Open Thread for Episode 20.47: Matt and Don


Don and Matt discuss some troubling theological questions and athests’ responses to them.

Comments

  1. bawdygeorge says

    OK, looking forward to another TAE today… alright, thanks Don and Matt, good points, let’s go to calls, line 1… NOOOOO! It’s another Minh call! Where’s that skip forward button?

  2. Wiggle Puppy says

    I think one of the reasons for Minh’s continuing confusion is that he seems to equate “being rational” with “only doing what is in one’s own immediate self-interest” – during this call, as in others, Minh seemed to say that he was resisting being rational because he enjoys going out of his way to help other people. But “rationality” only refers to whether or not one is being logical about the pursuit of one’s goals; it doesn’t say anything about personal preferences, which is what Matt and others are getting at with the “we aren’t Vulcans” stuff. If one decides that one wants to continue living, then purposely overdosing on drugs is not a rational pursuit of that goal. But if one in in so much pain – from a terminal illness, let’s say – and no longer wants to live, then overdosing would be rational. If one decides, based on personal preference, that the well-being of others is equal to or more important to the well-being of the self, then there’s nothing irrational about going out of one’s way to help other people. Minh keeps calling in and suggesting that it’s irrational to want to help other people, which is a non sequitur. And, as Matt has pointed out, Minh is also ignoring that doing nice things for other people contributes to a generally better world, which ultimately benefits the self. Why is this stuff so hard for theists?

  3. noexitlovenow says

    Anyone who argues that the law of gravity suggests someone who made the “law” up to which the universe then complies should be restricted from voting – and possible driving as well.

  4. noexitlovenow says

    Minh is a frequent annoyance. Seriously, one CANNOT believe in something they know to be not true. Further, if you want something to be true because you want to help people that means YOU WANT TO HELP PEOPLE. You know that to be true. Why not continue doing what you have been doing anyway based on that.

  5. says

    Minh, please don’t call anymore. Why burden others, in particular the hosts of the show, with your insignificant confusion ? Get some professional help, and wouldn’t cost that much.

  6. says

    minh:

    “my parents raised me to be nice to people.”
    “i believe because it helps me stick to my convictions despite all the inconvenience. i even put myself in danger to do what i feel is right. that’s why i feel like if i just follow my rationality, i may not, y’know, dedicate myself completely to the person i helped.”
    “i think i have a destiny to help.”
    “after i drove my friend home and my friend told me that i didn’t have to help him and he could do it himself, i feel like i have an obligation … i know that i will have to sleep less time, i have to drive a long way, wake up early, drink coffee to stay sober but i still do it because i have a passion to do it.”

    deep down, minh hates being a do-gooder, but his upbringing has made his behavior compulsive, to the point where it sounds like he can no longer set boundaries for himself. he can’t say “no”. so he rationalizes his frustrating lack of self-control as a calling from his god or “destiny”, thereby taking the responsibility for such decisions out of his own hands. minh is not afraid of losing his empathy; he fears having to make the often tough decision of turning someone down and feeling like an asshole.

  7. mavx4 says

    It is getting to a point that when I hear Minh is on the show, I have to fast forward because it is so painful to listen to him talk.

  8. David Figueroa says

    Bible fanatics always seem to have an answer to the questions on today’s show. For my life I just don’t understand why christians themselves do not see how their religion is open reasonable questioning. Is it their right to believe their delusion? Yes.
    Like Metallica sings: “sad but true”

  9. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    Regarding Karl from Oklahoma. I loved this exchange:

    At 1:10:36

    Karl: “You can’t just rule faith out like that though”
    Matt: “The fuck you can’t…”

    Karl, you just had your position comprehensively destroyed in the lead up to this section. It wasn’t Matt playing mind games or twisting your words. You just had no answer to support your very first premise.

    It also sounded like you had a script you wanted to get out and weren’t even listening. Even when Matt and Don let you go with your script you still got nowhere.

    I have complete faith that someone is going to edit this section out as a standalone YouTube clip and post it with something like “Theist get’s Owned!” or “Matt Dillahunty Demolishes Stupid Christian” (which would sadly get more hits).

    Thanks Don and Matt. I greatly enjoyed this particular episode. Even Minh was tolerable.

    – Simon

  10. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Carl was my favorite caller this show. Someone that isn’t a belligerent utuber>>>

    However he dipped and dabbed all through any attempts at reaching a conclusion which was unbecoming of anyone with integrity.

    Tom started off in a way that led(I believe, a lot of us) to predict exactly where it was going; a mind being the orchestrator of evolution and natural laws.

  11. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    @Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says:

    Regarding Karl from Oklahoma. I loved this exchange:

    At 1:10:36

    Karl: “You can’t just rule faith out like that though”
    Matt: “The fuck you can’t…”

    Same. 😀

  12. L.Ron Dow says

    Re: Carl of Oklahoma. Not everyone (particularly believers) would define the word ‘faith’ with the ‘no supporting evidence’ qualifier that Matt and Don insist upon (nor do all dictionaries.) Some believers would assert that they ‘do’ have evidence for their convictions – which would make it ‘more’ than ‘faith’ as we atheists use the term.

    I suspect Carl was going to give us some of his ‘evidence’ (from his bible maybe) – I would have preferred to see Matt & Don demolish that rather than spending so much time on the usage of ‘faith’. But it’s not my show.

    I am glad to see that Matt has found a more diplomatic way, by playing the devil’s advocate/christian apologist, of dealing with some of Don’s weaker ‘failures’ many of which will not stand up in a debate. I could hear his words, about weak arguments, in the brilliant conversation with Dawkins.

  13. Monocle Smile says

    Wow, Carl. It’s been a while since we had someone that bluntly dumb on the air. And of course, he starts whining later with “I haven’t gotten to speak yet.” Well, Carl, if you want to stay on the air, stop saying things so dumb that they threaten to rip the space-time continuum.

    The phone analogy was too much. That was some Insane Clown Posse garbage.

  14. JD and Co. says

    @7 aarrgghh
    I think you’re on to something. It explains Minh’s repeat phone calls…he is begging to be released from his do-goodism.

    OK, Minh, I release you Please don’t put yourself in danger. Don’t push yourself to the point of falling asleep at the wheel. Look at yourself honestly and ask yourself if you’re being driven by ego (“look at me, I’m so *Christian*”) or if it’s a genuine desire to be good to your fellow humans. That seems to be more of a pertinent issue for you than “is God necessary.”

  15. Monocle Smile says

    “What is the source of natural selection?”
    This is where Tom needs to go back to grade school and try again. I could go on for a while about what’s wrong with this question, and it involves fundamental misunderstandings of how things work. It takes a load of wrong thinking to even ask such a question. Might as well ask “what is the source of green?” It makes just as little sense.

    “I’m interested in immaterial things.” “Are there laws of science?”
    If I weren’t at work. I’d throw hard objects. How do these people function? So much garbage here.

  16. jeffh123 says

    I truly wish the team would not waste half the show on the first caller who is usually some rambling believer who doesn’t have a clue.

  17. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Wiggle Puppy, and indirectly Minh
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StrawVulcan
    As Wiggle Puppy said well, that’s not what rationality and logic are. Logic and emotions are not contradictory. Reason and logic tell you how to achieve your goals, but they do not tell you what your goals are. You can be equally rational as an amoral sociopath and as a selfless charity-worker.

  18. NonDenominationalAtheist says

    I just throw it out there: I think Minh might just be “from Stone Church”. There’s this occasional strange half breathing half laughing thing that seems familiar. And he seems quite well informed and well prepared. A bit too much for the usual theist caller, I think.
    I might be wrong though…

  19. Vivec says

    Props to Matt for pointing out the Pederasty vs Pedophilia distinction. A lot of my online spaces are currently being plagued by witch hunts over perceived “pedophilia” in fandom, and while I do think the accusations are silly (a certain definition of pedophilia used by these people would label every relationship possible pedophilia), I think it’s also worthwhile to address the underlying assumption that non-offending people with an unpleasant orientation should be abused.

  20. jeffh123 says

    Believers get hung up on words. Selection. Laws. etc. They try to rationalize their beliefs on social definitions and refuse to understand the mathematical or scientific definitions of those words. A scientific law is a statement based on repeated experimental observations that describes some aspects of the universe. A scientific law always applies under the same conditions, and implies that there is a causal relationship involving its elements. (Wikipedia) It’s not a law like don’t exceed the speed limit. They insist that selection has some type of intelligence behind it, while it really doesn’t require intelligence.

  21. rectorsquid says

    I find the phrase “survival of the fittest” a much better way to describe evolution than “natural selection”. That’s because the word “selection” confuses ignorant or biased people. Just tell confused callers that “survival of the fittest” is a better description of the process. And if they still don’t get it, tell them that the the humidity of a running track can help “select” the winner of a running race and surely the track is not a mind or a god. It doesn’t really select anything, it just has an effect on the race because not all runners use the same rubber in their shoes. The air, the clothes, the training regimen, the steroids, and tens to billions of other factors could also affect the race, yet none of them are minds or gods or thinking things at all. They are just forces that affects the runners, each in a slightly different way, that lead to one being further ahead at the finish line.

  22. Monocle Smile says

    @rector
    I think that’s backwards. “Survival of the fittest” carries an assload of baggage and certainly is more confusing and one-dimensional than “natural selection” to me. It reeks of social Darwinism and that’s doubtlessly a good way to have a call derailed.

    In truth, I don’t think there’s much the hosts can do when people call in so hopelessly ignorant about evolution. There’s just a whole glut of wrongness that needs to be evacuated first.

  23. says

    Most atheists are ignorant about evolution too. Matt is one of them and admits it.

    I think Minh was simply saying that it’s irrational for him to go out of his way to help others when you view the world as simply mechanistic processes obeying the known laws of physics and chemistry. In order for him to make sense of it he uses religion to provide reasons for his wonderful behaviour. Of course you don’t need religion to feel and do what Minh does but Minh finds that using religion provides a good reason for him to do so.

    Hopefully he will keep on studying religion and one day realise the truth and will have a much more scientific reason for his beliefs.

  24. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Just wanted to comment for varying emphasis:

    I think that’s backwards. “Survival of the fittest” carries an assload of baggage and certainly is more confusing and one-dimensional than “natural selection” to me. It reeks of social Darwinism and that’s doubtlessly a good way to have a call derailed.

    I think there is truth in what you say.

    In truth, I don’t think there’s much the hosts can do when people call in so hopelessly ignorant about evolution. There’s just a whole glut of wrongness that needs to be evacuated first.

    Completed agreed.

    I didn’t understand evolution properly, even after some high school bio, and reading several proper intro books on the subject (such as Dawkin’s The Greatest Show On Earth). I only properly understood evolution after watching Aronra’s Broward’s Darwin Day presentation. I think that unteaching the wrong stuff needs to start with the topics covered in that video. Specifically, one needs to break down the phrase: “animals in a ‘kind’ only produce animals in the same kind”. It’s a very curious phrase. It’s both right and wrong: There’s a huge ambiguity. When the Christian says the phrase, they’re wrong, but when an “evolutionist” says the phrase, they’re right. There are two clearly different meanings that the two different speakers mean to communicate. And if you don’t understand what I’ve been saying, please watch that awesome lecture by Aronra.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0b9oe7qnGg

    PS: This is largely a plug of my favorite video on evolution, that everyone should watch.

  25. says

    simon et al @ 10:

    “I have complete faith that someone is going to edit this section out as a standalone YouTube clip and post it with something like “Theist get’s Owned!” or “Matt Dillahunty Demolishes Stupid Christian” (which would sadly get more hits).”

    bingo — you called it! “Matt Dillahunty Destroys Theist’s “Faith” Defense (Must See Clip)”

    JD and Co @ 16:

    “Minh’s … begging to be released from his do-goodism.”

    exactamundo.

  26. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ MS #15: whenever I get into an argument like that, my first request is for the person to explain how “faith” is different from “wishful thinking.” Sometimes you can almost see the lightbulb in their head switch on as they realize that they’re defending nonsense.

  27. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    aarrgghh @26:

    I claim fulfilment of the prophecy. I demand to be revered as a God (or at least some sort of prophet)!

    – Simon

  28. Mel Eder says

    I find the Stated Clearly episodes on youtube helpful with describing evolution and natural selection. Natural selection is only the fact that when a parent species reproduces it produces offspring that are slightly different from its parents and other offspring. Its called descent with modification. The natural environment, some offspring will be able to produce more offspring than others.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SCjhI86grU

  29. says

    I think Minh was simply saying that it’s irrational for him to go out of his way to help others when you view the world as simply mechanistic processes obeying the known laws of physics and chemistry. In order for him to make sense of it he uses religion to provide reasons for his wonderful behaviour. Of course you don’t need religion to feel and do what Minh does but Minh finds that using religion provides a good reason for him to do so.

    Hopefully he will keep on studying religion and one day realise the truth and will have a much more scientific reason for his beliefs.

  30. GraveyCakes says

    Minh’s faith allows him to selflessly help others with complete commitment and no thought for personal danger. So far he has helped some woman with her shopping.

  31. Baconized says

    I’ve never understood the argument that there’s a mind behind natural selection. It completely betrays the fundamental definition of Darwin’s theory. William “Lame” Craig gives a version of it at his Reasonable Faith website.

    He believes Yahweh miraculously gave our ancestors the necessary mutations to give rise to our higher sentience and moral awareness. In his debate with the great Hitchens, he declared that Evolution was so improbable that if it WAS true, it would prove supernaturalism. Cart before the horse? And this is with a Ph.D.

    You can’t make this stuff up, but… I suppose you can.

  32. skepticus says

    How about the screeners don’t allow minh to get through….. that would be great, if he gets on next show I’m done watching.

  33. Ray says

    I was excited when Carl called. I thought “finally, a theist who gets to asked the questions, ‘What do you believe and why?'” Carl seemed sincere, but timid. I said to myself, “I hope Matt lets him get his thoughts out before jumping down his throat.” But that wasn’t to be. After torturing us with Minh’s call, allowing him to ramble around going nowhere for another show, Matt let Carl speak for 10 seconds until he said the word faith. Matt had to interrupt and using a harsh tone, he turned Carl’s own words against him. Matt definitely had the high ground and won this mini debate. But this was not a debate. It was supposed to be a conversation. I really wanted to hear the rest of Carl’s points. I was begging Matt to give Carl some time before launching into him. But I was sorely disappointed. Matt needs to remember how it was when he was a young Christian and be kind and gentle with Carl. Carl seemed to be flustered to me. Matt needs to realize that he is miles ahead of most callers, especially theists, regarding knowledge of arguments from both sides of the issue. Carl was obviously an amateur at this. Matt, if you read this, please think about letting theist callers like Carl have 30 seconds or a minute to make their full point instead of getting hung up on their first words. They are not near as experienced as you are. And tell Don to stop laughing at his own silly comments and at the callers. I really like the show, but I was very disappointed with the conversation with Carl. I hope he calls back. He was right when he said he didn’t get to speak long enough to get his point across. Matt, I know you don’t handle criticism well. I’m really trying to help make the show more appealing to theist callers. I have great respect for your knowledge and ability to communicate it. I have learned a lot from you. Thank you for letting me share these thoughts here.

  34. SamFromUK says

    Minh was simply trying to provide reasons for his behaviour rather than think of it as being something which is a purely mechanistic process going on in his brain.

  35. SamFromUK says

    @Baconized,

    “I’ve never understood the argument that there’s a mind behind natural selection.”

    It probably means you don’t understand evolution. You’re just seeing it from a very high level and referring to a definition. There’s a lot more to it than that. I don’t agree with William L Craig – humans did not evolve from another kind of animal. But he sometimes does say a few things which make sense.

  36. SamFromUK says

    @Ray,

    I agree, I think Matt has become arrogant and quite rude over the years. But I can see where he is coming from. He feels he’s seen and heard it all and there’s nothing new out there for him personally. However I think that’s no excuse for treating “guest” callers in that way. Let them speak, treat them as a guest. So what if you are better at getting your points across. Be humble, patient, polite. You’re only going to give decent atheists a bad name.

