honest with ourselves and each other.

    I wouldn’t really have a problem describing religion as a sort of disease that victimizes the religious.

    “The God Virus” is used as an analogy for how religion spreads, but I can’t possibly support that glaring category error. Yes, religiosity is caused by a number of outside factors, but at some point, we have to grow up and decide whether or not we care about truth.

  165. Narf says

    Narf, how is that NOT an “appeal to ridicule’? You even admitted it (the bit in bold), lol!

    Uhh, Adam? We already demonstrated why Bobby’s thinking is bankrupt, on logical grounds. You have no comprehension of when fallacies are applicable and when they aren’t, do you? I’ve seen you do this so many times, throwing out fallacy claims when they aren’t even close to applicable.

    We’re responding to Bobby’s persecution complex, not his arguments, now.

  166. Narf says

    And I’m not sure how to fix him, when he’s busy searching for (or at least is claiming that we’re going to find) a new way of knowing, instead of learning how to use the tools we have.

  167. Narf says

    To pull directly from your quotation:

    Appeal to ridicule is often found in the form of comparing a nuanced circumstance or argument to a laughably commonplace occurrence or to some other irrelevancy …

    Please point out the nuanced circumstance or argument that you’ve seen in Bobby’s word-salad. That’s how that is NOT an ‘appeal to ridicule’.

  168. Frank G. Turner says

    @ corwyn
    This should be a clue. If one is using a word incorrectly, and knows it, either get a better word, or perhaps invent a better word. Calling something a force in a discussion with scientifically minded folks, is only going to bring the scientific idea of something which produces an acceleration on a mass into their minds.
    .
    Basically I was using the word “force” the same way when one says “force of habit” which obviously is not necessarily a mass times acceleration (unless we are talking about the acceleration of chemicals to a neuron to produce movement from which a habit like a hand gesture is produced). I don’t like it as it is a poor word, but the point was that one can believe in the “forces of nature” without necessarily believing in something mystical. So belief in a “life force” does not have to include anything supernatural.
    .
    @Narf
    Why ask for evidence, if you’re not already convinced that he believes in some sort of mystical force, rather than him simply using the term ‘force of nature’ to mean the physical forces of our universe?
    .
    I didn’t mind clarifying at all. While I agree that adam was a bit presumptive and leading I did not mind demonstrating that it was not the path I was going down and I can forgive him for that. He might have noticed that when I was mentioning “force” that I had left the word “life” out and had you gotten me as an agnostic theist instead of a hard line agnostic (I will go into more detail) as I am now (which some might just call a “soft atheist, but labels are unimportant) I might have actually believed that there was something mystical and supernatural about life.
    .
    @Narf and Adam
    universe.

    It seems Frank is trying to establish some common ground with panentheist Bobby, but I was trying to see where Frank was coming from.

    Isn’t he an atheist/naturalist?

    Of course Frank can answer that for himself, but last I checked, he disclosed being an agnostic (although still going through the motions as a practicing Catholic, for the sake of the family).

    .
    Yes you are correct adam that I was looking for a common ground with Bobby. As a theist (though not a creationist) I had an idea in my head that if there was a God that it was a par of everything (a pantheistic view). However, rather than assuming that this being through the universe had a sentient personality as many “God believers” who never dissect and analyze their idea of “God,” I would often ask myself if it really did have a personality and in the past year I finally realized that I had no evidence to demonstrate that it did, so much of my thinking regarding doubt about a “God” was justified. IN many ways I considered myself more like a Buddhist than a Catholic despite my upbringing. The idea was that one CAN believe in a “Power greater than oneself” (like AA wants you to do) and STILL not believe in a God (if you remove the personality from the “power”).
    .
    Many believers never even go this far (and I doubt that Bobby will), but I did, even as a theist. As far as right now I don’t really go through the motions anymore except at holidays (Easter being the last one).I have gone to a Unitarian Church a few times recently and met up with other agnostics and atheists who are there for the sense of community like Peter Boghossian talks about (the Minister is actually very nice and has good things to say and is more than welcome to being challenged). I am there because I want to be, not because I have to be. On the Dawkins scale I was a 3.5 for a long time and now I am a 4.2. I think I was always pretty close to agnosticism but leaned more in the direction of theist and now lean a bit more in the direction of atheist. The reason I don’t lean further is for exactly the reason I am discussing here. I don’t know what “God” really is. Lots of people talk about it but seem to have no idea what OTHERS mean by it. So I am not really sure what my default position should be but if pressed to make a decision I would eventually say no God only from the standpoint that I can’t understand how a personality could exist without a brain that does not seem to be observably present. Maybe it does exist beyond our universe, if such things exist beyond our universe. Maybe it can make a rock so big that it can’t lift it and yet lift it at the same time, perhaps logic can be bent so X can be both true and false at the same time. I just don’t se how nor to I see how this would be practical.
    .
    Ultimately that is a lot of what I am about, practical applications. If creationism had a method and practical applications I would be all for teaching it, maybe even in science. However, it doesn’t so I don’t.

  169. Frank G. Turner says

    I had a thought about Bobby here but I need to provide some context for the thought and responses.
    .
    Many years ago as a theist I was definitely NOT a fundamentalist or an orthodox of any kind. Thought I was raised in a fairly liberal Catholic area, I was still more skeptical and I suspect that I would have been regardless of whom I was raised among. I sometimes wonder if I was BORN with a liberal mindset and this correlates with a certain degree of skepticism.
    .
    It occurred to me that some people may have conservative viewpoints and religious tendencies as a result of their brain structure. It occurs to me that this appears to be correlated with non skepticism. This hypothetical way of thinking, i.e.: being accustomed to an unchanging pattern of culture that follows strict rules and adherence to authority, much like the Catholic fellow looking for monolithic authority mentioned above. As gorilla like beings this may have actually made sense in our evolution as humans and helped promote survival. (Some species of modern gorilla have such a patriarchal monolithic authority structure).
    .
    I have thought recently that religion may have been the result of the evolution of a mind that works based on said pattern. So someone with the pattern if raised among Xtians would become a JW or Southern Baptist, raised among Jewish people would become Orthodox/Hessitic, etc. Such an individual would be prone to a creationist type of thinking.
    .
    I know it is a slippery slope as I am proposing a LOT of hypotheticals here, I don’t deny this. I make every effort to point out that this is purely hypothetical.
    .
    The question, is Bobby here the result of an individual born with this hypothetical conservative type of thought pattern raised without a cultural religion? Any thoughts on this are appreciated.

  170. adamah says

    From the quote:

    Appeal to ridicule is often found….

    Well, there’s your problem…

    You seem to think ‘often’ is a synonym for ‘ALWAYS’.

  171. Narf says

    I didn’t mind clarifying at all. While I agree that adam was a bit presumptive and leading I did not mind demonstrating that it was not the path I was going down and I can forgive him for that.

    Yeah, but he just does this kind of crap all the time. Maybe he might be a little better if he knew how he was coming across to pretty much everyone else on the blog.

  172. Narf says

    So, where’s the fallacy if we’ve already dealt with the argument itself, on logical grounds?

  173. adamah says

    Whether you’ve refuted their points is irrelevant: the fallacy is ALWAYS committed when you resort to ridicule.

  174. Narf says

    No, it’s not.

    Referring to something in nature does not automatically make something a naturalistic fallacy. Referring to something we don’t know doesn’t not automatically make something an argument from ignorance. Ridiculing someone does not constitute a fallacy in and of itself.

    There’s a structure to these things, and you should freaking learn what that is, before you go throwing around fallacy claims with no clue.

  175. Narf says

    Your starting point is solid. I’ve read a bit about studies into the predisposition towards conservatism or liberalism and the benefit to a group of having individuals representing a wide sampling of the spectrum. After that, I don’t feel that I know enough to add much.

  176. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Narf
    I think it’s unfair to lump all mental illnesses together. Some are clearly undesirable. We are spending boatloads of money trying to cure some mental illnesses after all.

    If someone says that vomiting all the time is healthy, and that they like it, I’m pretty sure that they’re wrong.

    If someone likes having paranoid delusions, or having frequent involuntary seizures, I again think that there’s a good argument to made that this is generally not healthy, and generally not conducive to human well-being.

    I agree that we should never stigmatize the mentally ill, including those who have paranoid delusions and those who have frequent involuntary seizures.

    However, I also agree with the other side a little bit: If there was a pill which could cure gayness in the womb, and a test that could detect gayness in the womb – hypothetical, work with me – I think I would be unethical for a doctor to volunteer this information and offer this to prospective parents. However, if there was a test which could detect if a person would have frequent involuntary seizures as an adult, and there was a pill which could cure it in the womb, I think it would be unethical for a doctor to not volunteer this information to parents.

  177. adamah says

    Narf said-

    Referring to something in nature does not automatically make something a naturalistic fallacy. Referring to something we don’t know doesn’t not automatically make something an argument from ignorance. Ridiculing someone does not constitute a fallacy in and of itself.

    There’s a structure to these things, and you should freaking learn what that is, before you go throwing around fallacy claims with no clue.

    Don’t be foolish:

    You’ve never heard of an ‘implied conclusion’? (And if you haven’t taken formal college-level course in logic, you may have not).

    You seriously don’t expect anyone to believe your endless attempts at ridiculing Bobby (even making fun of his language, despite explaining English isn’t his primary language) don’t constitute genetic fallacy, poisoning the well, etc?

    Come now, really?

    Cool, should we ridicule or mock your BPD or OCD, too, since you’re down with mockery?

    Bottom line is this:

    You have failed to offer ANY evidence to back YOUR assertion; you’re kinda like Bobby, no?

    I’m asking for only ONE citation to show that ridicule is EVER acceptable, in any discussion amongst rationalists. ONE exception to the fallacy, perhaps saying:

    “If the opponent refuses all attempts to explain, ONLY THEN is it acceptable to unleash on him.”

    You know the mantra by now:

    The one making the claim bears the burden of proof.

    Time to put up or shut up. Either way, you’re absolutely wrong on this point (you’d think the Jefferson quote would be a BIG hit, LOL!).

  178. Frank G. Turner says

    @Narf
    Maybe he might be a little better if he knew how he was coming across to pretty much everyone else on the blog.
    .
    I have seen all sorts of stuff that I could consider mean spirited bullshit on here. Maybe I am more accustomed to shurgging it off or it just does not phase me as much. Pardon my tendency to be more tolerant.

  179. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I have seen all sorts of stuff that I could consider mean spirited bullshit on here.

    Yeah, I should work on that.

    IMHO, there’s a difference between what I do and what Adam does. I’m smug, condescending, and resort to ridicule. But Adam takes it to whole new levels. I only respond IMHO to actual points, whereas Adam seems to invent things for the purpose of being condescending.

  180. Monocle Smile says

    Is anyone surprised that Adam doesn’t understand the argument from ridicule fallacy after his repeated failures to understand the ad hominem fallacy?

    For someone who props himself up as the Czar of Rationalism, it doesn’t appear he understands the very nature of what it means to commit a fallacy.

  181. Monocle Smile says

    You seriously don’t expect anyone to believe your endless attempts at ridiculing Bobby (even making fun of his language, despite explaining English isn’t his primary language) don’t constitute genetic fallacy, poisoning the well, etc?

    I believe that. Most people who aren’t dumbasses who leap to conclusions should believe that as well. Not ONCE has Narf ever ridiculed Bobby and claimed that Bobby is wrong about everything (or even anything) because of the target of said ridicule.

    You call it “implied conclusion.”
    I call it “putting words in someone’s mouth.”
    The irony continues to get thicker; you bitch all day long about other people “assuming” your intent and meaning, yet you have no problem doing this to absolutely everyone else.

  182. Monocle Smile says

    Frank, did you read Bobby’s comments on the thread for #849 that he linked in one of his first posts? You probably should.

    I find it very hard to be “tolerant” of people who make unbelievably racist statements amidst a sea of blatant falsehoods and then fail to grasp that they said anything wrong.

  183. adamah says

    And does it surprise anyone that the two posters who’ve admitting to actually suffering from mental-illnesses (in this very thread, no less) cannot begin to grasp why it’s a fallacy to ‘appeal to ridicule’? BPD and depression are considered as thought disorders, characterized by irrational delusions.

    And per their own interpretation of the ‘appeal to ridicule’ fallacy, I’m perfectly justified to use exactly that type of approach to construct an argument (it’s an ad hominem argument, unrelated to the ad hom argument fallacy).

  184. adamah says

    Narf said-

    Referring to something in nature does not automatically make something a naturalistic fallacy. Referring to something we don’t know doesn’t not automatically make something an argument from ignorance. Ridiculing someone does not constitute a fallacy in and of itself.

    There’s a structure to these things, and you should freaking learn what that is, before you go throwing around fallacy claims with no clue.

    Don’t be foolish:

    You mean to tell me you’ve never heard of an ‘implied conclusion’ before? (And if you haven’t taken formal college-level course in logic, you may have not).

    You seriously don’t expect anyone to believe your endless attempts at ridiculing Bobby (even making fun of his language, no less, despite him explaining English isn’t his primary language) don’t constitute an attempted genetic fallacy, poisoning the well?

    Have it your way: why should I listen to anything you have to say, when you’ve already admitted having BPD or OCD, too? Dude, you belong in a straight jacket, in a lunatic bin, much less offering us advice on rationalism!

    So, ARE YOU SURE you want to go down that road of allowing ‘appealing to ridicule’ type arguments? Or will you now special-plead to excuse mental illness?

    Bottom line is this:

    You have failed to offer ANY evidence to back YOUR assertion that appealing to ridicule arguments are acceptable, so you’re kinda like Bobby now: you’re clinging to a belief without being able to provide even a shread of evidence to justify it.

    I’m asking for only ONE citation to show that ridicule is EVER acceptable in a discussion amongst rational participants. Only ONE exception to the fallacy, perhaps something saying:

    “If the opponent refuses all ‘reasonable’ attempts to explain, ONLY THEN is it acceptable to unleash ridicule on him to dismiss his arguments.”

    You know the mantra by now:

    The one making the claim bears the burden of proof.

    Put up or shut up.

    Either way, you’re absolutely wrong on this point.

  185. Frank G. Turner says

    Frank, did you read Bobby’s comments on the thread for #849 that he linked in one of his first posts? You probably should.
    .
    I read that link shortly before writing this.
    .

    Then again Bobby seems to have been calling the show and making arguments for a while. His “DNA is a code which implies intent” principle seems to come form someone who does not get science.
    .
    Then again maybe it is just because he is not a Xtian creationist that he seems further along an I did not consider that until just now. Maybe you’re right and he isn’t worth talking to.
    .
    @MS
    Pardon what I said below, now that I think about it perhaps you are right and he isn’t trying to understand.

    .
    IN retrospect I began to think about how he may be hypothetically born with a tendency towards conseravtivism and just grew up without a religion to cling to to base that upon. It does not surprise me that his brain may have a tendency to try to make things more efficient by grouping individuals together in stereotypical ways (I know, I am playing armchair psychologist) rather than taking them on an individual basis. Furthermore, even without a religion there are plenty of other people who engage in that type of reasoning from whom he could get confirmation bias.
    .
    It is not so much that I tolerate him that I pity him.
    .
    Albeit, due to my mental “illness,” tolerance is sometimes easier for me as some of the social/emotional subtleties don’t hit me as hard as they do others. Of course I run the risk of being just as offensive but what could be read into what I say and do that people often say are insensitive even though I don’t intend it that way.
    .
    So despite being an “illness” (many say it is more like a learning disability), it has bonuses in addition to drawbacks.

  186. Frank G. Turner says

    IMHO, there’s a difference between what I do and what Adam does. I’m smug, condescending, and resort to ridicule. But Adam takes it to whole new levels. I only respond IMHO to actual points, whereas Adam seems to invent things for the purpose of being condescending.
    .
    I would say that he reads a lot into what people say, often too much. (NOthing personal Adam, I have brought this up before). Then again, IMHO a LOT of people on here do that, his is just more obvious.
    .
    Personally I wish that we could do a line by line, word by word, microscopic detail by microscopic detail analysis of what everyone says so that we would know EXACTLY what the other person meant. And I think Vulcan mind melding is not good enough, but it would be a start. (Having all of the person’s memories and feelings loaded into a computer chip and then uploaded into our brain so we knew a person’s entire history might do the trick).
    .
    On the flip side I have often been accussed of reading too little into what people say and missing social and emotional cues, so I can see advantages and disadvantages of both ways of thinking..

  187. Frank G. Turner says

    @corwyn and Narf
    Sadly, I don’t think that’s a demonstration one way or the other about the honesty or dishonesty of his attempts at understanding. I think he’s just that dense, and his comprehension abilities are just that poor.
    .
    I have heard other creationists / undereducated individuals misunderstand said concept before (as I mentioned above, I have heard the roostert analogy many times). I think I agree with Narf on this one, he is just dense and has poor comprehension abiltiies or is just born prone to conservativism which may give smilar results.

  188. adamah says

    Narf said-

    Yeah, but he just does this kind of crap all the time. Maybe he might be a little better if he knew how he was coming across to pretty much everyone else on the blog.

    Tone trolling now, Narf?

    You DO know that’s attacking my style/method (vs my arguments), which IS the very definition of TT?

    That’s the very reason it’s invalid to focus on ‘style over substance': it distracts from the topic.

    And since you dragged it into this discussion, the reason I asked those questions of Frank was more for Bobby’s sake, since I didn’t really suspect Frank believed in this ‘intrinsic force’ hypothesis (I’ve has too many prior discussions with him to think he did).

    However, sometimes it’s useful to ask questions of someone OTHER than the person who holds the belief, to get to other (ie Bobby) person to think about the question in a non-emotional, non-confrontational manner.

    So there, my cover is blown, and you exposed my dastardly methodology of trying to liberate minds (rather than to insult them)… Are you happy now?

    Narf, do yourself a little favor and review this very thread to see how many fallacies you’ve committed (starting with the incessant and relentless “appeals to mockery”, alone; then rack up the “tone trolling” posts).

    I know you’re carrying your own cross, but that’s no excuse to violate the rules of rationalism and expect not being called on it when you do.

    And until you and the others arguing for your right to ridicule others actually post proof that it’s EVER acceptable to do it in a discussion setting (and I’ve looked already: you can’t find anything, other than finding maybe a few random bloggers who started the urban legend), you’re clinging to a belief without any evidence to back it up, likely fueled by your own desires to put others down to make yourself feel better.

    Dude, don’t look now, that’s not very rational….

  189. Monocle Smile says

    You DO know that’s attacking my style/method (vs my arguments), which IS the very definition of TT?
    That’s the very reason it’s invalid to focus on ‘style over substance’: it distracts from the topic.

    This is straight-up doubletalk. You did EXACTLY what you denigrate here in the Alex Gabriel thread, you pompous asshole. My contempt for you surpasses the capacity of the English language.

  190. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Frank G. Turner:

    I sometimes wonder if I was BORN with a liberal mindset and this correlates with a certain degree of skepticism.
     
    It occurred to me that some people may have conservative viewpoints and religious tendencies as a result of their brain structure.

    You were not born with the brain structure you have today. Lots of growth and rewiring goes on during childhood. Still, each person’s environmental malleability varies, so there’s room for talk of predisposition/sensitivity.
     
    Article: Epiphenom – Why we are all different (and not all religious)
     

    It occurs to me that this appears to be correlated with non skepticism.

    Book: Bob Altemeyer – The Authoritarians
    (description and full pdf)

  191. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    More from Epiphenom…
     
    Article: Children with a religious upbringing have difficulty telling fantasy from reality
    Article: Does anxiety lead to religiosity and conservative politics?
    Article: Purity and supersense unites Christians but divides liberals from conservatives

  192. favog says

    It’s also kind of pointless for someone like adam to bother with the division between style and substance, since his arguments are painfully awful on both levels.

  193. adamah says

    MS said-

    This is straight-up doubletalk. You did EXACTLY what you denigrate here in the Alex Gabriel thread, you pompous asshole.

    You’re wrong, yet again.

    The only previous time I employed the ‘argumentum ad hominem’ was on the thread for Matt/Jenn’s show, where the first caller asked whether it was ever appropriate to call someone an idiot.

    In that thread, I used the non-fallacious ‘argumentum ad hominem’ approach (it’s quite ancient, used by Plato in response to the ‘Divine Command Theory’ argument, the ‘Euthyphro Dilemma’).

    http://www.logicalfallacies.info/relevance/ad-hominem/

    As the first paragraph explains, the ‘argument ad hominem’ is the strategy of temporarily adopting the opponent’s position that one doesn’t agree with, just to demonstrate the undesirable consequences that it leads to, if it were accepted. It’s not fallacious.

    So although I am against ‘appeals to mockery’, I used the approach to temporarily adopt Narf’s position to ‘poison HIS well’. While it offers the appearance of hypocrisy, it isn’t.

    Consider it a valid form of giving someone a taste of their own medicine by accepting the position they’re vehemently trying to defend.

    Have you ever heard the saying, “When the Gods want to punish humans, they grant them their wishes”? It’s kind of like that (except it’s only temporary, it’s usually effective, since some people cannot imagine the consequences of their own absurd position until it’s demonstrated with THEM being the targets of ridicule).

    And even if using this approach WERE hypocritical (it’s not: I’m actually using the same approach to make another point), you seem to labor under the misconception that hypocrisy is somehow relevant to rational discussions?

    You don’t actually think hypocrisy IS relevant to truth, do you?

    Trust me on this, or not (look it up for yourself). It’s not.

    You’re probably still carrying that Jesus crapola deep in the recesses of your brain, since Jesus often appealed to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees when attempting to undermine their credibility, aka ‘poisoning their well’ (all while contradictorily telling his followers to “love their enemies” even as he verbally-attacked his enemies. Say what, Jesus?).

    In Bible logic, hypocrisy is a grave sin. In rationalism, it’s not.

    In fact, a fallacy occurs when someone POINTS OUT the hypocrisy of others, in an attempt to dismiss their position: THAT’S actually called an “appeal to hypocrisy”, since the truth of a claim doesn’t hinge on whether the person ‘practices what they preach’.

    eg I know a physician who smokes, understanding the risk for lung cancer. He advises patients of the risks of smoking, but his being a hypocrit doesn’t have any effect on the risk to patients who smoke. They’d be fools to point to his hypocrisy, as if that’ll have any effect on THEIR risk of lung cancer.

    My contempt for you surpasses the capacity of the English language.

    Sounds like a personal problem: you might consider branching out beyond the typical expletives.

    (And is MS a derivative for Meshugeneh?)

    ;)

    Heck, I’m OK with modifying the rules of logic and throwing out the “appeal to ridicule” fallacy, it’s just you have to set out the proposed new rules in a manner that’s comprehensible, and then get academic philosophers to agree to adopt them. That shouldn’t be too hard, right?

    Is this the point where you engage in special pleading, asking for an exception to policy? Let me guess: YOUR group is off-limits for ridicule, but everyone else’s is OK?

    MS, you of ALL PEOPLE should be the LAST one fighting for this contrived right to insult and ridicule others: it’s absurd, and you’re engaging in post-hoc rationalizations to do defend an absurd claim.

    And as we used to say in the military, you’re a ‘soft target’, being someone who’s a member of a group that is trivially-easy to marginalize (and HAS been stigmatized). Thus you live in a ‘glass house’, and you stand as much to lose by allowing ignorant thoughtless insults to be thrown about.

  194. Narf says

    Blanketing them with a general “Mental illness bad,” is what I was objecting to. It depends upon the disorder, and it depends upon the degree. Some manifestations of a disorder are more debilitating than others.

    I could even see someone appreciating the positive side-effects of a mild manifestation of schizophrenia, as I do with OCD.

  195. Narf says

    adamah

    Cool, should we ridicule or mock your BPD or OCD, too, since you’re down with mockery?

    If you did it skillfully and humorously, I would probably join in. If you did it in such a way that you were just being an asshole, as I expect would be the case, I would call you an asshole and go back to disregarding you completely.

    You have failed to offer ANY evidence to back YOUR assertion; you’re kinda like Bobby, no?

    Please describe my assertion. Which one have I made, except for you being flat-out wrong about your claims of logical fallacies, as usual?

    I’m asking for only ONE citation to show that ridicule is EVER acceptable, in any discussion amongst rationalists. ONE exception to the fallacy …

    Yes, I’ll get right on that, giving an exception to a fallacy that I haven’t committed. Good thinking there.

    BPD and depression are considered as thought disorders, characterized by irrational delusions.

    Depressive people are the one class of people who evaluate themselves realistically. They lack the positive delusions through which most people perceives themselves.

    But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you know fuck-all about yet another of the subjects of which you speak so authoritatively. Where the fuck did you hear depression and delusion associated? Because it wasn’t from anyone who knows anything about psychology.

  196. Narf says

    I have seen all sorts of stuff that I could consider mean spirited bullshit on here. Maybe I am more accustomed to shurgging it off or it just does not phase me as much. Pardon my tendency to be more tolerant.

    I could shrug off the occasional bit, but it’s damned near all that he does. If you’re 10 responses deep into a conversation with someone like Bobby, I expect things to get a bit heated, after the 10th time that he’s dodged the request to justify the thing he’s proposing.

    Adam almost always starts it with his first response, thus beginning my meme of telling him to fuck off, if his first contribution to a particular subject is a condescending, authoritarian stream of insults, trying to rub someone’s nose into an imaginary carpet-stain. I don’t tolerate shit like that.

  197. Narf says

    Personally I wish that we could do a line by line, word by word, microscopic detail by microscopic detail analysis of what everyone says so that we would know EXACTLY what the other person meant.

    That’s why I generally begin with clarifying questions, about whether someone really meant to say something as I read it. If it’s anyone who’s going to return and respond multiple times, there’s plenty of time to hash things out in successive responses.

    It’s a little different with Bobby, since he has such a long history on the show. My patience with him is a bit shorter … nearly nonexistent, by this point. Similarly, if we get a comment from someone who seems to be a drive-by preacher that we’re probably never going to see again, I’ll sometimes unload all at once, if the person was particularly smug and obnoxious.

  198. Narf says

    adamah

    Tone trolling now, Narf?
    You DO know that’s attacking my style/method (vs my arguments), which IS the very definition of TT?
    That’s the very reason it’s invalid to focus on ‘style over substance’: it distracts from the topic.

    So, calling you out on your repeated, blatant misinterpretations of what everyone says is tone trolling? I’m not surprised to find that you don’t understand what that is either; I’m just a little saddened.

    I’m addressing the content of what you say, not just how you say it. When you’re constantly dishonest in every argument you engage in, it isn’t your tone that I primarily have a problem with. Your vile personality just makes it particularly intolerable.

    And I’m not going to read the rest of this shit or bother with much else you’ve said, after this particular bit of idiocy.

  199. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Monocle Smile
    Frank, did you read Bobby’s comments on the thread for #849 that he linked in one of his first posts? You probably should.
    I find it very hard to be “tolerant” of people who make unbelievably racist statements amidst a sea of blatant falsehoods and then fail to grasp that they said anything wrong.

    .
    Not only have I now read that and made several responses including the follow up where I indicated what I wrote in response, but I have been listening to the episode of Trolling With Logic, namely “In Conversation with Martin Wagner,” from 2 years ago where Bobby here calls under the same nick, subzerobob, it is obviously him (same voice).
    .
    After listening to that I think that Bob here has stopped listening because he does not want to understand, though I don’t think he is making an effort to misunderstand like you say Monocle, but you make a good point. I am guessing that what Bobby here is doing is looking for someone to agree with him. And it does not seem to be enough to find someone where he exists, he wants to convert a non believer. Although I don’t think Bob is specifically a Xtian or a creationist per se, he definitely can’t seem to fathom the idea of a force that is not sentient and decisive being responsible for the universe or life coming about as a matter of patterns of molecular interaction without life being somehow intentional.
    .
    Martin Wagner talks in that show about how Xtianity does a good job of tearing apart a person’s sense of self worth and making their sense of self wholly dependent upon Xtianity being factually correct. In a way that IS a form of mental illness as it is being psychologically co-dependent upon literary dogma. It seems here that Bobby’s sense of self worth is based upon him being correct that some sentient all powerful being is not only real and has a personality, but that his feelings are sufficient evidence / proof of existence of what he feels as though his feelings map to reality. It sounds like he wants them to map not just to his own reality but to the reality of another. And much like the dogmatic Xtian who refutes evolution and puts their hands over their ears and goes “la la la I can’t hear you” like a child throwing a playground level temper tantrum when they are presented with evidence of evolution, Bobby here stops listening when he can’t get anyone to accept his feelings as evidence and runs away.
    .
    If you had listened to the rest of the show Bob, Martin talked about how many Xtians think that their world will come to an end if they stop believing that Xtianity is true, as in factually and empirically correct like they could go back in time with a Delorean and see every event of the Bible taking place exactly as written (which is impossible given the contradictions). The callers Martin is talking about claim that they will have no sense of self worth and “throw themselves off of bridges,” which is silly as many atheists and agnostics ARE proof that a person can reject a belief in God and still feel confident and have a sense of self worth.
    .
    You can have that too Bob. The universe will not go into a state of compete chaos if you stop believing in God. If it did, that would have already happened as plenty of people have already stopped and their universe, as shared with you, did not go into complete chaos. Your sense of self confidence does not have to be based upon you being correct about the existence of a God. and you should do some thinking about what they God is in separate parts. The universe may be God, but what about the personality part? Does the universe need to have a personality of its own? And you can think about that hypothetically, you CAN make a guess that tehir is no God without actually confessing a belief that a God does not.
    .
    Sadly I don’t think Bobby will get that far as I don’t think he can see around the false dichotomy. I think that to him it is either believe X is true or believe that X is false. He made a pretty good declaration of that on the Trolling with Logic show from 2012.

  200. Pam Fez says

    Ned,

    Nice definition of atheism.

    Here is my positive definition of living deity-free:

    I live on a beautiful planet where most things can or will be explained by
    numbers and science, and I can appreciate those mysteries that do remain
    on my own, or with my friends, family, community, and culture..

  201. adamah says

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks for the cordial discussion.

    Frank said-

    I have gone to a Unitarian Church a few times recently and met up with other agnostics and atheists who are there for the sense of community like Peter Boghossian talks about

    I went to a UU Church a few Sundays (with a GF who was into it in undergrad), but it was still just too “religious” for my tastes. It just didn’t stir anything inside, and just like when I was a kid sitting in the Kingdom Hall, I was thinking about what I wanted to do afterwards.

    The Bible says, “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual needs”, and in the end I consciously decided my ‘spiritual needs’ were ZIP, NIL. The Bible was correct on that point: I’m happy!

    I listened to an old podcast a few weeks ago with Jesus mythicist Robert M Price on TTA, talking about his experiences with UU: he found the group he attended was a “paradoxical religion about being non-religious”; their left-leaning and PC attitude had an orthodoxy, only political (he’s a conservative, so I guess he didn’t feel any love).

    So I am not really sure what my default position should be but if pressed to make a decision I would eventually say no God only from the standpoint that I can’t understand how a personality could exist without a brain that does not seem to be observably present.

    These days, I more often finding myself asking the converse: how can brains exist that lack signs of a personality?

    Maybe it does exist beyond our universe, if such things exist beyond our universe.

    You’ve deported God to another Universe? Interesting, being that the existence of other Universes is a relatively recent finding.

    Since OT YHWH originally existed in Heaven (just above the firmament, the half-dome covering the Earth), if history is any indication, one thing is for certain: as our capacity to reach where God exists extends ever outwards, in the minds of believers God will always manage to stay one step ahead (as suggested in this Darkmatter 2525 video):

  202. Narf says

    I have heard other creationists / undereducated individuals misunderstand said concept before (as I mentioned above, I have heard the roostert analogy many times). I think I agree with Narf on this one, he is just dense and has poor comprehension abiltiies or is just born prone to conservativism which may give smilar results.

    Yeah, that rooster thing just freaking blew my mind. I realize that English isn’t his first language, but his English is good enough that he shouldn’t have a problem with something that straightforward.

  203. Narf says

    Of course I run the risk of being just as offensive but what could be read into what I say and do that people often say are insensitive even though I don’t intend it that way.

    Heh, no way, man. You’re probably the least offensive of all of the regulars.

  204. Narf says

    Article: Does anxiety lead to religiosity and conservative politics?

    Hmm, so why do I know so many atheists with anxiety disorders? Maybe more social fallout, caused by breaking away from religious relatives?

    Weird. I’ll have to read that one.

    I mean, it makes sense, just doesn’t jive with the sampling of people around me. I hang out with geek groups (which tend to be full of atheists) as much as actual atheist groups, so it’s probably just a skewing of my sample set. There’s also the further confounding factor that the fundies I’m exposed to are the more outgoing ones.

  205. Narf says

    If your only understanding of psychology is what you read on Wikipedia, I can’t be bothered to un-fuck your head.

    Individuals with psychotic depression experience the symptoms of a major depressive episode, along with one or more psychotic symptoms, including delusions and/or hallucinations.

    You just took an article, which I assume you didn’t even fully read, about a specific depressive disorder which the article explicitly says is accompanied by HALLUCINATIONS, and you used that to try to say that all depression is delusional.

    What the fuck is wrong with your head? That’s egregiously dishonest, even by your low standards. If you really do have a Ph.D., the university that granted it should be ashamed of you.

  206. Narf says

    Frank G. Turner

    I am guessing that what Bobby here is doing is looking for someone to agree with him. And it does not seem to be enough to find someone where he exists, he wants to convert a non believer.

    I don’t know that I would say that conversion is specifically the goal. It seems to be more along the lines of seeking approval or assurance that his position is justified. Notice the repeated rhetorical questions about “Which is more rational?”

    I mean, conversion would certainly accomplish his goals as well, but I would mark the goal a few notches lower.

    And since atheists are portrayed in the media as rational automatons, what better audience to seek the approval of? He could go to any new-age/pagan group and find a dozen people who would affirm his beliefs, but they’ll buy freaking anything that’s warm, fuzzy, and spiritual-sounding.

    Although I don’t think Bob is specifically a Xtian or a creationist per se …

    I think you’re right about that, within certain definitional constraints. He pulls heavily from Christian concepts, but he’s merged that with pantheism into something that 99% of Christians would probably deny is Christianity in any way. You can catch a whole lot of the Christian lingo around the edges, but those are just artifacts, I think.

    He’s clearly a creationist, within the bounds of Big Bang cosmology, but that isn’t how we normally use the word. So, for what you meant when you said that … right, dead on. I think he probably has some weird blend of Old-Earth Creationism and some deistic construction.

    … Bobby here stops listening when he can’t get anyone to accept his feelings as evidence and runs away.

    … or gets hung up on, as was the case on this show. :D

  207. adamah says

    Dude, stop. You’re only embarrassing yourself, as any FOOL knows delusions are symptomatic of not just schizophrenia and BPD, but also some forms of depression (ie major).

    Narf, you’re a delusional putz, and I laugh at you and mock your ignorance.

    (After all, It’s perfectly OK, per you, to mock anyone who’s factually incorrect, and persists in their position despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary? It was YOU who declared the “appeal to ridicule” has been suspended, right?

    So if it helps ease the butt-hurt sting, just think of it as a form of “tough love”. Some day you’ll even thank me for this treatment, since I’m shaming you out of your ignorant position, right?)

    So, Wikipedia’s not enough, huh?

    Here’s webMD, speaking of psychotic depression:

    http://www.m.webmd.com/depression/guide/psychotic-depression

    Psychotic depression is a subtype of major depression that occurs when a severe depressive illness includes some form of psychosis. The psychosis could be hallucinations (such as hearing a voice telling you that you are no good or worthless), delusions (such as, intense feelings of worthlessness, failure, or having committed a sin) or some other break with reality.

    Try American Psychiatry Association, if your delusion includes paranoia and you don’t trust WebMD (just as you didn’t trust Wikipedia).

  208. says

    I think you misunderstand. If this were the case, then no one would ever change their mind about anything, ever.

    I think *you* misunderstand: the fact that belief is not subject to the will does not at all imply that no one ever changes their mind. To the contrary: it implies that all changes of mind are *also* not subject to the will.

    Allow me to explain. My friend who is religious didn’t simply “choose” his belief. His belief is the state of his brain having been convinced of a set of propositions. This convincing process – including the very tools by which he evaluates claims – were shaped by a lot of things out of his control, such as his upbringing and his level of education (which is often linked to social class).

    Now, I think the reasons that have convinced his brain are awfully crappy, and if I present a cogent case against his beliefs and succeed in changing his mind, then his ensuing lack of belief will be the result of his brain no longer being convinced of that set of propositions. His desires – in the simple sense – do not enter the equation.

    We DO make decisions about what we care about and what we prioritize when it comes to reality

    You’ve switched scope here to talk about values and preferences – which, by the way, aren’t identical to desires – but even here, I’m not sure that I agree that we simply decide to pick our values. My religious friend didn’t “decide” to value the Bible over all other sources of information (including over his own fallible human reason): values are often drummed into people at young ages, and they are convinced that the things they value are objectively good.

    In my own case, I value truth because I’ve been convinced that it is in my best interest in the long run to value it. My personal desires have shockingly little to do with it.

    ”The God Virus” is used as an analogy for how religion spreads, but I can’t possibly support that glaring category error

    It’s not a category error. What I was saying follows from the premises of my argument: if belief isn’t subject to the will in the simple sense, and if belief is caused by many factors outside the control of the individual, then in a very real sense, religious people are *victims* of religious belief. By preying on various weaknesses – such as, for example, a strong emotional need for certainty or security – this “virus” convinces people that religious claims are true, and it inspires them to act in ways that are often harmful to their own well being. Examples are almost too numerous to list.

    I make this argument *not* to say, “Awwwwww, poor religious people! Let’s be sensitive to their feelings!” I make this argument to point out that if you don’t care about offending religious people, you equally have no grounds to care about offending other groups, aside from arbitrary preference.

    And hey, arbitrary preference is fine with me. If you just *feel* like you don’t want to offend certain groups of people, but you also just *feel* like it’s okay to offend other groups of people, then go for it. All I’m saying is that one shouldn’t pretend like this is some sort of rational position or that there’s some kind of objective reason to worry about how one’s smallest little words might offend any number of groups.

    When I debate, I don’t generally care if someone’s offended by some word or argument I use, especially if I’m using common or innocuous words. I’ll use “crazy” as a pejorative, I’ll tell Christians that they’re “irrational,” I’ll compare their god to the FSM, I’ll call people “morons,” etc. If someone’s offended by something I say – especially by something so trivial – then honestly that’s their own issue, and they’ve got to work it out for themselves. I firmly believe that speakers and writers should take responsibility for what they say, but I also believe that auditors and readers should take responsibility for their reactions. As a speaker/writer, it’s not my job to make sure everybody is comfortable and avoids feeling offended.

    As I said, I don’t value living in a world where everyone has to be constantly vigilant over the smallest word they use, out of fear that somebody else’s precious feelings might get hurt. I value a world where people boldly exchange ideas and where the best ideas win, regardless of who might be offended.

  209. says

    Believing things for bad reasons isn’t a sign of mental illness, at least not by itself.

    Yeah, but we’re talking about metaphorical applications of language. When my friend misses a turn while he’s driving and I say, “What are ya, blind??!” it’s not sensible for him to respond, “Of course I’m not blind…missing a turn, at least by itself, isn’t a sign of visual impairment. Lots of people miss turns!”

    Well, duh. I’m not literally saying he’s physically blind, nor am I articulating careful criteria for determining visual impairment. I’m saying – in a somewhat playful way, I might add – that his mistake was so great that one might say that it would almost take a visual impairment for him to have made that mistake.

    Similarly, when I call a religious person “crazy,” I’m not literally suggesting that the person needs to consult a mental health professional, nor am I articulating precise criteria for judging mental health. I’m not even offering a blanket condemnation of all mental illness – though I would still argue that “illness,” of all kinds, is almost always less preferable than health. What I’m doing is saying – again, in a somewhat playful way – that this person’s error in thinking is so great that one might say it would almost take an unspecified cognitive deficiency of some kind for him to have made that mistake.

    All of this is blindingly obvious. I would contend that virtually nobody would listen to me use “crazy” as a pejorative and *seriously* think that I was *seriously* expressing a clinical diagnosis.

    By the way, from writing the above, I can tell you that it really sucks the punch out of the metaphor to have to over-explain it like that.

    That “punch” is actually a big part of my point. These sorts of words have a useful rhetorical power. “Crazy” has a unique sound and connotation that perfectly conveys my meaning in certain situations, where labels like the sterile “mentally ill” or the too-precise “paranoid schizophrenic” would fail to convey my meaning.

  210. Narf says

    And I quote:

    adamah

    BPD and depression are considered as thought disorders, characterized by irrational delusions.

    You don’t even have the intellectual honesty to back pedal.

    Fuck off. You’re not worth talking to.

    I’m sorry I thought I could perhaps initiate a conversation with you again, and that you might be less of a dishonest asshole, this time. I was wrong.

  211. says

    I disagree with the evaluation of mental illness as either a morally or qualitatively bad thing. Our artistic heritage would be greatly impoverished by the removal of mental illness from our species

    Lots of “bad” things – in the sense of “bad” meaning “something we would really, really not prefer” – can have good effects. For example, diseases like cancer and AIDS have inspired poetry and novels, movies, benefit concerts, and have brought together lots of people in charitable efforts. Those are all arguably “good” results, but it doesn’t change the fact that the diseases are bad things.

    Geez, I’m not trying to suggest that people shouldn’t “enjoy their symptom,” to borrow a phrase from Lacan – especially if they have very benign diseases whose symptoms are mild and even fun in the right contexts – but it seems silly to deny that there are some states of being that are objectively healthier than others. That being the case, using some kinds of unhealthy states as pejoratives (such as calling a bad driver “blind”) seems appropriate and not really much of a cause for offense (I say this as someone who is legally blind without corrective lenses and who acknowledges that having 20/20 vision is objectively better in almost any context, except maybe in a bumping-into-stuff contest).

  212. Narf says

    Heh, yeah, I didn’t properly narrow my scope, in the initial phrasing. I was mostly just objecting the the global nature of your last statement.

    For example, diseases like cancer and AIDS have inspired poetry and novels, movies, benefit concerts, and have brought together lots of people in charitable efforts.

    Eh, but not in the same way that the psychological issues of the artist are an enabler for the actual creation of the art. I think that distinction between inspiring (in other words, being a subject for) the art and enabling the creation of the art is an important one.

    Besides, I can think of a mild manifestation of OCD being almost all good, certainly a net good. I’m not sure I’ve heard of anyone who would describe his/her AIDS infection as a net good, within the context of his/her own life. :D

    I’m just picking at details here, though.

    Geez, I’m not trying to suggest that people shouldn’t “enjoy their symptom,” to borrow a phrase from Lacan – especially if they have very benign diseases whose symptoms are mild and even fun in the right contexts – but it seems silly to deny that there are some states of being that are objectively healthier than others.

    Absolutely, and there are plenty of people with OCD and BPD who really need the assistance of psychotropic medications. I was trying to point out that important distinction and move your statement from the global to the specific … and then I freaking completely failed to make the statement about the differentiation between the two.

    That being the case, using some kinds of unhealthy states as pejoratives (such as calling a bad driver “blind”) seems appropriate and not really much of a cause for offense (I say this as someone who is legally blind without corrective lenses and who acknowledges that having 20/20 vision is objectively better in almost any context, except maybe in a bumping-into-stuff contest).

    No argument there. Hell, I use worse pejoratives about mental disorders, myself, including those directed at myself.

    I bet I have you beat on the legally blind status. :P I need to go and look up my prescription.

  213. Narf says

    So if it helps ease the butt-hurt sting, just think of it as a form of “tough love”. Some day you’ll even thank me for this treatment, since I’m shaming you out of your ignorant position, right?

    Heh, and just … no. You’re so far from ever having any positive impact upon my life. It’s sad that you think that this sort of thing could possibly be for my benefit in any way.

  214. subzerobob says

    Here I’ll address it – what you are describing is ludicrous and somehow you say that is what I am saying, and it is not. I don’t ever accept two opposite statements as both being absolutely true. So something must be wrong with the way you are presenting your logic and the way you present/think of me. There are too many bashings here, and all of them have crazy conclusions. There too many battles to fight, I just get tired trying to pick which one. I’d be happy to take on one of you on one-on-one, so that is fair and so that I can focus on one question at a time.

  215. subzerobob says

    @narf
    Allowed? By Whom? Answer: By me – I am not allowing you to ridicule me if you cannot clearly explain why my reasons are bad. I am not buying what you are saying about how ridiculous you think my proposal is to find improved ways to go beyond science to examine things.

  216. Narf says

    Monocle Smile

    Los
    Matt has argued for years that beliefs are not subject to the will (one does not simply “choose” one’s belief)

    I think you misunderstand. If this were the case, then no one would ever change their mind about anything, ever.
    We DO make decisions about what we care about and what we prioritize when it comes to reality. If I decide that I care more about truth than feeling good, then my beliefs become forced to reflect that.

    I’m with Los on this one, by the way, man. To work within the example that you described:

    If you’ve come to care more about the truth than feeling good …
    … while holding the position that you want to believe what makes you feel good, could you really exert your will to make yourself feel that it’s more important to believe true things than what makes you feel good? What would make you want to exert your will to that end? And doesn’t that stimulus negate the independent act of will that you seem to be suggesting?

    I just can’t get my head around the idea of this being possible. The minute, cumulative cause-and-effect of social interaction and exposure to new ideas seems far more mechanistic to me than any independent act of will.

    I just don’t see how you can insert an act of will into that proposition, unless Will is your nickname for your crotch.

  217. Narf says

    subzerobob

    Here I’ll address it – what you are describing is ludicrous and somehow you say that is what I am saying, and it is not. I don’t ever accept two opposite statements as both being absolutely true.

    You’re still not getting it. Let me break it down.

    The acceptance of claims with insufficient evidence will inevitably result in you accepting contradictory claims, if you’re consistent in your acceptance of claims. Your only escape from that is being arbitrary and inconsistent in your acceptance of claims. The power of skepticism is that you reserve judgement, consistently, and you only accept a claim once it has been demonstrated by sufficient, empirical evidence.

    I’ve never said that you admitted to saying that you accept contradictory claims. Tracie was not saying that either. We were just saying that it’s an inevitable result of the consistent application of your method of judging claims. You don’t see that, since for one thing, you don’t apply your method of judging claims consistently.

    There too many battles to fight, I just get tired trying to pick which one. I’d be happy to take on one of you on one-on-one, so that is fair and so that I can focus on one question at a time.

    There is that issue, I admit, once these things drag on long enough. This just isn’t the proper forum for that sort of one-on-one discussion. I’m not sure how to resolve that one, when everyone wants a piece of you. :D

  218. subzerobob says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal
    this doesn’t cover covert intent and my causal will. I can will to do something or I can not-will to do something. I can also fool you on purpose into thinking that I will do something. In either case I will cause something to happen. The problem is that when you are doing physical science – you have no idea what kind of controls to set-up to predict, examine or capture what exactly is going on here, because I can change it any way that I want in order to throw off your measurements. There are two main things that exist as abstracts (non-physical) 1. laws (such as laws of physics, numbers and the truth about math and logic) and 2. Being (such as a causal agent – the mind for example). Laws never make anything happen (the math truth that 2+2=4 doesn’t put money in my bank account). Therefore the only other suspect left for intentional causality is God – the animating fundamental force behind existence.

  219. subzerobob says

    re evolution – read Kenneth Miller’s book “Finding Darwin’s God” the purpose of a monkey is to become human. Natural selection is magical selection without intentional force behind it, which is proposed because it has explanatory powers, especially if other intelligent life in the universe develops independently from us (and even looks like us). At which point do you stop thinking that if an accident keeps happening? it is no longer an accident but an intended outcome within a universe with the intended purpose to maximize all the possibilities for intelligent life

  220. subzerobob says

    I thought about it, and that is why it is rational. I thought about how right it makes me feel to pay more for coffee. Thinking is still involved and that is why it is rational

  221. subzerobob says

    When did I get barred from calling TWL? This is news to me… I haven’t been following up with you guys. I had too many deaths in the family recently, and I’ve been busy praying for their souls.

  222. Cal MacD says

    Well you are and that’s all you need to know. Not going to bother engaging with you. Later!

  223. Narf says

    The problem is that when you are doing physical science – you have no idea what kind of controls to set-up to predict, examine or capture what exactly is going on here, because I can change it any way that I want in order to throw off your measurements.

    Actually, this is the sort of thing that neuroscientists do. They attempt to isolate external stimuli to track the cause and effect that goes on within your brain.

    Therefore the only other suspect left for intentional causality is God – the animating fundamental force behind existence.

    That’s a really freaking huge jump, and you’re going to have to justify it.

    You’ve constructed what is called a false dilemma. You’re saying that there are only those two options, without demonstrating that those are the only two possible options.

    Your other problem is that you haven’t justified your claim that minds are abstract, nonphysical things. We see the brain, and we can see how our minds are a result of the activities of the brain. Our experiences are that brain-damage affects the mind of the person, sometimes completely, turning them into a new person. The obvious conclusion from this is that ‘mind’ is what ‘brain’ does.

    On top of that, the mechanistic forces of physics and chemistry absolutely can make things happen. You’d do well to read a few books by Victor Stenger, who understands this stuff far better than I do. ‘God the Failed Hypothesis‘ and ‘The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe is not Designed for Us‘ are two of his more recent books on the subject. Stephen Hawking’s books are good companions to those. Those will explain why the laws of physics can do exactly what you claim they can’t.

  224. subzerobob says

    the main reason why I don’t respond to everything is because the “reply” button is missing at my side under many of your comments. And there are many of you. I get tired just thinking which battle to pick. Also – even when I find a “reply” button, my comment ends up smack in the middle of some other discussion or comments… This is now over 220 comments long. Any normal person wouldn’t care anymore to be involved in this. I care, but not that much. I have to work and put food on the table as well. I don’t have time for all this bashing and bigotry. I’d be happy to go point by point with ONE of you, preferably not narf, I just think he is sub-par and doesn’t know/think things through and just makes me mad by saying things that are ridiculous and then saying that is what I am saying, which a normal person cannot even live a life by doing what narf says that I am doing. So there must be something wrong with the way narf is presenting my logic and the way he is presents/thinks of me.

    I was born in an European Eastern Block country. Those countries were known for being notoriously atheist. I developed my theistic belief here in America – when I started to contemplate on the will to live. Especially when you are extremely sick and unconscious. I thought about a scenario of a failed suicide attempt and how every living cell in your body brings you back to life, and I concluded that even though you want to end your life – it is not your life to take. I pictured this collective will to stay alive that is in every cell of your body and god caring you on his shoulders while you are sick and unable to walk on your own. The panentheism came later on, and I clicked to it when I though that even cells are still made of star dust (particle physics) – not alive matter that galaxies and constellations are also comprised of. So to me initially panentheism meant that I am my own cluster of constellations of star dust. Then I came back to you guys – the atheists, with hopes that I will get cured of my theism, but listening to you – points out to me more and more that I am not buying what you are saying, and then I noticed that I am not expressing myself good enough to you people, so I started to listen to apologists from schools like Biola for example (stand to reason for example: http://www.str.org ) , and tried to internalize what they are saying. Now I am just trying to have a conversation with you and I am trying to express myself better at what I mean and why I am not buying the whole atheism thing. I’d admit that I am not good at it, the same way that you guys are not good at explaining yourselves to me. There are so many things that need to be unpacked in what you guys are saying. I honestly think that you don’t understand the subject quite well and there are some deep philosophical questions that are still valid over 2000 years since they were first asked/contemplated. The only thing I apologize for is not being able to articulate better of what I stand for and my rational (thinking) reasons (which I think are good). One thing is for sure – this can only help me to express myself better, and for that I thank you. But I really want to talk with only one person at a time with a more controlled format: such as 1 question 1 answer, one-on-one, with long pauses in between, and no matter how long it takes.

  225. Narf says

    re evolution – read Kenneth Miller’s book “Finding Darwin’s God” the purpose of a monkey is to become human.

    Actually, thanks. I’ll have to check that one out. I’ve been meaning to look into him more, ever since the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial, but I never have.

    But everything you said after that has issues …

    Natural selection is magical selection without intentional force behind it, which is proposed because it has explanatory powers, especially if other intelligent life in the universe develops independently from us (and even looks like us).

    What do you mean, “… and even looks like us?” Why would you think that other potentially intelligent life would look anything like us? You’re building a conclusion based upon evidence that you don’t have.

    Aliens in Star Wars and Star Trek look mostly like humans, because it’s cheaper to take a bunch of humans and stick prosthetics and makeup on them, rather than building dozens of aliens from scratch and animating them with puppetry. There’s no reason to think that real aliens, if we ever find any, will look anything like us.

    And if the aliens that we found do look vaguely like us … say, being upright quadrupeds with bilateral symmetry and something vaguely like our nervous system … it just demonstrates that that’s a structure that works well, based upon the laws of chemistry, physics, and biology. It wouldn’t indicate any sort of intention, as you propose.

    Get back to me after we’re contacted by intelligent, alien life, and we can talk. Until then, your speculation isn’t support for anything.

    At which point do you stop thinking that if an accident keeps happening? it is no longer an accident but an intended outcome within a universe with the intended purpose to maximize all the possibilities for intelligent life

    ‘Accident’ is a very loaded word, and it doesn’t describe either evolution or abiogenesis. We have several proposed models for how abiogenesis could have kicked things off on our planet.

    This is one of the many lies told by creationists. They act as if we have absolutely no idea how life could have possibly started on this planet, without a personal creator-god. The truth is that we have too many possibilities, and there’s still a hell of a lot of work to be done to figure out which of them is the most likely scenario. It doesn’t help that the fossil evidence from that far back is sketchy to practically nonexistent, since things like that don’t fossilize very well.

    Now to remove your loaded word usage, you’re right that it would not be an accident. It would demonstrate that the formation of organic chemicals and their self-organization into self-replicating structures is a fairly common thing, on a galactic scale. It wouldn’t do a thing for your assertion of intention.

  226. Esquilax says

    Which is fine, as regards subjective experiences like how you feel about a certain thing. But you’re not talking about that with regards to your panentheistic god beliefs; there you’re talking about objective reality. To continue the comparison, if you feel like you should be paying more for coffee and yet go to the place that you’ll pay less at, does your feeling that you should pay more affect the price at the cheaper place, or not?

  227. Narf says

    Personally, I’m still trying to parse this sentence:

    I thought about it, and that is why it is rational.

    … and of course the third one, which is just a rephrasing of the first.

    Where do I start, when the statement is so vapid that I can’t even think how to define what’s wrong, besides simply that he doesn’t seem to understand what words mean?

  228. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @subzerobob
    It’s obvious that you don’t know anything about evolution. You really should read Dawkin’s The Greatest Show On Earth. It is meant to be accessible to the layperson, and it’s goal is to explain what evolution is, and to set out the evidence in favor of evolution.

    I can will to do something or I can not-will to do something.

    Prove it. I don’t think you can. At least, not the sense that you are using the words.

    Prove to me that you can violate physics. Prove to me that your body and brain are not mere physical machines. Prove that you can make choices and control your body in a way that distinguishes you from a mere physical machine. Hypothetically, let’s put you in a lab, with the best equipment, and let’s search for the part of you which is different than a mere physical machine.

    If you think that you can make choices (in the sense that you use the terms), and if you think that you can vocalize those choices, that means we should expect that some parts of your body regularly violate conventional particle physics. This is bullshit. We have lots and lots of evidence that this simply does not happen. You are your brain.

    Ken Miller is a brilliant man, a great biologist, and a great speaker. Having said that – I am familiar with Ken Miller’s position on what I just said. There, he is just wrong. Ken Miller’s position loosely is that the mind controls the “strings” of the brain and body but it does so while hiding in quantum indeterminacy. This is god of the gaps. This is intellectually dishonest. Finally, in principle this is still detectable, which even makes his argument factually wrong. On his model, the mind nudges some particles in the brain, and with repeated measurement, the statistical difference is detectable in principle. It is something that science can touch. And if there is no statistical difference at all, even in principle, then there is no causation, the soul is do-nothing, and the brain is a mere physical machine.

    If we spent years looking for that statistical difference, I know what bet I would make. We’ll never find it, because it doesn’t exist.

    physical science

    There is no such thing as “physical science”. Stop pretending there is. There’s just science. Science is the process about learning about the observable aspects of our shared reality. Your mind is observable, and it’s in our shared reality. It’s indirectly observable, but that’s good enough to do science on it.

    because I can change it any way that I want in order to throw off your measurements.

    No you can’t. Go ahead – make all of the electrons in your brain align to produce a powerful magnetic field. Oh – what’s that? You can’t make the particles in your brain do whatever you want? Claim busted.

    There are two main things that exist as abstracts (non-physical) 1. laws

    I don’t know what this means. I really don’t.

    There are two main things that exist as abstracts (non-physical) 1. Being (such as a causal agent – the mind for example).

    There is no such thing. The brain has all of the causal power. There is no independent thing called “mind” above the brain which controls the mind and body. The evidence is strongly against such a thing.

    Natural selection is magical selection without intentional force behind it,

    Which shows that you do not understand natural selection. Again, please read Dawkin’s book The Greatest Show On Earth. Then get back to us.

    At which point do you stop thinking that if an accident keeps happening?

    At what point do I think that there’s something going on? I mentioned this to Tracie above. You cheered me on even. I think there’s something going on when I do my best to account for confounding variables, and when proper statistical analysis shows significance. You seem to ignore that second part.

    With proper statistical analysis, we can show that everyone experiences a miracle about once a month. It’s called Littlewood’s law.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Littlewood%27s_law
    Without proper statistical analysis, people are prone to confirmation bias. I’m sorry, just showing me a couple “accidents” and saying “look how wonderful this is!” isn’t compelling in the slightest. You haven’t even begun the proper statistical analysis.

    But again, this has very little to do with natural selection. Natural selection is not mere chance. You seem to think it is. You are wrong. Evolution by natural selection is the non-random survival of randomly varying replicators. Yes chance is involved, but it’s not just chance. Again, read Dawkin’s book. I am telling you that you do not understand evolution.

  229. azhael says

    My panchreas secretes hormones on its own, wether i’m conscious or unconscious, does that mean that there is a panchreatic force of will? No, it’s called physiology, bobby, and it’s the reason why if someone fails to kill themselves, their bodies will heal the cuts on the wrists, like any other wound, at any other time. It’s also the reason why some things cannot be healed and even if someone has a very strong will to live and thrive, sometimes it’s just not possible. Isn’t it odd that someone who want to die can fail and recover from the injuries, but someone who sincerily wants to live succumbs to a spreading cancer? It’s almost as if those things had absolutely nothing to do with magical forces and wills but rather are all about biology.

    And just for giggles:

    I thought about a scenario of a failed suicide attempt and how every living cell in your body brings you back to life

    Resurrection? I wouldn’t call that a failed attempt then…

    And this is just one point of MANY in which you have demonstrated that you are just making shit up out of whole cloth, cherry-picking the things that seem relevant to you and which you can build your fantasy on.
    You don’t know what rationality means, and your continued failure to understand that it is not rational to accept as true something which you cannot demonstrate in any way shape or form, just makes us all very sad…
    It’s fine to entertain an idea, it’s fine to speculate…it’s not fine to believe that which is not evidently true, it’s irrational and it is about time you understood this very simple point.

  230. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @subzerobob

    I thought about it, and that is why it is rational.

    Thinking is still involved and that is why it is rational

    lol

  231. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Also, guys on the Atheist Experience. IMHO, removing nested replies is the best course available. IMHO, it makes conversations much easier to follow. Please. (My 2 cents. Do as you will with your place.)

  232. Narf says

    You mean just make everyone add a new comment at the bottom, with a new number, and we reply by listing the author and the number of the comment we’re responding to?

  233. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Yea. For example, the way Pharyngula is done, or Dispatches From The Culture Wars.

  234. Frank G. Turner says

    @subzerobob
    At least some of what you have said has helped give evidence that you are making an effort to understand like I said before and I do applaud that. Pardon my having backed off from that.
    .
    I’d admit that I am not good at it, the same way that you guys are not good at explaining yourselves to me. There are so many things that need to be unpacked in what you guys are saying
    .
    Have you ever thought that it is not that others are not good at explaining themselves to you but you who are not good at absorbing what people are saying? I see a LOT of that going on in the calls you make. The fact that you thought you were the rooster in the correlation and causation analogy indicates that. You try to talk over people a lot rather than listen. You are doing a lot of sending but not a lot of receiving. Talk less and listen more. Yes a lot of the English language is difficult in that there are a LOT of implications that are not directly stated. It seems that you are focused are trying to hear what is NOT said (what is implied) and ignoring the significance of what IS said. Stop trying to “unpack” it so much and listen to the words more directly. I am the kind of person who speaks very explicitly as I don’t expect people to read my implications and a lot of other people on here are too (not Adam, he is a very implicit communicator and expects others to be as well).
    .
    That is probably WHY you find yourself buying a lot of what the apologists are saying. They are very implicit individuals who use a lot of emotional manipulation to get you to FEEL that they are correct without offering hard evidence. Feelings and emotions are not evidence for proof of the physical existence of anything other than those feelings and emotions. I know that your feelings tug you very hard in certain directions. I feel that the horizon is very beautiful too, but that does not prove that it is beautiful because I can;t measure that beauty and my feeling / opinion about it being beautiful is highly subjective and determined by my mood. Someone else may not consider that horizon beautiful and as such, it is highly subjective. We have not developed a way in which to measure that beauty via a testable means and we may or may not ever be able to do so.
    .
    In the sciences we CAN measure things via a standardized means that if everyone goes through a training procedure and is taught how to do will measure that concept within certain limits. As such, we can make predictions about what we measure and use it for practical purposes. THAT is what constitutes evidence and proof and that has a lot of power.
    .
    That does not mean that the beauty lacks importance or cannot be inspirational, but it is not going to have the same impact and predictive capability as something that we can measure. It does not have to. A certain mathematician by the name of Rene Descartes recognized that difference even thought he did understand the importance of immeasurable philosophical principles. He developed coordinate systems for representing mathematical relationships (the Cartesian coordinate system) yet also did great philosophical work, you may have heard the phrase “cogito ergo sum” (“I think, therefore, I am”).
    .
    However, those are in separate categories. A lot of individuals, like Ken Miller (whom I admire very much) compartmentalize their ideas mentally. They keep their scientific beliefs scientific and their personal beliefs personal. Miller may BELIEVE that evolution APPEARS to have a guiding mental force behind it, but he does NOT claim PROOF for this force in a scientific sense. I think that is where the disconnect is happening in your mind as it does in the minds of many a creationist. They WANT, often very desperately, for their feelings and emotions to have the same impact as proof and evidence that one can measure. No matter how much they want this, it just does not happen. Maybe it will someday, but until it does we accept that we don’t have proof for God.
    .
    If believing in God helps you Bob, then believe. That belief was very helpful to many an individual and still is, just acknowledge that you don’t have proof. You seem to act as if acknowledging this is a denial of God, it isn’t. Faith is essentially belief without evidence. If you had evidence, you would not need faith. If faith helps you then let it help you, but it doesn’t help us as we are different people. It actually HURTS a lot of us to think that way.
    .
    Don’t try to be “cured” of your theism. That is the wrong attitude. Don’t try to lead the evidence towards a conclusion. Be opened to any possibility and follow the evidence where it leads. Say to yourself, “maybe there is a God, maybe there is not one.” Theism might be the right thing for you, which is fine as long as you respect the possibility that it is not the right thing for others. (I know that is hard, the idea that what is right for you is not right for others but that is how the world works).
    .
    I listened to the call you made to Trolling with Logic a couple of years ago in which you spoke with Martin Wagner and you really should have listened to the rest of the episode, several times if necessary. The vast majority of atheists are not taking a hard stance that there is no God despite what your feelings may tell you. The stance is something like this, they don’t know if God exists (agnosticism), and they acknowledge that no measurable or demonstrable proof of God exists (what you need to do). In the absence of proof (feelings and emotions don’t count no matter how much you want them to), they take the default position that God does not exist.
    .
    You don’t have to do that. You COULD acknowledge (and I honestly think that if you do it will make you a LOT happier and help you to understand things MUCH better, particularly in an exploration of evolution which you need to do) that you don’t have measurable proof of God (namely the personality aspect of God) but in the absence of proof you take the default position that God does exist. If you listen to a few of the Atheist Experience shows you may have heard that. In the absence of proof we consider God Not Guilty of existing while in the absence of proof you consider God Guilty of existing. That is fine, you can take that stance if you want to. Watch a few of the Atheist Experience shows and you will see the “courtroom analogy” made a lot.
    .
    One thing regarding modern day non-religious countries. By nearly every measure of happiness, countries that are not religious have some of the happiest, most well educated, best financially, and most productive people in the world. This is a correlation and not necessarily a causation but it demonstrates that religion seems to be a factor. Countries that are overly religious (the middle east being a good example) nowadays have some of the worst conditions worldwide (mainly oppression of the people). So religion is often associated with oppression and unhappiness and if you know anything about history you can see that pattern happening a LOT.
    .
    That is not to say that oppression cannot occur in atheist countries, it can and has. It is the oppression though and not the lack of religion. You would probably be just as unhappy in an oppressive atheist country as you would in an oppressive religious country.

  235. Narf says

    re evolution – read Kenneth Miller’s book “Finding Darwin’s God” the purpose of a monkey is to become human.

    I’ve read a few dozen reviews of the book, since I posted my other comment in response to this. The consensus seems to be that the book is a bit schizoid, shifting heavily, when he switches from arguing in favor of evolution to trying to stick his god-concept into the mix somewhere … often contradicting points that he made in defense of evolution against the creationists, in order to make an excuse for his god’s existence.

    I’m guessing on a great deal of compartmentalization in this guy, just like we have in Francis Collins. When Collins speaks about evolution, he’s sharp, precise, scientific …
    When Collins switches over to his evangelical Christian subjects, it’s like he’s suffering from Multiple-Personality Disorder, and he just switched off to one of his other personalities. His scientific perspective is just … gone, and he’s a credulous buffoon on par with the most ridiculous apologists.

    Plus, it seems like Miller basically argues for a deistic god … which is very funny, since he’s a Catholic. Odd.

  236. Cal MacD says

    It sopped being comedy a long time ago, and interacting with him of the air? That’s another matter.

  237. Narf says

    I can imagine. I think there’s a reason they took his call in the post show, in this episode. Often, you can see the train wrecks coming.

    Bobby is a little better in a text format, at least. On the air … I don’t think his English comprehension is good enough to keep up with things in real time, or … something. I dunno.

  238. Frank G. Turner says

    It’s fine to entertain an idea, it’s fine to speculate…it’s not fine to believe that which is not evidently true, it’s irrational and it is about time you understood this very simple point.
    .
    I really do wonder if he is one of those people for whom emotions are so overwhelming that the moment he tries to speculate that something is true he starts to believe it.

  239. Esquilax says

    I thought about a scenario of a failed suicide attempt and how every living cell in your body brings you back to life, and I concluded that even though you want to end your life – it is not your life to take.

    @subzerobob, do you perhaps understand how natural selection works? See, living things that have traits that are fatal to them tend to get “selected out” of the gene pool as they, well, die from those traits, leading to less and less of those particular fatal traits getting passed on to future generations, while traits that allow the thing to survive get passed on at higher rates because those organisms that possess them tend to live longer and thus breed more.

    When you say that the living cells in your body heal you even through a failed suicide attempt, there’s no reason to invoke some external will making that happen, because it’s very easily explained by evolution and natural selection, two phenomena we know for a fact occur. An organism in possession of cells that just give up and die at the first sign of bodily injury is in possession of a fatal trait, whereas one in possession of cells that continue healing and healing is in possession of a beneficial one. Over time, and we’ve had millions of years to do this, those organisms with ineffectively repairing cells were killed in higher numbers, whereas those with effective repairing cells survived more often and got to breed more, passing on the genes for better healing down the line of descendants. It’s a purely natural process refined over millions of years and countless generations and species.

    As you can see, there is simply no reason to appeal to anything spiritual to explain this.

  240. corwyn says

    What would be really nice would be *decent* indications of threading, and a way to tell which posts are unread.

    Given the current threading format, I agree we would be better off doing it manually.

  241. corwyn says

    I don’t think that saying “mental illness is bad” implies moral badness at all.

    Moral badness, can certainly be rationally inferred from that phrase. That is reason enough to avoid it. ‘Bad’ really is defined as ‘morally wrong’, if you don’t intend that interpretation, either expressly disavow it, or use a less ambiguous word.

  242. corwyn says

    but the point was that one can believe in the “forces of nature” without necessarily believing in something mystical. So belief in a “life force” does not have to include anything supernatural.

    One can believe in ‘forces of nature’, but if one is not talking about the strong, weak, electromagnetic, or gravitational forces (or their consequential forces), then one is believing in things which have no evidence for them. I don’t care about ‘supernatural’, to me it is a synonym for ‘non-existent’.

    If ‘life force’ is just a convenient phrase for those physical, chemical, and biological processes which distinguish living organisms from dead ones, that is fine. But if one is implying that there is something going on there other than those known processes, then one needs evidence which no one has shown.

    I can’t see how ‘life force’ as analogous for ‘force of habit’ helps the conversation at all.

  243. corwyn says

    the main reason why I don’t respond to everything is because the “reply” button is missing at my side under many of your comments. And there are many of you.

    We feel your pain.

  244. corwyn says

    why I am not buying the whole atheism thing.

    There is NOTHING to buy.

    Atheism is the state of ‘not buying the whole theism thing’.

  245. Frank G. Turner says

    @corwyn
    If ‘life force’ is just a convenient phrase for those physical, chemical, and biological processes which distinguish living organisms from dead ones, that is fine
    .
    You hit the nail on the head there, except I was using the term “natural force” or “forces of nature” as these forces are responsible for things other than just life.
    .
    I can’t see how ‘life force’ as analogous for ‘force of habit’ helps the conversation at all.
    .
    I was just making a point of how the word “force” is used to indicate numerous things. If that comparison does not work for you I am ok.
    .
    I have no problem with not believing that anything supernatural exists. I entertain the idea that they might (speculation), but I put no belief that they do anymore. I am not sure if I ever really did or if I was just going through the motions to please others. I don’t know if they do and that does not mean my answer is wrong.
    .
    Bob does not seem to get that. Despite not being a creationists explicitly or a super Xtian, he seems to equivocate the words “I don’t know” with “I am wrong” like they do and seems so afraid of the idea of uncertainty that he has to fill in the gaps rather than admit that he does not have evidence. That does not entirely surprise me as he seems to think feelings and emotions are evidence.

  246. Frank G. Turner says

    why I am not buying the whole atheism thing.
    There is NOTHING to buy.
    Atheism is the state of ‘not buying the whole theism thing’.

    .
    He has demonstrated on more than one occasion that he is clumping together different traits that seem to commonly occur together, being scientifically minded, being well educated, not being anti-gay, being generally liberal-democrat and left wing, etc and of course, being atheist, and thinking that atheism includes all of these traits. I have seen a number of individuals do this and talk about the “atheist agenda” and not realize that there are Xtian evolutionary biologists like Ken Miller (though he seems to be starting to get that), democrats that own guns and speak against gun control, gay republicans, etc.
    .
    Despite having apparently read Ken Miller he still does not have a good comprehension of what evolution is, particularly thinking that evolution still has to be directed by an intentional mind. Frankly I think he was cherry picking Miller to express that sentiment.
    .
    Getting through his thickness to understand that atheism is just a view on one issue may be beyond him. I wonder f his mind is even capable of getting some of what we are talking about.