    Maybe Matt just needs a nice holiday?

  37. RationalismRules says

    @GraveyCakes #33
    .. and a couple of weeks ago he drove a friend somewhere in his car. As an atheist, I could never aspire to such extraordinary selflessness.

  38. Monocle Smile says

    @Ray
    Carl’s call wasn’t going to go anywhere. Do you really think someone who uses that crappy-ass phone analogy and doesn’t understand the concept of questions was going to have useful input? I mean, several times, Matt asked him a question that required a full explanation, and Carl responded with “yep.” He called in to hear himself talk, not engage in discussion.

  39. tonyinbatavia says

    I’m not with skepticus @35 — I will certainly continue listening — but I certainly believe that there’s nothing left to squeeze from further conversations with Minh. He presents a story, the host and co-host gives a very reasoned and articulate response, and Minh just blinks at you like a cat, like he hasn’t heard a word you’re saying or comprehend the language you’re speaking. Lather-rinse-repeat next week. If he ever threw anything different or even remotely interesting at you, or if it sounded as though he was paying any attention to you, conversing with him again might be worthwhile. His pattern of behavior, though, indicates that he has no range to make this interesting and no listening skills to make this worthwhile.

  40. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Wiggle Puppy in 29.
    I’ve been meaning to say that I really like that argument, and I’ll be using it in the future.

  41. Monocle Smile says

    @SamFromUK
    Are you the same Sam from the UK who called a bunch of weeks ago? What does William Lane Craig say that makes any sense at all?

  42. SamFromUK says

    @Monocle

    Greetings, yup, I’m the same Sam. I cam back to this forum because I saw one of Matt’s videos where he now says that there’s no evidence that could convince him of the existence of God since it could all be an illusion or maybe aliens playing tricks, etc, etc. I agree and I think that’s what I pretty much stated in my previous posts in this forum that there’s no kind of evidence that would convince an atheist with his attitude. At some point you have to have some faith with good reasoning. There may be someone else who can think of the evidence that would convince even the most militant atheist but so far I can’t think of anything.

    I agree with William that there does seem to be a “mind” guiding the diversity of living organisms. We observe purpose, design and beauty in living organisms. According to Dawkins it just “looks” designed. I’m not sure how he arrived at that position but as a guess I think it’s because he believes that’s just how atoms and molecules behave.

  43. SamFromUK says

    For those of you interested in the truth, check this out if you haven’t already done so – https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25723-massive-ocean-discovered-towards-earths-core/

    Some atheists argued that there simply wasn’t enough water on earth to allow for Noah’s flood. Well hopefully they will back down from that claim now and be more open. Also I’m pretty sure it says in Genesis that God told some of the water at the surface to go down beneath it.

    I’m hoping that soon the science will prove that the water beneath the surface of the earth isn’t only trapped in rock but also there is huge amounts free flowing. That’s going to be extremely difficult for atheists to explain, hopefully it will open their minds a bit more.

  44. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    Oh, great.
    Can you indicate which of Matt’s videos you’re talking about? Because I’m pretty confident you’re grossly misrepresenting his position.

    At some point you have to have some faith with good reasoning

    Not only is this incoherent, but this should tell you something about the veracity of the claim.

    There may be someone else who can think of the evidence that would convince even the most militant atheist but so far I can’t think of anything.

    Well, what convinced you? It makes perfect sense to ask this even thought lots of apologists avoid this topic like the plague. Most apologists present things that did not personally convince them, which I find curious. Now, while I accept that you may have come to a correct conclusion with incorrect reasoning, this will have to be demonstrated. Can you lay out a valid and sound argument for the existence of your particular god?

    I agree with William that there does seem to be a “mind” guiding the diversity of living organisms. We observe purpose, design and beauty in living organisms

    No. This is completely wrong. We make observations and some people who don’t know any better fall prey to pareidolia or deliberately tell lies to convince the gullible. Dawkins says things “look” designed for the same reason we see unicorns and skyscrapers in the clouds. We as a species see patterns and agency where none exist; we draw false associations all the time and we need to be cognizant of this.

  45. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    That article is interesting, but doesn’t say what you claim. So god just “told” water to do something that would fucking break the planet? Do you have any idea what kind of effects that water motion from the mantle layer to the surface would have? Didn’t think so. Never mind that the volume estimate from New Scientist appears to be sensationalism.

    I’m hoping that soon the science will prove that the water beneath the surface of the earth isn’t only trapped in rock but also there is huge amounts free flowing. That’s going to be extremely difficult for atheists to explain, hopefully it will open their minds a bit more

    Not only is this rather silly, but why would this be difficult for “atheists” to explain? And why would this mean that you are justified to believe in a global flood NOW?

  46. SamFromUK says

    @Monocle,

    What initially convinced me is that some claims in the Quran are true. For example the creation of life – only God can create life. Scientists have tried and have failed so far. There is no way of proving common descent. The variety of living organisms we observe can’t be explained via natural processes.
    It took a while, maybe around 10 years or so, but after a while all the religions of the world and God made sense now – for me it all fits together. I used to be a idol worshipper, then I became an atheist for about a couple of years, then I became a Muslim, or more accurately a believer of the Quran. Going through these phases helped me immensely in understanding God and the world we live in.

    Having been an atheist I totally understand where the atheists are coming from. The feeling of liberation, doing good just for the sake of doing good rather than to please some entity you don’t even know exists, getting to concentrate on your own self career wise and making the best of this life, etc, etc.

    But at the end of the day what matters is the truth. We are all after the truth. Problem is that sometimes for some of us the truth isn’t want we want or like.

  47. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Monocle Smile
    In his recent discussion with Richard Dawkins, Matt did actually say that, more or less. (ninjaed)

    Important clarifications: Matt did not say “no evidence would convince me”. He said “I don’t know what evidence would convince me”. Furthermore, in his discussion with Richard Dawkins, Matt clearly communicated that he believes that there is some conceivable evidence that would convince him, but also said that he didn’t know what the evidence could / would be.

    I was about to write another rant on this topic, but I’ve ranted enough already. I will note that Matt’s argument, when looked at more closely, is quite solipsistic. I wish I had a good hour with him to hash this out. Maybe I’ll try to call in again. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will be productive, because he’ll ask me to define “natural” and “supernatural”, and I really don’t want to. The problem is that he has a mental model of the world, “natural v supernatural”, that does nothing but serve to confuse and hide the real issues (more or less exactly as per Scott Clifton’s position in his Skepticon video).

    Jumping very ahead, and trying to make this short: In the end, Matt cannot distinguish between a world of a god outside of the normal rules of physics, and sufficiently advanced aliens. My counter is that neither can he tell the difference between our “natural” world, and living in The Matrix. Matt’s position is incredibly solipsistic, and it makes me a little sad that he doesn’t realize it already.

    In other words, if Matt asked me if I was sitting in a chair, and I responded “I don’t know, I might be in the Matrix”, Matt would call shenanigans on my position. He would say it’s solipsistic word-games. He would be right. However, if I ask Matt a similar question about “what if a god appears, and convincingly demonstrates its seemingly limitless abilities, and submits to whatever tests we want, and this goes on for decades – would you be ready to accept the existence of a god then?”, and if Matt answers “well, it might be sufficiently advanced aliens”, that’s just as solipsistic as the hypothetical response “well, I might be in The Matrix”.

    ~sigh~

    And in the end, I did write a rant on the topic. At least it’s shorter that my first discarded rant.

  48. SamFromUK says

    @MS,

    “Can you lay out a valid and sound argument for the existence of your particular god?”

    This is kind of question one of the hardest for some people to understand. There are thousands of religions/gods so which one is the right one?

    It took awhile for me to understand but it comes down to the definition of God. Once you get the definition of God correct it’s much easier to determine which god is the true God.

    Some basic definition of God:

    1. God is all powerful.
    2. God is all knowing.
    3. God just exists. He has neither beginning or end.
    4. God does not have any gender.
    5. We only know a tiny amount of God.
    6. Absolutely everything is a creation of God. Absolutely everything thing you can see, imagine, think of, dream of plus everything you don’t know.

    If a god fits the description of all the above then he is the true God irrespective of the name of the religion. For Islam, Christianity and Judaism, those definitions hold so all three religions are true. There may be other religions which have the same definition of God, if they do then their God is the same true God.

    Now the next tricky part is understanding the term religion. Religion is made up of 2 elements, beliefs and rituals. The rituals can be different, such as how to pray, when/how to fast, what days to celebrate, etc. But the beliefs must stay the same. So definition of God could not change. You would still have to believe in angels, and all the prophets and all scripture that was sent down.

    The Quran says it best. There is only one path/way to God. That is via believing in him and all his revelations, obeying the commands he gives you and doing good. It’s simple. Religious people confuse things because most of them don’t understand.

    So if you’re a Christian, follow the Gospel, if you’re a Jew, follow the Torah, if you’re a Muslim follow the Quran. All three are correct religions. That’s how God made it so. If there are other religions which have the same beliefs then they are correct too. Most people are just being arrogant when they won’t accept other faiths.

    Hope the above makes sense. There’s a lot to take in and understand especially if you haven’t done the research properly but the definition of God is a good starting point I feel.

  49. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To SamFromUK
    How about giving the summary of the argument “there is a god”? A summary really helps in situations like this. If we have questions or concerns or misunderstandings on details, then we can drill down into those details.

  50. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    I tend to agree, and I like how Russell addresses that question (what would convince you a god exists?) much more. I tend to like how you answer this, too.

    @Sam
    Pretty much everything you wrote is wrong. I forgot that you are a Muslim; this makes everything worse. The moon has never been split in two, especially not in the past couple thousand years. As long as you’re not using a ridiculous standard like absolute certainty, common descent CAN and HAS been proven.

    For example the creation of life – only God can create life. Scientists have tried and have failed so far

    …so what? Who cares? Scientists tried and failed to make flying machines for a long time, but then some dudes made a goddamn flying machine. Meanwhile, gods have never been shown to exist, let alone “create life.” How can you agree with such balderdash?

    It took a while, maybe around 10 years or so, but after a while all the religions of the world and God made sense now – for me it all fits together

    This the most nonsensical thing you’ve posted thus far.

    Having been an atheist I totally understand where the atheists are coming from

    Given what you say immediately after this, I do not believe you for a second. I have no desire to be an atheist. Desire isn’t even a factor.

  51. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    Absolutely nothing you posted in #52 makes an ounce of sense. All you did was create more questions. Do you know what “valid and sound” means? Because “sound” means you need to demonstrate the truth of the premises. I don’t care that you can fabricate a definition and somehow claim it’s the “correct” one. All I care about is what you can demonstrate to be true.

  52. SamFromUK says

    @MS,

    I think you might follow the same thinking as Matt where no matter what is presented to you you just won’t accept. I’m guessing you’re after some lab experiment where we can go and demonstrate it to you. And if we did you’d probably just dismiss it anyway.

    I think it would help if you opened your mind first. One of the things that helped me was understanding what a miracle is. If you understand and believe that absolutely everything you observe is in fact a miracle things become much easier to accept about God. Problem then becomes “if everything is a miracle then how do we distinguish God from it all?”

  53. RationalismRules says

    @Sam #46
    You think that invalidating the water argument suddenly invalidates all other arguments against the Noah myth?

    Let’s take one out for a spin, shall we?
    How did koalas get from Mount Ararat to Australia? Koalas are only found natively in Australia. They can’t swim across oceans, they can’t fly, they can’t build boats, and even if they hitched a ride on an obliging sea-turtle they would have died of starvation (and exposure) before the crossing was over.
    Even if they managed to overcome the problem of crossing various seas/oceans, they spend 95% of their day eating and sleeping (they have to sleep for so long because their food source, eucalyptus leaves, takes most of their energy to digest) so a journey halfway across the world would have taken thousands of generations. How did they manage all this without leaving any trace of their epic migration?

    Here’s an even more fundamental issue – two of any species does not constitute a sustainable population. How did any of the animal species survive, given that their number is far below the population required to stave off extinction?

    Instead of bemoaning atheists’ lack of ‘openness’ to your fairytale, try making yourself a bit more ‘open’ to facts.

  54. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    So you’re just going to assume I’m going to be dishonest. That’s fun.

    If you understand and believe that absolutely everything you observe is in fact a miracle things become much easier to accept about God

    Why would I accept such codswallop? Why should anyone? All you’ve done is make the term “miracle” meaningless.
    If a god exists interacts with our reality, then there is observable evidence. This is unavoidable. How do you distinguish reality with a god from reality without a god? Instead of dodging and taking potshots at me, how about you back up your claims?

  55. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    I think it’s a good start.

    Once you understand God you wouldn’t ask questions about the Koalas. Just because scripture says that God ordered Noah to take a pair of animals onto the ark doesn’t mean ALL the animals from all of the earth. God creates new life as and when he pleases. He puts them places which doesn’t make sense or can’t be explained rationally. That’s deliberate. Problem with atheist mindset is they’re always looking for rational explanations. You need to reach a point where you’ve got to let go. Accept that we live in a bizarre reality. In this reality absolutely anything is possible. There is no law that says something is impossible. All we can do is observe and try to make sense of it. If it doesn’t make sense, then so be it.

  56. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You need to reach a point where you’ve got to let go.

    I suggest you go somewhere else, because all of the hosts and all of the regular commentors here will never, ever do that. You’re asking for the impossible. Speaking for myself, and many others here, those are my most core values, and I will never, ever abandon those values. You’re wasting your own time and our time by trying to argue this point. It will never happen.

  57. SamFromUK says

    @MS,

    “How do you distinguish reality with a god from reality without a god?”

    You can’t. Without God you simply don’t exist. God is not separate from creation or this reality. The presence of God is absolutely everywhere. If it wasn’t then the definition of God would fail since it would mean God is not all knowing.

    To find out if there is a God you need to listen to what he claims. One claim is that only God can create life. The existence of life is NOT a natural phenomena. It’s a miracle happening in front of your very eyes. Because you see so much of it all of the time YOU deem it to be natural but it’s not. it’s not natural because life simply doesn’t come into being when you mix a bunch of molecules together or even if you try to engineer it.

  58. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “Speaking for myself, and many others here, those are my most core values, and I will never, ever abandon those values”

    And therein lies your problem.

  59. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To SamFromUK
    Whatever dude. By your own admission, and according to the other facts of the matter, there is no point to further conversation.

  60. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    /picard facepalm
    Why is this so hard to understand? I’m asking WHY, not WHAT. Do you even know what those words mean? At this point, you’re just posting nonsense and blibbering on about how the entirety of human knowledge is worth nothing. There’s something seriously wrong with you.

    If scientists create life in a lab tomorrow, does your little world crumble into pieces? Of course not. So you’re just being dishonest here. Buzz off.

  61. RationalismRules says

    @Sam #59

    Just because scripture says that God ordered Noah to take a pair of animals onto the ark doesn’t mean ALL the animals from all of the earth.

    I see you’re now re-writing the bible.
    Genesis 7:2 (New International version)

    Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate,

    Note the use of the words of every kind. In other translations it is replaced by the word “each” or “all”, but they all carry the same meaning, and the meaning directly conflicts with what you have just claimed.

    However, since you’re now claiming to ‘understand god’, I guess you have license to rewrite his immutable Word as you see fit.

  62. RationalismRules says

    @SAM #59

    You need to reach a point where you’ve got to let go. Accept that we live in a bizarre reality. In this reality absolutely anything is possible. There is no law that says something is impossible. All we can do is observe and try to make sense of it. If it doesn’t make sense, then so be it.

    Since facts are so irrelevant, why present the NewScientist article? You don’t need to refute the water argument – if you understand god you wouldn’t ask questions about where the water came from. Just let go and accept that it’s all magic.

    Is it perhaps that you like facts that accord with your pre-held ideas, and you reserve your dismissiveness for those inconvenient facts that conflict with your worldview?

  63. NoOne says

    Sam from UK:

    “To find out if there is a God you need to listen to what he claims.”