  247. Frank G. Turner says

    But I really want to talk with only one person at a time with a more controlled format: such as 1 question 1 answer, one-on-one, with long pauses in between, and no matter how long it takes.
    .
    That does not sound like a bad idea but you are going to need to learn to shut up and listen to the other person rather than talking over them. You are going to need to learn to stop fighting their point of view just because is disagrees with what you feel is right and open your mind to the possibility that they are correct and that you are wrong no matter how uncomfortable that makes you feel. And you are going to need to accept the idea that strong feelings and emotions do NOT constitute factual proof of anything other than the fact that you have those feelings.
    .
    Next time you find yourself objecting to what the other person says because you don’t like the way it makes you feel, such as “evolution does not require an intelligent intentional individual to direct it and this has been PROVEN under controlled conditions and observed (even by Ken Miller),” instead of trying to find reasons why you think it is wrong, try to find reasons why that is right. When a part of you tries to fight it, pinch yourself on the arm, slap yourself on the face, and just keep repeating what is in those quotes word for word over and over again until you stop feeling uncomfortable. Your feelings do not need to rule you, you can rule over your feelings.

  248. Frank G. Turner says

    @Narf
    Plus, it seems like Miller basically argues for a deistic god … which is very funny, since he’s a Catholic. Odd.
    .
    That’s actually not unusual. Catholicism does not go around policing the way followers believe, insisting that everyone believe the same way. It is why you have individuals like me that came from liberally minded Catholic communities that did not have a major problem telling you that parts of the Bible were allegorical (particularly Genesis) as well as followers who came from conservative Catholic communities who insisted that certain parts could NOT be allegorical and must be empirically correct (also like Genesis).
    .
    Stories like the woman that I told you about who was heart broken that the Pastor, a PhD in ancient Hebrew and Greek was telling her that Job was fiction and going to another Catholic Church where they will tell her it is real are not that unusual. Pope Francis will be making claims in support of scientific discovery for the curing of disease one day and endorsing a church that is doing demonic exorcism the next. Religion is just politics where they tell people what they want to hear at times.
    .
    That is a big part of learning Bobby, you have to get comfortable listening to things that you don’t want to hear and acknowledging that they are correct and that you were wrong despite the discomfort.

  249. bigwhale says

    The problem is that if our threshold for believing claims was low enough that we believed you. We would also end up accepting other claims such as those of ghost hunters, psychics, most religions, alien abductionists, water dowsing , and more. I’ve seen documentaries about the ancient Egyptian religion being true and based upon the super technogies of Atlantis that had more evidence than what you present.

    Rejecting claims isn’t always about having a closed mind. I think I consider more claims than you do. Even if all if them are a tiny bit likely, that doesn’t lead me to believe in any one claim specifically.

    I like science fiction because it shows how weird and unintuitive things can get without even invoking non material. Your pet idea may seem likely because it explains something to you, but there are a billion other ideas that could also explain what you experience. Some never even imagined. I do think, though personally, you could go a long way toward explaining the feelings you get by learning about psychology and other sciences.

    Also, I don’t think people say “we will never know” as much as “we may never know”. This obviously does not stop people from trying. And scientific progress is being made everyday.

  250. Narf says

    Frankly I think he was cherry picking Miller to express that sentiment.

    Wait.

    Wait. Hold on.

    Whoah.

    Hang on, let me see if what I think you’re telling me is correct.

    You’re saying that a creationist …

    … just dishonestly quote-mined an evolutionary biologist.

    No

    Way.

  251. Narf says

    That’s actually not unusual. Catholicism does not go around policing the way followers believe, insisting that everyone believe the same way.

    Yeah, I was raised Catholic, myself. One of the differentiators I remember specifically engaging with the priests about is Dungeons & Dragons, which I played a lot from about 9 or 10 through my teens. Some of the priests specifically told me that they don’t see anything wrong with it, as long as I remember it’s just fantasy. Others could have written a Chick Tract about it.

    I had a lot more face-time with the priests than average, since I was an altar boy. I did some polling on a few topics that were of interest to me.

    And I should have more explicitly linked my comment about arguing for deism to William Lane Craig or someone like that. That’s what I was going for.

    Christian apologists do that sort of thing a lot. They argue for the most deistic god imaginable. Then, they slide seamlessly to the Christian god, without acknowledging what they just did, and they act as if they’ve totally provided evidence for Jesus’s resurrection.

  252. Narf says

    @adamah #220
    I know this is pointless, but I have to ask.
    Do you really not see how making a global declaration about depression and OCD, then shifting down to a specific subset which represents a tiny percentage of the cases of depression … which is specifically defined by having the additional symptom that you declared to be a characteristic of all depression and OCD …
    Do you really not see how dishonest you are, making a massive shift in scope, then refusing to acknowledge it and calling me stupid for being wrong? It would be one thing if you said something to the effect of, “Oh, I was thinking of this specific kind of depression,” which by the way, I don’t have.

    And then you have the gall to pretend that it’s some sort of tough love, and you hope I’ll learn something? As if I would want to learn to be dishonest and assholish in my argumentation?

    What’s wrong with you, that you think this is acceptable behavior? I’m seriously curious, in a horrified sort of way. I realize that there’s probably no hope of finding out an answer from talking to you, though.

  253. Narf says

    @#267 & #268
    Cool. This will make a bit of a mess of previously existing conversations, but once we integrate with the new format, it should be good.

    And I assume this sort of thing is set at the blog level, not the post level, right? So, you were unable to just change it for future post comment sections and leave previous ones as is? That seems how it would be set up.

  254. Narf says

    Hey, Russel, when does it roll over to a separate page? 400 or 500? I thought I saw, on one of the other FTB blogs that it does that, if you don’t have threading. Or is that just a specific setting that that blogger uses?

  255. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Russell Glasser (the tweet at #270):

    I don’t understand threading with the new layout, it isn’t even indenting.

    Disabling CSS styles in my browser (eg, View Menu-Page Style) revealed the indented bullet list that was there all along. Each comment was an li tag with an Nth-level style, which must’ve been clearing the left margin.
     
     
    @Russell Glasser #269:

    Your prayers have been answered… comment threading is no more.

    *Falls on knees*
    NOOOOOoooooooo!!!!!11!
     
    I was praying for threading to get fixed.
     
    I closed my eyes and talked into my hands an’ everything…
    Well, I thought about doing it. That totally counts too.
     
     
    *sniff* If FtB ever fixes threading, will it be reinstated someday?
    Are past conversations permanently scrambled regardless?
    (as in: was metadata about thread levels lost in the change)

  256. Narf says

    @274 – Sky Captain

    I closed my eyes and talked into my hands an’ everything…
    Well, I thought about doing it. That totally counts too.

    Hey, if thought crime is a thing … ie. hating your brother convicts you of murder; lusting after a woman convicts you of adultery …

    Why don’t meaning to pray and meaning to get around to being saved count, too?

  257. subzerobob says

    @Frank G. Turner #250
    thank you. that is exactly what I needed to hear. except the bottom part about the correlation of theism/atheism and the country’s happy status. Martin and I went over this here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2012/04/30/neil-degrasse-tyson-posts-a-surprisingly-disappointing-video/#comment-58653
    you really have to have some numbers before you start pulling things like that out of the hat. and I am the one who is being thought about how empiricism works…

  258. subzerobob says

    question: how would you feel if one day (and however unlikely that might seem to you now) god is proven to exist – how would you feel reflecting back on yourself telling a theist that he/she is just making shit up? especially since holding onto this belief was the only reason why god was proven to exist, and this belief was used as the fueling vehicle of motivation to arrive at the proof?

  259. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @subzerobob #277:

    how would you feel if one day [...] god is proven to exist

    Something that had no discernible impact on observed reality before that day?
     
    Marginal curiosity, I guess. Like hearing about the discovery of a gnat species in a remote forest. Anything else would depend on what this “god” thing turned out to be (you haven’t given us a useful description) – what it was capable of doing, how we expected it to interact with observed reality… and what it had not done previously.
     
    If by “proven” you mean by some unspecified means, somebody determines an undefined thing – that doesn’t interact with the parts of reality we can observe – must exist somewhere… You’re asking us to pretend you’re right… to save you the trouble of actually demonstrating you are right… so we’d maybe hypothetically feel bad about having told you how pathetic it is that you have asked us to pretend you were already right.
     

    how would you feel reflecting back on yourself telling a theist that he/she is just making shit up?

    Define “making shit up” for us, to demonstrate that you understand what that idiom means.

  260. Narf says

    @277 – Bobby

    question: how would you feel if one day (and however unlikely that might seem to you now) god is proven to exist – how would you feel reflecting back on yourself telling a theist that he/she is just making shit up? especially since holding onto this belief was the only reason why god was proven to exist, and this belief was used as the fueling vehicle of motivation to arrive at the proof?

    I would feel just fine about it, because at the time, there was no good reason to believe that that god exists.

    Here’s one of the big things you don’t get about rationality and why you claim rationality of thought, when you have nothing of the sort.
    If you reject a claim because there isn’t enough evidence for it, and after further collection of evidence, you find out that the claim is actually true, your rejection of the claim was rational, before you had the evidence.
    If you decide that you like some fantasy story, despite insufficient evidence and even a pile of evidence to the contrary, and we later find out that the claim was correct in some way, because of evidence turned up in some new field of study that explains everything, you were not retroactively justified in holding that belief without a good reason to do so. That isn’t how it works.

    After the existence of this deity has been established, I still have a bunch of questions for her. I’d love to know how she justifies her behavior, allowing people to write all of these false holy books, causing so much chaos and destruction within the human race. Establishing the existence of this deity of yours is only the first hurdle.

    Your second sentence is complete bullshit. If something is actually real and manifests in reality, a thorough study of reality will turn up traces of it eventually, with or without a group of people making up stories about it without justification. Given the variety of religious nuts who are busy believing contradictory mythology with poor justification, the chance of one of them being at least partially correct is not a sufficient reason to accept one of their sets of beliefs, since you would have an insignificant chance of picking the correct set, even if there is a correct set.
    That’s not rational.

  261. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @subzerobob

    question: how would you feel if one day (and however unlikely that might seem to you now) god is proven to exist – how would you feel reflecting back on yourself telling a theist that he/she is just making shit up?

    I would take comfort knowing that I was still in the right. There wasn’t enough evidence. Then, in that future I would take comfort knowing that I would still be in the right – when sufficient evidence becomes available then I would accept it as true, and that would be the right position to hold.

    especially since holding onto this belief was the only reason why god was proven to exist, and this belief was used as the fueling vehicle of motivation to arrive at the proof?

    You got lucky. That strategy is still a bad strategy to pursue for any future topic.

    You see – even if you are right, the only time that you’ll be justified is when it’s actually demonstrated with evidence.

  262. Esquilax says

    @subzerobob comment. 277:

    question: how would you feel if one day (and however unlikely that might seem to you now) god is proven to exist – how would you feel reflecting back on yourself telling a theist that he/she is just making shit up?

    I would accept that god exists, and you would still be making shit up right now. Here’s the thing: if a god is ever proven to exist, it won’tbe due to someone’s feelings. Surprisingly, the thing that would prove the existence of a god would be evidence. Despite all you’ve said in this thread, the thing that will be convincing to rational people, and the thing you use as your excuse to believe, will not be the same thing. You seem to at least partially know this, since you tacitly accept by asking this question that your belief in god is not currently proven, and hence not currently justified.

    Put it this way: if I, right now, decide that there’s an invisible rhinoceros standing behind every human being on the planet, that’d be me making shit up, right? And if next week we develop the technology to detect invisible rhinos and we find out that I’m right, does that suddenly mean that I wasn’t making shit up now, and that I was basing my belief on evidence that I literally did not have at the moment I claimed the thing? No, of course not: I got lucky that the shit I made up turned out to be true. The eventuation of evidence in the future, the thing that makes any belief rationally justified, does not echo back through time so that I had it before it was discovered. I’d still be making shit up right now, just as you’re making shit up right now before your hypothetical proof exists.

    especially since holding onto this belief was the only reason why god was proven to exist, and this belief was used as the fueling vehicle of motivation to arrive at the proof?

    Then you would have held your belief for bad reasons, and then in time discovered a good reason to believe in that thing. Doesn’t mean you had good reasons beforehand, suddenly. It just means that, for some baffling reason, you’re unable to entertain the possibility of a belief, or to consider hypotheticals at all, and exist in some strange mindset where you either absolutely believe something to be true, or believe it can’t be true. That makes you a very strange person; I saw you brought up Higgs and his boson before, like you did in one of your calls earlier in the year (I have a good memory), but the thing you miss is that the people researching the potential Higgs Boson didn’t accept that it existed until they found evidence of it. If they did, why bother looking at all?

  263. Narf says

    @281 – Esquilax

    but the thing you miss is that the people researching the potential Higgs Boson didn’t accept that it existed until they found evidence of it. If they did, why bother looking at all?

    And that was with a very good mathematical model that gave them a good reason to believe it existed.

  264. Frank G. Turner says

    @subzerobob #276
    except the bottom part about the correlation of theism/atheism and the country’s happy status. …
    .
    Good that you are looking into the numbers (although I think that you do so with a LOT of confirmation bias), but you missed the point. Let me see if I can give you an example.
    .
    In the USA there have been psychological studies on obesity and Television watching. You can’t do real controlled experiments where you limits all the variables (feed everyone the same food, make sure everyone comes form the same background, etc) as it would be unethical. As such, polls are done of individuals (there are SOME laboratory studies but limitation of variables is difficult).
    .
    You may have read that there are studies that correlate, CORRELATE, not causally determine, that obesity is associated/correlated with watching a lot of television-computer usage. There was one particular study in which professional athletes were one of the major groups pulled aside and it was determined that a number of them watched a LOT of television. This was odd as NONE of that group was obese despite correlations in larger groups. (Many of the athletes discussed watching their own and other individuals in the league’s games in order to improve their own abilities and see what needed to be done, which makes sense).
    .
    Obviously television watching does not directly cause obesity, suggesting so would be silly. The correlation is because television watching is generally associated with inactivity and excessive food consumption. Those are more determinate in the development of obesity (genetics plays a factor too). The idea is that the real likely causal factors behind obesity, inactivity and excessive food consumption, are likely associated with excessive television watching.
    .
    The idea is that high religiosity is CORRELATED with lower happiness factors. A country can have low religiosity and still have low happiness factors. The high religiosity is also associated with oppressive governments. Governments don’t need religion to be oppressive.
    .
    One of the major reasons why the atheist movement may have begun in the USA is due to religious groups in the USA, particularly Xtian extremists, being oppressive and trying to use their influence in government despite lack of evidence. You may have noticed listening to some of the apologetics groups (obviously not Ken Miller or Francis Collins), that many work very hard to prevent the teaching of evolution and climate change in schools and try to promote the idea of teaching creationism like it was a science (the whole Intelligent Design group), among other things without solid evidence behind what they are doing. That is propaganda and, OPPRESSION. If they wanted to teach creationism in comparative religion courses and did not object to teaching of evolution, that would not be so much of a problem. THAT would be keeping the scientific claims scientific and personal claims personal, but they don’t.
    .
    I don’t suppose that you have noticed this when listening to some apologist groups in the USA have you? (Some don’t have a problem with evolution or climate change etc, but MANY do).

  265. Russell Glasser says

    Narf @273: It’s a feature which is currently off, and the number of posts per page is customizable. You want me to turn it on? If so, how many posts?

  266. Frank G. Turner says

    @subzerobob #276
    thank you. that is exactly what I needed to hear.
    .
    Which part? I would assume that you meant the part about how if you need to believe in God then go ahead if it helps you even though it hurts others and that doing so is based on faith because if you had evidence then you would not need faith.
    .
    Keep this is mind though, a LOT of people’s belief in God without evidence does NOT lead to positive behavior. Just as many a scientist’s belief in God has been inspirational to them gaining a greater understanding of the universe, MANY a murderer and rapist (among others) beliefs in God has ALSO lead them to engage in their behaviors. Many people claim that Hitler was an atheist (mostly creationists and dogmatic believers), yet he invokes God MANY times in Mein Kampf.
    .
    Your belief in God led you to cherry pick some of what you were reading in Ken MIller’s works. Instead of focusing your attention on learning the technicalities of how evolution works and can operate without a director, you picked out the one quote that suggests that a sentient being is involved in the ongoing process. Perhaps one was involved in the beginning (the deist approach), but you should have been more focused on understanding HOW it actually works. It sounds like you are so determined to demonstrate that there is and must be a God behind evolution that you are ignoring getting a basic understanding of how evolution actually works and what evidence has demonstrated that it does work. THAT is confirmation bias, THAT is leading the evidence, THAT is being so focused on demonstrating that the conclusion that you have drawn is correct that you ignore any information that might demonstrated that the conclusion is incorrect.
    .
    THAT is where you belief in God without evidence is actually hurting you. It is preventing you from gaining an understanding of evolution and empiricism. Ken Miller was able to compartmentalize his belief in God in order to gain an understanding of evolution without that belief preventing him from learning. Not everyone can do that.
    .
    Based on what you have said here I think that your major problem is that you don’t know how to speculate. Somewhere in human development we learned to imagine things that we knew were not true and consider the possibility that they MIGHT be true. That is a good thing. It allows us to make guesses, which is basically what a hypothesis is, a guess. (Be careful of the word “theory” as the way it is used in science is NOT the way a common individual uses that word, the way a common individual uses the word “theory” is essentially the equivalent of a hypothesis).
    .
    THAT is what the atheist program is doing here. They are making a guess that there is no God because we lack empirical evidence. You can GUESS that there is a God DESPITE the lack of empirical evidence. BOTH are guesses, both are speculation.
    .
    Now try to, please try, up front, before you respond to any more of this, that you do not have empirical evidence for a God. You don’t have to say that you don’t believe. Your feelings are your own but they prove nothing empirically speaking. Just acknowledge that you lack empirical evidence. Your reasons for believing can be as psychologically driven as you want as long as it does not lead to you do negative things, but acknowledging that you are doing so on faith is important.

  267. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Narf # 267

    Wait.
    Wait. Hold on.
    Whoah.
    Hang on, let me see if what I think you’re telling me is correct.
    You’re saying that a creationist …
    … just dishonestly quote-mined an evolutionary biologist.
    No
    Way.

    .
    I would not say that he is a creationist, but his confirmation bias has certainly not led him to an understanding of evolution and it does seem to be preventing him from gaining an understanding of evolution. I think the difference is that on some level many a creationist knows that they have no hard evidence to back up what they are saying and they purposefully cherry pick, a more intentional form of dishonesty, a direct lie.
    .
    In this case I think his lack of understanding of science and desire to believe in a God is resulting in a misunderstanding. Not so much an intentional lie as not comprehending how his bias is an obstacle to learning. The result is the same though, just the path to how one gets there different.

  268. Narf says

    @284 – Russell Glasser

    Narf @273: It’s a feature which is currently off, and the number of posts per page is customizable. You want me to turn it on? If so, how many posts?

    Uhhhhhhhh, damned if I know. I was just being curious about things in general. I’m a network engineer; my girlfriend is the web developer. :D

    Honestly, I’m fine with just one page per post, if that’s the way it’s set. Then, we can more easily scroll up and down the page, tracking between comments that are in response to each other. I usually work in 1920 x 1080, and I often have my second monitor rotated 90°, for long web-pages.

  269. Narf says

    @287 – unfogged

    I would not say that he is a creationist …

    Well, he’s an old-earth creationist of sorts, so I’m still counting it. It isn’t the same sort of shenanigans that we usually see, but he’s still probably abusing the intentions of the biologist in question.

    Except maybe he isn’t. From the reviews I read of Miller’s book, it sounds like he might have gone a little off the rails in the second part of the book, when he stops talking about straightforward evolutionary theory and starts trying to wedge his deistic, Catholic beliefs into the cracks.

  270. Frank G. Turner says

    @subzerobob #277
    especially since holding onto this belief was the only reason why god was proven to exist, and this belief was used as the fueling vehicle of motivation to arrive at the proof?
    .
    What if the scientist who proved the existence of God through empirical means was an atheist? Would you say that his LACK of belief was the fueling motivation to arrive at proof?
    .
    Speculation, GUESSING that something is so without having proof NOR claiming a belief is a LOT of what drives scientific study. Do you think that Charles Darwin said to himself, “I am determined to prove that many was NOT created by God at all” when he started developing evolutionary theory and that this was the motivating force behind “On the Origin of Species”?
    .
    What motivated Darwin was curiosity. He probably had read the story of creation as indicated in the Bible and it did not make sense to him. It sounded ridiculous (it did to me when I first heard it as a child). He wanted to know more so he studied anatomy and physiology (he had actually started with a desire to be a Medical Doctor, note how evolution overlaps into medical science a great deal). He studied the works of previous paleontologists and archaeologists (previous ideas that were similar to evolution had come before him, even by Xtian scientists). Eventually after looking at things over time the idea of how things worked came to him, and he had proof of many of his ideas, hard physical evidence. THAT is when he formed his conclusion, AFTER he had physical evidence to back up his ideas. And he came up with his ideas BASED upon physical evidence. He did not START by trying to demonstrate the evolution was correct. He STARTED by looking at physical evidence and determining what it could tell him, then he added up OTHER physical evidence that was related. EVENTUALLY the idea of evolution came to him after piecing together all of the physical evidence that he had examined. He did NOT START by believing that evolution was true and trying to find evidence to support it. He probably had not even developed the idea of evolution until AFTER looking at lots of different sets of physical evidence. Which makes sense given that (if you really read about evolution) evolutionary principle is based upon about 5 or 6 OTHER types of principles.
    .
    THAT is where you seem to be having a problem, you are STARTING with the conclusion that there is a God and trying to lead the evidence towards that conclusion. THAT is NOT SCIENCE. YOU START with “I don’t know” (that is why you hear that so often among atheists) and when evidence presents itself, then you speculate (make a guess) and then look for evidence. You DO NOT ignore evidence that might demonstrate that your conclusion is false. You consider ALL evidence whether it demonstrates that your conclusion is true or false. To IGNORE information that demonstrates that your conclusion is false is INTELLECTUALLY DISHONEST. You might have noticed that a LOT of apologist groups do this. If Darwin had done this medical science would likely not have advanced to where it has today (actually someone else may have come up with evolution but it would not sound the same).
    .
    And YOU bob, yes you, are doing this too. you are being intellectually dishonest with yourself. I don’t think that you are doing this intentionally (like they are), but you are ignoring information that demonstrates that you are wrong and focusing your attention on information that demonstrates that you are right about your belief in God. I think that you are doing this because you WANT to believe in a God. That belief is very comfortable for you and it may even balance you emotionally, but it does not make it true. (You can be balanced emotionally without this). If you go to places like the website for answersingenesis for example, they state outright that any evidence which contradicts scripture must be considered false. They are specifically ignoring evidence which demonstrates that they are false. That is NOT SCIENCE.

  271. Frank G. Turner says

    @unfogged #287 and Narf #289
    Did you happen to hear a loud ‘whooshing’ sound overhead?
    ROFL, no no I get what he was trying to say I was just getting technical. I am one of those “the journey is just as important as the destination” types so I will point out differences even when they seem trivial. When Narf said in #289:
    .
    Well, he’s an old-earth creationist of sorts, so I’m still counting it. It isn’t the same sort of shenanigans that we usually see, but he’s still probably abusing the intentions of the biologist in question
    .
    I had considered that as well. I think bob believes in evolution to some degree but does not really understand it nor comprehend how a God is not necessarily needed to drive it. What I really think is going on here as I state in other posts is that bob does not know how to speculate, how to pretend that something is true and then look for evidence and listen to all of it whether it supports the speculation or not. He seems to think that the only way to motivate oneself to look for evidence is to declare belief in a concept and then look for evidence to confirm it, the basically confirmation bias..
    .
    I have met others that don’t know the difference between speculation of a belief and declaration of a belief.

  272. Monocle Smile says

    @subzerobob 277

    question: how would you feel if one day (and however unlikely that might seem to you now) god is proven to exist – how would you feel reflecting back on yourself telling a theist that he/she is just making shit up?

    I’d feel pretty great, because you don’t get to pretend that sheer luck is indicative of skill or knowledge. If I happen to predict the card sitting atop a deck, I don’t get to act like a jackass about it. I got incredibly lucky. I wasn’t justified in my belief about the card, and it doesn’t matter that I happened to be right.

    Furthermore, you are very, very confused on this fabricated concept of “belief driving discovery” You brought up the Higgs Boson in your last call. You need to understand that there was a decent amount of evidence for the existence of said boson years before the Hadron collider experiments. Furthermore, the physicists didn’t really care whether or not their model was confirmed…those experiments would at least reveal something.

    This relates to the necessity for a plausible mechanism. The Higgs boson had a plausible mechanism by which to exist. Scientific hypotheses must have a plausible mechanism or they’re just wild-ass guesses. Magic is not a plausible mechanism. There’s evidently no plausible mechanism by which anything like “god” could exist, or even this “animating force” you claim life has. You need to stop making shit up and learn a few things.

  273. says

    @277 Bob

    question: how would you feel if one day (and however unlikely that might seem to you now) god is proven to exist – how would you feel reflecting back on yourself telling a theist that he/she is just making shit up? especially since holding onto this belief was the only reason why god was proven to exist, and this belief was used as the fueling vehicle of motivation to arrive at the proof?

    Have you ever listened to anything Matt D (and possibly other hosts?) have said about this? Probably not.

    If god could only be proven to exist if sufficient people are credulous enough to believe for bad reasons, then that god is an irrational, immoral “being”. That god only cares about how much it can get it’s human creation to believe in crap that would get us killed if we applied it to other areas of life (not to mention the number of people who have died due to conflicts in god beliefs). Since there aren’t any good reasons to believe in god and no good source of information about god, humanity has this endless potpourri of ideas about god, with what little consistency there enforced via authoritative dogma (another horrible reason to believe something). Given this, I don’t see how this god, that uses belief as the only reason to prove it’s existence, could possibly ever be proven if the people who believe can’t even agree on what exactly to believe in!

  274. Narf says

    @292 – Frank G. Turner

    ROFL, no no I get what he was trying to say I was just getting technical. I am one of those “the journey is just as important as the destination” types so I will point out differences even when they seem trivial.

    And accusing someone arguing against me of being pointlessly pedantic is going to burn me more than the intended target. :D

    I wonder if we can get Bobby to understand why this last question of his is so stupid.

    Well, bobby, aren’t you going to feel silly when we demonstrate that the universe began when you were born, and all of history before that is a delusion that was programmed into the minds of the golems who were created in that instant, along with the universe? Who cares about how we’ll feel in scenarios that we have no reason to believe will ever become a reality?

    This strikes me as a weak, even more emotionally-loaded version of Pascal’s Wager. Hell, it doesn’t even have as much of a logical foundation as Pascal’s Wager does, which is saying something. I guess that shouldn’t exactly surprise me, though, given the source.

  275. adamah says

    Hi Narf,

    I wrote a response which addresses your questions from last night, but won’t spend time reformatting it.

    Although I don’t mention it below, the ‘tough love’ bit was my mocking your likely justification for mocking Bobby, the typical excuses used by bullies to justify the insult and harm they inflict on others.

    (Note: the following contains the use of the ‘argumentum ad hominem’ approach. As I explained in post 205, it’s the strategy of temporarily adopting the other person’s position which you don’t agree with, to demonstrate the undesirable consequences of adopting their position.

    In this case, despite the lack of any supportive evidence to justify the claim, Narf insists ‘appealing to ridicule’ is valid (and he hasn’t even bothered to explain WHEN he thinks it’s appropriate, just that it IS, m’kay?). I disagree, asserting it’s never OK to resort to ridiculing someone (per the rules of logical fallacies), and all the moreso if it’s on something that is irrelevant to the topic (a personal characteristic, such as a speech impediment, a mental condition that’s successfully managed via meds, etc). While it MAY be a relevant factor to the discussion, it’s NEVER proper to mock.

    However, I’m temporarily adopting Nard’s position to demonstrate how ridicule feels when one is on the receiving end. Since Narf has voluntarily disclosed being mentally-ill (bipolar disorder (BPD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder, (OCD)), I’m appealing to mockery of his mental-illness. I’m also insulting him with ad homs, since they also feel those are OK.

    That’s his wish, after all, asserting that it’s OK to mock someone to discredit their position, or to ‘poison their well’.

    WARNING! No one under 18 admitted without a parent or guardian; viewer discretion is advised.)

    @@@@@

    So continuing with the “giving Narf a taste of his own medicine” (AKA ‘argument ad hom’).

    Let’s back up to this lame-brained comment which only a stark-raving mad lunatic could hallucinate. Here’s Nard’s whacky justification for why he’s ridiculing Bobby:

    We’re responding to Bobby’s persecution complex, not his arguments, now.

    Nard, could you be such a dim-wit as to NOT understand that labeling Bobby with a “persecution complex” (which is a product of YOUR delusions, BTW) is NOT challenging his argument, but attaching a derogatory psychological term on him to ridicule?

    Circular logic, much?

    At least you voluntarily DISCLOSED your mental illness; for Bobby, you simply made some shit up for a diagnosis you’re not qualified to make, but simply glued it to him without his consent to tear him down for it.

    That’s even LOWER than what I’m doing now, making fun of you for something you’ve voluntarily disclosed….

    You really can’t see how slimy it is to label him with a pejorative, only then to use it as your excuse to mock him? Dude, if that’s not proof-positive of a sick mind at work, I don’t know what is….

    The only principle of logic you seemingly have mastered is how to create strawmen so you can topple them over, in endless repetitive fashion (no doubt reflective of your OCD).

    Your comment above is a clear-cut ‘mea culpa’ to sane individuals, your admission of only tearing down a straw-man of your paranoid imagination, and NOT challenging his points or argument.

    Are you so lacking in self-awareness as to be unable to recognize when you do it?

    I fear your brain is so scrambled, you couldn’t even reason your way out of a wet paper bag: your thinking is as sloppy as hell. You need ECT, something, as you may be one step away from a straight jacket and a rubber room.

    Worse though, you’re a school-yard bully, the kind of weasly-faced coward who finds power only when anonymously hiding within a mob to throw rocks; but then you run for the safety of Mommy’s skirt, after someone throws a rock back.

    Narf, hopefully you haven’t skipped your daily dose of your anti-psychotic meds; if so, go take a handful of them now, as you’ll need as much of a ‘lucid interval’ as your drug cocktail can muster, to be able to grasp this next part.

    When I said this (in 195):

    BPD and depression are considered as thought disorders, characterized by irrational delusions.

    I wasn’t speaking globally, as if speaking for ALL cases Worldwide of BPD and depression. That’s on you, Jack, as anyone who knows even the basics of mental disorders understands that pts diagnosed with either BPD or depression do NOT necessarily experience the symptom of delusions.

    So no shit, dip-stik: not ALL forms of depression cause delusions, just like all forms of BPD don’t manifest delusions as their symptom of psychosis.

    Psychotic symptoms are much-more common in schizophrenia, and lesser so in BPD, and it’s relatively rare for depression to be the cause of delusions. But when psychoses manifest as a symptom of depression, mental health professionals subcategorize it as ‘MAJOR (or psychotic) depression’.

    However, the fact remains that the THREE MAIN PSYCH DIAGNOSES that account for the lion’s share of psychoses (where delusional thoughts are one possible manifestation) are S/BP/D.

    As usual though, you tried to pull a fast one by removing the sentence just before, this taking my words out of their original context.

    Here it is, with the sentence added back in (from post 195):

    Adam said-

    And does it surprise anyone that the two posters who’ve admitting to actually suffering from mental-illnesses (in this very thread, no less) cannot begin to grasp why it’s a fallacy to ‘appeal to ridicule’? BPD and depression are considered as thought disorders, characterized by irrational delusions.

    I was specifically referring to YOU and YOUR type of BPD, and to MS and HER type of depression, implying BOTH of your respective diagnoses would be ONE likely explanation for why you two headcases persist in the delusional belief that ‘appeals to mockery’ are acceptable.

    You have BPD (obviously a type that causes delusional thought patterns)

    MS: depression (presumably MAJOR depression, a type known to cause delusional thought patterns)

    Both: suffering from some form that accounts for your respective delusional beliefs.

    I was LONG PAST the global traits of BP and depression at that point, implying your respective diagnoses were tied to your inability to grasp this concept.

    (And sure, feel free to be a pedant who insists that I should’ve added “some types” to be crystal-clear, if you want to quibble over it, i.e.

    BPD and depression are considered as thought disorders, some types characterized by irrational delusions.

    I’m not writing an article for a journal, but a frikkin’ post on some Internet forum to help two diagnosed nut-jobs recognize their confirmed nut-jobbery status.)

    (Also, you may have missed that I used an ‘appeal to motives’ fallacy, but I figured as long as ‘appeals to ridicule’ and ‘ad homs’ were A-OK with you, then what harm is a teensy-weensie ‘appeal to motives’ going to be, thrown into the mix? Being only innuendo, it’s mere child’s play, and a more-sophisticated form than either mockery or name-calling.)

    Nard, is carrying the subject (i.e. you and MS) of one sentence over to the next simply too much for your disease-addled brain to handle?

    Is that ‘whooshing sound’ a concept flying over your head?

    You don’t even have the intellectual honesty to back pedal

    Uh, look in the mirror, since it’s not me who needs to back-pedal: you do (and since you’re BP, you’ve presumably have much experience with ‘cycling’, right (fast or slow form)? I’d think pedaling forwards or backwards shouldn’t be a problem for you).

    So it’ll be amusing to see how you squirm your way out of THIS bit of nonsense you posted (in 207)?

    Depressive people are the one class of people who evaluate themselves realistically. They lack the positive delusions through which most people perceives themselves.

    ‘Depressive (sic) people’ do NOT “evaluate themselves realistically”, you jackass: that’s precisely WHY they’re at significantly greater risk for committing suicide, shit for brains!

    Robin Williams committed suicide in the depths of his depression, not being able to perceive all the good things he had (talent, wealth, love, respect, etc) which few people could dream of having. Even if pointed out to him, it’s the WRONG approach to take, since it only increases their feelings of guilt.

    Many depressed individuals can and do experience the ‘negative delusions’ which precludes them from “evaluating themselves realistically”.

    Oh, PS it’s ‘depressed people’, not ‘depressive people”. And it’s ‘perceive themselves’, NOT ‘perceives (sic) themselves’.

    You’re obviously a semi-coherent numbskull who’s ignorance is worthy of mockery and lampooning!

    Wait: here’s the icing on Narf’s birfday cake!

    But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you know fuck-all about yet another of the subjects of which you speak so authoritatively. Where the fuck did you hear depression and delusion associated? Because it wasn’t from anyone who knows anything about psychology.

    Narf, way to grab the wrong end of the plunger (yet again), since delusions ARE in fact associated with depression (psychotic depression is a ‘thing’, a sub-type of depression).

    Anyone who knows anything about basic human psychology knows THAT.

    Anyone who delusionally THINKS they know all about these topics would be well-advised to do some fact-checking BEFORE calling others out, or as you’ve provided an example of, it only backfires on them.

    So, are you now going to deny YOU were speaking globally above, but YOU in fact are flat-out DEMONSTRABLY wrong?

    Way to shoot yourself in the foot, Narf, and then throwing up flak by falsely accusing me of being intellectually dishonest.

    Take off the diapers, pull up your big-boy pants: if it helps, sing to yourself, “I’m a big kid now.”

    I don’t expect you to be able to acknowledge your error
    (much less apologize for it), since….. well, you know: you DO have BPD, and are prone to delusional thinking.