    God hasn’t claimed anything, but you have. Much like the character “Corky” played by Anthony Hopkins in the 1978 movie “Magic”. He is a ventriloquist who’s dummy becomes magically animated and commits a series of murders. In the final scene as Corky (the human) is dieing from a stabbing delivered by the dummy, it informs him that (paraphrasing) “… it was you, it was always you”.

    The point is that the only time your god speaks is when you stick your hand up it’s backside.

  64. blue says

    I think Matt has reached the point where he needs to step into the back seat for a while. I want my theists toyed with, not hectored.

  65. RationalismRules says

    @indianajones #68
    I had the same thought. Just waiting for “the truth isn’t dependent on your knowing it” to be certain.

  66. SamFromUK says

    @RationalismRules,

    “Since facts are so irrelevant, why present the NewScientist article? You don’t need to refute the water argument – if you understand god you wouldn’t ask questions about where the water came from. Just let go and accept that it’s all magic.
    Is it perhaps that you like facts that accord with your pre-held ideas, and you reserve your dismissiveness for those inconvenient facts that conflict with your worldview?”

    Of course facts are important. This reality is important, it’s all we know and have in this life. Understanding God means asking more questions, doing tons of more science, finding out what is the truth as well as pondering what is “truth”. You don’t know what my previous pre-held ideas were. I used to believe in many gods, I used to believe the Devil was a good explanation for the presence of evil, that there was a constant battle of good against evil. I used to believe there was nothing after you die and humans made God up that everything would be great if religions didn’t exist. I’ve had many ideas and opinions. I slowly realised it’s all about what is the truth and how do you go about finding the truth when there are lots of liars and fake people out there. That science was the only true way of determining truth which can be demonstrated and agreed upon by others. Opinions, ideas, thoughts are subjective and people feel/think different things depending on which family, environment, position, etc they are born in or placed in. However even the subjective world can be separated from the false ideas.

    When you understand God you have to accept the science. Accepting the science does not mean accepting the peoples conclusions. Many people confuse science with human conclusions. Science is basically observations – you cannot simply ignore observations they don’t go away simply because you don’t like them. Then you have humans which postulate ideas/opinions based on those observations. These can be ignored/refuted/debated depending on the evidence available. Take for example Noah’s Flood. Current observations show that there is not enough water on the surface of the earth for Noah’s Flood to be true. Therefore scientists postulate that Noah’s Flood is unlikely to have happened. The militant anti-religion scientists will maybe conclude that’s impossible for Noah’s Flood to have happened and that it’s a ridiculous story.

    Now let’s say huge amounts of free flowing water is found beneath the crust of the earth, when I say huge mean more than a thousand times what we see on the surface of the earth. A proper scientist will conclude, yes Noah’s Flood could have happened since we now have clear evidence of the waters needed. However the militant atheist scientist will still be skeptical and look for ways of denying it.

    Question for you RR is whether your opinions and thoughts have been clouded by your feelings and biases of things you don’t like and/or understand in religion.

  67. SamFromUK says

    @MS,

    “the entirety of human knowledge is worth nothing”

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. Yes this is absolutely true. All human achievements, knowledge, creation, etc, It’s all absolutely worth nothing. Reality check for you – the universe does not care for you. It’s not going to miss you, it doesn’t need you. It’s going to keep on existing whether you’re here or not, whether you care or not. Even the people who care the most for you will soon be dead and they too will be a forgotten memory.

    It’s only your hubris which is giving you false ideas, hopes and aspirations. Welcome to reality.

  68. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “Genesis 7:2 (New International version)
    Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate,”

    Sorry, but it’s you who is assuming the text means all kinds of animals that exist on the earth. The word “Every” needs to be used in context. I’d

    “Young’s Literal Translation
    of all the clean beasts thou dost take to thee seven pairs, a male and its female; and of the beasts which are not clean two, a male and its female;”

    Above is the literal translation. It says “of all the clean beasts” and “of the beasts which are not clean”. So you should ask the question what does it mean by “clean” and “unclean”. “clean” and “unclean” could simply be 2 categories out of hundreds. I’m not an expert on the language in which the Bible was written but as someone who questions everything and knows that people have biased ideas and opinions I would make the effort to try and understand those terms better.

    I would also question why would God need to say to take all “kinds” of animals onto the ark. Was it because that’s the only way to save them? If so then I’d question the power of that god. Because the definition of God means a being who can create at will and has power over all things. If this god can only save animals in that manner then he is not god. If it’s purely for symbolic reasons then that would need to be looked differently.

  69. RationalismRules says

    @Sam #71
    As I suspected, you like facts that accord with your pre-held notions, but when the facts inconveniently contradict your fairytales you dismiss them as irrelevant.
    You like the facts about subterranean water, because you see them as supportive of your myth, whereas the facts about koalas you dismiss with “Once you understand god you wouldn’t ask questions about the koala.” (and then you re-write the bible)

    Why would anyone bother to listen to your opinions about the importance of subterranean water, when your attitude to evidence is so utterly inconsistent?

  70. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    Lol. Ok please explain to me what “clean” and “unclean” beasts are.

    Also don’t you think you’re being unreasonable about being open minded to Noah’s flood being true? When scientists were saying there’s simply not enough water on the earth for Noah’s Flood to be true were you happy to hear that because it confirmed your biased opinions about religions.

    Shouldn’t you be saying “this is interesting, let’s see what else is found out”? Please take a step back and take a look at yourself. I sense a lot of hate and frustration in Matts opinions and thoughts. I’m sensing the same in you.

  71. RationalismRules says

    @Sam #73 #75

    “clean” and “unclean” could simply be 2 categories out of hundreds.

    Clean/unclean is a true dichotomy. It is simply not possible for something to be neither ‘clean’ nor ‘unclean’. If it’s not one, then it’s the other, by definition. So every clean animal + every unclean animal = EVERY animal.

    I would also question why would God need to say to take all “kinds” of animals onto the ark. Was it because that’s the only way to save them? If so then I’d question the power of that god.

    ..and yet you haven’t thought to question why would god need to take any animals onto the ark? .. or question why a god with the power to eradicate mankind with a single thought would go through this ridiculously over-complicated flood scenario in order to get rid of the badly behaved humans?
    Forget questioning whether all kinds of animals were required on the ark, instead ask the real question – why kill any animals in the first place? Or alternatively why not simply kill them all and start again? I mean, if you’re going to recreate some of them from scratch, you may as well do all of them.

    The whole Noah myth is jam-packed with absurdities, and yet the issue that you choose to question is whether all the animals were required on the ark. I begin to suspect that you’re a troll. Nobody can be that stupid for real.

  72. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To RationalismRules
    It’s not just ridiculously bad reasoning and double-standards. He just said upthread point-blank verbatim that in order to accept god, one needs to abandon rationality and logic itself. Until and unless he revokes that position, there’s no hope for useless progress. Normally, I might have done a little more ridicule or profanity in response to such a ridiculous proposition, because ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions like that, but I don’t have the heart for it right now, so I’m leaving it as it is.

  73. RationalismRules says

    @EL #77
    Yes, I’m now seriously doubting his genuineness. The pattern is very similar to It’sMeTroll – start out with a couple of apparently reasonable comments in order to get people to engage, then rapidly escalate the stupidity factor, combined with lots of attempted button-pushing (“open” “real scientists” etc.) He may indeed be a theist of weapons-grade stupidity, but even so I’m pretty sure this is an exercise in trolling rather than a bona fide attempt to engage. The Noah argument is just too stupid to be genuine.
    I wont be wasting any more time on him.

  74. SamFromUK says

    “Clean/unclean is a true dichotomy. It is simply not possible for something to be neither ‘clean’ nor ‘unclean’. If it’s not one, then it’s the other, by definition. So every clean animal + every unclean animal = EVERY animal.”

    You still haven’t defined or suggested what it means by “clean” and “unclean”. My thoughts are that “clean” is animal kinds which believers are explicitly allowed to eat and/or use for sacrifice, for example cows, sheep, chickens, etc. “unclean” are animals which cannot be consumed or sacrificed such as swine, dogs, cats, etc.

  75. SamFromUK says

    “He just said upthread point-blank verbatim that in order to accept god, one needs to abandon rationality and logic itself.”

    You’re confused. Please quote me if that’s what I said.

  76. Robert,+not+Bob says

    @Sam, it doesn’t matter what, exactly, is meant by “clean” and “unclean”. The point is it’s a logical dichotomy: this and not-this. Logically, every clean animal and every unclean animal has to mean every animal.

  77. Monocle Smile says

    @All
    If you remember my first post to Sam, I asked if he was the same Sam from the UK that called a bunch of weeks ago. I forget which episode; maybe I’ll dig it up later. From the call, it seems Sam really does believe this stuff. He’s not the same as the other limey, but yes, it’s weapons-grade stupidity, RR.

  78. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Because I’m feeling generous.

    He just said upthread point-blank verbatim that in order to accept god, one needs to abandon rationality and logic itself.

    You’re confused. Please quote me if that’s what I said.

    You said that here, bolding added:

    He puts them places which doesn’t make sense or can’t be explained rationally. That’s deliberate. Problem with atheist mindset is they’re always looking for rational explanations. You need to reach a point where you’ve got to let go. Accept that we live in a bizarre reality. In this reality absolutely anything is possible. There is no law that says something is impossible. All we can do is observe and try to make sense of it. If it doesn’t make sense, then so be it.

    That is a clear, simple, and very explicit call to abandon critical thinking, rationality itself, and logic itself. You clearly said that it’s wrong-headed to always look for rational explanations, and that you have to “let go”, and accept things that don’t make sense (“If it doesn’t make sense, then so be it.”)

    And again for emphasis, none of us here will ever do that. All of us here will always examine the world around us with critical thinking, rationality, and logic, and if some claim does not “make sense”, then we will never accept it. We only accept claims that make sense, and that are sufficiently supported by evidence, reason, rationality, and logic, and which withstand critical thinking. This is one of my core values which I will never “let go” of.

  79. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    OK so please rationally explain quantum entanglement or things appearing out of nothing.

  80. SamFromUK says

    @Robert,

    Sorry, I’m not sure how I can explain it any clearer. Maybe I need to take an English course or something. I’ll give up.

  81. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    …So you think that because something is beyond your comprehension, it’s suddenly impossible to explain, both now and forever? What’s wrong with you? Too many things, obviously.

  82. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “but when the facts inconveniently contradict your fairytales you dismiss them as irrelevant.”

    So which facts contradict my so called fairy tales?

  83. SamFromUK says

    @MS,

    Lol, go on explain quantum entanglement rationally. I don’t want to hear some lame useless argument that we’ll figure it out in the future I want to hear it now.

  84. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    OK so please rationally explain quantum entanglement or things appearing out of nothing.

    Oh goodness. Epistemology 101, here we go.

    If one buys basic math and basic logic, and you should, then it’s impossible to have good reasons for all of your beliefs (in a certain meaning of those words). See the regress problem and the Munchausen trilemma. In short, everyone sane has a small list of starting beliefs and values, which form the core and foundation of their beliefs. These foundational beliefs may be self referencing. This describes a particular kind of epistemology. This approach to epistomology is a slight variant on foundationalism, and it’s sometimes known as foundherentism. With this core set of foundational beliefs, which does not have a justification (except to appeal circularly to other beliefs in the foundational set), a person then creates the rest of their beliefs. The vast majority of their beliefs are thusly justified – directly or indirectly – on their foundational beliefs.

    Some of my foundational beliefs include the values of humanism, basic logic and basic math, and the basic values of science, such as parsimony, inductive reasoning aka the uniformity principle, and critical thinking.

    With those core beliefs, I am able to ascertain that when I release a hammer from a height above the ground in normal household conditions, then the hammer will fall to the ground. The belief that the hammer will fall is not one of my foundational beliefs. Rather, it’s a consequence of my foundational beliefs and the evidence to which I have access.

    In effect, for these particular problems of fundamental physics, you just asked me to explain “how does that happen?” or “why does that happen?” or “what sort of processes or mechanisms are causing that to happen?”. I don’t need an answer to those questions to be rationally justified in holding my belief “a hammer will fall to the ground when released at a height above the ground in normal household condition”. Your mistake is a shockingly common misunderstanding of reason and the scientific method, and I rant about it all the time here.

    Perhaps accidentally, you confused and wrongly conflated two things: 1- knowing how or why something happens, in other words the processes or mechanisms by which it happens, and 2- being justified in the truth of a belief that it does happen. Again, I don’t need to know “how” or “why” or “by what process or mechanism” the hammer falls in order to be justified in holding the belief that the hammer falls. In order to be justified in the belief that the hammer falls, a mountain of scientific evidence is more than enough to rationally hold the belief that the hammer will fall. In other words, a mountain of scientific evidence is more than enough to be justified in holding a belief that the hammer will fall. For example, before Newton, people did not know “how”, or “why”, or “by what process or mechanism” hammers fell to the ground, but they did know that hammers fall to the ground, and that belief was rational because it was justified by the available evidence.

    If you want to convince us of the existence of your god, for me at least, and for any proper and respectable scientist, you only need to show convincing scientific evidence that the god does indeed exist. You don’t need to explain how the god does miracles. (Sadly, it should be noted that many practicing and respectable scientists and famous atheist persons get this wrong. However, you’re arguing with me now, not them. I’m including this warning as a genuine attempt to be helpful to you in future conversations. Please be sure to see my further reading for a better understanding of this problem and confusion which is present in much of the scientific community.)

    By way of completing the analogy, the parallel – I don’t know how quantum entanglement works. I don’t know anything about the processes nor mechanisms by which it happens. However, I have a metric shitton of evidence that quantum entanglement does happen, and therefore I know that it does happen. Similarly, in order to know that your god exists and does stuff, you need to show your evidence which led you to that conclusion. We are waiting.

    For further reading, I strongly suggest the following:

    The best short synopsis of the core of my position is the following webcomic. Only the webcomic in that particular link is necessary. No further knowledge of the webcomic is necessary (and I have none myself).
    > Girl Genius webcomic
    http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20081205

    However, if you don’t know the origin of the quoted text in the webcomic, then the following information is necessary for context:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarke's_three_laws

    Further reading / watching:

    In the following video, Nobel Physicist Richard Feynman explains how it’s impossible to explain how magnets work. For all practical purposes, it’s the same question as “how does quantum entanglement work”, and the answer that he gives is preciesly the right sort of answer to our question.
    > Nobel Physicist Richard Feynman explains how it’s impossible to explain how magnets work


    The final two links spend a lot of time discussing the conceptual and epistemological misconceptions that are in the scientific community and atheist community – and religious community too! – around the concepts “natural” and “supernatural”. It’s very important to understand these misconceptions, in order to understand the demand that I am making to you know, the demand for evidence for your claims.

    > God, Science and the Problem with Nature – Scott Clifton (Theoretical Bullshit) – Skepticon 7


    > How not to attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical misconceptions about Methodological Naturalism
    > (final draft – to appear in Foundations of Science)
    > Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, Johan Braeckman
    https://sites.google.com/site/maartenboudry/teksten-1/methodological-naturalism

  85. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “Problem with atheist mindset is they’re always looking for rational explanations. You need to reach a point where you’ve got to let go. Accept that we live in a bizarre reality. In this reality absolutely anything is possible.” – Me

    “You clearly said that it’s wrong-headed to always look for rational explanations, and that you have to “let go”, and accept things that don’t make sense (“If it doesn’t make sense, then so be it.”)
    And again for emphasis, none of us here will ever do that. All of us here will always examine the world around us with critical thinking, rationality, and logic, and if some claim does not “make sense”, then we will never accept it. – You

    The great Richard Feynman basically is saying the same thing I said – or to be more accurate I’m basically agreeing with Richard. You simply accept things which don’t make sense. We don’t know how magnets work, it’s bizarre, we just accept t. We don’t understand quantum entanglement, it’s bizarre, we just accept it.

    Bizarre things happen in the world, some can be explained by so called “natural” forces, some can’t. True open minded rational people just accept it, you have to otherwise you’re never going to take on board new knowledge.

  86. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    Wow, you misunderstanding massively.

    You simply accept things which don’t make sense

    No. We accept observable, testable results. It doesn’t matter one shit that there’s no “theory of everything.” These things are not “bizarre.” They are commonplace. In fact, that’s WHY we accept them! The same results come up for the same experiments without fail. This is how reality works.

    some can be explained by so called “natural” forces, some can’t

    Again, no. You’re just completely wrong, and you advocate for shrugging our shoulders and halting investigation. This is poor thinking. This has absofuckinglutely nothing to do with the earlier problems that have been pointed out to you. Lacking an absolute explanation of quantum entanglement isn’t a failure of reason. It’s not even commentary on reason. You are so far behind on this.

    You didn’t address EL’s primary challenge, likely because you didn’t read his entire post.

    I don’t know how quantum entanglement works. I don’t know anything about the processes nor mechanisms by which it happens. However, I have a metric shitton of evidence that quantum entanglement does happen, and therefore I know that it does happen. Similarly, in order to know that your god exists and does stuff, you need to show your evidence which led you to that conclusion. We are waiting.

    While I sometimes take issue with EL often glossing over the fact that we DO understand mechanisms for lots of things to a certain point (we can explain lots and lots of phenomena in terms of other things we understand) and that this practice is not only useful, but central to expanding our knowledge base, he’s technically correct on this.

  87. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    While I sometimes take issue with EL often glossing over the fact that we DO understand mechanisms for lots of things to a certain point

    Sorry, I need to work that into my screed. It’s usually not on the top of my mind when correcting this error. You are very correct though.

  88. Robert, not Bob says

    @Sam: Oh, I got your point all right: that your definition of “clean and unclean” can of course exclude all animals not native to (presumably) Iraq. It’s just wrong. Indeed, logically incoherent. It doesn’t matter what the categories are, “tasty and not-tasty”, say, or “yellow and not-yellow”. That still has to mean all animals. Though I bet even all the animals native to some local region of Iraq would still be far too large a load for Noah’s un-seaworthy boat.

  89. SamFromUK says

    @Robert,

    It’s logically incoherent and wrong to you because you don’t understand scripture and maybe even religion in general. Why don’t you first define or find out what is actual “clean” and “unclean”. If you’re just going to take a position on something without finding out the definitions of the fundamental things which you’re trying to explain then you’re just being silly. You need more info.

    Hope that makes sense.

  90. Bruce Smith says

    @SamFromUK,

    Perhaps it would help if you could list some animals that you would describe as neither clean nor unclean using whatever definition of clean and unclean you feel is correct, since you seem to have the position that clean + unclean does not include all animals.

  91. jeimii says

    It is a shame that Matt did not speak with Karl a little less hostility. I am sure many believers listening to the call may have benefited from Karl being able to develop his point more and then examine that.
    There is no glory in Matt beating up on some theist who is not used to debating, it is like Manchester City defeating a bunch of 4 years olds at football and thinking some form of victory has been achieved. It would be nice if the guest callers could be treated as guests…

  92. L.Ron Dow says

    This is the problem with being a ‘believer’ – language becomes ‘plastic’ – words can take on new meaning to suit whatever mumbo-jumbo the user finds useful in defending their absurdities. It’s the same bait-and-switch tactic used to make ‘slaves’ no different from ‘bond-servants’ and then say slavery is ok. It’s equivocation. My 10 year old shades looked uncool yesterday – after putting them in the freezer overnight, they’re definitely cool again today.

    SamFromUK could have been right. If ‘clean’ was meant to mean ‘spiritually pure’ but ‘unclean’ was meant in the sense of being ‘dirty and needed a wash’ then he could have been right – the translators would have been mistaken in their choice of words.

    But, Sam urged us to look back to scripture – so I did. What we find is that in the original Hebrew for Genesis 7:2, ‘clean’ is given by the word ‘tehorah’ (which does indeed mean ‘spiritually pure’) but the ‘unclean’ animals are described as ‘lo tehorah’ – that is: ‘NOT tehorah,’ ‘lo’ is the negation of whatever follows. So, WHATEVER ‘tehorah’ means, by the fundamental laws of logic, identity, non-contradiction & particularly excluded middle: The sum of ‘tehorah’ animals and animals that are ‘NOT tehorah’ is ALL animals.

    Sam recognized that he’d backed himself into corner back in comment#88 but he’d rather impugn scriptural integrity than admit he’s wrong.

    While I’m here.

    The article about subterranean water is a red-herring. Scientists do not do tests on the structural properties of gingerbread to see if they could be used to build a house, and they don’t go looking for beans that will grow stalks that reach up into the clouds. They look for explanations of OBSERVED phenomenon – for example, why the orbit of Neptune looks as though something is pulling it out of its expected shape, why the total mass of stuff in the universe seems too small, why there is a GLOBAL layer of sediment, containing about 1000 more iridium than normal, laid down about 65 million years ago. Never, has any geologist, found any evidence that there was a GLOBAL flood in the last ten thousand years. There is nothing for scientists to investigate – they don’t investigate stories for the sake of it (unless they’re just out to fleece the gullible.)

  93. SamFromUK says

    @LRon,

    “The article about subterranean water is a red-herring.”

    Please do explain how it was a red-herring. I think like most atheists on this forum you guys are confused.

  94. L.Ron Dow says

    @Sam
    In comment #71 you say “Current observations show that there is not enough water on the surface of the earth for Noah’s Flood to be true. Therefore scientists postulate that Noah’s Flood is unlikely to have happened.”

    A ‘red herring’ is intended to thwart fox-hunters by leading the foxhounds astray with a false scent trail (by dragging herrings.) You are using the quantity of water on Earth to suggest that this is the reason scientists do not give credence to the Noah’s flood story.

    It is not.

    As I have just said, the REAL REASON is that there is NO EVIDENCE of a global flooding phenomenon TO investigate. ‘Real’ scientists don’t bother to postulate anything about said folk-tale (a plagiarized extract of the Epic of Gilgamesh, probably inspired by one of the real, but local, floodings of the Sumerian plains which occur quite frequently) – there is no good cause. It is recognized as a story. Fakes, like Ron Wyatt, might try to present a plausible account – but we know what their goal is – and ‘Truth’ ain’t it.

    You are also confused about how to handle this story – why do you need scientific arguments to rebut objections to a magical phenomenon? If you say God can, by a wave of his magic wand, summon up an entire universe and bring handfuls of dust/clay to life then you DON’T need to explain from where all the water came or whither it went. This would ONLY be important if the whole phenomenon was completely NATURALISTIC, for example: as the Earth formed vast quantities of water were bound-up in rocks beneath the crust, an asteroid impact in China heated all the subsurface water and turned it into steam, this was ejected from vents, circled the planet and fell as rain causing a global flood for many months. As the anhydrous sub-crustal minerals slowly cooled down, they were able to recombine with the excess surface water and the floodwaters receded. But note: there NO GOD needed in this account.

    As others have asked – why was all this palaver necessary anyway? Lot’s wife was, reportedly, turned to a pillar of salt – why couldn’t your God have just done the same to ALL the wicked people?

    When the 2004 Asian Tsunami killed a quarter of a million people – the Imams were quick to say that this was punishment from Allah because the people had lost their way and were insufficiently pious. You can be sure that the locals of Banda Acer are much more devout Muslims today. If you can’t see what’s happening here (and back in the Sumerian floods) then shame on you.

  95. SamFromUK says

    @LRon,

    “You are using the quantity of water on Earth to suggest that this is the reason scientists do not give credence to the Noah’s flood story.”

    This is ONE of the reasons non-believers could use to refute Noah’s Flood. I say non-believers because atheists for whatever don’t like being called atheists and there may be some who accept a Flood could have happened yet don’t believe in God. I didn’t says scientists because we have believing and non believing scientists. Science does NOT belong to atheists or non believers. Science should be used as a tool to arrive at the truth or prove/disprove ones opinions, theories and assumptions. So please let’s not says “scientists say this or that”. Let’s says “science shows this or that” and leave the conclusions as an opinion/interpretation rather than fact.

    Here is a link to the talk origins site – http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html. The site describes some objections to the Flood which is a good starting point.

    My position on Noah’s Flood is that it was a real event which occurred and was global. Noah’s Flood did not need magic for the the water to appear even though I believe God could easily have made all the water appear out of nothing. However I don’t believe God does this because it would mean relying on “faith” and not observable evidence. Relying on “faith” with stories like this is not reasonable or rational because people lie. Even if they are not lying they could have been hallucinating or maybe just passing a story on through the generations or maybe they were just a bit crazy. We can’t rely solely on peoples stories.

    I used to believe that Noah’s Flood was something that could only be explained by supernatural forces hence it was just a matter of faith. However once I really began to understand scriptures after years blindly following others I was expecting water to be found beneath the surface of the earth because scripture mentions “springs of the deep”. Which for me means springs which are fed by a deep source of water. Not the oceans but something deeper, below the crust. There were others on the internet who believed the same and I totally understood it was a bizarre position to have with no scientific evidence. However I was pretty certain water would be found. So when water was found it was amazing. However understandably this isn’t enough. The water is in minerals and it’s only assumptions which claim that there is vast amounts of it. It could turn out to be wrong and with further evidence prove to be wrong.

    I believe, along with others that beneath the earths surface the “deep” will be found. Which will mean huge amounts of free flowing water. The discoveries will prove the description of the earth contained in scripture, ie the Bible and Quran. This will mean the current scientific models of the earths core will have to be changed. All those school books are going to change. Will this change the mind of non-believers? A few yes but not many of them because most non-believers have become very militant.

    Why am I writing all the above? It’s just to explain to non-believers that not all believers are blindly following others and just relying on faith. If the science shows that I am wrong or scripture is wrong, so be it. I’m open to it. I have to follow the truth no matter what it is.

    Anyway back to Noah’s Flood – forget about all the stories and let’s just look at the science. Evidence is slowly emerging that could explain where all the water came from. This would also prove certain verses in scripture to be true. We need more evidence to further support Noah’s Flood. Below is an extract from the talkorigins site:

    Hydroplate. Walt Brown’s model proposes that the Flood waters came from a layer of water about ten miles underground, which was released by a catastrophic rupture of the earth’s crust, shot above the atmosphere, and fell as rain.

    “How was the water contained? Rock, at least the rock which makes up the earth’s crust, doesn’t float. The water would have been forced to the surface long before Noah’s time, or Adam’s time for that matter.
    Even a mile deep, the earth is boiling hot, and thus the reservoir of water would be superheated. Further heat would be added by the energy of the water falling from above the atmosphere. As with the vapor canopy model, Noah would have been poached.
    Where is the evidence? The escaping waters would have eroded the sides of the fissures, producing poorly sorted basaltic erosional deposits. These would be concentrated mainly near the fissures, but some would be shot thousands of miles along with the water. (Noah would have had to worry about falling rocks along with the rain.) Such deposits would be quite noticeable but have never been seen.” – http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

    According to my understanding, the first point s just an assumption. How do we know that rock doesn’t float? Why would water be forced up? These need more investigation.

    The second point about the earth boiling hot a mile deep also seems wrong. Where is the physical observations of this? Same with the other points. We need more experiments to confirm these assumptions.

    My suggestion when dealing with stories in the scriptures is that we should forget about the “Why?” questions and deal solely with the science. Otherwise we’ll get entangled with theology which is very difficult for non-believers to understand. With the science we can and should be able to all arrive to positions which can be proven/disproven.

  96. SamFromUK says

    @MS,
    “These things are not “bizarre.” They are commonplace. In fact, that’s WHY we accept them! The same results come up for the same experiments without fail. This is how reality works.”

    So are you saying that quantum entanglement is not bizarre? If not please do explain it the physicists who are researching it. You may be inline for a Nobel prize.

    Is it normal for things to pop into and out of existence at the quantum level? Would it be normal at the macro level?

    The double slit experiment – do you get the same results each time you do the experiment?

    Biological fertility – Are mules ALWAYS infertile? Are all human fertile?

    etc, etc.

    Sorry MS you have no idea how reality works. Please go and get a proper education.

  97. L.Ron Dow says

    @SamFromUK “So please let’s not says “scientists say this or that”. So, why did you say “Therefore scientists postulate that Noah’s Flood is unlikely to have happened.” in comment #71? Dig up those goalposts, Fred.

    You say: “My position on Noah’s Flood is that it was a real event which occurred and was global.” Why do you think there was a global flood?

    “Noah’s Flood did not need magic” Who told Noah to build a boat and collect the animals?

    “Relying on “faith” with stories like this is not reasonable or rational” and yet this is precisely what you are doing – there is no reason outside of the stories that this ever happened.

    Even if you proved that it COULD happen doesn’t mean that it did. The fact that you had wildly impossible explanations for the events and now you have just ridiculously implausible (but possible) explanations is neither here nor there.

    You do realize that Walt Brown’s Hydroplate model has been rebutted a dozen times, including on the math he uses?

    “How do we know that rock doesn’t float?” Really? Are you completely bereft of knowledge? Get a bucket of water and drop a few rocks in it, see how many float.

    “The second point about the earth boiling hot a mile deep also seems wrong. Where is the physical observations of this?” Your reliance on what ‘SEEMS WRONG’ shows that your fallacies are of the PERSONAL INCREDULITY ilk.

    Heard of ‘Old Faithful’ in Yellowstone National Park? The temperature of the water at just 72 feet (22 m) depth is about 244°F (118°C). Where do you think the lava erupting from volcanoes comes from.

    For two decade the Kola Superdeep Borehole was the longest borehole ever drilled – it was intended to go down 15km but a halt was called when the temperature reached 180°C (356°F) at just over 12km down. I have been to a geothermal park where a bucket of water was poured into the ground and 30 seconds later, it was thrown back up again as steam.

    No wonder you are awed by the ‘science’ in the Qur’an – you don’t know any real science – so I’d better tell you that water boils at 100°C (212°F) at sea level, it can remain as liquid water at higher temperatures below sea level because of the increased air pressure. Force such water to the surface and it will immediately turn into steam.

    Take a hose pipe and put one end into the bottom of a bucket of salt-water. Now attach a funnel to the other end, hold it a few feet above the surface of the salt-water and pour fresh water into the funnel – where does it go? Now imagine the funnel is a range of hills made of two exposed layers of impermeable clay or rock, sandwiching a permeable rock, like chalk – all of which descend at an angle and resurface on the sea bed. The South Downs of England form just such a geological feature. When it rains on the hills, you get ‘springs of the deep’ – no need for subterranean oceans. http://www.groundwateruk.org/downloads/what_is_groundwater.pdf

    “My suggestion when dealing with stories in the scriptures is that we should forget about the “Why?” questions and deal solely with the science. Otherwise we’ll get entangled with theology which is very difficult for non-believers to understand.” Oh, non-believers understand the theology alright – most have studied it far more than ‘believers’ and have REJECTED the assertions of the ‘holy-men’.

    “Anyway back to Noah’s Flood – forget about all the stories and let’s just look at the science.” Don’t you see – all this science talk is a red-herring to get away from the fact that the whole story is about a magic man in the sky telling one man to build a boat and become a zoo-keeper because he was about to commit magical genocide.

    Will someone please tell me how to format quotations properly?

  98. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    Yeah, your problem is that you don’t know anything about anything.

    So are you saying that quantum entanglement is not bizarre?

    Define “bizarre.” You used this earlier to describe things that appear to violate reality and thus can never be explained. Quantum entanglement is commonplace; our lack of understanding is irrelevant. It’s part of our reality. Completely different concepts.

    The double slit experiment – do you get the same results each time you do the experiment?

    Yes. You have no clue what is meant by “the same experiment.” Same with your bullshit about fertility. This is your brain on religion, folks.

  99. SamFromUK says

    @LRon,

    “So, why did you say “Therefore scientists postulate that Noah’s Flood is unlikely to have happened.” in comment #71?” My bad, in future I’ll be more careful.

    “Why do you think there was a global flood?” Because it serves as a sign to all of mankind. If it was a local one then there’s nothing miraculous about it.

    ““Noah’s Flood did not need magic” Who told Noah to build a boat and collect the animals?” Believers don’t call it magic. We call it divine revelation. We think of God as living and real.