    As you yourself put it recently:

    The power of skepticism is that you reserve judgement, consistently, and you only accept a claim once it has been demonstrated by sufficient, empirical evidence.

    Does those words actually mean anything to you, or are you simply parroting words you hear others say, in true OCD fashion?

    You seem to think you can dismiss any ideas you want to dismiss at any time by using mockery, and it’s somehow not fallacious. Circular logic much (but thats a silly question to ask anyone who’s been diagnosed with OCD, a thought disorder characterized by getting locked into circular reasoning).

    Why not avail yourself of the “power of skepticism” and ‘walk the talk’?

    Start with YOU waking from your stupor to accept the burden of proof, presenting evidence that the ‘appeal to ridicule’ fallacy has been redacted? (And no, you can’t point to the rules of Mortal Kombat, since a video game for zit-faced pizza-eating, Jolt-Cola-guzzling teens doesn’t carry much persuasive power.)

    So until you prove it’s been redacted, I reject your claim, since your failure to present “sufficient, compelling evidence” thus far suggests you want to ‘cherry-pick’ your beliefs, demanding proof for issues that you feeeellll like questioning. As you correctly told Bobby, that’s an “inconsistent application”, and is likely to lead to faulty conclusions.

    But until you admit that ‘appeals to ridicule’ are out-of-bounds, then as the Burger King slogan goes, “have it your way”.

    Until you cry “Uncle!”, I reserve the right to MOCK THE HELL out of your “fucked up brain” (your words, not mine). You’re certifiably mentally-ill, and hence anything you say should immediately have a cloud of suspicion attached to it, where everything you say warrants a ‘yellow flag’, requiring extreme scrutiny AND ridicule.

    I’ll just continue to use the ‘argument ad hominem’ approach as my completely-rational justification to mock you, until you get the point that ‘appeals to ridicule’ are verboten, and literally for a self-evident reason.

    @@@@

    Stepping out of ‘argument ad hominem’ mode, the mentally-ill are discriminated against on the institutional level, but that’s not without just cause; in some cases, it truly IS a matter of public safety and welfare, e.g. clinically-depressed commercial airline pilots are the LAST people we’d want at the helm, making a decision to nose-dive an airliner into the Indian Ocean to commit suicide, and taking their passengers along for the ride (one possibility in the Malaysian Air incident). It’s why pilots are grounded until they’re deemed as effectively managed.

    We also don’t want soldiers who experience hallucinations carrying weapons, possibly killing unarmed combatants (children, their fellow soldiers, etc) who they think are the enemy (or demunz).

    There’s LOTS of valid and rational reasons to discriminate, based on actual science and clinical data. It’s inconsistent to argue that religion causes delusions and hence should be purged from having any influence, but then argue that those actually diagnosed with conditions that are known to cause delusions should have influence.

    That’s yet ANOTHER reason to tread lightly before using terminology from the mental-health field as pejoratives: it’s exposing the atheist community at large to rightful charges of hypocrisy/inconsistency. We can’t have our cake and eat it, too.

    Outside of certain high-risk examples, there’s a widespread social stigma in general society attached to mental illness that ISN’T justified, and NO ONE gets to perpetuate it, not even even those who suffer from mental illness (and the irony that I’d have to resort to such drastic measures is sad; I fired a few warning shots across the bow first, but Nard didn’t take the subtle hint, and persisted).

    So when Narf says above in a post that he’s OK with ridicule of his condition, “just as long as it’s in good taste”, sorry, Narf, but nope: not only is ‘good taste’ impossibly-subjective, you also don’t have the right to speak globally for others who suffer from mental-illness. It’s not your call to make. It’s a bigger issue than just you or I.

    This is a GREAT example of how the rules of rationalism and logical fallacies actually implement an element of morality and ethics, reflecting the concept of respecting the basic human rights of others (ie to be free from ridicule of one’s personal attributes).

    Now if only we could convince other atheists to grasp that concept, since it’s proving the claim of theists that we discard all rules, and do only what each of us deems right in our own eyes.

    Nard, have you heard of the term from feminism, “sister punisher”?

    I suspect both of you (and even Frank) are doing something analogous to ‘sister punishing’ (except for mental illness), attacking those who present with similar symptomatology to yours, as if to attack those with similar conditions you suffer from, since similarity breeds contempt.

    There’s no rational excuse for ‘ambient abuse’ and ‘gas-lighting’, whether it’s done by religions or by atheists.

  276. Narf says

    Adam, adding the sentence before doesn’t do a single thing to improve your gross context shifting and dishonesty. That’s really what passes for honesty, in your mind? Really?
    You do that sort of thing nonstop, in pretty much every argument you make. You are such a worthless piece of crap.

    I’m not even reading the rest of your screed, except for the bit that directly addressed my last response to you. Fortunately, I picked that out in about a 3 second scan down the e-mail, keeping an eye out for HTML tags. If you think I’m going to take any kind of instruction from you, you’re freaking insane. I don’t emulate douche bags.

    Have fun alienating the other regulars. I think you have maybe one or two left.

  277. Narf says

    By the way, anyone who’s curious what I was talking about, before Adam turned it into a complete shit-storm:

    I tracked down one of the books I was thinking of, in respect to how depression affects self-evaluation: Handbook of Motivation and Cognition: Foundations of Social Behavior. I don’t know that that was the specific book I was thinking of, but it has a similar section. I lucked out and found the appropriate section in a preview on Google Books.

    You can read it at: http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=5ZUYVTqkReoC&oi=fnd&pg=PA435&dq=how+depression+affects+self-evaluation&ots=jdzCuFPOXK&sig=cJqKAJoeZ8AYe54KO-Rqm_ikqtg#v=onepage&q&f=false

    The specific section is the top half of page 437, although starting at the beginning of chapter 15 wouldn’t hurt.

  278. Narf says

    Let me know if you guys have any issues with that link. I’m not sure if it’s keyed to my search and will work for only me or what. I’ve seen some search-result links that will regenerate the result for others, and some … not so much.

  279. Robert, not Bob says

    Frank Turner says “Do you think that Charles Darwin said to himself, “I am determined to prove that many was NOT created by God at all” when he started developing evolutionary theory and that this was the motivating force behind “On the Origin of Species”?”

    Yes, creationists think exactly that. Well, lots of them anyway. It’s not just your garden-variety conspiracy either. I think many of them just can’t imagine people who aren’t obsessed with god.

  280. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Adam
    tl;dr

    @Russell
    The new “no threading” format works better for me. Thanks. I hope it works better for everyone else. I intended it only as a suggestion. ~tries to be humble and thankful~

  281. adamah says

    Narf, did you not figure it out on your own?

    Let’s break it down then, starting with your request from last night:

    I know this is pointless, but I have to ask.

    Note that YOU ASKED ME for a response; I accommodated, but since it didn’t fit into your preconceived narrative, you simply spit it out, unchewed.

    So let’s analyze your request, since I see it reveals a few of your flawed presuppositions (which my other response covered, but apparently it was too abstract):

    Narf said-

    Do you really not see how making a global declaration about depression and OCD, then shifting down to a specific subset which represents a tiny percentage of the cases of depression …

    Hold on, since there’s problem #1:

    That’s completely BACKWARDS from what I actually wrote (and as the guy who WROTE it, I’m in a much-better position than you to know that, right?).

    Once again, here’s my post 195:

    Adam said-

    And does it surprise anyone that the two posters who’ve admitting to actually suffering from mental-illnesses (in this very thread, no less) cannot begin to grasp why it’s a fallacy to ‘appeal to ridicule’? BPD and depression are considered as thought disorders, characterized by irrational delusions.

    In the first sentence (the one you omitted), I was using both of you as representatives of the specific subset (the ‘tiny percentage of individuals’, in your words) who’ve been diagnosed with BPD or depression who DO experience delusions, as suggested by your denial to believe the ‘appeal to ridicule’ fallacy is still relevant.

    In the sentence that followed, I explained that BOTH conditions ARE associated with delusion thinking, which is absolutely TRUE (as it is with schizophrenia, but that’s irrelevant to this discussion).

    I started WITH the SPECIFIC in the first sentence, but THEN provided background information about the GENERAL in the second. I was backing up to explain (almost as a parenthetical comment, but I’m trying to cut down on using them).

    which is specifically defined by having the additional symptom that you declared to be a characteristic of all depression and OCD …

    There’s another problem.

    No matter how many times you repeat that claim to create a strawman, it’s still not going to be true. Just as not all cases of BPD experience delusions, not all depressed pts experience them, either. To the contrary, it’s relatively rare (and diagnosed as psychotic depression, as I previously explained).

    Anyone can read my post in its proper context, and come to their own conclusion that I didn’t state nor imply “ALL”. That’s your claim.

    And yet another strawman, Narf?

    Do you really not see how dishonest you are, making a massive shift in scope, then refusing to acknowledge it and calling me stupid for being wrong?

    Can you see how dishonest YOU are, twisting what I wrote to suit your agenda to invert the scope? You’re putting on the cognitive blinders, not me, so that’s ALL on you.

    I’m not the one who’s dense (or only feigning it, for whatever perverse joy it seems to bring you).

    It would be one thing if you said something to the effect of, “Oh, I was thinking of this specific kind of depression,” which by the way, I don’t have.

    Yeah, and that’s the 3rd part of your problem:

    I wasn’t referring to YOUR depression (which you don’t even have, BTW), but to MS’ depression.

    You, Narf, said you’ve been diagnosed with ‘bipolar disorder’ (the ICD-10 is F31.X).

    MS disclosed ‘depression’ (the ICD-10 is F32.X).

    Note the different diagnostic codes: that implies completely-different diagnoses. They’re completely-different mental disorders, and often treated with different meds/protocols (and often reimbursed by insurers and the gov’t on a different rate).

    Pro-tip:

    You don’t HAVE a diagnosis of ‘depression': you have ‘bipolar disorder’ (which suggests episodes if mania AND depression alternating in cyclic manner).

    So when I said ‘BPD’, I was referring to YOU, Narf.

    When I said ‘depression’, I was referring to MS.

    It’s a simple one-to-one correspondence, part of the basic law of identify.

    Again, if you’re only playing dumb (which I sincerely hope is the case), then you should knock it off pronto: much like Mom used to say when you made a silly face, don’t do it for too long or it’s likely to stay that way.

    Narf, I’ve learned long ago there’s no point in arguing with an irrational person who’s unable to even sense their own irrationality; worse is when they’re remotely aware of it, but they refuse to bother even putting on the pretenses of attempting to justify their position with stuff like, oh, you know: actual EVIDENCE? Proof?

    It’s like you don’t grasp what the word ‘justified’ in the phrase, ‘justified true beliefs’ actually means: instead, you simply state CONCLUSIONS.

    Bobby much? (That’s actually more of an insult to HIM, than it is to you.)

    That’s likely why he gets under your skin: he thinks a lot like you do, and you have to constantly struggle to think rationally, afraid that it’s going to slip out of your fingers at any moment. (It must be a scary experience, knowing you cannot trust your own thoughts.)

    So you asked for a response, but then promptly dismissed it (without even bothering to read it, per you). You also don’t feel the need to explain your rationale for doing so.

    Then why even ask?

    My hypothesis is you simply enjoy creating strawmen too much. It’s great fun, isn’t it?

    Dude, that’s as dogmatic and closed-minded as it gets. Not very rational, and it doesn’t take a genius to do.

    Take this, for example:

    Adam, adding the sentence before doesn’t do a single thing to improve your gross context shifting and dishonesty.

    See, that’s a CONCLUSION.

    (Now I’m supposed to retort with, “uh-un, it does not” and then you say, “Yeah, it does!”, ad nauseum, rinse and repeat.)

    You didn’t attempt to challenge the EVIDENCE (ie my actual words, or the supportive facts where I explained my rationale). You just dismiss it without comment, as an unsupported conclusion.

    Not very rational, dude… That’s a new level of dogmatism that makes even theists say, “Damn….. That dude is something else!”

    Then you continue to fling poo, hoping that some will stick (aka character assassination), as if following the old adage, if you repeat a lie enough times, eventually some will stick:

    That’s really what passes for honesty, in your mind? Really? You do that sort of thing nonstop, in pretty much every argument you make.

    Repeating that allegation doesn’t make it true, Narf.

    You need to show EVIDENCE, not innuendo. Give me ONE example.

    Otherwise, like you relish telling Bobby, you’re just making up shit.

    Then you top it off with an ad hom:

    You are such a worthless piece of crap.

    Followed by emotional venting:

    If you think I’m going to take any kind of instruction from you, you’re freaking insane. I don’t emulate douche bags.

    Then the ol’ ‘appeal to group-think':

    Have fun alienating the other regulars. I think you have maybe one or two left.

    Dude, you should be embarrassed; I’m embarrassed FOR you…

    And YES, that’s an ‘appeal to shame’ I just used (I’ve just shifted back into ‘argument ad hom’ mode, but it’s off now).

    PS I note you still haven’t presented even a shred of evidence to support your claim that exemptions to logical fallacies exist, where ridiculing EVER becomes ‘fair game’ under certain extenuating circumstances (such as when the other side REALLY DESERVED IT by saying something completely asinine, and was begging to be insulted; or when it really makes you feel sooooo much better to tell the believer off, and other forms of “special pleading”, etc).

    Dude, it’s not very rational to continue to believing in things without evidence (although your refusal to admit being wrong is likely a factor; just like you can’t admit to it here, you don’t want to eat crow).

    BTW, I could give a flyin’ flip if you or anyone else here reads this or not, since I’m not posting it for your sake, but for anyone who’s actually concerned with looking at actual facts and evidence, in a desire to apply the rationalist approach to their life.

    So unless you come back with even a shred of evidence to prove your claim pronto, then I’m out; this horse can officially be pronounced as beaten to death.

  282. Monocle Smile says

    Adam,

    I’m not posting it for your sake, but for anyone who’s actually concerned with looking at actual facts and evidence, in a desire to apply the rationalist approach to their life.

    Don’t fool yourself. You posted that twaddle for no one but yourself. Because that’s all you care about. This is how you masturbate.

  283. Frank G. Turner says

    @ adamah #296
    Look I am very forgiving and I really do try to listen to a lot of what you have to say as I do think that you have a lot of valuable points. Furthermore I recognize that I do agree with you on a lot and I don’t think that tone and style is as much of an issue. However, you go off an so many tangents that it gets very hard to follow. I understand that your thought process works fatser than you type, but there seems to be no order to your thoughts. Before I mentioned Asperger’s syndrome (which I really have no issue with). Now it seems more like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (not an insult, just an observation).
    .
    I would like to go through what you say point by point, but I just can’t, I don’t have that kind of time. I WILL observe that a lot of it sounds, well quite a bit like subzerobob on here. It sounds like it is based on your feelings and not hard evidence. It sounds like it is based on what is implied and not what is stated explicitly. I am not saying that implicit speech is not important, but it just does not hold the kind of merit that more objective reasoning does. Let me try to break down a few things (unpack) so to speak.
    .
    You said: Although I don’t mention it below, the ‘tough love’ bit was my mocking your likely justification for mocking Bobby, the typical excuses used by bullies to justify the insult and harm they inflict on others.
    .
    You don’t know for certain if that is why Narf said that. While I agree that many bullies use that as an excuse to insult and inflict harm on others, there are those who genuinely do engage in the “tough love” meme for sincere purposes. I knwo of no test that will determine a person’s sincerity of using tough love, so that is your opinion. You behave as though you are absolutely certain of that even though you can’t be. If you are to develop a computer chip that we could put in Narf’s brain to determine his sincerity objectively (which likely is not necessarily sincere or insincere but has degrees of sincerity and insincerity), then I will acknowledge that your opinion has hard proof. Until then, it is your opinion, which is fine. Don’t behave like it is anything more. Don’t put more emphasis on the correctness of your opinion without empirical proof. That is exactly what fundamentalist evangelicals do that we do not like, behave like their opinion bears more credibility than hard evidence (some even claim that in those exact words).
    .
    Next point and then I will get off of this as I tend not to engage you on this adam, it is your opinion and you have a right to it but given how long winded you are (nothing personal, so am I and I know people sometimes can’t follow it), I tend not to go through all that you have to say. You said:
    We’re responding to Bobby’s persecution complex, not his arguments, now.
    Nard, could you be such a dim-wit as to NOT understand that labeling Bobby with a “persecution complex”

    Actually it was Monocle Smile who first made the claim of Bobby having a persecution complex (#115). He did not say that in his professional opinion he was certain that Bobby had a persecution complex. He was stating his opinion (albeit I think in a bit too strong of a way as well, I would not have accused Bobby of “whining” or “acting like a baby”).
    Narf subsequently agreed with him. Frankly I don’t find this opinion to be unusual, Bobby has done things that I think are representative of a persecution complex as well. I would not go so far as to say that he has one as I am not a professional in that area, but I do recognize some aspects of it and I am not surprised that others would observe this as well. (Nothing personal if you are reading this Bobby, it is just what I observe).
    .
    @ Narf, Monocle Smile, adamah, Enlightenment Liberal, subzerobob, and anyone who is listening. Adam is the main target but I think that everyone could learn from this.
    .
    I grew up in a family where people tried very hard to overstate themselves and use emotion and act ridiculously confident when they had no hard evidence to back themselves up and just “felt” something very strongly. They did not like me very much as they would have a whole crowd of family members around them agreeing with them after they feigned such overwhelming confident and I as the Aspie/skeptic would say (uninfluenced by the emotional manipulation) say, “ok you sound pretty confident, but how do you know this?” I did not realize it, but I had planted seeds in numerous family members that would break the spell they had over others.
    .
    I came to feel that it was dishonest and unfair to manipulate people this way that they tried. If I had my way no politician would be allowed to sound TOO confident. While the average person would be allowed to say what they want, politicians would be monitored by an objectivity standards comity (much like the computers in that episode of Star Trek that determine who dies as a result of a computerized war) and only permitted to say certain things that were objectively correct or have to put TONS of qualifiers around their words to be ensured that they did not emotionally overstate themselves.
    .
    So political speeches would have lots of qualifiers, precedents of phrases such as “I am not sure of this by any means but in my opinion,… and this opinion is distinctly based upon ….” They would ALSO have to show awareness of the counter argument and be able to almost make the opponent’s argument for them AND would need to be correct, “in my opponent’s opinion it is believed that…because these facts have been verified …” The objective standards computers would ensure than no straw men occurred. If an individual politician tried to present the other opinion in a false way they could FORCE the politician to make certain statements WORD FOR WORD in a way that the computer determined was a correct representation. Also, ALL relevant information would have to be VOLUNTEERED by both politicians, regardless of whether it supported their position or not. ANYTHING shy of absolutely full disclosure would result in immediate termination of the individual from the position.
    .
    Furthermore, the politician could not do anything that would benefit anyone close to them or themselves in any way shape or form. They must do so absolutely exclusively for the benefit of the larger community EVEN to the detriment of themself or their family. I even considered the idea that the politician would be executed at the end of their term limit (and EVERYONE would have a term limit) just to ensure that they are not engaging in leadership for the benefit of them-self as this would severely limit the benefits that the politician could draw from their position upon leaving.
    .
    So the two basic assumptions are, “fair is the absolute bottom line even if you have to bend over backwards to do it,” because justice is more important than ANYTHING, even personal success and EVERYONE no matter how saintly has the potential to be corrupt and cheat the system so the system must be set up to prevent corruption from any and all angles.
    .
    Now obviously this is unreasonable and unattainable, but I try to keep this in mind when I am communicating. You may have noticed that I put a lot of qualifiers on what I say, “I considered the possibility that..,” “I feel because of ___ even though I am aware that this conclusion may be incorrect based upon ___(insert variable here).” I try, (note the word “try”) to NOT sound TOO confident of what I say (though I do put in all caps words that I am emphasizing as that is what it would sound like in my voice based on how I learned from others, more on that in a moment).
    .
    A lot of this comes from having Asperger’s syndrome. It was hard for me to understand how people WERE trying to sound more confident in order to emotionally manipulate people as I did not have as much of the capacity to hear shifts in tone. I learned how to do this over time (and as the above example demonstrates, sometimes this had advantages), but it was tough. People wanted me to do certain things without having to ask directly. I tried to tell them to be explicit and just ask directly, but that is very difficult for people to teach themselves. What is NOT quite AS DIFFICULT for people to do is to slowly teach themselves NOT to sound TOO CONFIDENT and to categorize opinion explicitly and categorize fact explicitly.
    .
    I.e.: “in my opinion Narf I believe that you are engaging in ridicule and I believe that the purpose of this is ___ which I believe is a fallacy. However, I am well aware that this may not have been your intent because ____ . I have a feeling that this was your intent because ____ . It sounds like you are coming off as a bully to me. In the past you have said ‘XXX’ in post #Y which also came across to me as bullying and while this may not have been your intent then either I would like to express my concern.”
    .
    That sounds quite a bit different from “you are being an insensitive bully” doesn’t it? That is probably something that JW’s don’t like do they Adam? And I have had to correct you in this very string when I put a disclaiming qualifier. I talked about having “considered” an intrinsic force (#121). You countered by stating that I “believed” in an “intrinsic life force” (#129). I had to clarify (and did not mind) that I had considered / speculated about it, and I had purposefully left the word “life” out for a specific purpose as I explain to corwyn later. Now I do understand that (from reading #200) that your purpose in asking said questions was not to paint me into a corner, but I could have taken it that way and I did consider that too. The fact that others took you that way adam did not surprise me. You actually could have preceded the question with something to the effect of what you said later such as,
    “Frank based on our previous discussions I do not think you the type of person who tends to believe in things for which you have no evidence, which is what this ‘intrinsic life force’ sounds like. I recognize that you have eliminated the word ‘life’ from it and I am wondering what the significance of that is and I also recognize that you said that you not so much believed in it but that you ‘considered’ it.”
    That would have resulted in the same basic response that I gave AND that would have told me several things.
    .
    #1 – You are trying not to take me out of context or “read into” things which I have said.
    This is something my manipulative family members did a lot, tried to read into what I was saying in order to make my skeptical intentions sound less than noble to others around them and keep the spell they had over others around me working rather than having to give my questions definitive answers).
    .
    #2 – You ARE considering what I am saying from previous conversations and factoring it into what is being said now. . . _ This is something I have seen politicians do and family members of mine do on occasion, although with my family members I think it had to do with poor memory as they would often back off when I demonstrated the relevance of a previous claim and how that factored into what was going on now, I think politicians (and apologists) do it on purpose as part of propaganda as they will tap dance around someone who brings up relevant information that counters their current argument.
    .
    #3 You are willing to engage in FULL DISCLOSURE of information that is relevant, regardless of it is supports your position or not.
    _ This is a big part of intellectual honesty as it demonstrates a willingness to loose. I have backed off of my own Catholic beliefs (which were honestly more like those of Ken MIller). I acknowledged the corwynn was right on something else I said on this board earlier (though I disagreed with the reasoning pathway, something that you said adam made more sense to me, but the conclusion was something upon which I was mistaken). I have yet to hear you acknowledge being incorrect on anything in here adam.
    .
    What is funny is that sometimes what you have said adam seems kind of doubtful and questionable to me to the point where I would dissect it a bit and ask how you know for a fact certain aspects of what you are saying, but it is so long and complex and disordered that it is hard to find any one particular point to grasp onto. Often I don’t understand the full argument to have an informed opinion. Which leads me to the final part of this.
    .
    It seems like (notice the qualifier “seems like”) you adam are AVOIDING admitting that you were wrong about something. As if when cornered you will simply give a long complex argument full of lots of tangents rather than stick to a particular line of reasoning that you can be demonstrably proven wrong upon. And it also sounds like (again “sounds like”) you are making up reasons for your questions after the fact that sound more noble than what people accuse you of given THEIR understanding of the implications of what you are saying. I am not saying that they are correct in their interpretation of what is stated implicitly, but I don’t here you apologizing for having made sure to indicate what you mean explicitly either to prevent this. (Regarding #3 above, if you try to be explicit and engage in full disclosure you demonstrate a willingness to try to avoid this). Making the explanation after the fact in a long winded way without giving an apology for the mis-communication sounds like back pedaling to cover your tracks and make oneself sound more noble in their endeavors than they really are.
    .
    Back pedaling to sound more noble than one really is sounds a little like an apologist (Matt Slick comes to mind). Now don’t get me wrong, I think a lot of the counter arguments decay into name calling and personal attacks, which I think are also not appropriate, but which is worse? Avoiding admitting that you are wrong by trying to send the argument spinning into a series of tangents rather than stick to a demonstrable point or name calling the person who does so?
    .
    As far as apologizing I over apologize. A lot of people UNDER apologize because being wrong and saying “I’m sorry” about anything means that they are completely wrong about everything (insecurity I see a LOT in evangelicals and creationists but I see it in others too). I wind up apologizing a lot because my body language and non verbal communication would communicate things that I did not intend. I knew that what someone else perceived was not my intent and that not everyone would listen to me being so explicit, but I had to try.
    .
    So could we do that please? Use a lot of qualifiers to separate fact from opinion and focus on very explicit communication? As I often say to people, please OVER-EXPLAIN. Be less concerned with my being offended by you being long winded and be more concerned with making sure that I understand COMPLETELY and ACCURATELY what you have to say in an ORGANIZED fashion. Imagine that you are a Vulcan and that you are talking to a Vulcan (we could really benefit from their method of thinking, even if it is just fiction).

  284. Narf says

    @302 – EL
    I suspect we didn’t miss much. The tiny bit I scanned out, which seemed like it might actually try to address a point, was his usual slime-bag crap and failure to admit that he fucked something up. I’m done with him, and I don’t think I’ll be making another attempt.

  285. Narf says

    @303 – adamah
    I didn’t bother to even read this one. You’re back in the fuck-off corner, as far as I’m concerned. Continue talking to yourself, if you wish.

  286. Narf says

    @304 – MS

    Don’t fool yourself. You posted that twaddle for no one but yourself. Because that’s all you care about. This is how you masturbate.

    This occurred to me, earlier today. I think it’s a fairly good comparison.

    Remember the debate between Russel and Stephen Feinstein? Remember the way that Stephen repeatedly tried to browbeat Russel about points that Stephen failed to make and ran up and down proclaiming victory, instead of addressing the counterpoints that Russel had brought up in his previous post? Remind you of anyone we know? :D

  287. Narf says

    @305 – Frank G. Turner

    Look I am very forgiving and I really do try to listen to a lot of what you have to say as I do think that you have a lot of valuable points.

    I quite agree that he has made several good points, just posting random stuff out of the blue, which is vaguely related to something that happened on the show. The problem is that then someone responds to his posts, picking apart a detail for correction, offering an opposing viewpoint, or something along those lines.

    I don’t think that Adam has any ability in interacting with other people. The moment that someone dares to challenge his uh-THOR-i-TEH, he just turns into a complete slime-ball. It could be something like Asperger’s, I guess. I dunno. At this point, I can’t work up the motivation to give a fuck.

    Anyway, let me read the rest of your comment.

  288. corwyn says

    That’s completely BACKWARDS from what I actually wrote (and as the guy who WROTE it, I’m in a much-better position than you to know that, right?).

    If there is one thing I could impart to all arguers on the internet, it would be that this is exactly WRONG. The best, and really, only judge of whether one has conveyed what one wished to convey, is that of the audience. The total difference between good authors and horrible ones is exactly this distinction. That they can put themselves in the mind of their audience and write such that the thought in their own head becomes the same thought in their readers. Aside from willful misinterpreting, if one’s readers didn’t understand what one wrote, the fault lies within.

    The number of ways that an author can screw this up are myriad. From simple typos, and thinkos, to neglecting to mention (or sometimes notice) personal assumptions, or being unaware of differing knowledge bases. It is hard! The Feynman lectures on physics are still used and praised to this day (despite advances in the state of the art) merely because he was such a master of the explanation.

  289. adamah says

    @Frank (305)

    Thanks for sharing your voluminous thoughts.

    ;)

    That’s a lot to respond to, but this part immediately jumps off the page as requiring clarification before proceeding further.

    You offered this as an example of where you claim I spoke with certainty:

    Adam said:

    Although I don’t mention it below, the ‘tough love’ bit was my mocking your likely justification for mocking Bobby, the typical excuses used by bullies to justify the insult and harm they inflict on others.

    Frank said-

    You don’t know for certain if that is why Narf said that. While I agree that many bullies use that as an excuse to insult and inflict harm on others, there are those who genuinely do engage in the “tough love” meme for sincere purposes. I know of no test that will determine a person’s sincerity of using tough love, so that is your opinion. You behave as though you are absolutely certain of that even though you can’t be.

    Why would you improperly assume I WAS speaking with certainty?

    Avoiding that kind of accusation is precisely WHY I inserted the word, ‘likely’ in the sentence; it’s also why I mentioned ‘typical’ excuses, too.

    Both words leave room for OTHER possible motives existing that I hadn’t mentioned; that’s hardly speaking with certainty, as I did nothing of the sort, Frank.

    I rarely speak in certainties, since my presupposition is there’s little humans CAN be certain of, in absolute terms. Heck, Narf even understands that concept, since I’ve seen him post to that effect (in the thread on RD’s comparing rape) of his general caution for statements that contain absolutes (eg words like “ALWAYS”). Even without analyzing the specific contents of the statement, they’re automatically suspect, more likely to be hyperbolic, if not incorrect (due to the relative scarcity of absolutes).

    The downside of using such ‘couching’ words is they contribute to ‘sentence bloat’, thus sacrificing readability. But in this case, I felt it necessary to decrease the likelihood of readers coming to the unwarranted conclusions (as you did).

    Perhaps I shouldn’t have bothered, since it didn’t prevent you from erroneously concluding I spoke with certainty?

    Frank, writers can’t be held responsible for a reader’s failure to misinterpret what they wrote, since it’s everyone’s individual responsibility to make sure THEIR understanding of words and interpretation conforms to commonly-accepted standards of English usage.

    It would be like me complaining that the author of a book written in Swahili failed to communicate effectively, when I didn’t even bother to learn Swahili. That’s not HIS problem, since the onus is on ME to understand and conform to the conventions of a given language (whether English or Swahili).

    (Although the analogy is hyperbolic, it’s intentionally done to make my point more obvious.)

    Now that I’ve clarified, do you acknowledge you misinterpreted my words?

    Or will you insist that I take the blame when I wasn’t?

    I don’t apologize for being correct, and neither should you, since it cheapens the power of an apology to offer them as if coming from a Pez dispenser.

    BTW, I’m a retired physician who trained and practiced evidence-based medicine: I use the same approach here, and rarely speak “off the cuff” (or more colloquially, “out of my ass”).

    If you are to develop a computer chip that we could put in Narf’s brain to determine his sincerity objectively (which likely is not necessarily sincere or insincere but has degrees of sincerity and insincerity), then I will acknowledge that your opinion has hard proof. Until then, it is your opinion, which is fine. Don’t behave like it is anything more. Don’t put more emphasis on the correctness of your opinion without empirical proof.

    Since your premise (that I was speaking with certainty) is faulty, do you still want me to respond?

    And by all means, if you can find another example of my speaking with confidence (where I was factually incorrect, and/or unable to back it up with independent evidence), then please present it, and I’ll be happy to defend (or ‘clarify’, if you find a ‘kinder, gentler’ less-confrontational choice of adjectives more to your liking)

    (Just remember that word choice is also a matter of writing STYLE, unless it becomes so divergent from accepted standards as to interfere with the substance.)

    Oh, on the ‘it’s only your opinion’ thing:

    My operating presupposition is that EVERYONE is speaking from THEIR personal opinion, only (obvious exceptions are when quoting/citing the words of another, or serving as a spokesperson for a group, etc. Experts in a field are well-advised to distinguish when they’re voicing their personal opinion vs speaking of consensus opinion).

    I’ve posted before the acronym ‘IMHO’ is often unnecessary, since it’s safe to assume that in an informal (non-professional) setting, we’re ALL voicing our personal opinions, only: for who’s opinion COULD we be speaking about, but our own?

    Next point and then I will get off of this as I tend not to engage you on this adam, it is your opinion and you have a right to it but given how long winded you are (nothing personal, so am I and I know people sometimes can’t follow it), I tend not to go through all that you have to say.

    Hint: if you’re concerned about being long-winded, then don’t repeat points you’ve already raised.

    ;)

    BTW, I don’t read every post, but do SKIM most of them. If I detect something worthy of closer attention, I back up to read it. There is no final exam, and hence no need to read every post.

    BTW, since length of posts is a STYLE choice, to criticize length (or brevity, for that matter) is irrelevant to the topic under discussion; such comments constitute ‘tone-trolling’.

    BTW, I’m a retired physician who’s training and practice was based on evidence-based medicine: I use the same approach here, and try not to speak “off the cuff” (or more colloquially, “out of my ass”). I also generally check/verify facts BEFORE posting, to avoid making mistakes.

    That said, I have made a few mistakes and posted corrections and/or apologies in the past; but once again, I can’t be responsible if you or others didn’t bother to read them and/or take notice of them.

  290. steele says

    @ Frank (250)

    You state:

    “In the sciences we CAN measure things via a standardized means that if everyone goes through a training procedure and is taught how to do will measure that concept within certain limits. As such, we can make predictions about what we measure and use it for practical purposes. THAT is what constitutes evidence and proof and that has a lot of power.”

    “Faith is essentially belief without evidence. If you had evidence, you would not need faith.”

    “Don’t try to lead the evidence towards a conclusion. Be opened to any possibility and follow the evidence where it leads. Say to yourself, “maybe there is a God, maybe there is not one.”

    Frank unfortunately you demonstrate the typical atheist failing of scientism and Logical positivism with you first statement. As Einsteins said

    “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

    as well

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    – Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

    Your definition of proof is rather limited and short-sighted. You do wax elegant where you say:

    “I feel that the horizon is very beautiful too, but that does not prove that it is beautiful because I can;t measure that beauty and my feeling / opinion about it being beautiful is highly subjective and determined by my mood. Someone else may not consider that horizon beautiful and as such, it is highly subjective. We have not developed a way in which to measure that beauty via a testable means and we may or may not ever be able to do so.”

    It’s funny Frank you can express such sentiments and not see how God is very similar to your sunset analogy. Just because we can measure the horizon doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist much in the same way as God. Although I am guessing your response will be you can see the horizon, still based on your definition of proof I wonder if you even think the horizon is real, lol.

    Your definition of of faith Frank is just different than mine and Bobs, no problem there but don’t try and tell me what faith is to me is all I’m saying

    Hebrews 11:1

    1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

    Lastly Frank in science quite frequently we have the conclusion and work backwards to figure out the answer we are looking for, that doesn’t mean I am leading the evidence to the conclusion, I may already have the conclusion and I am just seeing how the evidence works into the equation; for example x+9=10. 10 is the conclusion (if you want to call it that) to the equation I already know the total I just need to figure out x but the final answer will still be 10.

    God is the same way He is the conclusion and helps to makes sense of what x is; be it the universe, meaning to life, love, hope, etc..

    Little math and theology for ya there Frankie, LOL

    Take Care

  291. Monocle Smile says

    @steele #312

    Be honest…are you just trolling? Because I’m now dumber for having read that shitpile.

    Any post with “scientism” in it is 99% likely to be utter bullshit. And I was not surprised. “Scientism” is a word used by dishonest potheads and religious groupies to try to put science on the same shelf as their woo. They use it to claim that shit they made up while hallucinating is on the same level as science.

  292. steele says

    @MS (313)

    Now everybody in the 313 put your MF hands up and follow me! Now while MS stands tuff notice he did not have his hands up.

    Awe I missed you to MS…MS if I was trolling I would be talking to you, oh wait now I am I guess. As far as you getting dumber i didn’t know that was possible, lol JK. Was the math too hard??

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

  293. Frank G. Turner says

    @ adam # 311
    Why would you improperly assume I WAS speaking with certainty?
    Avoiding that kind of accusation is precisely WHY I inserted the word, ‘likely’ in the sentence; it’s also why I mentioned ‘typical’ excuses, too.
    Both words leave room for OTHER possible motives existing that I hadn’t mentioned; that’s hardly speaking with certainty, as I did nothing of the sort, Frank.

    .
    Right and the words ‘likely’ and ‘typical’ do help, as I stated the words ‘considered.’ However, just as you appeared to have missed that fact that I said I “considered” the possibility of an “intrinsic force” AND that you inserted the word “life” when I had left it out (and had done so on purpose), I can just as easily miss the “couching” terms that you made. Sometimes that is WHY I overstate the couching terms. I know that people can miss said terms and even though stating and restating them adds volume, it makes the reader look really odd if they miss them given how repeated and obvious the couching words are. (In this case I skipped over the couching terms on purpose, more on that in a moment, but there are times when I have missed them altogether with you).
    .
    That’s why it also helps to be explicit about my purpose for making the statements (Note: how I sometimes give background, sort of like the introductory part of a scientific paper where some history is given and why the experiment is being conducted?). That can make the couching terms EVEN MORE obvious.
    .
    My operating presupposition is that EVERYONE is speaking from THEIR personal opinion, only …I’ve posted before the acronym ‘IMHO’ is often unnecessary, since it’s safe to assume that in an informal (non-professional) setting, we’re ALL voicing our personal opinions
    .
    That is a very valid point and I would really like for things to work that way. I think IMHO is unnecessary too, but I use it AND I appreciate it. This may sounds strange but in my family and in many families that I interacted with, perhaps due to political influence, if you did not make the explicit statement of it being opinion, it was assumed that you were speaking with certain confidence. It is an odd default position to have, but it is obvious that OTHER people in here (and in the USA) have that position as well. And as a reformed Jehovah’s Witness you should be familiar with that as nearly all of them whom I have met spoke that way too. That is why many JWs knew seemed to have a problem with evolution as they treated everything as absolute fact or absolute fiction and nothing in between. Many I knew did not understand the scientific process and did not understand that you did not have absolutely certainty so that is WHY you did testing. So the only way they were going to accept evolution is through divine authority and not by experimentation as experimentation has a possibility of being wrong (and for them, having a 1×10^-2000 chance of being wrong was absolutely wrong, you were either 110% sure or you were wrong, period).
    .
    So no I am not so concerned with being long winded. What I AM concerned about stating and overstating if necessary EXACTLY when I am speaking from opinion and when I am not so that the reader is NOT left to guess OR to make a default position. Too many people vary whether their default position is opinion until proven certainty or certainty until proven opinion so I try not to appeal to both types of thinkers. Also, sticking to one definitive point helps. Then determining if it is correct by factual empiricism or a matter of opinion, explicitly stating that it is a matter of opinion, presenting your arguments for one side while acknowledging the other side of the argument (and presenting anything for the opposing side too), then moving to the next point.
    .
    What you have said in response to my responses (#311) was well organized and easy to follow. You did not go off on a hundred different tangents. I can respond to it.,
    Since your premise (that I was speaking with certainty) is faulty, do you still want me to respond?
    .
    For starters, the way other people in here seem to read you is that what you essentially have started with is “You Frank are absolutely 100% wrong in any way shape and form that I was speaking with certainty and you are a fool to suggest that I did. Do you want me to respond to you being such a fool?” (This is not how I took it, but that seems to be how OTHERS on here take you from what I have read and I don’t entirely blame them for it). It basically says that I am not entitled to how I feel about what you said and that my points are completely and totally invalid. I think that is a LOT of why people are offended by what you say, it comes across as telling them that they are not entitled to feel how they feel. Starting your counter response by validating what they say BEFORE you present counter arguments helps. (You might notice on TAE they ask callers to do that and they won’t, subzerobob is guilty of that on many occasions, refusing to acknowledge the validity of the point that was made to him before moving on, almost like he is trying to “win” or make counter statements rather than learn along with the people he is speaking to).
    .
    My response is, are you sure that you made it clear enough that you were NOT speaking with certainty if I AND other people on here missed it? Perhaps you could have said something like this, “Frank, I was not speaking with certainty and I tried to make that apparent. I am aware that you may have missed this, perhaps I did not make it apparent enough but I did try. Given that the premise that I was speaking without certainty is not correct, would you like a further response?” THAT acknowledges that I have a right to my feelings while still making the same statement while staying on point AND buffers what you are saying a bit. (I don’t need it here, but OTHERS in here do and it HELPS).
    .
    I get it that I can’t hold you completely and totally responsible for your audience’s misunderstanding, but if your audience repeatedly misses certain things that you are saying because you are not putting enough emphasis on certain points and ideas and you are going off on too many tangents for them to follow you, doesn’t it put the onus on you to at least “try” to make on effort to adjust to your audience? I get that,
    It would be like me complaining that the author of a book written in Swahili failed to communicate effectively, when I didn’t even bother to learn Swahili. That’s not HIS problem, since the onus is on ME to understand and conform to the conventions of a given language (whether English or Swahili). . That is one person trying to adjust to a whole culture’s way of speaking, not one person speaking and insist that a whole culture learn HIS language.

    English and other languages are spoken in a lot of different ways, with different accepts and different cultural norms. And language is dynamic and ever changing. It would be nice if language was static and uniform so that you did not have to make adjustments over time, but it is not that way. In many ways adam it is like YOU are speaking Swahili and you are expecting your whole audience to have to learn English to understand you. If your agency sent you to another country to give a speech, wouldn’t they hire a translator for you or teach YOU to make the speech in Swahili?
    .
    You adam are speaking your own form of English on this message board in a way that is getting a LOT of people offended (I am “fairly certain” that you have noticed this by now). Instead of calling your language English let’s call it “OE” (Offensive English). I would think by now that you have seen the pattern of people getting offended. Now yes you can say that the onus is on them to try to understand better what you are saying so as not to be offended (I tend to do that more naturally), but they ARE offended. Sooner or later if you show concern about your audience you will try to learn their language and their way of speaking. You can’t perpetually expect your audience to learn to speak your language, sooner or later you learn (at least to some degree) to speak theirs.
    .
    YOU can’t expect the entire audience to conform to you no matter how correct you are when it comes to style. That is why, at least to some degree, tone is important. Abusing tone to the point of emotional manipulation is not appropriate (unless you are a politician in which it is expected). However, refusing to acknowledge that tone is important to some degree for the purpose of trying to reach your audience, tone is at least a “little bit” important if you want to get your point across.
    .
    That was the whole point I was making about forcing politicians to speak in a certain way that accentuated fairness and took the emotional factor out and had barriers against corruption at the slightest turn. It is unreasonable. It is unreasonable for an entire audience of non English speakers to be expected to learn English when a new English speaker comes to their country to do a public speech. You at least hire a translator or have the speaker learn to speak their language. You are speaking in a language (OE) that is offending (myself excluded most of the time) a good portion of the audience in here (in case you have not noticed) that speak English in a different way. I think that, THINK that, (I don’t know, maybe this is wrong or maybe you just don’t care) you are trying to appeal to them and they are STILL getting offended a lot and ignoring a lot of what you have to say as a result. Your basic argument is that you are not responsible for their misunderstanding because they cannot speak your language and if they did, they would not be so offended. Given how long that you have had to adjust to their way of speaking (before I came in here), I would think that out of concern for them you would have at least done SOMETHING to appeal to their way of understanding things.
    .
    This could be done from several angles. You can,
    -1 : Be aware that your words may have an alternative meaning and try to preclude misunderstandings by explicitly stating what your purpose is and if you are misunderstood try to give further explanation in a very non accusatory way WITHOUT going off any tangents.
    -2 Try to listen to how THEY take your words and make adjustments accordingly. (I would think you know that many professional authors do this). Doing so shows that you care about your audience.
    .
    I get that That said, I have made a few mistakes and posted corrections and/or apologies in the past; but once again, I can’t be responsible if you or others didn’t bother to read them and/or take notice of them.
    .
    The problem is that you go off on so MANY tangents at times that it is hard to follow you and it is not surprising that people don’t notice apologies and corrections as a result. It starts to sound like (ahem “sounds like”) you don’t care about your audience. “Couching” terms can help to “buffer” your speech so that your audience does not get too overloaded (I am speaking very metaphorically here). If your feed your audience the communication of glacial acetic acid and they cough as a result and insist that you were trying to poison them (even though glacial acetic acid does not necessarily kill you) can you really blame them for being afraid of the “potential” poison? Maybe you can dilute the speech a bit with some neutral water.
    .
    Maybe try highlighting the fact that when a person missed what you said, that it is ok that they missed it and just point it out again while trying not to be accusatory EVEN if they are being accusatory in response. (Oh and with regards to tone-trolling, being accusatory IS a tone that I think is important regardless of who does it). I highlighted the fact that I did not emphasize that I said “intrinsic force” and that the word considered was present and that the word life was not present. I essentially “tried to ” acknowledge that the person who “may have” misread my statements (you) was not incorrect. I “tried to” acknowledge that the reader in their response had a right to their feelings. I “tried to” acknowledge that while the primary onus is on the reader to better comprehend what I am saying, a part of the onus is ALSO on me to better understand how my audience understands me.
    .
    You don’t just say “I can speak whatever way I want and if you don’t understand it the right way it is all your fault and I bear no responsibility” (FYI, I am not suggesting that you did say this, but if I took your argument to an unnecessary extreme that is where it would go, I bring this out to make a point). Some of the onus is on the speaker and some on the listener, but roles reverse and the speaker become the listener later and the listener the speaker. One would think that with as much complaining as people on here have done about the way in which you communicate you would have made a more significant effort to try to comprehend where they were coming from and try to adjust accordingly, if not completely then at least a little bit.
    ,
    However, just like the creationists who argue over and over again without hard evidence that they are right because they can’t possibly be wrong, it seems like you adam argue over and over again that you were not wrong. Yes it is a different situation because a lot of it has to do with a matter of opinion. You may not be wrong. We could be like a room full of creationists and you the evolutionary biologist. However, in THAT situation a non believer who does not believe in creation might AT LEAST demonstrate that they had considered creationism and read about it to know where the creationists were coming from (as Matt Dillahunty has done repeatedly). Doing that has held a lot of water with creationists starting to question their beliefs, that Matt can speak THEIR language too.
    .
    I would think that it would hold a lot of water if you demonstrate some consideration for your audience in here that maybe, just maybe, you need to be a bit more caring about how they feel and think and try to learn to speak their “emotional” language rather than insisting that they speak yours. From what I have read on here, you make very little effort to so this.
    .
    Here is some demonstration of “you have the right to feel what you feel.” Now that I’ve clarified, do you acknowledge you misinterpreted my words?
    Or will you insist that I take the blame when I wasn’t?
    I don’t apologize for being correct, and neither should you, since it cheapens the power of an apology to offer them as if coming from a Pez dispenser.

    .
    Actually I acknowledge at other times that I have misinterpreted your words. In this instance, like you do sometimes, I purposefully ignored the fact that you did “couch” your words by using terms like “typical” and the like, I just don’t think that you couched (or as I like to say as a chemist, “buffered”) what you said enough. the pH of your words was still a bit too acidic (or alkaline depending on how you view it) in my opinion, but that Is a matter of opinion. You COULD demonstrate concern by stating that you HOPE that I was not hurt by what you said, etc, but it is unnecessary for me.
    .
    Regarding the apologies like a Pez dispenser, even for being correct, apology is about more than just admitting to being incorrect. Sometimes “I’m sorry” means “I care about your feelings because they are important to me.” To some people “I’m sorry” means “I am an awful and bad and completely wrong person in every way shape or form and nothing I can do or say is correct.” As a person who takes this extreme, they often won’t apologize for anything no matter how small as it is a complete determent to their self esteem which is often very extremely reliant on correctness (and Xtianity takes advantage of this, this is the kind of person who thinks that they would be suicidal if they discovered that God did not exist).
    .
    What sometimes comes across to others when a person nearly never apologizes is “I don’t care about your feelings and I never will because mine or more important.” Learning to be concerned about others people’s feelings took a LONG time for me to understand as an Aspie. I did not apologize a lot as well as I only thought of it as recognizing that I was factually incorrect and I was fairly confident that I wasn’t. NOW I say “I am sorry” more often when what I really mean is “I care about your feelings” (although sometimes i just say “I care about your feelings” and give a hug or a tissue and let someone know that things will be ok).
    .
    I think, again this is just a thought, that the real issue is the lack of demonstration over concern for the feelings of others on your part. IN some of your past posts it seems like you are so focused on you personally being factually correct and that being demonstrably true that the idea that others might be offended or even hurt by what you are saying looks completely unimportant to you. And, not surprisingly, people get offended! Maybe they should not be, but if you are capable of couching your words in a way so as not to offend them that gets the point across WITHOUT offending them and subsequently getting them to ignore what you are saying, isn’t that a better way of appealing to your audience? You might say that this is tone trolling and that they should learn not to be offended and I agree with you. I very much would like to reach into their brains and turn off their emotions so that they are purely rational people who listen, uploading information like “the matrix” and they will acknowledge the empirical facts regardless of their comfort with them.
    .
    THAT was part of the point of the example of the politicians who can’t use emotion to manipulate their constituents. It would make “fairness” the bottom line, but that is NOT the way that human brains work. Emotion IS important to them and it DOES influence what they say.
    .
    That is where having Asperger’s is an advantage. I read a lot of what you are saying and despite the potential for a lot of what you adam say to be offensive I don’t see it that way much of the time, BUT OTHERS DO and even with Aspeger’s syndrome I see that. This is where as a person with Asperger’s I had to learn that emotional IS important to others and acknowledging other’s rights to feel the way they feel and validating the conclusions that they come to even if those conclusions are incorrect IS important. THAT is a major part of what I was trying to do with subzerobob on here, acknowledge that the conclusions he has come to are valid because I demonstrated some care for his emotions, even though I think he is factually incorrect in his logic.
    .
    I think THAT is why people on here may be offended by you. It is almost as if you are trying to claim that their feelings are not just factually incorrect, but that they are invalid and that their is no need for you to have concern over them. (#296 sounds a LOT like this, even though you make valid points, it sounds like you are more focused on factual correctness). THAT is the language that I think they are speaking and that I think you are not, the language of validating the feelings and concerns of others and demonstrating care for their feelings.
    .
    I can understand that as a very intelligent individual (I think I went through this too) one may feel isolated that you understand complex things that many around you don’t. You may have felt that you were never validated and did not learn to do that for others. (Particularly growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness as an intelligent individual with natural skepticism who would later learn about evolution in studying a medical field, especially in a culture where educating oneself to that level was frowned upon). I would think that if you want people to acknowledge the validity of the factual correctness of the points that you make, you need to do more than present the points as factually correct. You may need to do unto them as they would do unto you and demonstrate concern for their feelings by acknowledging the validity of their points as well. (Even when completely or partially factually incorrect or factually correct but lacking in additional information that leads to an alternate conclusion).
    .
    If you refuse to acknowledge the validity of their points, they will refuse to acknowledge the validity of yours, even if you are right.
    .
    Also, with regards to the going off an tangents and getting too focused on factual correctness and not validating the points of others. I sometimes see that in a person who is demonstrably incorrect and has been validated for the points they made but that is not enough. So backpedaling and trying to focus on other points is them trying to “save face” and acknowledge being wrong without really having to acknowledge being wrong. I don’t think that is what you are doing, but hear me out on this. Sometimes when one apologizes and when one is wrong, you can’t save face or be un-embarrassed as that is not really admitting a mistake. Sometimes really admitting a mistake is being painfully embarrassed, crying and hurting and acknowledging wrong on a deep personal level. It may feel like one has an emotional knife twisting into their gut and crying and learning to accept the pain and fighting it even a little bit and trying to get it to hurt less (on an emotional level) is not accepting it.
    .
    It is something like Alex in “A Clockwork Orange,” whom I imagine as the kind of purpose that can almost never apologize who never says “I am sorry” and who almost never demonstrates concern for other people’s feelings. If you see the film he is tied up in a straight jacket while being injected to feel nauseated while watching violent films in order to cure him of violence. He gets to this point where he realizes how engaging in hurtful and violent acts is wrong on others. Of course in the film that is not good enough, they want him to be incapable of engaging in violence (which has the side effect of making him incapable of defending himself).I had often imagined what would have happened if the behavioral training (to make him incapable of violence) had stopped and instead he had gone into psychological training, choosing not to engage in violence instead of being made incapable of it.
    .
    (This whole next part is hypothetical). I could imagine him going through emotional pain in which he would have been speaking to a chaplain talking about how he was so so sorry (over and over again). He would cry for weeks walking around barely functioning and begging those he had wronged for forgiveness for months perhaps even years before finally finding the confidence to live and continue without letting the guilt of being wrong overwhelm him but still working to make amends. He would probably become so overly concerned with others feelings that he would be constantly saying “I am sorry” even when it was not necessary before finally finding a middle ground and learning to say it when it was necessary AND demonstrate at least a reasonable amount of concern for other’s feelings.
    .
    That situation that I describe, THAT is admitting a mistake. Trying to argue by way of tangents and not saying that you MAY HAVE BEEN wrong and that you are going to show concern for others by acknowledging their points BEFORE making yours to validate them is trying to avoid the end result of what i just described, at least hypothetically. One may not be as bad off as Alex, but he demonstrates an extreme upon which many are on a continuum.

  294. Narf says

    @312 – steele

    Lastly Frank in science quite frequently we have the conclusion and work backwards to figure out the answer we are looking for, that doesn’t mean I am leading the evidence to the conclusion, I may already have the conclusion and I am just seeing how the evidence works into the equation; for example x+9=10. 10 is the conclusion (if you want to call it that) to the equation I already know the total I just need to figure out x but the final answer will still be 10.
    God is the same way He is the conclusion and helps to makes sense of what x is; be it the universe, meaning to life, love, hope, etc..

    Holy crap, dude. As usual, you blur everything into a horrible mess.

    Tell us how you would falsify your god. Until you do that and run tests specifically to falsify your god, your god isn’t at all the same. If you think that the way that theologians make shit up about their god is anything like the way that scientists examine their conclusions, you don’t know shit about science … as you’ve already demonstrated with your terms, such as ‘scientism’, in your first sentence out of the gate.

  295. steele says

    @Frank (285)

    you state:

    “Now try to, please try, up front, before you respond to any more of this, that you do not have empirical evidence for a God.”

    Frank how much more empirical evidence could you want then the entire universe, which speaks of God’s existence. Just because you close your eyes and ears to it and demand proof that is already right in front of you is rather ridiculous. Again Frank not to beat a dead horse but seriously God has given you sufficient evidence you just choose to ignore it because of your pride. You wish to minimize what Bob is saying and claim there is no empirical evidence that is up to your standards, really your logical positivism/verificationism is not all it’s cracked up to be.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logical-empiricism/

    “In 1967 John Passmore reported that: “Logical positivism, then, is dead, or as dead as a philosophical movement ever becomes.” (1967, 57)”

    Psalm 19:1-4

    1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
    2 Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
    3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
    4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.

    God isn’t in a test tube Frank and nor is He going to do parlor tricks for you because you demand them for faith in Him.

  296. Narf says

    @317
    Okay, so you’ve just provided us with a demonstration of the Bible being wrong, since the heavens do nothing of the sort. If you’re just going to preach mindless Christian mystery at us, we’re just going to keep laughing at you.

    So, check me on this. You claim that theology is like science, and then you whine about us trying to put God in a test tube. You don’t see anything a little bit contradictory and dishonest about this?

  297. Esquilax says

    @ Steele, post 317

    Seriously? That’s the best you’ve got? A tarted up version of “Look at the trees!”?

    The universe only attests to the existence of god if you dishonestly presuppose that god exists. To a rational person without that presupposition it does nothing of the sort, attesting instead only to the existence of the universe. Your argument, aside from being ridiculous, is also profoundly aggressive and intellectually barren, hence the repeated attempts at character assassination you felt needed to be added in there. But your bluster only demonstrates the emptiness of your position, and I need no pride at all to see that.

  298. Narf says

    He wasn’t any more intellectually sound back when he was commenting here regularly, a few months ago.

  299. Frank G. Turner says

    @steele #317
    I don’t think that I am really going to get into this too deeply with you as others seem to have explained to you the same basic idea that I would make. You have a right to your feelings and bob has right to his. Despite the comment that I made to bob about acknowledging that he does not have empirical proof of a God and to acknowledge that, I also pointing out that he may need to believe in a God which is fine if that emotionally balances him. If that helps to emotionally balance you than that is fine. It does NOT help to emotionally balance me or many others. As a matter of fact, it actually emotionally UN-balances many individuals and hurts them. Trying to convince us of your particular God steele is actually hurtful to us no matter how helpful you think that it is. And as far as the “open your hearts” argument, we DID steele. This may sound strange to you but many of us asked God for the answers, opened our hearts, and found agnosticism and atheism. If there really is a hypothetical sentient mind controlling the universe and is omniscience and omnipresent, you do realize that it means that THIS was part of the plan too right?

    The existence of the material of the universe is not empirical proof of the existence of a God. To suggest that it is demonstrates that it is either means that you don’t have an understanding of empirical evidence or that you can’t separate out highly ambiguous claims. I will try to separate this out but I doubt that you will get it as your ego and sense of self worth are likely buried in your sense of faith and we would have to do something like the treatment in “A Clockwork Orange” to dig it out.
    .
    When I say the word “God” I am talking not just about the material existence of the universe and I don’t think that you are either. ONe CAN believe in the material existence of the universe and acknowledge it as a higher power, one does not even need to believe in that higher power or force having a hypothetically supernatural ability. If you conveniently put the word “God” upon that it is essentially pantheism. If that is all that you believe it is essentially (to paraphrase Richard Dawkins) “dolled up atheism.”
    .
    When I discuss the word “God,” given the baggage that it seems to carry, I am indicating that the universe, in addition to its material existence, carries a hypothetical consciousness, a sentient mind capable of making intentional decisions. I do not claim that this is impossible, only that it is highly unlikely given that we have no example of such a mind existing without a physical brain. So my agnosticism is NOT to say that the physical existence of the universe is in any way lacking NOR that we don’t have abstract concepts. It is an acknowledgment of a lack of observable evidence of this hypothetical mind.
    .
    Your brain may not be able to separate out the concept of both a physical universe that exists in its entirety and the concept of a physical mind controlling it. To you those may be inseparable concepts. One, by definition, assumes the other in your mind and that may be in bob’s mind too. If that is the case then so be it. As I said, if he needs faith then he needs faith. My mind CAN separate those concepts and see them as independent and one does not work as proof for the other.
    .
    You claimed that faith had a definition different from what I was saying and then promptly demonstrated that your understanding of faith is the same as mine. I know of Hebrews 11:1
    1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

    I HAVE read it. That is exactly it, faith is belief (assurance) of something that you want to believe without evidence (what you don’t see/observe). Your belief in the sentient mind that controls the physical universe is something that you don’t have proof of, you only have proof of the physical universe. That is FINE with me as long as you don’t use that to justify acts of cruelty and try to gain an understanding that such a belief actually can HURT others.
    .
    I am not trying to minimize what bob is saying, he is just trying to gain an understanding of how a lot of us think. Acknowledging that he does not have proof of that mind can actually help the understanding. Heck you could even hypothetically acknowledge that you don’t have proof. You could speculate upon it. I have pointed out that bob here does not seem to understand how you can speculate something without declaring it to be correct. THAT is hypothesizing and prior to experimentation that is actually done in science. I have a feeling that you don’t get that either steele (based on some of your writings). Your mind may be incapable of that, I don’t really know.
    .
    As far as in science quite frequently we have the conclusion and work backwards to figure out the answer we are looking for, that doesn’t mean I am leading the evidence to the conclusion . That demonstrates a very clear misunderstanding of how science really works. And your math equation does not demonstrate leading the evidence towards a conclusion. Science is not that simple nor does it work that way. I don’t mean to invalidate your sentiment but what you said sounds really foolish and poorly informed. If the belief in a God helps YOU to make sense out of the world around you or others then that is fine I have no problem with that. IT does NOT help me, it actually hurt me.
    .
    I don’t expect a hypothetical sentient mind that controls the universe to do parlor tricks to function as proof of its existence. I don’t even know if it is there but if it is then it understands why I think the way that I do. And it also understands why you think the way that you do.
    .
    Bob may have the kind of mind that needs to believe as you do in order to function as a person. The fact that he can’t comprehend evolution despite believing that it occurs suggests that is the case, but if he wants to understand where we are coming from he needs to acknowledge or at least speculate that he does not have empirical proof for the existence of the sentient mind that he believes controls the universe. You could try doing that too but I have a feelings that you won’t as you can divide your beliefs and you have buried your sense of self worth in that belief. I suspect that you are the kind of individual that Martin Wagner talks about who would consider throwing himself off a building if he suddenly was given hard evidence of the non existence of a sentient being controlling the universe. (I suspect that you are more like the person AronRa describes who would put their fingers in their ears and go “la la la I can’t hear you” and throw a temper tantrum in the aforementioned case). I don’t think subzerobob is that way. I think that he is making a real effort to understand.

  300. Frank G. Turner says

    @Narf # 320
    He wasn’t any more intellectually sound back when he was commenting here regularly, a few months ago.
    .
    I don’t mean to insult him. As you can see I responded to him in such a way as to actually give some validation to his way of thinking. This is something I am working very hard on doing, trying to demonstrate respect for the opposing viewpoint by validating the feelings of the person I speak with even if I think the conclusion is faulty.
    .
    In this case he provided a rather poor example of a situation to back up his claim and links to websites that actually demonstrate why his claims are faulty. If one keeps reading to the end of the link he gave on logical positivism one could easily see that he was quote mining. Based on this I suspect that steele is reciting typical creationist / evangelical apologetic propaganda that he has been listening to. I had my suspicions that this is some of what subzerobob was doing as well which is why I discussed some of the motivations for apologists and how they work and how they appeal to emotion when they have no hard evidence to back themselves up.
    .
    Funny how if steele had been reading what I said in other posts I talk about how apologists / creationists / evangelicals WANT their emotional beliefs to bear the same credibility as empirical proof. Steele just comes at it from the angle that the empirical proof of the existence of the material universe is empirical proof of it having a sentient mind that controls it. Of course this is still an appeal to emotion.

  301. Narf says

    Steele was on here several months ago, Frank. Hell, this particular quote-mining session wasn’t even close to being as dishonest as his previous activities. If I’m remembering correctly, he’s an acolyte of WLC, which should tell you something.

    … unless that was one of our other long-running apologists we’ve had in the comment section, which I’m thinking of. I’m not positive, but I think it was him.

    Anyway, Steele isn’t as dense as Bobby, but he’s far more dishonest, as you’ve just discovered. :D

  302. Monocle Smile says

    @319 Esquilax

    We’re lucky that only parts of his posts are bible verses.

    Pretty soon, his entire posts will be bible verses. I truly think he’s just a troll.

  303. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Narf #323
    Anyway, Steele isn’t as dense as Bobby, but he’s far more dishonest, as you’ve just discovered
    .
    I kind of had my suspicions regarding steele. He seems like one of those who actually does have a rudimentary grasp of science but only uses it to help him live in denial and tries to pull others into that as well. Probably was not aware that one of the reasons I can grasp some fo what adam says is that like him, I work in science and actually have done evidence based research myself. (I still work in Chemistry but it is more applied now than experimental).
    .
    What probably appealed to him regarding me is that I am relatively new to these boards (the past few months) and he thought he might be able to pull in another sucker. Interesting how more understanding can lead some people developing even greater ways of being dishonest with themselves and others. I guess that is why what is that book, “Why smart people belief stupid things”? I need to get an audio of that book sometime (please correct me on the exact title).
    .
    And yeah I am sure that steele is not as dense, he needs his sense of rudimentary understanding to continue to support the delusion. Sometimes an understanding of the facts aids an individual in their dishonest endeavors (much like WLC).

  304. Narf says

    Shermer’s book? Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time. Is that the one you meant?

    Basically, if WLC is any indicator, it’s something of a selective blindness to some of the more egregious logical fallacies. Once he builds up some steam, it’s hard to get more than a few pages through one of WLC’s books without encountering one of the appeals to consequences with which he ends almost every train of thought.

    WLC pretty blatantly admits it, right near the beginning of his book, Reasonable Faith. When he declares that only the ministerial use of reason can be allowed, you can pretty much just disregard him completely:

    “But what about . . . the role of argument and evidence in knowing Christianity to be true? I’ve already said that it is the self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit that gives us the fundamental knowledge of Christianity’s truth. Therefore, the only role left for argument and evidence to play is a subsidiary role. I think Martin Luther correctly distinguished between what he called the magisterial and ministerial uses of reason.

    “The magisterial use of reason occurs when reason stands over and above the gospel like a magistrate and judges it on the basis of argument and evidence. The ministerial use of reason occurs when reason submits to and serves the gospel. In light of the Spirit’s witness, only the ministerial use of reason is legitimate. Philosophy is rightly the handmaid of theology. Reason is a tool to help us better understand and defend our faith; as Anselm put it, ours is a faith that seeks understanding. A person who knows that Christianity is true on the basis of the witness of the Spirit may also have a sound apologetic which reinforces or confirms for him the Spirit’s witness, but it does not serve as the basis of his belief.”

    – William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith

    For someone who bills himself as some amazing, professional philosopher, he’s … just … not.

  305. Monocle Smile says

    @Narf

    Craig is just Sye Ten Bruggencate with a bigger vocabulary who is slightly better at hiding the fact that he’s an asshole.

    Seriously…that passage is prettied-up presuppositional apologetics, full stop.

  306. Narf says

    Hmm, I dunno. It depends upon how you look at it. Craig’s garbage is slightly more rhetorically pleasing, but the actual logical construction behind the verbiage is far more primitive. Not that presuppositional apologetics is at all complicated (“You know it’s true, and you’re not allowed into the argument until you admit it!!!”), but Craig is even more simpleminded, still.

  307. Narf says

    … but yeah, the self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit is the same shit that Sye won’t shut up about, until someone punches him.

  308. steele says

    @Esquilax (319)

    you state:

    Seriously? That’s the best you’ve got? A tarted up version of “Look at the trees!”?

    The universe only attests to the existence of god if you dishonestly presuppose that god exists. To a rational person without that presupposition it does nothing of the sort, attesting instead only to the existence of the universe. Your argument, aside from being ridiculous, is also profoundly aggressive and intellectually barren, hence the repeated attempts at character assassination you felt needed to be added in there. But your bluster only demonstrates the emptiness of your position, and I need no pride at all to see that.

    Well I figured you were British with the “tarted up” and “bluster” not to many Americans use that, Western Australian though it says I guess. A tarted up version of look at the trees and presuppositionalism no not quite Esquilax.

    Alexander Vilenkin says here in this interview:

    http://now.tufts.edu/articles/

    I say “nothing” in quotations because the nothing that we were referring to here is the absence of matter, space and time. That is as close to nothing as you can get, but what is still required here is the laws of physics. So the laws of physics should still be there, and they are definitely not nothing.

    matter, space, and time is what physics is all about…..so if you have none of these at the beginning how can there be any laws of physics! Vilenkin elevates the laws of physics beyond what I think are warranted. He elevates these impersonal physical laws to God-like status and some metaphysical necessary thing that could create the universe when if the laws of physics are eternal then why is the effect (the universe) not co-eternal with the cause (laws of physics).

    I think you have to have a personal causal agent to kickstart things and if you look at the current cumulative case for theism cosmological, teleological, ontological, the moral argument, etc…I just think atheism loses completely. So no its not because I look at trees that leads me to the conclusion that there is a God.

    As far as character assassination I didn’t know I did that but if I was going to do that I would call you a smut peddler “Literotica” WTF is that?? But I am too nice of guy to badmouth anybody like that, :) Is it because you don’t want a God to condemn your chosen profession that you are an atheist or is it because you have truly examined the evidence? Just tell me what caused everything when there was no material universe and if you are going to say quantum mechanics tell me which version you subscribe too.

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

  309. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @steele 312

    Einsteins said

    “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

    Fallacious appeal to authority, and false.

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    – Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

    Cute, but probably false. Or there is such stuff, but it’s entirely irrelevant, which is indistinguishable from its non-existence.

    Frank’s flaw is saying that beauty is not measurable. Poppycock. It’s totally measurable. Just some people use a different scale. Appreciating beauty is brain-state. We can measure beauty through self reporting, and eventually we might be able to measure beauty through something like a f-MRI.

    Lastly Frank in science quite frequently we have the conclusion and work backwards to figure out the answer we are looking for,

    Instead of frequently, how about never?

    for example x+9=10.

    Math is not science. Do not confuse the two. Math uses exactly zero evidence and zero inductive reasoning. Science is all about inductive reasoning (i.e. Bayesian reasoning) and using evidence. There is zero evidence-based reasoning that goes into solving that math equation.

    @steele 317
    Steele loosely makes the “look at the trees!” argument for god. Fine – do you believe in the Christian god, or Thor, or Zeus? Why do you believe in one of those god hypotheses over the other two? Could you be wrong? How would you know if you were wrong?

    @steele 330

    so if you have none of these at the beginning how can there be any laws of physics!

    I don’t know. I do know that the proper response to “I don’t know” is not “and therefore there exists a wizard who did it, and the wizard is the Christian god”. That’s a fallacious argument from ignorance.
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AWizardDidIt

    I think you have to have a personal causal agent to kickstart things

    Why? How do you know that?
    Why is it the Christian god instead of Thor or Zeus? How do you know that?

  310. adamah says

    Steele said-

    Einstein said

    “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

    And from that comment, you leap to “Therefore, God?”

    That’s more than Einstein was willing to do: you DO realize Einstein didn’t believe in a personal God, i.e. YOUR God of the Bible, right?

    Like Spinoza, Einstein was a deist (a polite way of saying he was an atheist for God of the Bible, without having to receive icy stares from Xians).

    On this:

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    – Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

    How novel: quoting a line spoken by a fictional character in a play to justify your belief in another fictional character in a book.

    I’ll grant that it’s not as circular as quoting a Bible verse which tells you there is a God, when it’s the same book where you learned of this God concept, in the first place!

    That’s like citing LOTR to conclusively prove Hobbits exist.

    Speaking of circular logic:

    Hebrews 11:1

    1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

    So faith is believing in what you HOPE is true, based only on HOPE?

    Hmmm…

    BTW, what is the “assured” referring to? What is the assurance?

    (Typical answer is “the Bible”, thus adding a circular reference into the mix, since the Bible is also the place one is told that it’s important to have faith in the Bible).

    If “truth in advertising” laws applied to claims made in the Bible, it would be more accurate to say FAITH is the “unassured” expectation, since unless it’s secured by something tangible (such as evidence), it’s still a belief based on one’s HOPES, dreams, and wishes.

    Oh, on this:

    for example x+9=10. 10 is the conclusion (if you want to call it that) to the equation I already know the total I just need to figure out x but the final answer will still be 10.

    God is the same way He is the conclusion and helps to makes sense of what x is; be it the universe, meaning to life, love, hope, etc..

    Steele, what a missed opportunity, since in math, the ’10’ is called a ‘constant’. It IS known (and one doesn’t need faith to know it exists).

    Problem is, God is the unknown, the ‘x’. So if you said God was ‘x’, you could then say, “God IS the solution”, since ‘solving for x’ leads to the solution.

    Sure, it’s a flawed analogy anyway (since the existence of God isn’t proven by relationships of math variables), but at least it presents the appearance of deepity with a clever ending.

    Doesn’t change that it’s fallacious reasoning, since the analogy relies on the ‘style over substance’ approach.

    So, you got any more?