    “Even if you proved that it COULD happen doesn’t mean that it did.” I agree. Everyone has right to make their own mind up. For believers it’s confirmation to strengthen their faith. For some non-believers it may help them with being able to accept God. For the militant non-believer it’s not going to make one bit of difference. They’re not going to believe even if the angels came down on wings since they’d probably call it a hallucination or “aliens”.

    “The fact that you had wildly impossible explanations for the events and now you have just ridiculously implausible (but possible) explanations is neither here nor there.”

    The explanations being wildly impossible and “ridiculously implausible” is deliberate. If they were not then believes/non-believers wouldn’t seem them as miracles or something extraordinary.

    “Your reliance on what ‘SEEMS WRONG’ shows that your fallacies are of the PERSONAL INCREDULITY ilk.” You’re talking nonsense here. I’m entitled to feel something is wrong. I may well be wrong but I have my reasons and until there is a ton of evidence which shows otherwise it’s perfectly rational to have that position.

    ““How do we know that rock doesn’t float?” Really? Are you completely bereft of knowledge? Get a bucket of water and drop a few rocks in it, see how many float.” Well pumice does float but I get your point. When masses of free flowing water is found under the earth’s crust then believers can claim that some divine force is causing it to float. The non-believers will go to their usual position of “we can’t explain it but we may be able to explain it in the future”.

    “Heard of ‘Old Faithful’ in Yellowstone National Park? The temperature of the water at just 72 feet (22 m) depth is about 244°F (118°C). Where do you think the lava erupting from volcanoes comes from.” I don’t know where the lava comes from. Do you know where and what’s the evidence for this? The Kola borehole, did they find lava there?

    ““How was the water contained? Rock, at least the rock which makes up the earth’s crust, doesn’t float. The water would have been forced to the surface long before Noah’s time, or Adam’s time for that matter.” You’ve read about the Kola borehole so are you not curious why they have found water at the bottom? Does that not show your assumption is wrong?

    “Take a hose pipe and put one end into the bottom of a bucket of salt-water.” That’s fine for explaining freshwater springs. What physical evidence do you have for explaining hydro-thermal vents?

    “Oh, non-believers understand the theology alright – most have studied it far more than ‘believers’ and have REJECTED the assertions of the ‘holy-men’.” If non-believers understood theology they would be believers.

    “why there is a GLOBAL layer of sediment, containing about 1000 more iridium than normal, laid down about 65 million years ago” What are the ways in which you think that sediment could have got there?

    Let me ask you this, If the science showed that the deep did exists, ie the crust floating on water, springs from the deep existed, would you dismiss it or become more open minded?

  100. SamFromUK says

    @MS,

    “Define “bizarre.” You used this earlier to describe things that appear to violate reality and thus can never be explained. Quantum entanglement is commonplace; our lack of understanding is irrelevant. It’s part of our reality. Completely different concepts.”

    Sorry but this is laughable. Is your definition of “bizarre” an event that only happens once, at which then you’d scream you’d need it to be repeatable so you could verify it via science? But if it’s repeatable you spout nonsense that it’s “commonplace; our lack of understanding is irrelevant. It’s part of our reality”. Do you actually know what you’re after or have you become just like Matt who doesn’t have a clue what evidence would convince him but feels it’s out there somewhere. In other words he’s lost in his rational world which he has built up meticulously over the years.

    Humans have an innate sense of what is logical, rational, reasonable, etc. If we see something that goes against those innate senses we recognise it. It will always be bizarre but we just accept it and carry on. Some continue do research to see if they can discover anything else or maybe even explain it. How magnets work will always be bizarre, so will quantum entanglement. Even if they find out how it works other questions will be raised and so forth. Neil deGrasse Tyson once said that science was reducing amount of things we knew about the world and our reality – he was wrong. Science is showing that the mysteries of the world and reality are increasing at an exponential rate.

    “Yes. You have no clue what is meant by “the same experiment.” Same with your bullshit about fertility. This is your brain on religion, folks.” Says the guy who doesn’t even know the definition of bizarre.

    https://www.google.co.uk/#q=bizarre

  101. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    Do you actually know what you’re after or have you become just like Matt who doesn’t have a clue what evidence would convince him but feels it’s out there somewhere.

    I have an extremely strong objection with how you phrased this, along with a few smaller ones.
    The big one is that this is not my problem YOU believe in a particular god, therefore it is YOUR job to establish testable criteria and YOUR job to convince us. You haven’t been engaging honestly.

    Humans have an innate sense of what is logical, rational, reasonable, etc. If we see something that goes against those innate senses we recognise it

    lolwut? I can’t possibly accept this. We may live our daily lives largely on induction and intuition, but we’re wrong enough that this needs to get thrown out the window when it comes to science. Virtually the entirety of my Calc II course in college was counter-intuitive, and that was partly the point.

    Says the guy who doesn’t even know the definition of bizarre

    So you resort to dishonest, cheap ad hominem and tu quoque instead of addressing anything of substance. Your post to LRon was even more shameful and rife with non sequiturs.

  102. SamFromUK says

    “But, Sam urged us to look back to scripture – so I did. What we find is that in the original Hebrew for Genesis 7:2, ‘clean’ is given by the word ‘tehorah’ (which does indeed mean ‘spiritually pure’) but the ‘unclean’ animals are described as ‘lo tehorah’ – that is: ‘NOT tehorah,’ ‘lo’ is the negation of whatever follows. So, WHATEVER ‘tehorah’ means, by the fundamental laws of logic, identity, non-contradiction & particularly excluded middle: The sum of ‘tehorah’ animals and animals that are ‘NOT tehorah’ is ALL animals.” – LRon

    I think Leviticus 11 has a more suitable chapter. In Leviticus 11:2-3

    “2 `Speak unto the sons of Israel, saying, This [is] the beast which ye do eat out of all the beasts which [are] on the earth:
    3 any dividing a hoof, and cleaving the cleft of the hoofs, bringing up the cud, among the beasts, it ye do eat.”

    The above verses clearly define what animal can be eaten, ie what is clean. Note it clearly specifies “of all the beasts which [are] on the earth” so from all the beasts which live on the earth. You need to know what the term “beast” is. Beast in this case I believe all four legged largish animals.

    As we read further it clearly specifies what animals can’t be eaten. Moving further on, it goes on to describe what is clean from animals of the sea/water/streams. So here we should note that there are categories of animals which live on land and those which live in water. Further on, there is a separate category for those animals which fly, insects, lizards, etc. My point is that the terms clean and unclean have been clearly defined in Leviticus 11.

    Now let’s compare the New International Version with the Young’s Literal translation:

    “New International Version
    Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate,”

    “Young’s Literal Translation
    of all the clean beasts thou dost take to thee seven pairs, a male and its female; and of the beasts which are not clean two, a male and its female;”

    The reason I always compare with the Young’s version is because I have noticed some verses don’t seem correct theologically in the new versions but they do in the Young’s Literal version. It’s the same with the Quran. Some versions don’t quite seem correct. I mostly disregard the Hadiths since some of them are really strange and don’t agree with the Quran.

    Anyway, in the NIV version it states “Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal”. However in the YLT version it says “of all the clean beasts thou dost take to thee seven pairs”. There is no mention of kinds. All it says is “of all the clean beasts”. If we read Leviticus 11, what is clean is clearly defined. So I’d assume at the time of Noah what was clean would have been clearly defined. It’s just been shortened in Genesis because Genesis is a book at came after the time of Noah. The Quran also writes in a similar style. It doesn’t go into detail with the stories of the past.

    In the NIV version it says “and one pair of every kind of unclean” but in the the YLT version it says “and of the beasts which are not clean two”. Again in the YLT version it never mentions “every kind”. It just says “of the beasts which are not clean”. Again I believe “unclean” would have been clearly defined for Noah at the time. Note that it says “of the beasts” which leaves it up to Noah to go and gather any unclean beasts he can manage. No where does it mention that Noah must go and scour all the earth for every kind of beast neither does it say he must search all over his country. If you take the verses literally then it just means go and gather whatever beasts you can from near and around you which have been defined as clean and unclean.

    There simply is no explicit instruction to say that Noah must gather from ALL of the animals when you read the literal translation. And all of this seems very reasonable.

    As a skeptic I’d want to understand why there is such a difference between the NIV and YLT version. Ideally I’d want to go into more detail in the language and translation.

  103. SamFromUK says

    @MS,

    I apologies about anything I said which may have offended you. I just get carried away sometimes.

    If you think I’m being dishonest then it’s not deliberate. I make mistakes, I misunderstand, I don’t get across what I want to say articulately most of the time.

    I can’t make anyone believe in God. Only God can do that, we all have different backgrounds, stories, feelings, biases, etc. What I can do is argue and debate the science since its something that we can all relate to and test and the scriptures since it’s all there for us to read and understand.

  104. SamFromUK says

    @LRon,

    “When the 2004 Asian Tsunami killed a quarter of a million people – the Imams were quick to say that this was punishment from Allah because the people had lost their way and were insufficiently pious. You can be sure that the locals of Banda Acer are much more devout Muslims today.”

    No one is in a position to say who is getting punished by God. All we have is scripture. All we can do is make our selves better. It’s wrong for anyone to judge regardless of their qualification or position.

    Don’t take any offence but you’re not a believer hence you don’t understand death . There are things worse than death but I think you’d only understand that if you understood God properly.

  105. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “Similarly, in order to know that your god exists and does stuff, you need to show your evidence which led you to that conclusion. We are waiting.”

    Everything is evidence of God. Your existence, the existence of all living organisms, the existence of all non-living matter, languages, water, rain, gravity, dreams, thoughts, etc, etc.

    To understand the above takes some effort and time. I’ve been an atheist, I know what it feels like. It helps if you open your mind and question everything especially all the science preached by Dawkins and Co.

  106. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    Don’t take any offence but you’re not a believer hence you don’t understand death

    Everything is evidence of God

    I’m done. You’re a cartoon character of a human being.

  107. Bruce Smith says

    @SamFromUK

    No where does it mention that Noah must go and scour all the earth for every kind of beast neither does it say he must search all over his country.

    If Noah didn’t gather animals from other parts of the earth, and there was a global flood, how did the other animals from other parts of the world survive that flood? If they could survive, why couldn’t all the local animals also survive?

  108. RationalismRules says

    @LRon #106

    Will someone please tell me how to format quotations properly?

    Type [blockquote]your text[/blockquote]
    replacing the square brackets with greater-than/less-than signs

    For italics, replace the word “blockquote” with the letter i.

    Apologies for the clumsy explanation, but I couldn’t find any way to type the actual symbols without it converting…

  109. SamFromUK says

    @Bruce,

    My understanding is that the some animals evolved from others, within their kind and others were created new. God evolves and adds/removes from his creation as he pleases. So basically nothing survived unless it was in the ark. The animals we see to day are either evolved from those from the ark or new creation. Why didn’t God just recreate all the animals after Noah got off the ark and save him the trouble of gathering them, I don’t know. Maybe there’s a much better explanation out there.
    But I do know what when you understand the concept of God then whatever God does has a reason for us to ponder over or learn from. God could have saved all the animals from the Flood in via numerous ways, he could have recreated each one after the Flood instantly, he could have slowly made them appear on the earth, etc. He could have even guided all the people of Noah to the right path and not destroyed them in a flood. Why he didn’t? I can’t really say for sure but for some questions I do have my own reasoning’s.

  110. RationalismRules says

    @MS #116

    I’m done

    I was wondering how long you’d last.

    Wall, meet head. Head, meet wall.

  111. Bruce Smith says

    @SamFromUK

    My understanding is that the some animals evolved from others, within their kind and others were created new.

    What is the basis of that understanding? I don’t think there is a scientific basis for that. Is there a biblical quote for that? I’m not deeply familiar with the contents of the various bible versions.

  112. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Everything is evidence of God. Your existence, the existence of all living organisms, the existence of all non-living matter, languages, water, rain, gravity, dreams, thoughts, etc, etc.

    To understand the above takes some effort and time. I’ve been an atheist, I know what it feels like. It helps if you open your mind and question everything especially all the science preached by Dawkins and Co.

    In order for something to count as evidence, the alternative must be conceptually possible. If all of those are evidence for a god, please describe how it could have been otherwise. Please describe what the world would look like without gods.

    I’ve got time. Explain it to me.

  113. SamFromUK says

    @Bruce,

    “Yusufali
    35:1 Praise be to God, Who created (out of nothing) the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels, messengers with wings,- two, or three, or four (pairs): He adds to Creation as He pleases: for Allah has power over all things.”

    “29:19 See they not how Allah originates creation, then repeats it: truly that is easy for Allah.”
    “29:20 Say: “Travel through the earth and see how Allah did originate creation; so will Allah produce a later creation: for Allah has power over all things.”

    Those are verses from the Quran which mention creation. God originates creation and repeats it as he pleases.

  114. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “In order for something to count as evidence, the alternative must be conceptually possible. If all of those are evidence for a god, please describe how it could have been otherwise. Please describe what the world would look like without gods.”

    That’s your criteria for evidence. It doesn’t fit in with this reality regardless of what you think or believe or what makes sense to you.

    There is no other world/reality or whatever other concept you can dream or think of to compare with. Refer to my definition of God earlier on. There is no Godless place. It simply can’t exist otherwise the concept of God is broken since God would then not be all knowing or all powerful.

    When the term “Godless” is used it just means a place which is not nice. It doesn’t mean that God’s presence is not there.

  115. Bruce Smith says

    Those are verses from the Quran which mention creation. God originates creation and repeats it as he pleases.

    So, in contrary to this, which I acknowledge was specifically in reference to the water, not the animals:

    I used to believe that Noah’s Flood was something that could only be explained by supernatural forces hence it was just a matter of faith

    Are you now saying that if Noah’s flood occurred then what we see today (animals that were not on the ark) depends upon supernatural forces (god)?

  116. SamFromUK says

    @Bruce,

    Yes, I believe new animals are being added and removed from the animal kingdom all the time regardless of the Flood.

  117. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To SamFromUK
    One of the most basic principles of science and rationality is the idea known as falsifiability. It’s a very deep but simple philosophical point. In short: What does it mean to be right? It means that one is not wrong. If one cannot be wrong, then one cannot be right either. Right and wrong, correct and incorrect, have meaning only to the extent that they both exist in contrast. In order to be right about some factual claim, it must be conceptually possible to have been wrong.

    What does it mean to be right when it’s impossible to be wrong? Absolutely nothing. It’s incoherent. “I am right about X” is meaningless if there is no alternative to X. It’s not right, and it’s not even wrong.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong

    I can easily conceive of a world without a god. It would look very much like our own. In fact, I believe that a world without a god could look exactly like what the world looks like from my perspective right now.

    I’ve said this several times already. Let me say it again. If you are not going to play by the basic rules of logic, reason, rationality, and science, then you are going to make absolutely zero progress here with any of the hosts nor regulars. Your attempts at persuasion are a waste of time, and you’re wasting our time too. Give evidence in favor of your god claim, in the usual scientific meaning, or get lost and stop wasting our time. In other words, if you believe that it’s (conceptually) impossible for you to be wrong about your god belief, then I have precisely zero interest about anything that you have to say on the topic, and everyone else here (probably) agrees with me.

  118. L.Ron Dow says

    @SamFromUK comment #109
    When I asked: “Why do you think there was a global flood?” I was asking for what evidence do you have that a global actually occurred – not why you think your god caused one.

    “Believers don’t call it magic. We call it divine revelation.” Yes, because you want to elevate it above ‘magic’ – but there is really no difference – it’s still a supernatural event.

    “The fact that you had wildly impossible explanations for the events and now you have just ridiculously implausible (but possible) explanations is neither here nor there.”

    “I may well be wrong but I have my reasons and until there is a ton of evidence which shows otherwise it’s perfectly rational to have that position.” Is it “PERFECTLY RATIONAL” to believe for whatever reasons that there are faeries at the bottom of my garden if I have no demonstrable evidence – because that’s what your belief system enables you to do – believe any old rubbish as long as no-one can prove otherwise.