  311. steele says

    @EL (331)

    EL besides the fact that Adam (of all people) had to school you on how poor of a source Richard Carrier is; I mean Carrier is a book huckster who mentions his books in every post on his blog. Carrier is so pathetic he had to hit up his fans for money because he had $2000 worth of stuff stolen from him.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/6163

    I’m sorry Richard you only make $15,000 and $25,000 in your chosen profession but come on. How much did you donate EL? Oh and EL; Carrier’s book “on the Historicity of Jesus” how much you want to bet Carrier will leave just enough out for a sequel otherwise he’d have to give up his 15 minutes of fame, lol.

    You of all people on this blog are guilty of scientism/logical positivism. You frequently miss the forest through the trees due to you myopic view of reality. I will address two of your comments

    you state:

    I don’t know. I do know that the proper response to “I don’t know” is not “and therefore there exists a wizard who did it, and the wizard is the Christian god”. That’s a fallacious argument from ignorance.

    Really if you are going to suggest a wizard which one Raistlin Majere or Merlin?? It’s not an argument from ignorance it follows logically from basic assumptions of causation and causal relations.

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/must-the-cause-of-the-universe-be-personal-redux

    you tell me who/what/it this personal cause is? Balls in your court buddy.

    also

    “Why is it the Christian god instead of Thor or Zeus? How do you know that?”

    Well three reasons Narf mentioned one

    1) The self authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit (warranted belief). I hear your groans already but whatever

    Romans 8:16-17

    16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

    2) The fact that the Hebrew God raised Jesus from the dead.
    3) My experiential (real) sin and my need for a redeemer (savior). Thor/Zeus didn’t die for my sin.

    really EL the answer to life isn’t 42. I love Drizzt Do’Urden as well but there is a time to grow up.

    1st Corinthians 13:11

    11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

    I know the other side EL, I just have a hard time buying it, even though I really like this site:

    http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=1212

    …who knows I could be wrong as you suggest but I just use Pascal’s Wager to assuage my insecurities LOL JK!

  312. Frank G. Turner says

    @ EL #331
    Frank’s flaw is saying that beauty is not measurable. Poppycock. It’s totally measurable. Just some people use a different scale.
    .
    What I mean is that there is not a uniform standard for measuring beauty because it lacks a way of measuring it that produces a certain type of empirical result. I could ask people to measure the beauty on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the lowest or 10 being the highest (even allowing for fractions / decimals). I could make charts of how individuals in a certain area rate the beauty of a thing, maybe even make some predictions of how people in a certain area would make a rating. However, the statistics could wind up being widely varied from individual to individual and predictions widely skewed due to beauty being highly subjective and abstract. This may help a great deal for a psychological pseudo-scientific study, it may even get published based on submission to a psychological journal if it can produced hard demonstrable evidence of how individual or group indications of beauty vary in an area. However, one would not be able to make hard demonstrable evidence of beauty based on a measurement (so far). Hard demonstrable evidence of how brainwaves react to certain things considered beauty may surface, but how does one produce beauty repeatably?
    .
    If I measure the physical products that make UP a horizon, the light waves of the sun (assuming a horizon at sunset), moisture levels in the air, moisture and make up of the ocean (I am assuming a horizon over the beach at sunset but that can vary a lot person to person), visibility of mileage from where I stand at the time. All of these indicate that the horizon exists, NONE of them measure its beauty in an empirical sense despite all of them being empirical measurements. So I am pretty sure that I believe that the horizon exists given what I can measure. And what is most interesting about that is, all of those measurements will exists regardless of where I rate the beauty of the horizon on a scale, EVEN if I rate a 1 (or 0 if one goes 0-10), indicating that I don’t think it is beautiful.
    .
    I think that is what steele is missing here but as Narf said, I think we have a disciple of WLC which pretty much indicates intellectual dishonesty as indicated by steele’s further comments on the board, particularly that arrogant crap about Richard Carrier.

  313. steele says

    @Narf (318)

    So, check me on this. You claim that theology is like science, and then you whine about us trying to put God in a test tube. You don’t see anything a little bit contradictory and dishonest about this?

    You raise a good point, a very good point, I actually agree that is somewhat unfair of me although I will qualify that by having to clarify what I mean by that statement. I will try to honestly address this and what I mean, despite what you may perceive as dishonesty. Believe me Narf I may be bamboozled but I am probably the least dishonest one here other than perhaps lying to myself. I am a walking contradiction a child of God and chief of all sinners, so I accept that I am frequently am contradictory. Your question I was thinking about and it seems to have to do with induction and deduction a little bit but I do believe religion can inform science and science can inform religion on some levels.

    Some days I think like Aquinas and I should just say God is mysterious and just forget this arguing but I do think God has provided evidence for everyone (even you Narf) and He can lead them home despite their hardened heart, that is my hope otherwise aside from the fact that I don’t mind having my sanity questioned and some of the banter I would find this less then a waste of time.

    I don’t mean to incite Frank or hurt him,Frank seems like a pretty nice and reasonable guy, but I think even you would agree with me on one point the truth hurts sometimes. Take care

  314. Frank G. Turner says

    @steele #333
    I am not going to engage you as you are definitely a disciple of Craig whom I view as intellectually dishonest as I do you. For one who accuses others of being shortsighted you are pretty shortsighted yourself. You have a right to your feelings and I have no problem with that aside from the fact that you are actually hurting people with that belief, but as it is more of an emotional hurt and not some political or physical, so I can forgive that. Let me some up the rest of the argument for you.
    .
    You don’t get to claim that God is beyond the physical world so because he is supernatural and therefore beyond falsifiability. That is special pleading. Until God is subjected to falsifiability my answer is “I don’t know.” Unless you subject God to that you are dishonest. Your “self authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit” is just a fancy way of saying that you won’t subject your idea of God to falsifiability no matter how much you try to doll it up. That is just a fancy way of saying that if we went back in time with a Delorean and it was demonstrated with proof that Jesus never ascended to heaven, perhaps that he never even existed (Your point number 2), that you would ignore the evidence right in front of your eyes. Why should I be told by someone that I should pay more attention to what is in front of my eyes, that the proof of a sentient mind controlling the universe is the physical existence of the universe itself despite the clear LACK of a sentient mind when you clearly are more than willing to be dishonest about what you see before your eyes?
    .
    I will pin this upon you, I was a Catholic for many years, at least in name. Deep down I was agnostic and I was not completely honest with myself, perhaps more for the sake of my family than anyone else. My modern beliefs of “I don’t know” come from being honest with myself. I came from a liberal Catholic background who did not insist that scripture be literally correct I do believe in evolution. Even as a believer I did (the Kenneth Miller type). I don’t know where you are on that scale, but understanding evolution required a lot of very broad minded understanding. Even if I had disagreed with it, I would have made an effort to understand it as i made an effort to understand scripture too. And I have met those who understand it and don’t believe in it but make a definite effort to comprehend it no matter how uncomfortable it makes them. Do you have that capacity to make a definitive understanding of evolution? (I doubt that I will engage you even if you do as you will probably STILL maintain a dishonest attitude but I said the same thing about subzerobob and I am still engaging him, mainly because he appears to be making an honest effort to understand).

  315. Frank G. Turner says

    @steele # 335
    I don’t mean to incite Frank or hurt him,Frank seems like a pretty nice and reasonable guy, but I think even you would agree with me on one point the truth hurts sometimes
    .
    You are not hurting me, if you think that you are you are reading too much into what I say. Adam does this a lot too and I happen to agree with a lot of what he has to say. Being atheist or agnostic does not mean that we won’t hurt each other or have disagreements. We may not agree with each other on a lot of things (there are Xtians who believe in evolution, I was one for a while, there are atheists who don’t (there are Gay Republicans and Democrats against gun control laws, etc).
    .
    I do think that you are a dishonest person, probably more to yourself than anyone else. And don’t think that you have a real understanding of science, or if you do it is warped. You are right though that the truth hurts. Empirically factual evidence can hurt too and I consider that a more distinct form of truth.
    .
    “Truth” does not always indicate that what is being stated is empirically factual, sometimes it is a philosophical truth which I make a distinction when I speak, that is why I don’t like to use the words “truth” or “true” much as they carry baggage with them, the word “God” carries baggage with it too and you should think about that. Do you mean the same thing as I do when you use the word “God”?

  316. adamah says

    Narf said (in 299)

    By the way, anyone who’s curious what I was talking about, before Adam turned it into a complete shit-storm:

    If anyone truly believes pointing out relevant FACTS and clinically-based EVIDENCE is “creating a shit-storm”, then they might want to check their commitment to rationalism…

    Just sayin’, it doesn’t get any clearer than this example.

    I tracked down one of the books I was thinking of, in respect to how depression affects self-evaluation: Handbook of Motivation and Cognition: Foundations of Social Behavior.

    I just got around to taking a look at the article, and even the title of the article (in BOLD) points to the source of your basic misunderstanding.

    The article is talking about depressed individuals who lack a “positive EVALUATION of self”.

    The phrase ‘lacking a positive self-evaluation ‘ is NOT synonymous with ‘lacking positive DELUSIONS'; those two concepts are COMPLETELY-DIFFERENT kettles of fish, and carry vastly different meanings to doctors who use the phrases.

    So when you stated that depressives lack “positive DELUSIONS” (in post 207):

    Depressive people are the one class of people who evaluate themselves realistically. They lack the positive delusions through which most people perceives themselves.

    You’re jumbling words together and mixing concepts from different diagnoses to reach an invalid conclusion the author (Abraham Tesser) never intended a reader to make (nor would he or any other psych doc endorse such an errant interpretation).

    Ironically enough, you’re actually changing HIS scope by misapplying his words to pts outside of the subject of his article.

    In this thread, we were talking about ‘DELUSIONS’ (a symptom of psychoses), and not talking about pt’s capacity for ‘SELF-EVALUATION’ (a term primarily referring to depressives not experiencing psychoses). He’s not talking about MAJOR depression, but about ‘garden-variety’ depression.

    In fact, the phrase you actually wrote above (“lacking positive delusions”) reflects your error as clear as day: to doctors that phrase automatically implies MAJOR (psychotic) depression (since the word ‘delusion’ is a symptom of psychosis).

    You can’t just mix and match words like that, unless you’re intending to make a delicious incomprehensible tossed word-salad.

    So here’s a GREAT example of the danger of dragging a layperson’s understanding of medical terminology into one’s reading of the medical literature, resulting in this kind of mistake.

    Narf, if you’re going to delve into the medical literature on your own (which is good to do to understand and manage your condition), you should at least make sure the words mean what you THINK they mean, even the ones you are CERTAIN you already know. Pick up a good medical dictionary (like Stedmans) at a used book store, and look up the words.

    The author (Abraham Tesser) assumes his readers have completed undergrad and possess knowledge afforded by a basic medical education (MD), as well as completed additional years of residency training in psychiatry; he’s writing for colleagues, not for laypeople.

    And If you don’t want to do the work of self-education, then don’t blame the author or the people who call you out when you speak out your ass (as if an authority), when you’ve failed to comprehend what the author actually wrote.

    You’re living proof of my analogy above, since what you’ve done is equivalent to reading a book written in Swahili, then insisting the author and other speakers of Swahili are wrong in their understanding of their own language. God-forbid that you did something wrong!

    That kind of thinking suggests a MASSIVE sense of entitlement, a ‘let the evidence be damned’ level of hubris worthy of a theist.

    Its arguably even worse than when WLC distorts findings from physicists to support his conclusion: at least WLC openly discloses that faith trumps reason in his World view, so that’s arguably a more-rational justification than a rationalist who claims to respect evidence, but then fails to do so (even when someone who’s enjoyed a successful career as a Swahili translator tells him he’s full of it in Swahili, but he doesn’t even understand enough Swahili to know he’s been insulted).

    PS I’m still waiting for your evidence to support the claim that the “appeal to ridicule” fallacy has been redacted from the logic textbooks.

    After all, you really don’t want to believe in things based only on what you WANT to believe, not allowing your emotions or ego interfere with your decision-making process, right?

  317. Monocle Smile says

    @steele

    1) The self authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit (warranted belief). I hear your groans already but whatever
    Romans 8:16-17
    16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
    2) The fact that the Hebrew God raised Jesus from the dead.
    3) My experiential (real) sin and my need for a redeemer (savior). Thor/Zeus didn’t die for my sin.

    In other words, raw bullshit. Like, that’s entirely fabricated. You’re just straight-up lying at this point.

  318. corwyn says

    for example x+9=10. 10 is the conclusion (if you want to call it that) to the equation

    No I really DON’T want to call it that. What would be the conclusion if we wrote that same equation as 10 = 9 + x? If that is the best example you can think of for science working from the conclusion backwards, we can just take it as completely debunked.

    A correct version of that analogy would be x=1 is the conclusion, what was the original equation? Show us how Science can do that.

  319. Frank G. Turner says

    @ adamah #338
    Not even a “Hey Narf you seem like a nice guy, you are entitled to what you believe and it makes sense that given we have not gotten off on the right foot that I make a little bit of an endeavor to endorse that you are disclosing SOME valid information, even if I disagree with it.” Have you even TRIED to indicate that maybe he has a point or is his being wrong your only motivation?
    .
    Nothing personal but you are living proof of my response analogy above. You are going to a country in which everyone else speaks Swahili and you speak English and you expect the entire crowd to learn your language. No one is making the effort anymore. You should adjust to your audience, not the other way around no matter how right you are.
    .
    The point was DON’T be so focused on trying to prove your opponent is wrong and that you are right if you want a two way dialogue. Validate that you are actually listening and considering the possibility that your opponent may be wright and that you might be wrong EVEN IF you are factually and demonstrably correct. I do this with believers, I tell them that I do consider the possibility of the physical universe having a separate sentient consciousness even though there is no evidence to support that claim.
    .
    I am not sure that he or anyone else even WANTS to counter argue with you now. It does not even sound like you want a counter discussion. It sounds more like you just want to beat down your opponent and prove that they are fractally wrong and that you are absolutely correct.
    .
    At least WLC gets people to debate with him. I don’t know if you have noticed adam but many people are basically ignoring you. You make some valid points but I don’t think you are getting a significant amount of listeners. Do you really care if people are actually listening or is this just a public diary? (I was asked this MANY times over the years before I knew I had Asperger’s).
    .
    I have no problem with you doing this if that is your thing. This seems to be a repeating pattern for you. Even if you are correct you should not declare victory no one listens or cares anymore.

  320. steele says

    @adam (332)

    As far as Einstein, quite aware he was a pantheist if anything, not a deist BTW but I get what you meant.

    you state:

    So faith is believing in what you HOPE is true, based only on HOPE?

    Hmmm…

    BTW, what is the “assured” referring to? What is the assurance?

    (Typical answer is “the Bible”, thus adding a circular reference into the mix, since the Bible is also the place one is told that it’s important to have faith in the Bible).

    If “truth in advertising” laws applied to claims made in the Bible, it would be more accurate to say FAITH is the “unassured” expectation, since unless it’s secured by something tangible (such as evidence), it’s still a belief based on one’s HOPES, dreams, and wishes.

    The assured is referring to the hope of the resurrection and eternal life, the assurance is the promise of God, nothing is more tangible than that. I know Adam you will say there is not evidence but again resurrecting Christ is confirmation of the promises.

    Genesis 15:5-6

    5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

    6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

    Hebrews 6:17-18

    17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

    Oh as far as my math analogy your right it is a flawed comparison but I purposely made God the constant and not the variable on purpose because He is constant and unchanging. I kind made it up on the fly but I actually like it.

    you wanted one more Adam here is another little one I invented. I call it

    “Atheism is by definition Nihilistic”

    Proof:

    1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

    2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.

    3. Therefore, God exists.

    4. Since God exists atheism by definition is nihilistic.

    reason for conclusion 4 (definition of nihilism)

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nihilism

    1b. a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths

    so Adam the only premises you can deny is premise 1 because if deny premise 2 you are automatically nihilistic. So if premise 1&2 are correct conclusions 3 and 4 follow necessarily. Further conclusion 4 is correct because atheism denies God who is the ground of moral truths (duties and values).

    I know impressive right? LOL, pat on back for me.

  321. Esquilax says

    @ Steele, comment 330

    I think you have to have a personal causal agent to kickstart things and if you look at the current cumulative case for theism cosmological, teleological, ontological, the moral argument, etc…I just think atheism loses completely. So no its not because I look at trees that leads me to the conclusion that there is a God.

    To be blunt… I don’t care what you think. Why would I? You’re a stranger on the internet to me. I care what you can demonstrate to be true, and if the best you’ve got is just a collection of arguments that have been refuted a thousand times and “the universe is proof of god!” then… well, you’re not really demonstrating anything but your own ineptitude. For example, the cosmological argument doesn’t even get you to god, it gets you to “cause.”

    As far as character assassination I didn’t know I did that but if I was going to do that I would call you a smut peddler “Literotica” WTF is that?? But I am too nice of guy to badmouth anybody like that, :) Is it because you don’t want a God to condemn your chosen profession that you are an atheist or is it because you have truly examined the evidence?

    Hmm, that’s interesting, I didn’t know that was all noted in my profile! You’re “too nice of a guy,” but then you go ahead and try to shame me for it anyway, I see. Not that I’m going to play into that: yes, I am a “smut peddler,” and I’ve never made any bones about that. Nor am I ashamed of it: incidentally, does god ever condemn that? I mean, you can’t commit adultery with imaginary people, can you?

    Not that that’s why I’m an atheist anyway. I’m an atheist because the best theism has to offer in terms of argumentation is people like you attempting to passive aggressively bully everyone else into accepting the most watered down, vague idea of a god via arguments from ignorance, and then trying to swap in their specific christian god once they’ve tricked the foolish into accepting deism. I’m an atheist because you people have no evidence for your god, no arguments that aren’t fallacious, and in the face of a lack of evidence the most honest position to take isn’t to pretend that you know, but to honestly admit that you don’t.

    Just tell me what caused everything when there was no material universe and if you are going to say quantum mechanics tell me which version you subscribe too.

    I don’t know. Does my lack of knowledge somehow confirm your god claim, in your mind?

  322. adamah says

    Frank, perhaps your Aspergers prevents you from accepting it, but you’re tone-trolling again: knock it off, please.

    A choice of STYLE is up to each person, as long as they stay within boundaries of rational discourse.

    I don’t knock you for rambling posts, your obsequious kow-towing and overly-sensitive-guy word choice (due to your condition, no doubt), the annoying period marks you put between paragraphs, or the way you constantly confuse ‘lose’ and ‘loose’, etc.

    All are considered elements of YOUR style, and you are entitled to use whatever you like. But when you insist others use your methods, you’re as annoying as a JW who doesn’t take subtle hints from the householder that they have a religion, and the end up passively-aggressively slamming the door on the face.

    Don’t be a dogmatic close-minded boor, Frank, replacing religious dogmatism with a secular version of the same dynamic.

    If you’re a rationalist, you’d do well to try to avoid focusing on tone and style, and focus instead on the CONTENT.

  323. Narf says

    @338 – Adamah
    Adam, at what point are you going to grasp that I’m not reading your shit anymore, since I have zero respect for your opinions? You’re just talking to yourself, since I doubt anyone else cares enough to read it, either.

  324. steele says

    @Frank (341)

    <blockquote)I have no problem with you doing this if that is your thing. This seems to be a repeating pattern for you. Even if you are correct you should not declare victory no one listens or cares anymore.

    Its called Danths law Frank

    http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/danths-law

    Danth’s Law (sometimes known as Parker’s Law) is an Internet axiom which asserts that if a person has to insist that he or she has won an Internet argument, it is likely the said person has lost.

    Adam quite frequently thinks he has won some major point by posting a 3 page dissertation. Look at his website he is terrible at Biblical Exegesis but you would think by his blogposts he invented it.

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

    Adam doesn’t accept sensus plenior, his response is that is BS, lol, good argumentation.

    http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj13d.pdf

    which is fine if you want to be an atheist and say the whole bible is BS but don’t try to tell the Bible what the Bible is trying to say. Aside from Adam’s constant use of wikipedia to show his intelligence he quite frequently can’t grasp simple concepts or abide by Ockhams razor. I’m sure Adam subscribes to the outdated JEPD as well but I digress.

    Oh BTW Frank I subscribe to Danth’s Law I win all my arguments on internet; did you know they have the internet on computers now too? :)

  325. Monocle Smile says

    @steele

    I call it
    “Atheism is by definition Nihilistic”

    This confirms that you’re a troll in my mind and nothing more. This isn’t how a real person behaves. Nothing about you is real. You’re a fucking attention whore desperate to rustle jimmies.

    What I mean to say is: FUCK OFF.

  326. Narf says

    #342 – steele

    1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
    2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
    3. Therefore, God exists.

    Whooooooooah, wait a minute.
    Isn’t that the exact argument that WLC holds up to demonstrate the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent, in Reasonable Faith? If even WLC recognizes that it’s a fallacious argument, don’t you think you’re on some pretty shaky ground?

    4. Since God exists atheism by definition is nihilistic.

    Why did you even bother including 1 and 2, throwing a fallacious argument into your construction, when anything before 3 is pointless?

    For that matter, 4 is just nonsense, since the actual existence or nonexistence of your god has nothing to do with the definitional position of atheism.
    … and the whole argument fails on the point that your god does not make morality objective, just adds another layer of subjectivity. This argument feels like structured word-salad, to me.

  327. Narf says

    @346 – steele
    Holy shit. I think we have just reached total, utter agreement. I mean, it was about a small, relatively insignificant subject, but take what you can, huh? :D

  328. Narf says

    which is fine if you want to be an atheist and say the whole bible is BS but don’t try to tell the Bible what the Bible is trying to say.

    Except I’m not sure that Adam was exactly trying to tell the Bible what the Bible says. Usually, when I hear criticisms of the Sodom & Gomorrah story, they’re more along the lines of how we should view the stories and the statements in those stories, about morality and such.

    I dunno, perhaps Adam was taking a completely atypical angle on it and was reading way the hell into the text. I don’t know. I would have to read the article for context, and I don’t feel like doing so.

  329. adamah says

    Steele said-

    As far as Einstein, quite aware he was a pantheist if anything, not a deist BTW but I get what you meant.

    Yeah, but the matter is hardly settled. The important point is Einstein clearly didn’t believe in a personal God, and often used ambiguous poetic language to let listeners interpret what they wanted to hear (at times he spoke like a deist, at other times like a pantheist).

    As a Jew who escaped from Europe during the WWII, it was the kind of thing you’d expect a genius to do.

    The assured is referring to the hope of the resurrection and eternal life, the assurance is the promise of God, nothing is more tangible than that.

    Wow! You get all of that out of one Greek word, ‘hupostasis’?

    It’s an interesting word, appearing only in Hebrews 11, typically translated as ‘foundation’ or ‘substance’ to refer to the invisible structure upon which a house is built.

    I ran across a reference to ‘hupostasis’ referring to a common legal document in the 1st century that went by the same name (literally a ‘title deed’). Think of a claim ticket, a tangible object that you can show others to verify your right to possess the promised item at some point in the future.

    If so, it makes the whole ‘Paul’ (faith alone) vs ‘Matthew’ (faith plus works) question a non-issue, since it’s by displaying works that demonstrates one’s faith that Xians earn a right to possess the promised payoff.

    However, that interpretation is based on actual archaeological findings from the same period in which the NT was written (a legal document written in Koine Greek was discovered, with the word used in the title). Obviously a Xian’s imagination is not going to be limited by actual evidence, right? I mean, why start now?

    ;)

    know Adam you will say there is not evidence but again resurrecting Christ is confirmation of the promises.

    Hey, my threshold for evidence is low, eg I believe in Hobbits, since I read it in two books, written years apart.

    I also get excited when I get one of those “you may have already won $10 mil dollars” notices in the mail. I want to believe it, so it MUST be true.

    The sad fact is, atheists are susceptible to allowing their desired beliefs led the evidence; that’s simply part of human nature, with or without religion….

    Genesis 15:5-6

    5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

    6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

    Some reason in particular you posted that? No kidding, Abraham is the patriarch of the Israelites, and was regarded as a ‘righteous man’.

    Yeah, I’ve heard the story…

    In fact, Abraham’s righteousness is exactly the explanation offered in Genesis as to why Lot was saved, a fact lost on the Greek-speaking author of 2nd Peter who relied on the Greek Septuagint and declared Lot as ‘righteous’ (2nd Peter is widely-accepted by all but the most fundamental evangelical Bible scholars as a fake, for oh-so-many reasons).

    Care to explain what problems you had with my article on Lot?

    Or is it that you don’t like what it concludes, and makes you doubt the inerrancy of the Bible?

    Hebrews 6:17-18
    17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie,we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

    So God is limited in what He can do, since He cannot lie? What else can’t God do?

    Way to blow the omnipotent claim, huh? That doesn’t sound like a God for whom “all things are possible”.

    Here’s a question for you, Steele:

    Can God ‘sin’?

    In other words, can God act in a manner contrary to His prior expressed Divine Will?

    Restated, if God were to act in violation of one of His prior Divine commandments, would that constitute a ‘sin’?

    If not, can God change His mind?

    (Note the unchanging nature of God you cited in scripture above, plus many more like it.)

    Oh as far as my math analogy your right it is a flawed comparison but I purposely made God the constant and not the variable on purpose because He is constant and unchanging. I kind made it up on the fly but I actually like it.

    Yeah, you’d do well to learn about ‘style over substance’ fallacy, where cleverness is no substitute for a reasoned argument. I wrote an article on the topic, the one about what Johnny Cochran (OJs lawyer) and the author of Genesis had in common.

    “Atheism is by definition Nihilistic”. Proof:

    1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

    Whoa, Houston, we have a problem with premise one.

    Tell you what: I’ll just tentatively accept God exists, if that’s what you want.

    Logical fallacies and all, you won!

    Now, Steele, do you believe slavery is wrong?

    If so, why?

    If not, why not?

    Does God believe slavery is wrong? (Feel free to cite scriptural justification.)

    Further conclusion 4 is correct because atheism denies God who is the ground of moral truths (duties and values).

    As an atheist, do I possess any moral values, or have a sense of morality apart from God?

    Yes or no?

  330. Esquilax says

    @ Steele

    Proof:

    1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

    2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.

    3. Therefore, God exists.

    4. Since God exists atheism by definition is nihilistic.

    How do you intend to demonstrate premise one or two? Because, see, so far you’ve just asserted them and offered absolutely no evidence that they are so. Why on earth do you think that your bare assertions carry even the slightest weight?

  331. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @steele

    Why is it the Christian god instead of Thor or Zeus? How do you know that?

    1) The self authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit (warranted belief). I hear your groans already but whatever

    When you say this, there is nothing else worth replying to. Until we agree on the rules of epistemology, there is no reason to discuss anything else.

    I’ll end with this argument: By the self authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit, you are full of shit, and an idiot, and it says so right here in my holy scripture which has been confirmed personally by the witness of the Holy Spirit. The scripture is: Americans 5:12, Steele is an idiot, and he is wrong about the Christian god.

  332. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Adam #344
    Style IS important and tone IS important. You don’t have to use my methods. What I was pointing out is that if you actually want people to listen to you, you do have to demonstrate a willingness to accommodate them at least a small amount. Your refusal to accommodate them by going into considerable detail about why you are right and they are wrong making tremendous numbers of assumptions for which you have no proof sounds more like word salad after a while. Your insistence that you must be right because of some deep intellectual arguments and a refusal to look at or even consider the possibility that evidence presented by others contradicts your opinion sounds not so different from William Lane Craig. He insists that he cannot be wrong because of the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you insist (albeit through subtlety) that you cannot be wrong because you are so highly gifted, well educated, or that if you look deeply into the microscopic details of the argument no matter how unreliable, that you are right. That is what you make me think of adam, you are William Lane Craig if he were an atheist.
    .
    The result is the same, a person unwilling to admit that he is wrong or even consider it. You would do well to consider the “rules of epistemology” as Esquilax mention in #353.
    .
    Oh and the reason for the separation dots has to do with the formatting and its response to my screen. “Loose” and “lose” is just a typo, you do that too but one can typically determine which from content.
    .
    If you don’t care who is listening because you have to be right and you are willing to hurt people’s feelings just to win go ahead. As far as my ramblings, I read a LOT of what you say in detail adam, I am among the few on here that care to despite the overall feeling I get of you sounding like a spoiled child shouting “I have to win” over and over again who is just doing it with a better vocabulary. If you are going to ignore because you are unwilling to read for detail in what I say, I will go ahead and ignore what you say too because I am unwilling to read for detail. Congratulations, you actually had someone listening to you for a while (me) but now you don’t (in case you have not noticed from #345 Narf has flat out told you that he is ignoring you).
    .
    Like I said, you don’t have to use my methods, but making adjustments for your audience, even the tiniest of adjustments, make a degree of sense. Go ahead and speak English to a crowd of Swahilis though if that is what you want.

  333. Frank G. Turner says

    @steele #346
    Adam quite frequently thinks he has won some major point by posting a 3 page dissertation
    .
    For starters, I don’t know what Adam thinks he has done by posting a dissertation on the details of the argument, but a lot of what he does seem to do is make assumptions about people’s intent and emotional reasoning for which there is no proof. That series of assumptions is much like the “slippery slope” fallacy, I just don’t get into it as deconstructing what he says would take too much time. That and I get the feeling that if I did he would just going into a longer bit of detail to try to explain that away.
    .
    I have considered actually doing this (deconstructing the argument into assumptions) at some point as I do read some of what he says for detail despite the length of it. I started to do that by pointing out assumptions that were being made, which he acknowledged (that it is what he “felt like”), but he stills sounds unwilling to subject what he says to falsifiability. After a while though I get discouraged as he sounds more and more like a spoiled child who is repeating the same tired argument over and over again about (for example) why he does not want to clean his room, he just does so with a better vocabulary (although he does not seem intellectually dishonest, I will give him that). Along the way he does make good points.which I sometimes address or even consider, the majority of his argument gets lost in a sea of words. He might get me to be more willing to listen if he presented the principles on how his argument is falsifiable more explcitly (basically demonstrating a willingness to present the evidence in favor of the opposing argument).
    .
    What I have been trying to get across here is that he appears not to be following the rules of epistemology, being open to the possibility that evidence presented may demonstrate that a particular premise is false because he MUST be right. In his case I think he actually IS following the rules of epistemology, he just does not make a concerted effort to demonstrate why his argument could be false. I think at times he actually IS correct on factual grounds. More often it seems to breaks down to matter of opinion in which a premise cannot be determined to be true or false on purely factual grounds. Sometimes that’s what those dissertations look like to me, he has broken it down into emotional principles so that he can make his argument un-falsifiable. Either it is a matter of fact and he claims to have all the evidence to back up what he is saying, or it is a matter of opinion because the principles are abstract and neither viewpoint is correct upon purely factual grounds. It makes it look like he is presenting an un-falsifiable argument, even when it isn’t.
    .
    That is one of the MAJOR principles of intellectual dishonesty that you don’t seem to be getting steele. In order for something to be determined to be correct empirically, it MUST be falsifiable. It does not matter how sacred the idea is to you, it MUST be subject to that. Word salad and fancy arguments don’t change that premise. Perhaps someday there will be another way of looking at it (if we are to make the “appeal to other ways of knowing”), but for the time being we don’t know of any. William Lane Craig seems to think that by being pleasant and using a large vocabulary and fancy words and arguments that he can either change that premise or convince people that it is somehow incorrect. In resenting his argument he demonstrates one way or another that his argument is un-falsifiable and does so knowingly. That is dishonest.

  334. corwyn says

    but don’t try to tell the Bible what the Bible is trying to say.

    Isn’t that what EVERYONE does*? The only person I have conversed with who even reads it (in its oldest form) is Richard Carrier.

    * of course since the bible is a collection of writings, can’t *tell* it anything. Mostly, people try to tell other people what it says. Mostly, they are *completely* wrong, as far as I can tell.

  335. Narf says

    Mostly, people try to tell other people what it says. Mostly, they are *completely* wrong, as far as I can tell.

    Well, there are several who are probably right, often two of them at once, while the two of them are on opposite sides of the same issue … since you can give a quote in support of almost anything, given the self-contradictory nature of the Bible. You just have to search hard enough for a quote.

    In my experience, most believers stop well short of that and twist a less-appropriate verse into something they want it to say, though, such as in the case of abortion rights … which is one of the few things that is difficult to oppose with the Bible, strangely. Given Yahweh’s enthusiasm for slaughtering babies, I don’t know where they got the idea that he was against abortion, back in the 70’s.

  336. L. Thermos says

    @ ad84 et al re: teddy bear grave robbery…
    .
    I was surprised by Matt & Tracie’s seemingly kneejerk, faintly aghast dismissal of the subject.
    .
    Do items left at gravesites remain there permanently? Of course not. They are removed periodically by groundskeepers, lest the cemetary resemble a post-apocalyptic wasteland of rotting stuffed animals. (hyperbole, but I think you get my point)
    What happens to the items left? Given to charity?, a dumpster? Maybe the woman was taking the “teddy bear” [actually a duck, from my research] to a child that could actually play with it. Would that be so terrible? “Hey, that was meant for Timmy’s ghost!” or, “It hadn’t been whisked up to heaven yet!”
    Does the family expect to see all the previously left items upon their return? If so please enlighten me as to the actual protocol here.
    .
    That’s why people leave flowers. They have a lifespan. It’s symbolic. They’re biodegradable.

    It really seems more like a “cookies left for Santa” situation to me.

  337. William Henry says

    As a linguist, I am a little disappointed by Tracie’s support of taboo language. It is irrational, and someone who confronts irrationality on other fronts should be able to confront an irrational treatment of language. The terms “idiot”, “imbecile”, and “moron” were medical terms with very precise definitions. Since those terms were used in research and medical fields to refer to individuals with IQ ranges of 0 to 20, 21 to 50, and 51 to 70 respectively, they became associated with stupid people and developed their negative connotations through the natural evolution of language.

    The problem is that no matter which terms you choose to use to refer to the intellectually disabled (and you must either have such terms or ban the discussion of intellectual disabilities), those terms will absolutely and necessarily develop negative connotations simply because of that which in the real world they refer to. The effort to de-stigmatize something that is a natural stigma by changing its label has been ongoing, and failing, for decades, but has recently taken a very dangerous turn.

    I will get to that turn in a moment, but first lets examine the history. Note that “idiot” is derived from the Greek idiotes, which roughly meant “common person”, with the implication that the person lacks outstanding skills. Imbecile was based on the Latin imbecillus, which simply meant “weak”. From the very start, these words were euphemisms! Their negative connotations came later. When those connotations did naturally arise, it was decided in professional circles to abandon those terms and adopt a new term that sounded (at the time) gentler and less offensive. That term was “retarded”. Retard, then and now, means to delay or hold back, as in “One must retard the ignition advance on internal combustion engines when burning lower octane fuel”. “Retarded” was another euphemism that was intended to suggest the individual it applied to was just held back or developmentally delayed! When it was first used in the medical sense, it had no negative connotations, but soon developed them anyway.

    It is important to realize that this is a natural and unavoidable characteristic of language. You can not change it, though efforts are ongoing to do so. Retarded quickly developed negative connotations, so the clueless decided that, in the endless effort to alter reality by changing labels, a new label was needed. They got help from the slightly less clueless this time, though, and decided to use a label that had pre-existing positive connotations: “Special”. Now we are getting into Orwellian doublespeak territory, but language is not so easily abused, and even “special” soon took on negative connotations. Today no one would appreciate being called “special”, so the irrationally politically correct succeeded in nothing beyond ruining a word.

    Far from admitting defeat, the linguistically ignorant continued their crusade against reality and doubled down on the doublespeak, and their latest efforts are the “dangerous turn” that I mentioned above. The latest term being promoted, particularly in the education field, is “exceptional”. In order to avoid the fate of all the previous euphemisms for intellectual disability, the establishment is insisting that “exceptional” refers to both the intellectually disabled as well as the gifted. This is despite the fact that it is an “exceptional” school district that hires “Exceptional Student Education” teachers to work with gifted students. ESE educators almost universally work solely with disabled students, and the educational programs to train them focus exclusively on the disabled, so the official justification for lumping the gifted in with the disabled is a barefaced lie.

    The problem with this latest turn in linguistic ignorance is that even “exceptional” will unavoidably assume negative connotations. As the word inevitably heads for pejorative territory, administrators, political animals, and ignorant politically correct do-gooders will attempt to rescue it by insisting loudly that it refers to the gifted as well. Taking into account the reality that American society has a serious problem with anti-intellectualism, it is obvious that the average will happily use a pejorative version of “exceptional” to tar the gifted: “Oh, you made the Honor Roll? You’re so exceptional!.” No matter what you do, “exceptional” will come to mean “retarded”, and the only thing you will have accomplished is suggesting that gifted individuals are disabled. This is unwise.

    As a postscript, I know that many who read this will think, and perhaps even respond “But lots of gifted people have disabilities!” It is a symptom of the anti-intellectualism rampant in America to voice such a justification. The fact is, though, that being gifted is not, in and of itself, a disability.

  338. Frank G. Turner says

    @steele #335 and #346
    With regards to Adam I have read some of his blog post website and I actually agree with a lot of what he has to say. He is a very smart guy. That is what is actually interesting about the “tone trolling” and style issues. You are relating to me better even though (for the most part) in terms of context I don’t disagree with Adam about many things (some I do). I know you have pointed out that,
    I don’t mean to incite Frank or hurt him,Frank seems like a pretty nice and reasonable guy
    .
    You actually make my point for me, you are relating to me more easily than you are to him because of my maintaining a more agreeable tone which focuses on certain things. For example, many people have a hard time with being wrong because they feel it says something about them as a person. I try hard to validate you for having come to certain conclusions (and others, including subzerobob, although a part of me suspects that you steele are subzerobob incognito), even when I disagree with the conclusion. Xtianity actually picks up on that a small bit, particularly when it says “hate the sin and love the sinner.” Basically coming to the wrong conclusion or having done something wrong or even morally objectionable does not may you a wrong or morally objectionable person. Validating an individual BEFORE you demonstrate why you disagree with their conclusion has a large effect on helping them relate to you.
    .
    Oddly enough, Adam has pointed out that I have made an effort, seemingly a successful one with subzerobob and I have tried with others on here including Narf and corwynn, to relate to the listener. Relating to the listener is sometimes a matter of tone and style which can help you to better reach the listener. Metaphorically that is often called “speaking the audience’s language.”.Yet he is angered by my “tone trolling.” (I am aware of this, I just don’t think that ALL tone and style issues are “trolling,” it is dependent on the situation).
    .
    I don’t know what Adam is trying to do half the time, but I do read a good deal of what he says and he is intelligent and makes some good points, even great ones. It is easier for me to relate to them as I do filter out some of the emotion / tone and pick up on more of the context, at least I think so. Sometimes I find myself even making the same point in terms of context but totally altering the style to relate to my audience. (I have heard this referred to as “translating English into English” as a joke but sometimes it is quite serious).
    .
    I have read his sight and I think that much of his Biblical Exegesis is quite sound. Based on much of your basckground and the assumptions that you are making (as a “believer”) I can understand how you might think it foolish. You are not foolish to come to that conclusion. (Despite thinking what he says is sound on that blog post, I can understand how you might not come to that conclusion given other ways of looking at what he has to say). If you would like me to translate something that he has said into my own terms that you can relate to better I would be more than happy to do so. I would be concerned that this would piss him off (that would really drive the point home about style and tone actually being critical) but if he is going to put stuff online publicly then the public has the right to use it as long as we don’t make money off of it. (I promise that I won’t change the context but I may insert my own disagreements with it). Feel free to point to something that you would like put into terms that you can relate to.
    .
    Now something regarding post #333. A big part of the issue with you understanding atheism and agnosticism comes with an understanding of having evidence, specifically in the form of empirical facts, to serve as proof for a claim BEFORE the claim has been made. I understand that you believe that you have evidence for the existence of a God, or (as you may note me saying repeatedly so as to distinguish what ‘i’ mean by “God” vs. what ‘you’ might mean), the existence of an omniscient sentient mind that controls the universe that exists without the presence of a physical brain within the universe. You claim that:
    1) The self authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit (warranted belief)….
    2) The fact that the Hebrew God raised Jesus from the dead.
    3) My experiential (real) sin and my need for a redeemer (savior).

    .
    All serve as evidence for a God. Even if there was a “self authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit” (if there even IS a Holy Spirit), Jesus WAS raised from the dead (I won’t go into it being the “Hebrew God” as that is a circular argument where you are using God to prove himself), AND you had experiential sin and a need for a savior, that STILL would not serve as proof for a sentient mind that controls the universe and has a mind that exists without a brain (which appears to be how you are defining God). You may define God a different way, but you are NOT subjecting that God to falsifiability (as I mentioned before), meaning that if you keep moving the goalposts in order to maintain a belief that God is real then you are basically believing in nothing.
    .
    I used that method to define God in order to demonstrate a way in which God WOULD be falsifiable that I think is in line with how most people think of God. The fact that you used the word “need” in the “evidence” (which is not really evidence, more on that in a second) is somewhat telling. IT suggests that your reason for believing in God is serving an internal purpose, meeting some psychological need that you have not learned how to meet otherwise. Some of the shows that Martin Wagner has been on he has talked about that (an episode in which subzerobob was a caller that I mention above discusses this). How belief in a God (particularly Xtianity, which takes large advantage of this) preys upon people’s fears and insecurities. It gets them wrapped around an idea of God upon which they base their ego and sense of self worth.
    .
    The fact that you are an intelligent guy (yes I do think so steele) despite not having a real understanding of how science works (that happens) but that you are (as you said in post 335, a “walking contradiction” suggests that this has occurred, that some part of you realizes that none of what you have presented is real evidence. It sounds like you have convinced yourself of this and that you are terrified of what might happen if you stopped believing, like you would throw yourself off a bridge and feel that you have no morality (you mention this in #333) and no purpose in life. You may want it to be evidence, you may hope that it is evidence, you may pretend that it is evidence, and you may even delude yourself so deeply into thinking that it is that you don’t realize it. Such a delusion can lead you to do wonderful things and there is nothing wrong with that (as I said to subzerobob in so many words) as long as you don’t let it lead you to do awful things, which it has the potential to do.
    .
    But you CAN have that same wonderful sense of self confidence without belief in a God. You can have all of that without a delusion that what you have is evidence. You might even have a GREATER sense of self confidence and it can lead to EVEN better things (even though you don’t think it will as you have also seem to have deluded yourself into thinking that morality can’t exist without a sentient mind controlling the universe that had a mind without a brain). Learning that you can have morality without belief in a God is a wonderful thing. I don’t think that you have ever experienced that.

  339. Narf says

    … although a part of me suspects that you steele are subzerobob incognito …

    I dunno, man. I’ve heard every call that Bobby has made, which made it through to the air. I don’t think there are many people who are that good at acting on-the-fly, and I doubt those who are would be buzzing a show like this.

    Steele comes up with the most ridiculous arguments, and I’m not positive he isn’t a poser, but his grasp of the English language is far beyond anything that Bobby is capable of.

  340. unfogged says

    @L. Thermos #358

    I was surprised by Matt & Tracie’s seemingly kneejerk, faintly aghast dismissal of the [teddy bear grave robbery]. Do items left at gravesites remain there permanently? Of course not. They are removed periodically by groundskeepers

    I see a big difference between the groundskeepers periodically removing items as part of the normal maintenance a random individual taking an item that does not belong to them. The former is necessary and expected. The latter shows a lack of sympathy and respect for the grieving individual who left the item there.

    I can easily imagine a scenario where somebody who is homeless takes the item to sell it in order to eat or other ways in which the actions might be excused, or at least understood. I’d have to know the specifics of the normal policies of the cemetery for such items, the timing of the removal, and the reasons behind it to fully judge any instance but I see a “faintly aghast” initial response as the right one.

  341. Frank G. Turner says

    @Narf # 361
    I dunno, man. I’ve heard every call that Bobby has made, which made it through to the air. I don’t think there are many people who are that good at acting on-the-fly, and I doubt those who are would be buzzing a show like this.

    Steele comes up with the most ridiculous arguments, and I’m not positive he isn’t a poser, but his grasp of the English language is far beyond anything that Bobby is capable of.
    .
    I was just pointing out that I had suspicions, mainly because I notice subzerobob stopping posting on a board right around the time steele starts t post or vice versa. It occurred ot me that it could be coincidence but for some reason I felt it important to voice my suspicions. Another reason that occurred to me was that bob might be trying to avoid negative connotations periodically attributed to him (which I don’t think are intentional, they seem to be more misunderstanding and poor education), so he switched nicks (or vice versa). It is a moot point though. And my counter suspicions also had to do with the fact that steele had a better grasp of the Bible and the English language than subzerobob. Then again they might be friends/roomates or something to that effect which would relate some similarities to their understanding of various things while still indicating a certain overall lack of understanding.
    .
    Based on subzerobob’s failure to respond / read anything in a while he just needed confirmation that it was ok to believe in a God from a non believer and that I had provided this for him. Which I don’t disagree with, it is ok to believe in a God even without proof if it helps you, it is what you do with that belief that I care about. What I think many believers get hung up upon is a need to believe that they do have evidence which is on par with the evidence provided by a controlled experimental study, which they don’t.

  342. Frank G. Turner says

    @ William Henry, #359
    It is important to realize that this is a natural and unavoidable characteristic of language.
    .
    Believe me I SOOOO wish that language was static and uniform so that the meaning of one word to us 1000 years from now was exactly the same word with the same connotations as it is now. When people use the pejorative of “that is so gay” nowadays I will sometimes say, “Really? that is so homosexual or that is so happy?” When I stick with the “that is so homosexual” and ask if the person is a bigot (and I don’t let up, I do it almost every time they use the word “gay” that way), I find them changing their usage sooner or later.
    .
    Then again it can lead to fun like my claiming that I bite the heads off of live chickens or that I am a whale’s genitals or the severed foreskin of a penis.

  343. Frank G. Turner says

    @William Henry, #359 follow up (steele, Narf, Adam, you might agree with this too or see some usage in it.
    .
    One of the many reasons why I recognize that language is not static is that people have feelings and emotions. I tend to think of feelings and emotions in a negative sense, even positive feelings simply because they are feelings and are so subjective and not uniform and contribute to large misunderstandings. You don’t know how many times I have wished that we were Vulcans or that we could just reach into our brains and turn off our emotions. We can’t though, they are a part of us.
    .
    I tried for years to argue that people should not let emotions or tone or style or ANYTHING emotional and not empirically measurable be used in our understanding at all, ever. I often thought we would be better off as robots and that context should rule over style. What I discovered is that some people just can’t. Their emotions take priority over their rational thought and not the other way around (they understand application before the abstract and not the other way around). So sometimes context does have to be filtered in an emotionally pleasing (or at least not UN-pleasant) way in order to reach some people.
    .
    I think that apologists (and politicians) take advantage of this, getting people to completely ignore their rational minds and go based purely upon emotions, like wild animals. Well I don’t want that, but filtering rational thought through an unpleasantness filter can help to reach people. to get them to better understand the unpleasantness.
    .
    You may want to keep that in mind steele, there is a LOT of unpleasantness in the Bible. You quote a few of the more pleasant verses that make your point, do you go out of your way to defend the parts that condone slavery or killing? A lot of your fellow kin believers do.

  344. steele says

    @Narf (350) Corwyn (356)

    Narf says:

    “I dunno, perhaps Adam was taking a completely atypical angle on it and was reading way the hell into the text. I don’t know. I would have to read the article for context, and I don’t feel like doing so.”

    That’s exactly my point you are correct. I don’t mind that Adam thinks that Lot wasn’t righteous and he thinks 2nd Peter is a contradiction to the Genesis account but he could have made the point in about 3 paragraphs instead of 50 or how ever many it actually is. I can’t do a point by point rebuttal but needless to say Lot was considered righteous because he obeyed God’s command to leave Sodom. Just as Abraham was considered righteous for believing God.

    Genesis 15:6

    6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

    Even though Abraham let his wife be taken into Pharaohs and Ambimlech’s harem and he frequently wasn’t the most stand up guy at times. Look at what Paul says

    Philippians 3:9

    9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

    Look at David he had a man killed to be able to steal his wife and God was able to forgive him. That all aside if you think the Bible is BS that’s fine but Lot offering his daughters to the rape crowd while repugnant and strange was done to protect the angels under his charge. I don’t think Lot had a AK-47 to disperse them easily. But still I think even if one doesn’t believe in inspiration the apostle Peter might have just been repeating some oral tradition at the time about Lot, much like in Jude with the mention of Enoch. Adam has this same problem with Noah being a preacher of righteous in 2nd Peter as well.

    Corwyn you are correct as well I was merely trying to say I think Adam is reading way to much into the Biblical account that isn’t really there. Again not that there can’t be a contradiction (I don’t think there is) but I think he perhaps over analyzed it and brought in elements that have very little to do with such a short narrative.

    Here is an example of a contradiction many think is in the Bible

    http://carm.org/bible-difficulties/matthew-mark/did-jesus-tell-his-disciples-take-staff-or-not

    I don’t actually agree with Slick if you look at Mark 6:7-9 (I don’t don’t Slick to be a very good apologist)

    7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics

    notice how he sent them out two by two and Matthew and Luke just say he sent out the twelve I believe Mark is a more narrowed view and really there is no contradiction in the accounts as Jesus may have gave the 6 (two by two) groups different instructions regrading what to take with them on their journey. See and that didn’t take two full web pages to explain, LOL.

  345. steele says

    @Frank (360)

    “although a part of me suspects that you steele are subzerobob incognito”

    I’m not Bob I actually felt bad for Bob that’s why I popped in. I know you were trying to be nice to him Frank I just felt you were a little condescending to him in one of your posts (not that he didn’t deserve it; as Narf has said you do open yourself up to ridicule on here at times if you can’t get it together somewhat).

  346. Frank G. Turner says

    @ steele # 367
    I’m not Bob I actually felt bad for Bob that’s why I popped in. I know you were trying to be nice to him Frank I just felt you were a little condescending to him in one of your posts
    .
    No matter how deeply you feel bad for bob, that does not make what he was saying factually correct in any demonstrably empirical way. You are among a LOT of well educated individuals in here with strong understandings of science that individuals like you and bob seem to have a limited understanding of (with all due respect). If you try to present information that is either faulty evidence, or non-evidence, you open yourself up to criticism for having done so. Now admittedly what people should be doing is criticizing the evidence and not the person, but it can be hard to separate the person from the idea.
    .
    I don’t fault you for presenting the math equation as an example of how evidence can be lead towards a conclusion, that took courage. However, as you can see from the responses you got (I would hope) that is a really BAD example. And for those of us that use science in our daily professions (either applied or experimental, I have done both) having someone try to tell us how science works sounds really arrogant. Even those in here who DON’T do science for a living but who understand it could tell that was a bad example. And your article on “scientism” does not really help the position you were making either. The fact that you would link that indicates that you didn’t understand what you were reading.
    .
    Bob did that too, he linked an article that I read further and the truth is it does not support his position. What he was essentially doing is called “quote mining” and that seems to be a bit of what you are doing too (in his case I did not think intentionally, in your case I initially thought intentionally, but I am not sure).

  347. steele says

    @Esquilax (343)

    I’m an atheist because the best theism has to offer in terms of argumentation is people like you attempting to passive aggressively bully everyone else into accepting the most watered down, vague idea of a god via arguments from ignorance, and then trying to swap in their specific christian god once they’ve tricked the foolish into accepting deism. I’m an atheist because you people have no evidence for your god, no arguments that aren’t fallacious, and in the face of a lack of evidence the most honest position to take isn’t to pretend that you know, but to honestly admit that you don’t.

    I’m sorry Esquilax usually I am just aggressive not passive agressive. That aside you claim a bait and switch on my part. Just lets say I am right for sake of argument and at least the deism is true, well then atheism obviously isn’t. So to get a atheist to that point (Anthony Flew for example) is 1/2 the battle. I will admit it doesn’t prove the Christian God. How is me suggesting that the universe had a beginning that required a personal agent fallacious, because you disagree the universe began to exist and isn’t eternal or because I posit a immaterial, timeless, changeless, entity.

    If as Vilenkin (who is agnostic not Christian BTW) says there was a point where space, time and matter didn’t exist using current cosmology then what was before the material universe except something that was immaterial, timeless, and changeless. If you want to say I don’t know ok fine I’ll move on as you obviously have little to no imagination or curiosity…if you say nothing well tell me how something comes from nothing scientifically. I think my solution is eminently plausible a god is an answer….then the question becomes which one if any could it be.

  348. corwyn says

    What did the (observable) Universe look like at the first instant we can determine it (i.e. when our theories still make sense), as best as Physics can tell.

    Matter: None. Too soon for physical objects to form.
    Energy: None. The Universe appears to be flat (within a few percent)
    Space: Precious little, the space which the observable Universe occupied was smaller than a proton.
    Time: ? Perhaps only one Planck time. Perhaps more. Who knows. Until one has something to test, speculation is just for fun.
    Entropy: Less than we have any right to hope for.

    As close as we can come to ‘nothing’, something spontaneously comes from it (Quantum foam). Incomprehensible as that may seem.

  349. Frank G. Turner says

    @ steele # 369
    Oh and adam, forget what I said, I am sorry, I just can’t be nice to this guy anymore, I tried. Pardon me if you take this personally steele but I just can’t be nice anymore.
    .
    So to get a atheist to that point (Anthony Flew for example) is 1/2 the battle.
    .
    Nothing personal, but again you don’t understand what you are talking about. I know that your feelings are valid but you REALLY need to read over the board in intricate detail and actually listen to what others have to say BEFORE trying to counter it. Your passion for your deity is overriding your rationality.
    .
    Agnostics (like myself) ALREADY belief that a God is POSSIBLE and in a way, so do atheists. Many just don’t feel that it is LIKELY given the data that we currently have given a definition of God that s falsifiable. Evangelicals and apologists won’t settle down to a falsifiable definition of God because it prevents you from being able to move the goalposts. “Possible” and “likely” are two VERY different things that you don’t seem to get, much like subzerobob. (I am guessing that like him you don’t seem to understand the difference between declaration and speculation). That ISN’T the battle that you are trying to fight despite what you think it is (I should have expected this from a disciple of William Lane Craig).
    .
    Moving the goalposts and refusing to define God in a way that is falsifiable, or even CONSIDER God as being falsifiable, is dishonest. And if you can’t be honest then we have to assume that you are immoral in others ways too. If something can never be wrong then nothing you can learn from it is really knowledge, just a delusion. If you can;t ever be wrong than you can;t ever be right either (and even if you are right then you are right for the wrong reason).
    .
    Now regarding Vlenkin,
    If as Vilenkin (who is agnostic not Christian BTW) says there was a point where space, time and matter didn’t exist using current cosmology then what was before the material universe except something that was immaterial, timeless, and changeless . Anything OTHER than “I don’t know” or “we don’t know” is a dishonest answer. You have no way of falsifying what came before, so anything other than “I don’t know” INCLUDING a “personal agent” is not only fallacious, but also dishonest. Nothing personal, but that is dishonest and fallacious.
    .
    You have been taught that “I don’t know” means “I am wrong” by propaganda pushers. And FYI, the words “I don’t know” does NOT indicate that you obviously have little to no imagination or curiosity . “I don’t know means NOTHING MORE THAN I don’t know, and nothing less. Regardless of your reasons for trying to suggest this, which are aggressive, passive aggressive, dishonest, and immoral (not your, just the reasons) scientists have PLENTY of imagination AND curiosity or they would not have made the kind of advances that have brought medicine and technology to where it is today. THEIR curiosity DOES NOT COME from positing an answer that limits their imagination or curiosity, which is exactly what positing a “God” the way that you define it does. THAT is why you doing what you are doing HURTS the situation more than it HELPS.
    .
    Furthermore what you are positing NOT ONLY fails to be a immaterial, timeless, changeless, entity in any respect except for your mind, but also answers a complex question with an even more complex answer. That isn’t answering the question! If you posit a “God” then you are positing a sentient being that comprises the material expanse of the universe that maintains a mental capacity without a mind to support it despite the fact that this has never been demonstrated before. Even if it had you would have to explain how this is possible BEFORE getting someone to accept that it was empirically observable. Sure we can speculate that it is possible, but you want people to declare that it exists without having directly observed this mind in action. THAT is a dishonest act.
    .
    If you even began to understand science you would know that it is not being proposed that something comes from nothing scientifically. It never was, that is just what WLC wants suckers like you to believe because it helps support Adolph Craig’s propaganda. As far as your solution being eminently plausible, that is just a delusion.
    .
    So answer me this, why should we play this game of logic with individuals who want to change the rules or never settle down to rules so that they can never loose? How is that justice or fairness? How do you live with yourself knowing that you have set up a dishonest game? How is it that your God comprises the morality when the only way to defend that God is to be dishonest and immoral?
    .
    Here is how you play fair, acknowledge the possibility, just the possibility that a God, a sentient mind that controls the universe (an no you can;t redefine it any other way, no moving the goalposts, no cheating of any kind), does not exist. That isn’t admitting that it does not exist and if you fail to understand that then you really don’t have the kind of mind that ever could understand science much less learn from it. (And I would venture to say should not be allowed to benefit from it either but that is taking it a bit too far).
    .
    And if you quote scripture to me like Luke 11:23 then you are nothing more than a disciple of a mafia boss, because that is exactly what a dishonest person who does not want you to expand your mind and learn WOULD say. furthermore that Makes Matthew 7:12 technically impossible because “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,” that means that in order to get us to consider the possibility that a God DOES exist you first have to consider OUR position that one DOES NOT exist.
    .
    And even if we did consider one existing, one that condones slavery, war, murder, sexism, racism, etc would NOT sound like a moral God to me. To even SUGGEST that because a person has no imagination or curiosity because they state honesty “I don’t know” is a despicable act and it does not surprise me from someone as dishonest as you. You did not hurt my feelings with that, but you did piss me off.
    .
    I can’t remember who said it on one of these boards, how William Lane Craig is just Sye Ten Bruggencate with a bigger vocabulary and who does a better job of hiding that he is an asshole. Yeah definitely, William Lane Hitler follows Martin Luther who is well documented to have been an unpleasant and harsh self centered man. It seems the followers are assholes disguised in nice men’s clothes.

  350. adamah says

    @Steele (366) said-

    That’s exactly my point you are correct. I don’t mind that Adam thinks that Lot wasn’t righteous and he thinks 2nd Peter is a contradiction to the Genesis account but he could have made the point in about 3 paragraphs instead of 50 or how ever many it actually is.

    Steele, did you actually read the article? The part in bold indicates you didn’t, or you missed the point the Bible tells you, since Genesis doesn’t explicitly say ANYTHING about Lot’s righteousness OR unrighteousness: it only says Lot was saved due to ABRAHAM’S righteousness.

    Genesis 19:29

    “So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.”

    As I explained, that’s exactly what the Bible is telling you when it says, ‘God remembered Abraham': that’s a Hebrew idiom which frequently appears in the OT, meaning, ‘acted on behalf of’.

    (It also appears earlier in Genesis, when ‘God remembered Noah’, and acted on righteous Noah’s behalf by directing the ark to come safely to rest.)

    As far as your other assertion, I’m exceedingly careful NOT to read anything into the plain-text to avoid eisegesis (something Xians do quite naturally, imagining Satan as the serpent, or seeing Jesus referred to in Genesis 3:16 as the first prophecy in the Bible). Xians have interpolation down to an art form, so it’s ironic you’d accuse me of it when I’m trying to get as close as possible to the original Jewish interpretation, even explaining the historical and cultural context in which the story was originally heard.

    That’s why I’m explaining the Yahwist’s use of well-known literary devices (eg Hebraic directional symbolism, even seen in the NT with Jesus as sitting at the right hand of God, a privileged position; or the main geologic elevation references to ‘balot’, high places). There’s also subtle clues given in the names of the cities (Zoar meaning ‘little’ in Hebrew). and these references were easily understood by ancient listeners.

    The Yahwist was a master of subtlety (and sometimes was too clever, as he left confusion in his wake) by relying on puns in Hebrew (unfortunate, since they’re lost in English translation). He was a master of word-play, revealing his cleverness (much as you attempted, coming up with the math analogy).

    My target audience is JW’s, and generally they recognize the Hebrew symbolism. At least the old-skool JWs once did, as they once relied on the work of OT scholars to produce a massive reference work called, “Aid to Bible Understanding”.

    Problem is, when JWs started learning about the symbolism used in the OT, it raised troublesome questions in their minds and many fell out. In the end, the JWs stopped publishing it, wanting to keep their members fat, dumb, and happy.

    I also discussed such ancient Jewish beliefs as the ‘doctrine of collective responsibility’, which even existed in Jewish beliefs in Jesus’ time (he speaks of Sodom, saying the entire cities which reject his disciples’ apocalyptic message would be destroyed in the end times).

    Such thinking was prevalent thoughout the OT, but the Hebrew doctrine was inconsistent with emerging Xian doctrine which held that each individual bears personal responsibility for his own salvation (and when the end never came, as expected to occur shortly after Jesus’ resurrection, 2nd Peter addresses the delayed return by saying God is allowing more time for more people to be saved).

    The passage of 2nd Peter referring to Lot was a patch-job that shoehorned the OT story to align it with evolving Xian doctrine.

    (That’s also why Noah was declared a preacher of SALVATION in 2 Peter, when Genesis clearly indicates he was a preacher of CONDEMNATION.

    Read the article on that, since it’s an even easier read, being only one page.)

    I’m suspecting you’d still dismiss it even I didn’t go into such details, since you’re looking for any pretense to dismiss what you really don’t want to accept. Unfortunately, theists don’t have a monopoly on that tendency: atheists are victims of it, as well.

    On this:

    I can’t do a point by point rebuttal but needless to say Lot was considered righteous because he obeyed God’s command to leave Sodom.

    Prove it.

    Steele, provide chapter and verse please, otherwise you’re just interpolating, AKA making shit up, on the fly (and note the irony of 2nd Peter condemning false teachers who twist scriptures to make up doctrines).

    You can’t provide any such verse, and 2nd Peter mentions Lot as being righteous since he was vexed at the evil speech of his neighbors; THAT’S 2nd Peter’s explanation of why Lot was saved from Sodom’s destruction.

    ‘Vexation’ is a low-barrier for salvation: if that’s all it takes, then a smart Xian would be guaranteed to earn salvation by moving to Las Vegas (a modern-day Sodom) and going to the casinos and strip clubs to get vexed at all the sinners he voluntarily associated with.

    That’s a lame excuse….

    Even though Abraham let his wife be taken into Pharaohs and Ambimlech’s harem and he frequently wasn’t the most stand up guy at times.

    Well, you’re forgetting that Abram lied TWICE by denying Sarah was his wife (to save his own skin), and profiting greatly from the scam. That’s a common motif in the OT, of the Jews outsmarting the Gentiles (also seen in Exodus, when the Israelites carry the riches of the Egyptians with them).

    What an upright and moral guy Abram is, a perfect role model for husbands today, no?

    In case that clue doesn’t make it clear, the Bible often reflects the values and morals of a quite-different culture in the ANE, 3,000 yrs ago.

    Here’s another example;

    Look at David he had a man killed to be able to steal his wife and God was able to forgive him.

    Yes, but only after God killed the infant son that resulted from his affair with Bath-Sheba.

    What a great guy YHWH is, killing innocent infants with a slow miserable death just to punish the parents?

    (That’s a reflection of the Jewish belief that the death of an innocent redeems the sins of others, an early manifestation that led up to Xianity’s claim of Jesus’ death redeeming the sins of others. It’s also seen in Jephthah’s daughter being sacrificed to keep a vow made to God.)

    That all aside if you think the Bible is BS that’s fine but Lot offering his daughters to the rape crowd while repugnant and strange was done to protect the angels under his charge.

    Lol! You’re begging the question, since that’s the entire ISSUE at stake: is it moral or not?

    The thing you’re overlooking is the angels hadn’t yet reveal themselves to be angels at that point: to Lot, they were just two strangers.

    Heck, I’m a stranger to you; can I come over to your house and stay overnight, and if a mob surrounds it and demands I be turned over, will you offer up YOUR daughters to protect me?

    That element is reflecting the ancient code of hospitality in the ANE: it’s even still respected today in places like Afghanistan (as depicted in the recent movie, ‘Lone Survivor’, based on a true story of a team of Navy Seals where the sole survivor was rescued by Afghani locals who even fought off the Taliban, based on the same ancient principle of accepting him as a guest).

    I don’t think Lot had a AK-47 to disperse them easily.

    Who needs an AK-47, when you have two angels?

    But still I think even if one doesn’t believe in inspiration the apostle Peter might have just been repeating some oral tradition at the time about Lot, much like in Jude with the mention of Enoch.

    Problem is, the overwhelming consensus opinion of NT scholars is the book of 2nd Peter was written and emerged at least a half-century AFTER Peter was supposedly martyred.

    What reason do historians suspect that?

    Early Church writings note the emergence of this other writing of Apostle Peter, and it kicked up controversy at the time (where some bishops dismissed it as a fake). Modern scholars note the style of writing is anachronistic for the mid-first century, but more importantly, the writing is responding to issues ongoing at the time it was uncovered (eg the emergence of heretical Gnostic teachers with their ‘false’ teachings). Other church documents show these weren’t even issues at the time Peter WAS alive. It’s a FAKE.

    Steele, if you place truth over everything else and you actually care about what you believe, then you’d do yourself a favor and study the Bible. I can’t do your thinking or believing for you.

    And if you don’t, then that’s fine, too.

    Like Jack Nicholson said, some people can’t HANDLE the truth. It takes courage to look at the World as it is, and not through comforting rose-tinted glasses.

    notice how he sent them out two by two and Matthew and Luke just say he sent out the twelve I believe Mark is a more narrowed view and really there is no contradiction in the accounts as Jesus may have gave the 6 (two by two) groups different instructions regrading what to take with them on their journey. See and that didn’t take two full web pages to explain, LOL.

    It does, if you want readers to understand….

    Although some act as if they’ve caught a huge Bible error (eg when Jesus talked about the size of a mustard seed), that kind of stuff strikes me as picking nits.

    There’s much bigger fish to fry than such minor and trivial inconsistencies, and those little inconsistencies are unlikely to have a sway with a true believer.

    I don’t know what denomination you are, but the question of Noah preaching a message of condemnation (vs salvation) and the Lot story are important to JWs, since they rely on the Flood account as a prototype for Armageddon, and use it as justification to spread a modern-day message of salvation.

    2nd Peter fits right into their proselytizing belief, as they believe they need to warn others to earn salvation.

  351. Narf says

    That’s exactly my point you are correct. I don’t mind that Adam thinks that Lot wasn’t righteous and he thinks 2nd Peter is a contradiction to the Genesis account but he could have made the point in about 3 paragraphs instead of 50 or how ever many it actually is. I can’t do a point by point rebuttal but needless to say Lot was considered righteous because he obeyed God’s command to leave Sodom. Just as Abraham was considered righteous for believing God.

    The usual argument about Lot isn’t that he wasn’t righteous according to the standards of his time. It’s something more to the effect of, “Okay, yeah, so Lot was righteous for his time period. That’s what passed for moral, back then. And you want to base our morality upon the primitive, immoral shit that was going on, back then? That’s fucked. We’ve evolved culturally, since then.”

    I don’t know exactly where Adam might have been going with it, since I haven’t read what he had to say on the subject.

    Genesis 15:6
    6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
    Even though Abraham let his wife be taken into Pharaohs and Ambimlech’s harem and he frequently wasn’t the most stand up guy at times. Look at what Paul says
    Philippians 3:9
    9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

    Why do you always quote Bible verses at us, when you know it doesn’t … oh, wait, those are actually appropriate, for once.

    Anyway, half-assed comedy aside, this is one of the things I find amusing. Some people hold up statements of characters in the Bible, making declarations about other characters in the bible. One instance was particularly amusing, in which some apologist (I think Ray Comfort) held up Mark 12:14 to say that even the Pharisees and the Herodians thought highly of Jesus:

    They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.”

    That one was particularly silly, since it says, right in the surrounding verses, that they were trying to con him. Jesus even calls them hypocrites, in the version in Matthew 22.

    Even without the bad quote mining, though, I just don’t give a damn about what some of the characters in the bible think about other characters in the Bible. I can evaluate things on my own, thanks.

    … but Lot offering his daughters to the rape crowd while repugnant and strange was done to protect the angels under his charge. I don’t think Lot had a AK-47 to disperse them easily.

    Errrrrrrr. They were the angels sent to … demolish the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah … and Lot thought he had to throw his daughters out to be raped by the mob? I think the angels probably brought along a little more than the Bronze Age equivalent of AK-47’s.

    I think it more likely that that bit in the story was meant to make some sort of statement, or simply reflected the cultural norm, about the relative value of men and women — of which I don’t know if you’re aware, but the people of the time tended to treat women pretty badly — which we’re probably unlikely to completely decipher, since we don’t know enough about the surrounding culture.

  352. Narf says

    @367 – steele

    I’m not Bob I actually felt bad for Bob that’s why I popped in. I know you were trying to be nice to him Frank I just felt you were a little condescending to him in one of your posts (not that he didn’t deserve it; as Narf has said you do open yourself up to ridicule on here at times if you can’t get it together somewhat).

    I just don’t know what to do with the guy, after a certain point. It can’t just be a language barrier. When someone has that little of a clue about what ‘rational’ is, how do you get the conversation to progress into anything worthwhile?

    I feel a little sorry for him at times, too. But when he keeps throwing his rhetorical questions against the wall, about which position is more rational … eventually, I’m going to start answering them, and it won’t be flattering.

  353. Esquilax says

    @ Steele #369

    I’m sorry Esquilax usually I am just aggressive not passive agressive. That aside you claim a bait and switch on my part. Just lets say I am right for sake of argument and at least the deism is true, well then atheism obviously isn’t. So to get a atheist to that point (Anthony Flew for example) is 1/2 the battle. I will admit it doesn’t prove the Christian God.

    My atheism is simply the rejection of god claims as having insufficient evidence for belief, and I don’t imagine this is an uncommon position here either. To say that if deism is true then atheism is necessarily false isn’t exactly true, as even if deism is true there currently isn’t sufficient evidence to accept that claim. “The universe has a cause,” gets you to “has a cause,” not that the cause is the intelligent agent that deism requires.

    How is me suggesting that the universe had a beginning that required a personal agent fallacious, because you disagree the universe began to exist and isn’t eternal or because I posit a immaterial, timeless, changeless, entity.

    It’s fallacious because the current scientific evidence cannot tell us what came before the expansion of our current universe, or even if concepts like “before” are even applicable to the state prior to that. There is simply no reason to think that causality in an environment so completely different to our own behaves the same way as it does here. Given the lack of evidence the only honest position is to admit that we don’t know, not to start applying our understanding of our universe as it is now onto something for which the one thing we can agree on is its fundamentally different structure.

    Additionally, I see no justification at all for the idea that the cause, even if we were to accept your premises, is a being at all. That’s just something you’ve asserted, slipped in without reason. There are lots of causes for things that aren’t thinking agents, and that’s just limited to the universe we know. What makes you sure enough to discount the possibility of other, undiscovered causes beyond the big bang?

    If as Vilenkin (who is agnostic not Christian BTW) says there was a point where space, time and matter didn’t exist using current cosmology then what was before the material universe except something that was immaterial, timeless, and changeless.