    “Well pumice does float” – only because it has come to the surface – the decrease in pressure allows dissolved gases to exsolve and form trapped bubbles – pumice is not solid rock.

    “I don’t know where the lava comes from.” Yes, I can believe that.

    The Kola borehole did not penetrate the crust – it wasn’t intended to – drill bits will not work above a temperature of 300°C. We can, however, find the places where the crust is so thin, the underlying molten rock (lava) naturally comes up to the surface. The mid-atlantic ridge is one such line where magma is exposed – and it passes right through Iceland.

    “You’ve read about the Kola borehole so are you not curious why they have found water at the bottom? Does that not show your assumption is wrong?” No, as it said the rocks are fractured – allowing water to seep through the cracks but this leads into the next question:

    “What physical evidence do you have for explaining hydro-thermal vents?” The rocks at such vents, like the lava released from faults as mentioned before – are porous due to gaseous exsolving. The surrounding rocks, for example at the ‘Lost City’ Hydrothermal Vents, are made of Serpentinite – porous rocks like sponges. Cold water will seep down into the porous rocks to a depth where the water is superheated – at which point (then being less dense than cold water) rises back up to the sea-floor bringing with it many minerals rich in iron & sulfur which can concentrate in the pores. If montmorillonite clay is present (as it often is), short organic polymers will self-assemble using the clay as a catalytic template. It is probable that these are the circumstances in which life began on Earth.

    “If non-believers understood theology they would be believers.” No, ‘theology’ is the study of religious belief – not the acceptance of it. You can be an Archaeologist without being 10000 years old.

    “What are the ways in which you think that [iridium rich] sediment could have got there?” First note that ‘sediment’ does not necessarily imply that the layer settled out of a liquid air will do too and indeed, some parts of the layer are found trapped between aeolian sediments (as volcanic ash can cover dry land) and have never seen water. Iridium is found in high concentrations in meteorites & asteroids – the layer is also thicker the closer you get to the Chicxulub impact crater in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. Put two and two together then google your idea.

    “Let me ask you this, If the science showed that the deep did exists, ie the crust floating on water, springs from the deep existed, would you dismiss it or become more open minded?” How could I dismiss a demonstrable fact? But, open minded about what? A god? A flood? Show me the evidence that a global flood occurred, similar to that evidence for the asteroid impact 65 mya, and I will happily accept that such a reservoir of water could be behind the explanation for it. For a god to exist – you’ll need much more evidence than that.

  119. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @LRon #106

    Will someone please tell me how to format quotations properly?

    <blockquote>Quote goes here</blockquote>
     
     
    @RationalismRules #118:

    I couldn’t find any way to type the actual symbols without it converting

    The googlable term is “HTML character entities”.
     
    &gt; becomes >
    &lt; becomes <
    &amp; becomes &
    There are others, including inserting unicode characters by numeric reference, but those are the big ones.
     
    <i>italic</i>
    <b>bold</b>
    Writing “&nbsp;” between paragraphs will create a gap by inserting an invisible character on the otherwise empty line.

  120. NoOne says

    SAM

    “I can’t make anyone believe in God. Only God can do that, we all have different backgrounds, stories, feelings, biases, etc.”

    And yet here you are trying to convert us. You have your hand up the god puppets backside, and it has it’s hand up yours, an infinite regression of sorts. Neat trick.

  121. L.Ron Dow says

    @RationalismRules & Sky Captain
    Thank you for the advice

    I didn’t realize it was straight HTML I’ll give it a whirl.

  122. L.Ron Dow says

    @SamFromUK #112
    Ok, at the risk of sounding like a Star Trek nerd who discusses whether all the screws in the port Nascelle of the USS Enterprise have left-hand thread threads (compared with the right-hand threads of screws in the starboard Nascelle) in order to counter the widdershins vibration that would tend to loosen them – I will continue to discuss the fictitious characters in the fictitious accounts in your scriptures.

    I think you’re right. Having re-read some of your latest comments about the clean/unclean beasts of Genesis 7:2 and looked at the Hebrew source, I think that you are right to question the translations’ choices of words. Your argument had seemed to me to be more about the distinction between clean and unclean. But now I see that you had simply failed to emphasize the real concern you have – that is, what is actually meant by the term ‘beasts.’ Having had the briefest of looks at the Hebrew and the usages of the word ‘hab-be-hê-mah’ – I agree with you that some of the translations have not conveyed the intended meaning.
    &nbsp>
    Your definition of beasts as four legged largish animals seems sound – I would go further and restrict these to ‘farm-type animals’ and the ‘clean’ ones being the ones your god likes the smell of when they’re set on fire – cattle, goats and sheep. I’m still in doubt though as to whether crocodiles and large lizards are included.

    Whatever. But to use the term ‘animals’ is moving too far away from what is intended in Genesis 7:2.

    So, are you correct when you say:

    “There simply is no explicit instruction to say that Noah must gather from ALL of the animals when you read the literal translation.”?

    The answer is NO.

    You have forgotten that the account of Noah’s flood comes from (at least) two sources and the Genesis 7:1-6 set of instructions is a more detailed (Jahwist?) addendum to the {Elohist?} basic story. It is dealing with critters that might be used in sacrificial rituals.

    The earlier instruction is in Genesis 6:19:

    “And of all that liveth, of all flesh, two of every [sort] thou dost bring in unto the ark, to keep alive with thee; male and female are they.” (YLT)
    “And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark” (KJV)
    “And you shall bring living creatures of every kind into the ark to keep them alive with you” (NEB)

    Note that these are the same words used in Genesis 1:21 where your god creates all the living things.

    There can be no doubt, according to the story, Noah was given explicit instruction to gather from ALL of the animals.

    Oh, and btw, they don’t use screws in the 23rd century – they use reversibly-polarized, molecular-bonding rivets – they can’t come loose.

  123. L.Ron Dow says

    @SamFromUK #114

    you don’t understand death

    I was dead from the beginning of time until the moment I was conceived – I understand death.
    If not, I can always get a reminder from Ecclesiastes 9:10 In the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

    There are things worse than death but I think you’d only understand that if you understood God properly

    If your god could inflict any fate worse than death on anything weaker than itself, just for not believing in it – then it is not a loving god, it would just be a vindictive monster – certainly not worthy of my time or worship.

    .

  124. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “One of the most basic principles of science and rationality is the idea known as falsifiability. It’s a very deep but simple philosophical point. In short: What does it mean to be right? It means that one is not wrong. If one cannot be wrong, then one cannot be right either. Right and wrong, correct and incorrect, have meaning only to the extent that they both exist in contrast. In order to be right about some factual claim, it must be conceptually possible to have been wrong.”

    Who did you get these principles from and how did you test them? How have you confirmed this with reality?

  125. SamFromUK says

    @LRon,

    “There can be no doubt, according to the story, Noah was given explicit instruction to gather from ALL of the animals.”

    Yes, well done for pointing that out. It says “from all OF the animals”. It doesn’t say “ALL the animals” but a subset from all the animals. Now tell me where does it specify the location. Does it say scour the earth or the entire country? No it doesn’t.

    “6: 21‘ And thou, take to thyself of all food that is eaten; and thou hast gathered unto thyself, and it hath been to thee and to them for food.”

    Same goes for the above verses. It says “take to thyself OF all food that is eaten”. Not “all” the food. Further it clarifies “and thou hast gathered unto thyself”. So the limitation is whatever he can gather himself.

  126. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Who did you get these principles from and how did you test them? How have you confirmed this with reality?

    I answered this already. Please try to keep up. Please read what I write. I’m not writing it for nothing. I’m referring to my post #93, which starts with “Oh goodness. Epistemology 101, here we go.”

  127. SamFromUK says

    @LRon,

    “I was dead from the beginning of time until the moment I was conceived – I understand death.”

    Kind of but I was thinking of death as being a “creation”just a brief phase. We’ve been designed to feel

    “If your god could inflict any fate worse than death on anything weaker than itself, just for not believing in it – then it is not a loving god, it would just be a vindictive monster – certainly not worthy of my time or worship.” – LRon

    Comments like this just show how a weak of an understanding some non-believers or even believers have. But it’s understandable since I’ve been there and thought the same. Your whole sense of justice, righteousness, worthiness, etc is designed for you. You’re understandably confused but I do feel you are genuine and want to know what the truth is.

  128. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “I don’t need an answer to those questions to be rationally justified in holding my belief “a hammer will fall to the ground when released at a height above the ground in normal household condition”. Your mistake is a shockingly common misunderstanding of reason and the scientific method, and I rant about it all the time here.
    Perhaps accidentally, you confused and wrongly conflated two things: 1- knowing how or why something happens, in other words the processes or mechanisms by which it happens, and 2- being justified in the truth of a belief that it does happen. Again, I don’t need to know “how” or “why” or “by what process or mechanism” the hammer falls in order to be justified in holding the belief that the hammer falls.”

    I think I know where you misunderstood me. I said quantum entanglement bizarre and I’m guessing most physicists find it bizarre as well as most laymen. I think what you’re saying is it’s not bizarre because we can repeat it reliably.

    If you don’t find quantum entanglement bizarre then good for you but I do. I find how magnets work bizarre and how light bounces around a room without interfering with each other bizarre. I have to accept it as part of my reality because I can observe it or read about it but that doesn’t mean I don’t experience this feeling of “it’s bizarre” each time I ponder over it. It’s something innate. That’s what I was saying.

  129. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “I can easily conceive of a world without a god. It would look very much like our own. In fact, I believe that a world without a god could look exactly like what the world looks like from my perspective right now.”

    I think I know why you’re saying this. But comments like this just shows you don’t understand the concept of God or even this reality. I think you’re confused with the term “natural”. You probably think of this universe/reality as something that just exists – that God is a separate entity from what is thought of as “natural”. That we are maybe just one universe out of a gajillion gajillion. That humans have created this God concept in their minds. It’s a good starting point but fails as you question it deeper. If you use the definition of God I gave earlier than you simply can’t use falsification as a method to arrive at what is true.

    When you start with the position that there is nothing but God and that things like the universe(s) and realities come from God then everything makes sense both in the physical reality and the subjective one.

  130. RationalismRules says

    @EL @LRon
    You can never defeat SFUK, because your weapons are so limited. You are bound by the constraints of rational thought, logic, evidence, whereas he has no such constraints. Everything you can throw at him he can defeat with his superior capacity for making shit up.

    #139

    When you start with the position that there is nothing but God and that things like the universe(s) and realities come from God then everything makes sense both in the physical reality and the subjective one.

    I rest my case.

  131. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    When you start with the position that there is nothing but God and that things like the universe(s) and realities come from God then everything makes sense both in the physical reality and the subjective one

    This is intellectual nihilism. This makes exactly nothing make sense and it’s a blitheringly stupid assumption.

  132. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You probably think of this universe/reality as something that just exists – that God is a separate entity from what is thought of as “natural”.

    No. If you had bothered to do that extended reading that I assigned to you in post 93, you would know that I actually endorse a different use of language. If there is an omnipotent creator god like you posit, then this would be a natural fact. This would be a claim about natural laws. If true, the natural state of the world would simply be an empty “void” with this god, who can make things happen by just wishing it. That would be the natural state of reality. This world, this Earth, this “universe”, this local big bang, would be manufactured.

    For example, this god finds itself in a world where anything that it wishes to happen, happens. To even this god, this is simply a brute fact of reality, for which it has no explanation. There is no explanation, no mechanism, no process. This is simply how this world would work, and this god would have no better explanation for it, than the explanation that I have for how magnets work. This description of “the god’s ability to wish things to happen” is simply a natural law, just like Newton’s law of universal gravitation. (And to the pedants out there. Not caring right now about conflating “scientific theory”, “scientific law”, etc.)

    When looked at in this proper light, there is no such thing as “supernatural”. The term “supernatural” is largely incoherent. At best, the term “supernatural” simply means “something other than materialism”. In practice, many people use the term “supernatural” as an excuse to not do proper critical thinking and science.

    Further, I do not currently have an opinion on “You probably think of this universe/reality as something that just exists”. Maybe. Maybe not. I do not have enough data to make an informed opinion on that one.

    If you use the definition of God I gave earlier than you simply can’t use falsification as a method to arrive at what is true.

    Then almost by definition, you do not have any reason whatsoever to justifiably believe that it’s true. Therefore, again, I don’t care. If you’re not going to play the rules of logic, reason, critical thinking, and science, then I don’t care about what you have to say on this topic.

    When you start with the position that there is nothing but God and that things like the universe(s) and realities come from God then everything makes sense both in the physical reality and the subjective one.

    Sorry. That’s not my starting point, and it’s never going to be my starting point. It remains conceptually possible that you could convince me through reason and science that your god exists, but I’m not just going to assume it for no reason. Again, bring your scientific reasoning, or get lost.

  133. SamFromUK says

    Lol.

    You crazy non-believers. You’ve made up your own reality where everything should make sense, is logical, is explainable and which is pleasing to you. When you come across something which you don’t understand, don’t like or doesn’t fit in with your reality you can’t handle it so you either discard it or file it away hoping it will be explained sometime in the future.

    This explains why you can’t handle the existence of evil in the world along side the existence of God. You make your won definition of God and evil up and then assume/conclude all kinds of things. You just can’t handle the existence of evil if there is God. It just doesn’t make sense because of the reality you believe in. You want a nice world, without any burdens and freedom to do as you please. But the reality is that it just doesn’t exist and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. You are bound to this reality and you can’t do nothing about it. Accept it.

  134. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    When you come across something which you don’t understand,

    When I comes across something I don’t understand, I say “I don’t know”. I don’t then say “and therefore it must be the work of a god”.

    You’ve made up your own reality where everything should make sense, is logical, is explainable and which is pleasing to you.

    Again, I have said no such thing. There are many things that I do not understand. There are many things that I cannot explain. There are many things that are not pleasing to me.

    You’re the one who is falsely attributing things to me that I have not said. I’ve corrected two such errors here. There are more in your post. Knock it off.

    Also, I will grant whatever definition of “god” that you want to use, except definitions where you try to assert by fiat that it exists. To assert that it exists, you need evidence.

  135. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “Again, bring your scientific reasoning, or get lost.”

    I think I know what kind of evidence you’re after. It just doesn’t exist. All you can do is compare what God can do and what you can’t. I’ve already tried to explain this. You can also see if scripture is being proven right – which it is. I understand if it’s not something you’re willing to accept. So on that note I’ll drop the discussion.

  136. NoOne says

    Sam

    “This explains why you can’t handle the existence of evil in the world along side the existence of God.”

    Actually god revealed it to me last Thursday. His parents don’t allow him to create universes with life in them because he is too young. We are in a practice universe that went wrong that god hid from his parents because, being a child he was ashamed. Unfortunately his younger brother, who is a bit of a jerk found where god hid the universe and just to completely freak god out introduced “evil”. And to make matters worst he created “Holy texts” that are irrational, contradictory, and set “believers” against each other, just to freak out his older brother and make their parents jump out of their skins when they finally find out what god did. God told me all this because he had to tell someone to get it off his chest. He also said that I was welcome to tell anyone I pleased but that no one would believe me.

  137. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You can also see if scripture is being proven right – which it is. I understand if it’s not something you’re willing to accept.

    No, I’m willing to accept that in principle. If you’re talking about Bible prophecy / Koran prophecy, then this would count as scientific evidence. Perhaps weak, but we can discuss how strong that evidence is after you share it. Be warned, I’ll probably compare your so-called “evidence” to Nostradamus, say it’s really bad evidence, say it’s not compelling, and specifically say that it’s just “confirmation bias”. Probably. Maybe you’ll surprise me.

  138. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    I think I know what kind of evidence you’re after. It just doesn’t exist

    Then shut up and fuck off, you dishonest crumpet stuffer.

    You can also see if scripture is being proven right – which it is

    I recommend professional help.