    Gotta stop you there. You’re using Vilenkin wrong. He doesn’t say what you’re claiming he says. How do I know that? Well, let me quote Vilenkin himself, when asked the question “does your theorem prove the universe must have had a beginning?”

    No. But it proves that the expansion of the universe must have had a beginning. You can evade the theorem by postulating that the universe was contracting prior to some time.

    Granted, he goes on to explain that he finds this to be “no less special than a true beginning of the universe,” but to characterize him as a proponent of a universe with a beginning is evidently incorrect. These quotations have been around since 2010, by the way (here, for anyone interested: http://arizonaatheist.blogspot.com.au/2010/05/william-lane-craigs-arguments-for-god.html ). I know William Lane Craig is a fan of using the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem as confirmation of Kalam, if you’ll permit me to speculate as to where you got this from, but Vilenkin clearly disagrees, and Guth came out fairly recently to do the same. This Kalam-confirming use of their words is simply a misinterpretation.

    If you want to say I don’t know ok fine I’ll move on as you obviously have little to no imagination or curiosity…if you say nothing well tell me how something comes from nothing scientifically. I think my solution is eminently plausible a god is an answer….then the question becomes which one if any could it be.

    First of all, if you don’t have evidence of a thing then “I don’t know” is the only honest answer you can give, and no amount of imaginative speculation or curiosity will make the things you dream up absent any evidence true, until you get some evidence. Your intuitive feelings about what’s more plausible mean absolutely nothing unless backed up with actual data, and data on plausibility still doesn’t confirm your ideas.

    Quit pretending that what you want to be true has any bearing on what is.

  354. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Esquilax # 377
    Additionally, I see no justification at all for the idea that the cause, even if we were to accept your premises, is a being at all.
    .
    How much do you think we should bet that his response to that is because that cause just is a sentient being is because it “has to be” because he “can’t think of anything else that makes sense”? (You know, the argument from ignorance).
    .
    Quit pretending that what you want to be true has any bearing on what is.
    .
    You know I would not have a problem with believers who do this as long as they realize that this does not work for everyone else. I have been reading Sherman since yesterday and there is a part where he talks about human insecurity and a need to have answers for things even when they don’t really have answers. And it occurs to me that many of us have become comfortable with uncertainty in various ways (perhaps not in others). Yet those who cannot get comfortable with uncertainty think that we will not be comfortable with certainty and lead unproductive lives when in reality we are comfortable with uncertainty and do lead very productive lives.

  355. L. Thermos says

    @ unfogged.
    “…I’d have to know the specifics of the normal policies of the cemetery for such items, the timing of the removal, and the reasons behind it to fully judge any instance but I see a “faintly aghast” initial response as the right one.”
    .
    Your points are definitely well-taken. I think I was disappointed less by the initial response, than by the outright dismissal and moral condemnation, without any real discussion.
    .
    Boiled down, the theft was of something likely destined for a landfill. If no one had been the wiser, pretty much a genuine “What’s the harm?” event [in isolation]. No, I don’t condone theft. But, I do condone dumpster diving. No, a cemetary isn’t a dumpster, or a landfill [well, it kind of is in a sense]; but as a use of land, it’s difficult to rationalize. As is the practice/custom of making offerings to the dead, or imaginary… in whatever forms these take.

  356. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @L. Thermos
    Agreed.

    If we were designing a new civilization and new customs, it may be hard to justify the existence of cemeteries and the lavish expenses of funerals. It may be hard to justify creating cultural customs where living people would be greatly hurt by taking that stuffed bear. However, in the real world, for better or worse we have those customs, and thus violating those customs does real harm. However again, sometimes we have to do harm in this sense to stop a bigger harm. I could argue that arguing to change these customs will do emotional harm to some people, but that’s not a good reason to avoid discussion of change.

    It’s a nuanced topic.

  357. Frank G. Turner says

    @ L. Thermos # 358
    That’s why people leave flowers. They have a lifespan. It’s symbolic. They’re biodegradable.
    .
    So I am thinking a Teddy Bear made out of flowers or some other material to make it bio-degradable? (I would guess that someone has thought of this and done it but maybe there needs to be a wide spread market for it).

  358. corwyn says

    @Frank #368

    he just needed confirmation that it was ok to believe in a God from a non believer and that I had provided this for him. Which I don’t disagree with, it is ok to believe in a God even without proof if it helps you, it is what you do with that belief that I care about.

    The trouble is that once someone believes in a god for no good reason, they no longer have a reliable method of determining how to choose what they do. Belief in a god always includes a set of strictures, and believers are strained to oppose them since they are coupled with this belief that they must defend (which they have no means to defend without intellectual dishonesty). Some manage to oppose the most egregious of them (and some can’t), when their social environment is overwhelmingly opposed to it.

    You aren’t doing Bob a favor by granting him permission to believe without evidence. In fact, there is probably no greater harm you could have done to him over the internet. Being nice does not always mean being agreeable.

  359. corwyn says

    @384 Narf:

    Synthetic teddy bears are biodegradable. You’re just impatient.

    Unless you are talking about possible future mutations, no, they really are not. They are currently no organisms which eat most synthetic materials. Nylon being the prominent exception. There is a bacteria which has evolved to eat nylon; I wonder why it isn’t hauled out as an example of evolution more often.

  360. corwyn says

    @382 unfogged:

    I looked into green burials a while back. Basically the regulations are complicated, but you can be buried in minimal manner in most jurisdictions. All methods which release the energy and materials of your body into other life forms are so vastly better than hermetically sealed coffins or cremation, that it is more worthwhile to just convince people to pick any of them, rather than debating which one.

  361. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @corwyn #386:

    There are currently no organisms which eat most synthetic materials. Nylon being the prominent exception.

     
    Article: Wikipedia – Plasitc, Environmental Effects

    Most plastics are durable and degrade very slowly; the very chemical bonds that make them so durable tend to make them resistant to most natural processes of degradation. However, microbial species and communities capable of degrading plastics are discovered from time to time
     
    [A list of instances follows]

  362. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Narf # 384 and corwyn # 386
    .

    Synthetic teddy bears are biodegradable. You’re just impatient.

    Unless you are talking about possible future mutations, no, they really are not. They are currently no organisms which eat most synthetic materials. Nylon being the prominent exception. There is a bacteria which has evolved to eat nylon; I wonder why it isn’t hauled out as an example of evolution more often.

    .
    Given enough time, EVERYTHING is biodegradable (including Hermetically sealed coffins) depending on how you look at it. Sooner or later our sun will die out or go supernova (I am not a cosmologist so I don’t quite know how it works, I just know that it is limited). And sooner or later microorganisms could evolve that consume synthetic materials and potentially get to the Teddy Bear as Sky Captain would agree if the earth is still operational by then or we have not gone to another planet to make a populace there.
    .
    As far as why that is not hauled out as proof of evolution, for apologists and their hermetically sealed brains, do you think it would matter? It is too complicated to explain to them and I doubt that they WANT to understand.
    .
    Periodically I have run across a former creationist who did go about studying evolution to try to understand it (maybe to prove it wrong or to understand why so many people believe it) who actually did start to get an understanding of it. I met another Chemist like myself (he taught me some stuff about Mass Spectrometers that I did not know) and he had been such an individual. He still did not accept evolution but he had definitely dropped his belief in creationism, tending to think that the truth probably lied a lot closer to evolution and recognizing that even if evolution were the wrong model that it would not mean creationism as indicated in the Bible was the right model..
    .
    The big change that had happened to him is that he thought that he would stop having confidence in himself if he stopped believing in creationism and after a while of honestly studying evolution and realizing that it was based on honest factual analysis he realized that this was not the case. I think that is the big challenge, getting individuals to realize that just because your conclusion is wrong, does not mean that you are a bad person.

  363. Frank G. Turner says

    @ corwynn # 385
    The trouble is that once someone believes in a god for no good reason, they no longer have a reliable method of determining how to choose what they do.
    .
    I would argue that it depends on the person. As long as they can compartmentalize their belief in a God and not let it interfere with other methods of thinking that allow them to be functional, they seem to be ok. A big part of that is NOT trying to use certain methods (like scientific ones) to defend their faith. I see that a LOT among fellow scientists who are believers but who despite their Xtiantiy recognize that much of the Bible CAN be read in an allegorical fashion and that they don’t have to let it interfere with their work.
    .
    If he needs permission to believe because he can’t function any other way (i.e.: he needs a sense of security to function even if it is a false one), then I say let him do so. If he lets that sense of security lead him to hurt other people, then I say it was a bad idea. Ideally no one will need this false sense of security in the future.

  364. corwyn says

    @390 Frank:

    EVERYTHING is biodegradable (including Hermetically sealed coffins) depending on how you look at it. Sooner or later our sun will die out or go supernova

    Care should be taken to distinguish BIOdegradable, and degradable. Anything the sun does is not Bio-.

    It looks like our sun will progress through red giant to white dwarf.

    As far as why that is not hauled out as proof of evolution, for apologists and their hermetically sealed brains, do you think it would matter?

    They often ask for ‘one example’. I would use that as my go-to example, as it is so clearly modern and unmistakable. Proof is the wrong concept; I am speaking of examples.

  365. corwyn says

    @Frank 391:

    As long as they can compartmentalize their belief in a God and not let it interfere with other methods of thinking

    Do you have any evidence that that is even possible? What would a brain look like that is capable of complete compartmentalizing some information such that it never affects decision making? How would such a person act, and how could you distinguish such a person from a person without such a belief?

  366. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @corwyn #393:

    What would a brain look like that is capable of complete compartmentalizing some information such that it never affects decision making?

    Live action role-playing.
     
    @Frank G. Turner #391:

    a sense of security to function even if it is a false one

    Would you approve of homeopathic psychiatry?
     
     
    @Frank G. Turner #390:

    Sooner or later our sun will die out or go supernova (I am not a cosmologist so I don’t quite know how it works, I just know that it is limited). [...] if the earth is still operational by then [...]

    Ours is projected to swell into a red giant (bigger than Earth’s current orbit), then muuuch later shed material and ultimately fade into a black dwarf.
     
    The threat to Earth’s viability will not be a lack of sunlight. :P
     
    Article: Wikipedia – Main Sequence

    In general, the more massive a star is, the shorter its lifespan on the main sequence. After the hydrogen fuel at the core has been consumed, the star evolves away from the main sequence on the HR diagram. The behavior of a star now depends on its mass, with stars below 0.23 solar masses becoming white dwarfs directly, while stars with up to ten solar masses pass through a red giant stage. More massive stars can explode as a supernova, or collapse directly into a black hole.

     
    Article: Universe Today – Will Earth Survive When the Sun Becomes a Red Giant?

  367. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @corwyn

    They often ask for ‘one example’. I would use that as my go-to example [nylon eating bacteria], as it is so clearly modern and unmistakable. Proof is the wrong concept; I am speaking of examples.

    Ah, but then they’ll just trot out their “Biblical kinds” bullshit. My favorite go-to is still that the taxonomic tree of life was discovered a century before Darwin by someone who was effectively a Christian creationist. Then, just recently, the genomic tree of life more or less coincides exactly with the taxonomic tree of life. That argument is the one which avoids any and all “kinds” arguments if you know what you’re doing and you can communicate it properly. Of course, many times the creationist is unwilling to listen.

    @CompulsoryAccount7746

    Live action role-playing.

    This is pretty disingenuous as a comparison. It’s the difference between make-believe and knowing the full time it’s just make-believe (LARPing), and make-believe where you really believe it (religion).

  368. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #395:

    the difference between make-believe and knowing the full time it’s just make-believe (LARPing), and make-believe where you really believe it (religion)

    Total compartmentalization would isolate both ways, true.
    There’d still need to be some awareness of when to switch compartments.
     
    I don’t understand what “make-believe where you really believe it” means outside of socially sanctioned immersion in fantasy. For instance, Jerry DeWitt has said most Pentecostals wouldn’t babble in the aisles at Walmart. A difference in degree from LARPers at the park, to be sure. Ghost hunters?

  369. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @CompulsoryAccount7746
    There is no such thing as a hard and fast “either it’s compartmentalized or it’s not”. I think we agree there.

    There is a fundamental difference between a guy who LARPs on the weekends and a guy who “speaks in tongues” rolling on the ground on the weekends. The LARPer knows it’s a fantasy, and admits it’s a fantasy, all 7 days of the week. The guy who speaks in tongues believes it’s real, and asserts it’s real, all 7 days of the week (or would if he could put together meaningful English when rolling around on the floor).

  370. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #397:

    There is no such thing as a hard and fast “either it’s compartmentalized or it’s not”. I think we agree there.

    Since the corwyn’s comment was on maximally compartmentalized brains (to the extent that it wouldn’t be possible for conflicting beliefs to interfere), I guess that means we’re done then.
     
    We can’t tease apart real-world religions’ tangled mess of imagination, confabulation, mistaken perception, reasoning error/bias, ignorance, misinformation, lack of reflection, webs of trust, group psychology, and social conditioning to get at whether maximal compartmentalization would allow someone to entertain an isolated belief and really believe it, without bleeding into assessments of shared reality in other contexts.

  371. Frank G. Turner says

    @ corwynn # 392
    Care should be taken to distinguish BIOdegradable, and degradable. Anything the sun does is not Bio-.
    .
    You are right, I stand corrected. I was thinking of degradable (unless we are talking about hypothetical microorganisms that evolve to consume synthetic materials). Of course there are larger animals that would consume synthetic Teddy Bears, just not digest them (go ahead and laugh, it is not fiction but it may be humorous). I have seen a dog eat a battery and cotton shoes (not at the same time, and he didn’t try to chew up the battery, just swallowed it whole). Albeit he didn’t really digest it, the battery came out whole and the cotton shoes in pieces with some evidence of partial digestion (mostly from the chewing).
    .
    At corwynn # 392 and Enlightenment Liberal # 395
    They often ask for ‘one example’. I would use that as my go-to example, as it is so clearly modern and unmistakable. Proof is the wrong concept; I am speaking of examples.
    .
    Of course, many times the creationist is unwilling to listen.
    .
    “Proof” was the wrong word (though it does help). The real point was that for someone who is unwilling to listen it does not matter. They want a divine messenger to tell them not facts or their own observation. That is kind of what I have been getting at here regarding a person who prioritizes their emotions over factual observance. They need to “feel” that something is correct on an emotional level before they will acknowledge observance of it.
    .
    I had a cousin who married a Southern Baptist (as rational as she is, I could not figure out why) wh didn’t even like going to the doctor very often as he felt all fo medicine was based on evolution which he despised as it challenged his belief in the inerrancy of the Bible (to give you an idea, thought he was not a practicing Jew, he would not eat pork). He actually did read the Bible and like an apologist had a lot of excuses for some of the less than pleasant parts (though he would play this strategy game of downplaying those parts, even the stuff in the New Testament as he didn’t play that New Testament Old Testament bullshit game).
    .
    Then his wife gave birth to a son with a severe heart defect that could “hypothetically” be cured with an experimental procedure (actually several procedures that were done over the years). There was certainty that his son would die without them. Despite the fact that the procedures would involve replacing his son’s heart valves with pieces of pig heart periodically (from genetic studies that involved evolution and DNA), he did not want to see his son die. He and my cousin approved and when his son lived he thanks God and the doctors, and backed off of criticizing evolution and genetics. He was still pretty hung up on other aspects of Biblical inerrancy but he backed off when it came to evolution and acknowledged that Adam and Eve “may” be allegorical. (I think he knew but just did not want to admit that he was wrong).
    .
    His son is now 20 and does talks on these procedures (he is a very good public speaker), often sighting himself as an example. He talks about teaching evolution and genetics in schools. Oh, and he did NOT become a Southern Baptist like his father (mind you my cousin divorced him). The point s that it can take a great emotional situation to change a person’s mind. Rational thought won’t necessarily do it.

  372. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Compulsory Account # 398
    We can’t tease apart real-world religions’ tangled mess of imagination, confabulation, mistaken perception, reasoning error/bias, ignorance, misinformation, lack of reflection, webs of trust, group psychology, and social conditioning to get at whether maximal compartmentalization would allow someone to entertain an isolated belief and really believe it, without bleeding into assessments of shared reality in other contexts.
    .
    I think that is why we can’t necessarily expect someone to completely give up religion just as they can;t expect us to completely accept it. That is probably why i was just “going through the motions” with my family for a number of years before accepting agnosticism. A part of me knew, some of that bled into who I was, some didn’t. I was none too fond of extremists and SOME marginally extreme people but did not see Catholicism as totally separate from that either.
    .
    It is hard to make hard and fast compartmentalization of ANYTHING. And some don’t seem to find a way to find comfort in uncertainty so a false uncertainty is all they have to function.

  373. Narf says

    @386 – corwyn

    Unless you are talking about possible future mutations, no, they really are not. They are currently no organisms which eat most synthetic materials. Nylon being the prominent exception. There is a bacteria which has evolved to eat nylon; I wonder why it isn’t hauled out as an example of evolution more often.

    That’s mostly what I was going for, yes. Littering the landscape with plastic is our way of helping along the evolution of digestive enzymes in bacteria.

    The nylon thing isn’t really digesting nylon. Nylon-eating bacteria are a strain of Flavobacterium that is capable of digesting certain byproducts of nylon 6 manufacture. This strain of Flavobacterium, Sp. KI72, became popularly known as nylon-eating bacteria, and the enzymes used to digest the man-made molecules became collectively known as nylonase.

  374. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @CompulsoryAccount7746

    We can’t tease apart real-world religions’ tangled mess of imagination, confabulation, mistaken perception, reasoning error/bias, ignorance, misinformation, lack of reflection, webs of trust, group psychology, and social conditioning to get at whether maximal compartmentalization would allow someone to entertain an isolated belief and really believe it, without bleeding into assessments of shared reality in other contexts.

    Let me restate my position. I think we’re agreeing.

    People who believe in a god have beliefs detached from observable reality. At best, they are holding beliefs without backing evidence. Often, they are holding beliefs in spite of evidence. This lack of skepticism is the fundamental and root problem with the religious mindset. The lack of skepticism is also the fundamental problem with any other dogma, including Nazism, Stalinism, etc.

    Pentacostals who speak in tongues only the weekends compartmentalize their beliefs somewhat, but even on the weekdays they’ll assert that speaking in tongues is a real thing. It’s not just limited to the weekends.

    LARPers in no way suffer from this problem. The difference is night and day. A LARPer is always in clear possession of the facts, and at no point during his make-believe does a LARPer abandon skepticism. Even while pretending and doing make-believe, the LARPer knows it’s fiction.

    I would actually go further than you and assert that it seems inevitable that if someone accepts something for bad reasons and admits that he accepts something for bad reasons (!), then he’s much more liable to accept other things for bad reasons.

  375. Frank G. Turner says

    @ Compulsory Account # 394
    Ours is projected to swell into a red giant (bigger than Earth’s current orbit), then muuuch later shed material and ultimately fade into a black dwarf.

    .
    Thank you so much. THAT was what I was trying to remember when thinking about the earth being “degraded” so to speak (even the hermetically sealed coffins). I always wondered about that practice of hermetically sealed coffins because that did not make sense to me (my grandmother was buried with Teddy Bears in her coffin with her, kind of Egyptian if you think about it). Then I talked with a Mormon woman and read some Chick Tracts. I find it funny that they actually expect in some afterlife to have arms and legs and hands and feet and ten fingers and ten toes. Or that if there is sentient life found on another planet that it will look like us (her interpretation of God “making man in his image,” basically meaning she expected God to look like Charlton Heston in a Toga). Even as a believer I did not expect my body to look like it does now in the afterlife if there even was one).
    .
    a sense of security to function even if it is a false one
    Would you approve of homeopathic psychiatry?

    .
    Generally speaking, no I would most likely not approve of that. (I would have to learn more about it). There are homeopathic techniques that used in conjunction with modern medicine I think can help, as long as they don’t work in opposition to the scientifically based medicine or are used INSTEAD of it. To give you an idea I have have broken limbs and a herniated disk due to accidents and some homeopathic techniques (acupuncture, massage, stretching techniques, heating pads, even some hypnosis and sound wave treatment) that were worked into the physical therapy did wonders for the pain (like the acupuncture which helped with the pain for nerves that was being pinched) and for getting flexibility back at a faster rate. I am sure that some tests could be done to prove te effectiveness of those techniques that are not complete pseudo-science. Go too far with it though, like the use of acupuncture to cure color blindness or hearing loss and I take issue with it. I would have to hear more about what treatments homeopathic psychiatry entails but it already sounds wishy washy to me.
    .
    There is a medical treatment center nearby here that advertises the willingness of the Doctors and Nurses to sit and pray with people as part of their treatment. (Which is interesting because I know that there are atheist and agnostic professionals who work there, but I am guessing that they know how to fake it or they are not the ones who sit and pray). So the whole prayer PLUS treatment thing is going on. If that helps people to feel more comfortable with the medical treatment that they are getting and there are those who refuse to get the treatment without that, ok I am good with that. There are those who pray and who not only thank God but also thank the medical staff and compliment them on their hard work and skill in assisting others (thanking the staff in addition to God is apparently heavily encouraged at this center).

  376. Narf says

    @392 – corwyn

    Care should be taken to distinguish BIOdegradable, and degradable. Anything the sun does is not Bio-.

    Wait. Don’t stars have a life-cycle? Huge stars even reproduce, when they go supernova and blow off material that condenses into later stars.

    Kinky.

  377. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Frank G. Turner
    The placebo effect. It’s a huge ethical quandary. Doctors know that the placebo effect oftentimes is the best treatment available. However, that requires lying to their patients in order to get the full effect for the most people. (I’ve heard that some people can experience placebo even after being told it’s a do-nothing sugar pill. The mind is amazing. It’s all positive attitude – to a point.)

    So, do you withhold valuable treatment? Or do you lie to people that the treatment has no physical basis apart from the placebo effect? How much do you charge for a placebo and a consultation to get a placebo? The problem is that it opens the door for snake-oil salespeople to abuse patients. My understanding is that the consensus is that there is no safe way for people in the medical profession to “proscribe” sugar pills or other placebos without such a huge breach of ethics that snake-oil salespeople can sneak right in the hole.

  378. says

    @ EnlightenmentLiberal # 402
    I would actually go further than you and assert that it seems inevitable that if someone accepts something for bad reasons and admits that he accepts something for bad reasons (!), then he’s much more liable to accept other things for bad reasons.
    .
    I would disagree slightly. I do believe that there are those who accept God and maybe certain aspects of their scripture for bad reasons but would remain skeptical about everything else. There are those that believe that “Jesus died for their sins” but will support pro-choice legislation (or if they are pro-life it is not for religious reasons), support teaching evolution in school and do NOT agree with “teaching the controversy” as they don;t think that one really exists, will sponsor separation fo church and state, support homosexual marriage, etc. Some will even do so BECAUSE of their belief in separation of church and state. (I met one guy who said that he was pro-life but insists that the law must remain pro-choice as it must be a decision).
    .
    However, I do meet those (mostly those on the fringe of extremism already) who do eventually allow their belief in a God for bad reasons to spill into other decisions. And there are a lot of in-between. Compulsory Account said that We can’t tease apart real-world religions’ tangled mess of imagination, confabulation, mistaken perception, reasoning error/bias, ignorance, misinformation, lack of reflection, webs of trust, group psychology, and social conditioning to get at whether maximal compartmentalization would allow someone to entertain an isolated belief and really believe it, without bleeding into assessments of shared reality in other contexts.
    .
    I would take that a step further and say that we can;t tease apart ANYONE’s tangled mess of imagination, confabulation, mistaken perception, reasoning error/bias, ignorance, misinformation, lack of reflection, etc. be it derived from one religion, another religion, or even secular humanism. There are isolated beliefs that have nothing to do with religion that fit into that web of what goes on in our mind. I read a story about a woman who was not religious at all in a mental institution that believed that she did not have a spinal column. We all have beliefs, maybe not religious ones. Many of us are trying to do as Matt said and believe as many true things and as few false things as possible. We will have variable levels of success based on our background regardless of its religious context or not.

  379. says

    @ Enlightenment Liberal # 405
    So, do you withhold valuable treatment? Or do you lie to people that the treatment has no physical basis apart from the placebo effect? How much do you charge for a placebo and a consultation to get a placebo? The problem is that it opens the door for snake-oil salespeople to abuse patients. My understanding is that the consensus is that there is no safe way for people in the medical profession to “proscribe” sugar pills or other placebos without such a huge breach of ethics that snake-oil salespeople can sneak right in the hole.
    .
    Ok THAT is what you were getting at. Well like I said, generally speaking, no I do not approve. I will get back to you on this later though (I think).

  380. corwyn says

    @406 Frank:

    but would remain skeptical about everything else. There are those that …

    What follows are not evidence of a skeptical mind, just political opinions that you happen to agree with.

    I would take that a step further and say that we can;t tease apart ANYONE’s tangled mess of imagination, confabulation, mistaken perception, reasoning error/bias, ignorance, misinformation, lack of reflection, etc. be it derived from one religion, another religion, or even secular humanism.

    All the more reason not to give your approval for that state of affairs.

  381. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #402:

    I think we’re agreeing.
    [...]
    A LARPer is always in clear possession of the facts, and at no point during his make-believe does a LARPer abandon skepticism.

    Pretty much. I’m not gonna defend the infamous chick tract. :P
    Religions muddle facts and sabotage skepticism.
     

    People who believe in a god have beliefs detached from observable reality.

    I’d say they have a combination of beliefs about observable reality (divine manifestations/interventions/plans), affirmations of incoherent statements (characteristics of god itself), an affection for a literary canon (characters/events totally disconnected from observable reality; MST3K mantra applies), and arbitrary customs.
     
    LARPers’ notions are disconnected. Theists’ notions – to the extent I recognize them as beliefs about reality – are attached.
     

    Often, they are holding beliefs in spite of evidence. This lack of skepticism is the fundamental and root problem with the religious mindset.

    Plus social institutions and norms that encourage not only conformity of outward behavior but encouraging behaviors that hack brains: to overestimate trust of authorities and confidence of conclusions; even to occasionally experience confirming evidence (e.g., feeling the holy spirit in church).
     
    It can go further. For instance, Tanya Luhrmann’s study of Vinyard evangelicals’ “date nights with god”.
     
     
    Article: John Turner’s review of her book “When God Talks Back”

    They retrain their minds by relating to God as an imaginary friend. In short, they pretend that God and Jesus exist, and in the process of such childlike, imaginary play, God becomes “more-than-real” to them. God begins to interact with them. They rarely hear an auditory voice, but they nevertheless hear God speaking to them, guiding them through their everyday lives.
     
    Luhrmann found a correlation between individuals with a high capacity to become “caught up in ideas or images or fascinations.” Her hypothesis: “when people believe that God will speak to them through their senses, when they have a propensity for absorption, and when they are trained in absorption by the practice of prayer, these people will report what prayer experts report: internal sensory experiences with sharper mental imagery and more sensory overrides.” [Note: what Luhrmann terms "sensory overrides," others might consider hallucinations].

    The article links another review at New Yorker, which additionally details the habits of credulity they deliberately cultivate.
     
    Lecture: Tanya Luhrmann, speaking at Christ’s College, Cambridge (1:18:47)
     
     
    @EnlightenmentLiberal:

    it seems inevitable that if someone accepts something for bad reasons and admits that he accepts something for bad reasons (!), then he’s much more liable to accept other things for bad reasons.

    Agreed.
    Either the reasons aren’t sooo bad (merely unpopular), or it’s not bad to carve exceptions to circumvent inconvenient good reasons for the contrary. Then it’s a matter of when they’ll make exceptions (Only when there’s a good reason to?).
     
     
    @Frank G. Turner #406:

    There are isolated beliefs [...] that fit into that web of what goes on in our mind.

    Isolated?
    Some would have fewer/weaker connections to the rest than others – connections to falsehoods would have unintended consequences.

  382. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Frank G. Turner #407:

    @EnlightenmentLiberal #405:

    Or do you lie to people that the treatment has no physical basis apart from the placebo effect? How much do you charge for a placebo and a consultation to get a placebo? The problem is that it opens the door for snake-oil salespeople to abuse patients.

    Ok THAT is what you were getting at.

    There’s also nocebo, when placebos have harmful sideffects. Placebos can be more powerful when they’re more expensive or invasive, too (pills vs injections).
     
    I brought it up because lying to treat crippling anxiety might make patients feel well, but it wouldn’t address the underlying problem. As coping strategies go, it’s dodgy. And clergy are the practitioners.
     

    I will get back to you on this later though

    See http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/

  383. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Frank G. Turner #403:

    some homeopathic techniques (acupuncture, massage, stretching techniques, heating pads, even some hypnosis and sound wave treatment)

    Homeopathy’s the one where active ingredients are diluted away in water.
     
    Video: CoolHardLogic – Testing Homeopathy, Part 1: Plausibility (13:48)
     

    I am sure that some tests could be done to prove the effectiveness of those techniques that are not complete pseudo-science.

    ScienceBasedMedicine has been tracking attempts to do just that. There’s a whole category dedicated to acupuncture articles, on the right.

  384. Frank G. Turner says

    @ corwynn # 408 and CompulsoryAccount # 409
    All the more reason not to give your approval for that state of affairs.
    .
    Generally speaking I don’t, but given the wide range of different potential positions and not know the edge from which a person can step back from, it is hard to know where to draw the line. Sometimes it takes many years of going back to the edge to see where one is comfortable or not. Perhaps that is what I should have let bob do but I was thinking that he would not explore it more unless he felt a certain degree of safety.
    .
    What follows are not evidence of a skeptical mind, just political opinions that you happen to agree with.
    .
    You are right, let me give a better example. When I was young (as young as 6) growing up in a Catholic family the story of Adam and Eve made no sense to me. I asked about how Cain and Abel could have wives if the first people were Adam and Eve. The only other potential people alive would have been their brothers and sisters. I got the typical (now I realize) apologist excuses of “well that was not so bad then,” which I would soon learn that they were talking about incest which I looked up and determined had pretty detrimental conditions. So i went back and got “well God made more people,” to which I pointed out that those people were not written about and that it would have made sense to do so given how important that would be. Then I got “well this was written after the fact” at which point I asked given how important this was if there were other documents of this, it would make sense to have duplicates. So I naturally doubted Adam and Eve and the creation story, and Noah and most of the early books made no sense to me (even much of Moses, like why would holding his arms up help the troops to win?).
    .
    Eventually I got the explanation that this was allegorical to which I asked why they did not start with that and I got the excuse of “well you were too young to understand,” to which I pointed out that if I was “too young to understand” then how come I was able to comprehend enough to ask questions about it? Yet I NEVER challenged the stories about Jesus. His story actually kind of made sense to me (although over time it made less and less sense and as an adult I started to ask myself questions about that too).
    .
    So I was basically skeptical about one aspect of the Bible and not skeptical of another. Don’t get me wrong, it is not an Old Testament / New Testament thing, I asked a lot about the condoning of slavery and pointed out that there was little evidence to demonstrate opposition to slavery even in the New Testament.
    .
    @ corwynn and CompulsoryAccount # 409
    There are isolated beliefs [...] that fit into that web of what goes on in our mind.
    Isolated?
    Some would have fewer/weaker connections to the rest than others – connections to falsehoods would have unintended consequences.

    .
    That is what I was getting at with the whole going with one aspect of your religious and political beliefs but not another. When a Democrat and liberally minded individual supports freedom of gun ownership and is against gun control they are generally not going with what the larger in group says on certain subjects. So there is an indication that they are at least doing some independent thought. Those I have met who do things like that are often very willing to listen to what both sides of a subject have to say. So, for example when I have met heavily conservative minded people who support prayer in school and believe very strongly in religious doctrine yet support teaching of evolution in schools despite a possible belief that it is not what occurred they are generally willing to listen to arguments about how evolution is the basis of biology and supports medical research. They are willing to do some independent thought and engage in skepticism on that one subject even if not on others. It is hard to know what is isolated and what is not, but I have met those (particularly among religious scientists) whose beliefs in God tend not to spill over into their beliefs about their work.

  385. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    It is hard to know what is isolated and what is not, but I have met those (particularly among religious scientists) whose beliefs in God tend not to spill over into their beliefs about their work.

    Selection bias. You meet the people in work for whom it does not interfere. If it did interfere…

  386. Frank G. Turner says

    @ EnlightenmentLiberal # 413
    Selection bias. You meet the people in work for whom it does not interfere. If it did interfere…
    .
    Oh good point I had not thought of that. If it did interfere I would not be working with them! (They would not be in the job with me).

  387. corwyn says

    @ Frank 412:

    Generally speaking I don’t, but given the wide range of different potential positions and not know the edge from which a person can step back from, it is hard to know where to draw the line.

    It seems pretty simple to me. The line is where there is evidence.

    When a Democrat and liberally minded individual supports freedom of gun ownership and is against gun control they are generally not going with what the larger in group says on certain subjects. So there is an indication that they are at least doing some independent thought.

    No, it’s not. Unless you claim that NO ONE supports gun ownership, they are still going with a large group’s opinion, just not the same group as their position on, say, abortion. There is, in fact, no connection between those positions.

    but I have met those (particularly among religious scientists) whose beliefs in God tend not to spill over into their beliefs about their work.

    How could you possibly know that? And even if true, it wouldn’t meet your claim of ‘compartmentalized’. Let my simplify my question: “If someone completely compartmentalized their (unsupported) religious views, could you discern that they held them? Wouldn’t they appear to be atheists?”

  388. steele says

    @adam (372)

    Why do I say your Biblical exegesis is not very good is because I think you do practice eisegesis and you frequently overstate your case beyond what is warranted. Not that I don’t think you make some interesting points but you buy into this JEPD redaction theory and read symbolism and other things into the Biblical narrative that are highly speculative and in some cases not even there.

    That aside let me first address the authenticity of 2nd Peter.

    http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/2peter_kruger.pdf

    I will agree with you that the majority of NT scholars support your position but I think it is still open to debate and debatable.

    Next I say: “I don’t mind that Adam thinks that Lot wasn’t righteous”

    You state:

    “Steele, did you actually read the article? The part in bold indicates you didn’t, or you missed the point the Bible tells you, since Genesis doesn’t explicitly say ANYTHING about Lot’s righteousness OR unrighteousness: it only says Lot was saved due to ABRAHAM’S righteousness.”

    Either you misunderstand my point or are trying to have it both ways. You are right that Genesis doesn’t say explicitly if Lot was righteous or not but yet you in your article point out no less than 21 reasons Lot wasn’t righteous from your reading into the Bible what isn’t even there?? Isn’t that what I said that YOU think Lot wasn’t righteous?? How do you go on to claim 21 different reasons for Lot’s unrighteousness and then say to me that Genesis doesn’t explicitly say anything on the subject of Lot’s righteousness? Isn’t that eisegesis than Adam? Clearly you want to have it both ways in this case. Maybe you can clarify what you mean and correct me but this seems a bit of cognitive dissonance on your part.

    So basically your whole argument is that Lot was saved due to Abraham’s righteous then? Ok no problem since God granted Abraham’s righteousness

    Genesis 15:5-6

    5 And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6 Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
    Maybe he did the same for Lot on Abraham’s behalf so what tell me how that invalidates 2nd Peter or Romans 4:3-5?

    You want to use Genesis 19:29

    29 So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.

    to show that it was Abraham’s righteousness that saved Lot and that Lot wasn’t really righteous ok I guess you can do that I just read it as God remembering His covenant with Abraham and the conversation they had about Sodom and Gomorrah and God not going to wipe away the righteous away with the wicked. I’m not trying to confuse your words Adam or be dishonest as I said I think your articles do raise a few good points. I don’t understand Jehovah Witness theology enough to know exactly what you are rebelling against, I’m a Christian so that debate with you and them I have little interest in.

    Also your contention that Lot wasn’t a judge in Sodom is pure conjecture on your part, Lot could have