  139. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Also Sam, be forewarned that I will invoke Hume’s standard for miracles: Whenever someone presents me with claims of a miracle, I need to make the judgment: Which is more likely? That a miracle occurred? Or that someone lied, or was fooled, or made a mistake? The poetic version of this is that the evidence must be strong enough so that “it’s a miracle” is the best explanation and so that it’s so amazingly implausible otherwise that one might call it “miraculous” if it was really just luck, or a lie, or a fraud, or a mistake. Succinctly, it must be more miraculous for it to not be a miracle. This is just a rehashing of what it means to apply Bayesian logic, including the principle “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”, and a recognition of the fact that materialism is extremely well supported by all of the available evidence, e.g. “science flies you to the moon, and religion flies you into buildings”.

    In other words, if you tell me that you can predict the future lottery numbers because your god told you, I’m not going to believe you. Even if you got one right, I’m not going to believe you, because it’s less miraculous to believe that you got lucky, compared to that you really learned the numbers from a god. However, if you start predicting lottery numbers of many lotteries worldwide, reliably, then I’m going to get interested in what you have to say. That’s not enough for me to believe yet, but that would be a good start, and I would be very interested.

  140. L.Ron Dow says

    @SamFromUK #135

    It says “from all OF the animals”. It doesn’t say “ALL the animals” but a subset from all the animals.

    LOL – no it doesn’t say “from all OF the animals” – that is your phrase – I was simply re-using it to throw your assertion back at you.

    I gave you the words: “two of every sort shall you bring into the ark” (KJV), “Bring a pair of every kind of animal” (NLT), “two of all living creatures” (NIV), “Bring two of every living creature” (GWT)

    The scriptures do not suggest a subset either – they do not say “two out of every sort” (which would be only two animals in total) – the meaning is clear and unambiguous to anyone with an honest and competent understanding of English. You sound like Bill Clinton arguing over what the meaning of ‘is’ is.

    You have invented the idea of a ‘subset’ because, knowing what we today know about the size of the world and the number of species in it, you (and a number of other modern apologists) know that the task given to Noah is beyond the capability of one man (and his boat) and have to make excuses for the authors who thought the task to be heroic but still possible. The scriptures offer no ‘“Never mind if you miss one or two, I’ll just recreate them”, says God’ get-out clause.

    It is clear that you are now squirming and like Hiroo Onoda don’t know when to give up – but I warn you, every pathetic attempt you make to twist the words of the scriptures to fit your own personal beliefs, simply shows the readers how dishonest some followers of Islam can be.

  141. L.Ron Dow says

    @SamFromUK #137

    “I was thinking of death as being a “creation” just a brief phase”

    You can think whatever you like – until you die and come back to tell us what it’s like, you are only wish-thinking.

    “Your whole sense of justice, righteousness, worthiness, etc is designed for you.”

    This comment alone shows you have no idea what I think – I lost my Christian faith over 50 years ago and since then I’ve read nothing from an apologist that comes anywhere near to making me regret or question that awakening. Believe me, I have no confusion about the invalidity of belief in any named deity. We are nothing but chemical reactions in a vast universe and when those chemical reactions stop, it’s lights-out – if you have any evidence (not just empty assertions and made-up stories) to the contrary, please present it. Righteousness is imaginary and Worth & Justice are what we, as social-animals, decide them to be in the best interests of the community.

  142. L.Ron Dow says

    @RationalismRules #140

    “You can never defeat SFUK”

    Oh, I know that – that is not the goal. The goal is to get him to expose his “capacity for making shit up” to the world (well, ok, readers of this blog.) He’s playing along really nicely. If anyone has any remaining doubt about the irrationality of followers of Islam, then, hey, I’m retired and this is my hobby, I’ll keep on chipping away at his credibility as long as he’s here.
    Ron.

  143. SamFromUK says

    @LRon,

    “You can think whatever you like – until you die and come back to tell us what it’s like, you are only wish-thinking.”

    “We are nothing but chemical reactions in a vast universe and when those chemical reactions stop, it’s lights-out – if you have any evidence (not just empty assertions and made-up stories) to the contrary, please present it.”

    Lol. You were dead, you have been made living. So you already have experience of what it feels like to come from the dead. What does it feel like coming from the dead?

    To put it another way. You were dead – no chemical reactions, chemical reactions are started – you’re alive. Try looking a bit further into those chemical reactions to see if they are “natural”. The Venter Institute is a good starting point. Please read carefully as I’m pretty sure you’re going to come back with the same conclusions as many other non-believers and then need correcting.

  144. SamFromUK says

    To all,

    Yes, I do come across as arrogant, rude and nonsensical at times. However it’s not intentional. Please don’t take it personal and start hating or getting angry. It’s not my intention to upset anyone regardless of their beliefs or lack of. Like I said before, I can’t convince or change anyone’s position. Only you and a higher power can do that.

    So please relax and think of this as a fun discussion rather than being serious.

  145. SamFromUK says

    @EL

    “Again, I have said no such thing. There are many things that I do not understand. There are many things that I cannot explain. There are many things that are not pleasing to me.
    You’re the one who is falsely attributing things to me that I have not said. I’ve corrected two such errors here. There are more in your post. Knock it off.”

    Sorry that’s not what I meant. I said you expect everything to make sense. Obviously you and I and the rest of humanity don’t know or understand everything. We’re all human, no one can explain everything. I was just saying that some people expect everything to make logical sense, for there to be a rational explanation. If not now then some time in the future. And I have never said that just because we can’t explain something now that we should give or say God did it. I’m all for more research. Some things we will eventually find a rational explanation for but some things we won’t but at least we can say we’ve done x amount of research and/or are still doing it. I totally agree that you can’t just say “we can’t explain it therefore God and there’s your evidence of God”. As I’ve said before, God has created everything. Think of us as living in the imagination of God where anything is possible.

  146. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I said you expect everything to make sense.

    Still no. I try to make sense of the things that I can, and for the things that I cannot make sense of, I’ll admit that I do not know, and I’ll try again later.

    Do you have any reason to believe that a god exists which lends itself to scientific rationality? Some Bible prophesy / Koran prophesy perhaps? Something else?

  147. NoOne says

    Sammy,

    ” As I’ve said before, God has created everything.”

    As I’ve said before, your god is a ventriloquist’s puppet with your hand up it’s backside. Entertaining… but not magic.

  148. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    Think of us as living in the imagination of God where anything is possible

    Think of monkeys flying out my ass tomorrow.
    Why the bleeding fuck would I do such a thing? You continue to avoid the question of why we should accept your bald assertions.

    Also, I remember more of your call now. You were trying to argue that mitosis is a fuckin’ miracle with no explanation. Then in the comment thread you tried to argue that evolution can’t account for the diversity of life despite a biochemist spending lots of effort correcting you.

    So please relax and think of this as a fun discussion rather than being serious

    When people who are driven by your laughable beliefs stop slaughtering people wholesale, maybe I’ll think of this as a “fun discussion.”

  149. L.Ron Dow says

    @SamFromUK #153

    “What does it feel like coming from the dead?”

    What are you, a shrink?

    It’s simple:
    I was not.
    I am.
    I will not be.
    And I’m darned sure I am not going to waste the middle bit by thinking that it is followed by something other than the last bit.

    Twenty-five years ago, I had my gall-bladder removed. A doctor injected me with a chemical and my consciousness closed-down for an hour or so. Ecclesiastes 9:10 describes exactly what that state was like. Death doesn’t worry me (it’s the dying, I’m afraid-of – I don’t want to be there when it happens.)

    Yes, I’ve read Craig Venter’s stuff before – he’s done some sterling work on synthetic life – we are learning a lot from his work. Just as we are from people like Floyd Romesberg, who are building genes using combinations of six different nucleotide bases instead of nature’s four.

    The problem is, Venter’s starting by stripping down a Ferrari in order to build a Lamborghini and ending up with a Go-Kart.

    If a hurricane blew down a brick archway (just two, free standing ‘pillars’ and a curved arch at the top) in my back yard and I gave Venter some sand, cement, a bucket of water and a trowel and asked him to rebuild it – he couldn’t. He could rebuild the two pillars, no problem but can you see why he would have a difficulty with the arch at the top? He would simply declare an archway to be irreducibly complex structure and walk away.

    Employ a builder – and the first thing he would do is construct a curved wooden scaffold to support the bricks in the curved top while the mortar set. When finished, he would remove the scaffold and take it away with him, it’s not part of the final structure.

    If you want to see how life (a self-sustaining chemical reaction capable of Darwinian evolution) can begin from scratch then Venter is not your man – try Jack Szostak instead. His Nobel Prizewinning work has given us far greater understanding of the naturally occurring conditions under which certain molecules will react and self-assemble to form ever-more-complex molecules and organic structures – I’ve already given you a flavor of his work when I was talking about the ‘Lost City Hydrothermal Vents’ back in #128. He has learned how everything from primitive cell-wall-like fatty-acid vesicles (able to ‘eat’, grow and reproduce) to short strands of genetic material (RNA polymers) can form quite naturally, especially in the presence of catalytic ‘templates’ like montmorillonite clays (or even ice-crystals.)

    I would suggest you have a brief look at this 10 minute student video (skip the first 2:50 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6QYDdgP9eg

    Then, learn from Jack himself in his lectures at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqPGOhXoprU

    There’s plenty of peer-reviewed material out there. Have a scan through: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2890201/
    ..

  150. NoOne says

    Not only does Sam from UK have his up his god puppet’s backside, but he has the gall to claim special privilege over all the people doing the heavy lifting in our society. Get a job Sam, quit sponging off the rest of us.

  151. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “Still no. I try to make sense of the things that I can, and for the things that I cannot make sense of, I’ll admit that I do not know, and I’ll try again later.”

    That’s good but at what point (if any) do you say OK this is just beyond understanding and making sense of I just need to accept it for what it is. Remember you are a being with limited understanding – you simply cannot grasp the entirety of the universe you exist in. As a believer I simply accept that there are some things which is beyond our understanding and that we just need to accept them or trust in God. It’s meant to be like this.

  152. SamFromUK says

    @LRon,

    “It’s simple:
    I was not.
    I am.
    I will not be.
    And I’m darned sure I am not going to waste the middle bit by thinking that it is followed by something other than the last bit.
    Twenty-five years ago, I had my gall-bladder removed. A doctor injected me with a chemical and my consciousness closed-down for an hour or so. Ecclesiastes 9:10 describes exactly what that state was like. Death doesn’t worry me (it’s the dying, I’m afraid-of – I don’t want to be there when it happens.)”

    Yes it is simple. Glad you think so. Now ask yourself this, did you have a choice in coming into existence? You say you will not be but that’s just your thoughts/wishes. However as you can experience now, you have no choice of being brought into existence again. And when you are brought into existence again then you’ll have no choice but to keep on existing for eternity with absolutely no choice in it. So ponder on how much power and control you really do have on your life and existence.

    You say you are nothing but chemical reactions. This is rather irrational. I’d suggest you spend more time thinking about this and reading on the research. Don’t you think you’re being irrational by being afraid? If you’re just chemical reactions why the fear of anything? Clue is that you’re not in total control of yourself.

  153. SamFromUK says

    @LRon,

    “If you want to see how life (a self-sustaining chemical reaction capable of Darwinian evolution) can begin from scratch then Venter is not your man – try Jack Szostak instead. His Nobel Prizewinning work has given us far greater understanding of the naturally occurring conditions under which certain molecules will react and self-assemble to form ever-more-complex molecules and organic structures – I’ve already given you a flavor of his work when I was talking about the ‘Lost City Hydrothermal Vents’ back in #128. He has learned how everything from primitive cell-wall-like fatty-acid vesicles (able to ‘eat’, grow and reproduce) to short strands of genetic material (RNA polymers) can form quite naturally, especially in the presence of catalytic ‘templates’ like montmorillonite clays (or even ice-crystals.)”

    Yes I agree, both guys have done amazing work and I hope they continue do lots and lots more. Hopefully some of it can be used to benefit humans.

    I saw Jack Szostak videos some years ago and it was fascinating. The videos were quite long but it felt like 5 mins. These are exactly the kind of works which increase my trust and belief in God. They are real, proper experiments which can be done to prove/disprove our understanding about life. Unlike Dawkins understandings which are mostly based on conjecture and assumptions. I do see how a non-believer can be fooled into thinking that we are getting closer and closer to understanding how life can be created “naturally” from base elements. However this just goes to show they don’t really understand the entire picture when seeing the works of people like Jack Szostak and Venter. To put it simply these works are going to further provide evidence that life simply cannot come into existence naturally. The question is at what point do the non-believers accept this? Most non-believers are of the mindset that if we don’t know something now then chances are we will in the future as we advance in technology and understanding.

    I hope that some time in the future, Jack and Co get to a point where they can convincingly show people that it’s very unlikely that life could have come into existence naturally.

  154. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    As a believer I simply accept that there are some things which is beyond our understanding and that we just need to accept them or trust in God. It’s meant to be like this.

    I don’t know what you meant to communicate, but this is how I understand your message:
    “I don’t know. Therefore, a god did it.”
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AWizardDidIt
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance
    That is the exact opposite of a good reason to believe something. It’s the complete absence of a good reason to believe something.

    To paraphrase Neil deGrasse Tyson, what does the “U” in “UFO” stand for? “Unidentified”. When you don’t know what something is, you just say “I don’t know”. You do not then say “and therefore it must be aliens in a space ship from outer space”.

    I hope you see the parallel. If you have some explained something, you should stop at “I don’t know”. Do not go on to say “and therefore it must be [fill in the blank]”. If you don’t know what it is, then you don’t know what it is.

    It seems that you really have absolutely nothing to support your position except blind special pleading, and arguments from ignorance. I’m not interested in what you’re selling, and anyone with a modicum of self respect and critical thinking skills should not be either.

    You say you are nothing but chemical reactions. This is rather irrational.

    It’s quite rational. It’s rather well supported by the evidence.

    If you’re just chemical reactions why the fear of anything?

    I believe that I can best answer this question by answering a slightly different question: “if there is no afterlife, then why care about anything? You’re just going to die anyway.” The answer is quite simple: Because I’d rather enjoy the ride while it lasts, and do right by my fellow human beings. I can still the enjoy the ride, even if I’m just a collection of microscopic rocks (and other chemical elements) arranged in just the right configuration.

    The question is at what point do the non-believers accept this?

    Again, classic argument from ignorance. Even you conclusively show that Earth life did not come about by non-intelligent processes, that still does not show that your god exists. Similarly, even if you conclusively show that evolution and shared ancestry is false, that still does not show that your god exists. Again, if you don’t know how something happened, then stop at “I don’t know”. Do not continue and say “and therefore a wizard did it, with magic”.

  155. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Well, crap.

    I meant:
    If you have some unexplained something, you should stop at “I don’t know”.

  156. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “I don’t know what you meant to communicate, but this is how I understand your message:
    “I don’t know. Therefore, a god did it.””

    OK, let me see if I can clear this up for you. God did everything. Everything you know and can observe and everything that you don’t know and will never know is done by God. Everything.

    So it’s silly to have an argument where one says “We can’t explain it so therefore God did it” or “We don’t know this so that is evidence of God”. I don’t know who came up this kind of reasoning but it’s certainly not in scripture. It’s just nonsense made up by believers or non-believers. If you want to know what God says or claims then you have to quote from scripture. If a believer says something that is not backed up by scripture then you can’t say that is something their religion states. Many believers make up lot of crap up hence why there is so many religions in the world and why they were punished again and again in the past and will continue to do so.

    Hope that makes it clearer.

  157. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “I believe that I can best answer this question by answering a slightly different question: “if there is no afterlife, then why care about anything? You’re just going to die anyway.” The answer is quite simple: Because I’d rather enjoy the ride while it lasts, and do right by my fellow human beings. I can still the enjoy the ride, even if I’m just a collection of microscopic rocks (and other chemical elements) arranged in just the right configuration.”

    Regardless of whether there is an afterlife or not it’s not in your control what you care or don’t care about. You are bound by certain events that dictate how you feel emotionally about them. Someone close to you dies, you are going to be upset or maybe just miss them or maybe feel relief that they are no longer suffering. The point is you feel something. You’re not a rock. You say you “can still the enjoy the ride” but why? Why enjoy something? Enjoyment is a phenomena which you feel. But then who or what is “You”? There are times when you will do things which you don’t enjoy but you do them anyway for others or in order to get something. Why? Where is the rationality in having these feelings and others when you are simply chemical reactions. If, as you say you are, you’re just chemical reactions then what is rationality in caring or having feelings like this? The fact is that you just do. You have no control over what you feel.

    So please explain to me rationally why you just want to “enjoy the ride”.

  158. SamFromUK says

    @El,

    “Again, classic argument from ignorance. Even you conclusively show that Earth life did not come about by non-intelligent processes, that still does not show that your god exists. Similarly, even if you conclusively show that evolution and shared ancestry is false, that still does not show that your god exists. Again, if you don’t know how something happened, then stop at “I don’t know”. Do not continue and say “and therefore a wizard did it, with magic”.”

    Exactly. I totally agree with you.

    This is what Matt was kind of saying when he was having his discussion with Dawkins. Which is why he said something like “I don’t know what kind of evidence will convince me there is a God but I think it’s out there”. Basically he wants God to make him believe in God because so far all the physical evidence in the world is not going to be convincing because it could be aliens, hallucinations, something that will be discovered to be explainable naturally in the future, etc, etc.

    The problem you have is that by the proper definition of God, you have a being who is all powerful and has knowledge of all things. So how do you test this definition if you have finite understanding and resources? Answer is that you simply can’t. This is something you just need to accept. You don’t know where you came from before you were born but you do know that you exist. You just accept it. You may say that you’re just chemical reactions but then those have always existed so at what point did those chemical reactions become You?

    I think you need to come to an understanding where you say OK, I’ll never truly know if there is a God because any evidence can be discarded but what I can do is look at the world and my existence and see if I can come to any reasonable conclusions.

    Do I see design?
    Do I see creation?
    Does life/creation come into existence naturally?
    Am I in control of myself?
    Does my life make any sense?
    Is this reality rational?
    Are any claims in scripture true?

    I think when you start asking questions like the above then I think you can arrive to a reasonable assumption that there is God. You don’t know for sure but I think you can get to the position where you can say this makes sense up to a point. The rest is going to have to come via trust/faith but at least you’re not believing totally with blind faith. You have some references to the physical world in order to back your faith up. I personally hate blind faith. I just can’t accept certain things if there is no verse from scripture which mentions it or if there’s no physical evidence of it. Which is why many callers to AE flounder when questioned by Matt and co. Matt can simply say “if faith is all you have then that means all the other people of other faiths are correct as well” which is absolutely true.

  159. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I personally hate blind faith. I just can’t accept certain things if there is no verse from scripture which mentions it

    So how do you test this definition if you have finite understanding and resources? Answer is that you simply can’t. This is something you just need to accept.

    Believing that scripture is the word of god, when you have zero good reasons to believe that? That’s blind faith. Arguing that you just have to believe something when you have no way to test it? That’s blind faith.

    PS:
    You continue to display level 101 mistakes concerning epistemology and logic, many of which I’ve already correct. It’s going in circles. It’s now quite apparent that you have nothing to offer. I tire of this conversation. I plan on ending my participation in this conversation rather soon.

  160. SamFromUK says

    @EL

    “Believing that scripture is the word of god, when you have zero good reasons to believe that? That’s blind faith.”

    What would you define as “good reasons to believe”?

  161. SamFromUK says

    @EL
    “Arguing that you just have to believe something when you have no way to test it? That’s blind faith.”

    How do you test for “nothing”? You have a vacuum in front of you. How do you test whether that vacuum really does contain nothing? A while a go we discovered that we only see a fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum. Until we discovered the tools to detect them we didn’t know they existed.

    How do you test whether a being has infinite knowledge and infinite power?

  162. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    How do you test whether a being has infinite knowledge and infinite power?

    For the sake of argument, I’d settle for a convincing demonstration that there is even such a creature with large but finite amount of knowledge and power. I’d settle for a demonstration of some thing.

    What would you define as “good reasons to believe”?

    Seeing a miracle. How about the classic example: seeing a lost limb restored from prayer. Stuff like that. Or, how about Jesus flying down to New York Times Square, and performing miracles on demand, for the next 100 years, and submitting to the best scientific and magician testing analysis that we can muster.

    I want to know what you think are good reasons. For probably close to 50 posts, I’ve been asking you to explain your reasons for your belief that there is a god, and you haven’t even tried to answer. Either you don’t have any reasons, or you’re being purposefully evasive. Either way, I’m not interested anymore. Go annoy someone else, somewhere else.

  163. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “Seeing a miracle. How about the classic example: seeing a lost limb restored from prayer. Stuff like that. Or, how about Jesus flying down to New York Times Square, and performing miracles on demand, for the next 100 years, and submitting to the best scientific and magician testing analysis that we can muster.”

    So you and a bunch of scientists would observe a lost limb being restored from prayer. They observe atoms and molecules appearing out of nothing and coming together to form cells. Those cells connect to form larger structures until the arm is restored. They see it again and again.

    You observe miracles all over the world being performed and verified. Why would that convince you of God?

    More importantly, what next? Let’s say you are convinced of God, so what do YOU do next? Are you going to bow down and worship? Are you going to follow the Gospel or Quran?

  164. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You observe miracles all over the world being performed and verified.

    No we don’t.

    More importantly, what next? Let’s say you are convinced of God, so what do YOU do next? Are you going to bow down and worship? Are you going to follow the Gospel or Quran?

    I would try to learn more about it, in a reliable way. Then, if it happens to match the description as given in the Jewish Torah, or the Muslim Koran, then I would take part in an effort to contain or destroy this creature, for it would be one of the biggest and most dangerous threats to humanity.

    Or maybe the god is not like the description of those books, and maybe we could be friends.

  165. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    More importantly, what next? Let’s say you are convinced of God, so what do YOU do next?

    While this may be an interesting follow-up discussion, it’s not the least bit important to the question of existence. EL is correct; we’ve been hammering you to respond to the same damn question repeatedly and there hasn’t even been an attempt to answer.

  166. L.Ron Dow says

    @SamFromUK #139

    “When you start with the position that there is nothing but God and that things like the universe(s) and realities come from God then everything makes sense both in the physical reality and the subjective one.”

    and from #161

    “As a believer I simply accept that there are some things which is beyond our understanding and that we just need to accept them or trust in God. It’s meant to be like this.”

    And here we are back at Matt’s rant at Carl about ‘faith’ being a lousy way to determine what is True/

    There may well be things beyond our understanding – that’s why we develop tools (like mathematics) to extend our natural abilities – just as we do when we can’t run faster than a few miles per hour, fly or live underwater. And it may well be that some phenomena will always be beyond our understanding but that is not a good reason to simply ‘give up’ – many advances have been made along the way. No-one knows the limits of our capabilities – especially not you with your medieval mindset. Your thinking (like that of Al Ghazali, et al) is what led the scientific progress made during Islam’s ‘Golden Age’ to grind to a halt. It’s primitive thinking – no better than a dog’s, cat’s or fish’s – they ‘just accept’ the world around them as it is. No wonder Steven Weinberg said “Religion is an insult to human dignity.” Can’t you see, it’s YOU that has a lack of human spirit?

    “It’s meant to be like this.”

    Who the hell dictated that? Present just one scrap of evidence to support this pathetic assertion.

    #162

    “when you are brought into existence again”

    What evidence do you have that I, or anyone else, can be brought into existence again? Why is that not just wishful thinking on your part?

    “Don’t you think you’re being irrational by being afraid? [of dying]”

    Why is it irrational to fear pain and suffering? Are you an idiot or a masochist?

    #167

    “What is rationality in caring or having feelings. The fact is that you just do. You have no control over what you feel.”

    Your use of the word ‘rationality’ is inappropriate. It suggests that we have (or someone has) ‘decided’ that such ‘feelings’ are a ‘good idea’. You are looking for Agency at work where there is none.

    We have evolved as the descendants of survivors. Behaviors are like physical features, in sexual reproduction, there will always be a ‘spread’ of variations between the off-spring (this accounts for left-handedness and who we consider to be sexually-attractive, eg being ‘gay’ – both ‘traits’ appear in about 10% of the population.) Any behavior that allowed our ancestors to live long enough to pass on those behaviors to their offspring gets preserved over the generations. You are right in that we have little (but not no) control over them – they are ‘hard-wired’ into our brains – that is they could be considered ‘instincts’.

    As an example: We have evolved a reaction to being touched – the chemical (hormone) ‘Oxytocin’ is released into our bloodstream – this modifies the way the brain works, it lays down neurological pathways that equate to ‘trust’ and helps us to bond with each other. The greatest release of Oxytocin is during orgasm and childbirth – I think you can see why this would be an advantage to survival. We tend to care more for those we have bonded-with more than those with whom we haven’t.

    Now, notice that I mentioned how our brains get physically modified by our experiences? (There’s at least one recent TEDx talk covering this topic.) You are not surprised when a baby tends to look like its parents – down to the shape of it nose, eyes, hair color etc – why would you be surprised that its brain may also inherit certain physical connection patterns? This of course is the basis behind ‘Genetic Memory,’ check out http://www.nature.com/news/fearful-memories-haunt-mouse-descendants-1.14272

    So, when you say that we have “no control over our feelings” you are wrong – and there is a good chance that you have done something to change your feelings deliberately at some time. Chemicals in tobacco or cannabis smoke can make you feel more relaxed, alcohol can do the same, caffeine and other stimulants (Red Bull & other energy drinks) can make you feel more alert. Analgesics can reduce the feeling of pain. Then there is the whole psychoactive ‘recreational drug’ scene that can cause all sorts of other experiences. These are all chemicals having an effect on chemical reactions – at a fundamental level of consciousness. Nothing ‘spiritual’ here.

    But perhaps you’d like to argue against that point?

    Tell me – this thing that is YOU – the thing that does the feeling and thinking – do you believe that this is separate from your physical body and can survive death?

    And, exactly how does LSD affect the soul?

  167. NoOne says

    Sam : “How do you test whether a being has infinite knowledge and infinite power?”

    That being would know exactly what would be needed. Not weak oral traditions, originally scraped onto bone fragments, to be later interpreted by idiots. Instead what we have is Shamen who figured out how to achieve cultural power by claiming authority and creating a narrative *insert magic here* where they have access to this “special knowledge”. Bunch of snake oil salesmen. Tar, feathers, & a rail rod tie…

  168. SamFromUK says

    @LRon,

    “Who the hell dictated that? Present just one scrap of evidence to support this pathetic assertion.”

    Reality dictates it. Check it out.

    “So, when you say that we have “no control over our feelings” you are wrong”

    The examples you mentioned were do with “affecting”, nothing to do with control. By “control” I mean have total control over them.

  169. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “I would try to learn more about it, in a reliable way. Then, if it happens to match the description as given in the Jewish Torah, or the Muslim Koran, then I would take part in an effort to contain or destroy this creature, for it would be one of the biggest and most dangerous threats to humanity.”

    Don’t you first have to figure out how to deal with tsunamis, earthquakes, sink holes, hurricanes, etc. first? Also diseases, famine, droughts, death?

    I guess it’s futile to try to get a non-believer to understand the concept of God since they are full of hate and biases. Which, for me, explains the condition of their hearts. The rationality and logical thinking seems to have blinded you and many others into being quite aggressive and angry folk when it comes to discussing religion and world politics.

    Mind you, now that I think about it quite a lot of believers are the same if not worse since they’re actually supposed to believe in an hereafter where justice will be given to all.

  170. SamFromUK says

    @MS, EL,

    1. God claims in the Quran that no one can create life except for God himself.
    2. The Bible says the sea level has been fixed by God. If God had not commanded this then due to other forces of nature you would see different sea levels.
    3. According to Bible the deep exists. I believe this means that we will find huge amounts of free flowing water under the earths crust. There isn’t a solid core.
    4. There is absolutely no evidence of Common Descent since fossils and DNA can’t be used to determine which animals are able to reproduce with one another. According to ToE there should be gradual changes. We can observe huge changes in nature. Plus the data shows that mutations are limited and we don’t even clearly understand mutations yet since DNA and cell life is vastly complex.
    5. We all share the same concepts in our subjective reality, such as feelings, language, reasoning and concepts such as numbers. It’s not reasonable to accept that a brain can be reproduced with all these same concepts in all of us via reproduction.
    6. Everything in the Bible and Quran makes sense and fits in with what I observe and experience in my life. I understand why there are different religions, why there is hate, why God destroys whole nations. I used to have questions as to why there is death, destruction, hate, injustice. I no longer do. Scripture gives me guidance and hope.

    Those are just some. I know what most will say about the above. They will point to science and say this and that has been found. Or that we will be able to explain various things in the future. I’ve been through all the same tired arguments from non-believers.

  171. NoOne says

    Sam:
    “They will point to science and say this and that has been found.”

    I point to the fact that Shamen are charlatans, confirmation bias exists, the Dunning Krueger effect exists, as do logical fallacies. You display all characteristics. No science needed to dismiss your nonsense off hand.

  172. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    1) Who cares? Prove it
    2) Not worth a response
    3) More nonsense
    4) The same blatant lies from the last thread you puked on
    5) Laughable. We are THE SAME SPECIES and our brains are extremely similar. Either you really don’t know anything about anything or you’re just trolling at this point.
    6) I would have to take a bullet to the brain to believe this hogwash.

    I know what most will say about the above. They will point to science and say this and that has been found. Or that we will be able to explain various things in the future

    So you’re not going to actually respond; you’re just going to preach repeatedly. You already know that you’ve been demonstrated to be wrong, but instead of even attempting to engage honestly, you’re content to troll. These aren’t “tired arguments” that we’re employing. This is how reality works.

  173. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sam
    I really want to emphasize this first part: None of those are arguments for a god. They’re just arguments against the current materialistic ideas. That’s not good enough, and it will probably never be good enough. You need positive evidence of a god, which at a minimum means that we need some well documented miracles, or some other positive evidence. By “positive evidence”, I mean evidence that actually supports your position. By “negative evidence”, I mean evidence that attacks the opposition position. I want positive evidence. I want you to give me evidence that supports your god belief. Again, all negative evidence can really do is get someone to admit “I don’t know”. It cannot rationally get someone to say “I don’t know, and therefore it must have been a god who did it with magic“. In order to make that conclusion, one needs evidence in favor of a god. One needs to make an argument of this form: “I see a god, and the god showed to me his ability to do magic, and he told me that he made all life, and therefore a god did it with magic”. Mere negative evidence will never be enough.

    4. There is absolutely no evidence of Common Descent since fossils and DNA can’t be used to determine which animals are able to reproduce with one another. According to ToE there should be gradual changes. We can observe huge changes in nature. Plus the data shows that mutations are limited and we don’t even clearly understand mutations yet since DNA and cell life is vastly complex.

    I’m wasting my time, so I’ll keep this brief. I’m pretty sure I’ve explained this to you before: The tree of life of animal species was discovered by Carl Linnaeus about one hundred years before Darwin and the discovery of common ancestry and evolution. Linnaeus didn’t know what he discovered. He just discovered that all animal species can be categorized in a very peculiar way. They can be grouped together into “kinds”. For example, there is the group of apes, dogs, bears, cats, etc.

    The crucial discovery of Linnaeus is that he discovered that each of these “kinds” can be grouped together into larger “kinds”. For example, bears, dogs, and cats are more similar to each other than any are to apes. Bears, dogs, and cats belong to another kind which Linnaeus called carnivorans. These super-kinds can be further groups into even bigger kinds. Carnivorans (ex: bears, dogs, cats) and apes are all mammals, and they are all more similar to each other than any is similar to a jellyfish.

    Each kind of animals can be further grouped together with other kinds into super-kinds, and those super-kinds can be grouped together into other super-super-kinds, and so forth. Linnaeus classified animals into kinds that was about 7 layers deep. Today, depending on the particular kinds of animal, it’s a hundred or more (if I recall correctly).

    Again, this classification scheme based on apparent similarity was discovered by a Christian creationist, and it was discovered 100 years before evolution was discovered by Darwin. This fact that animal species can be grouped together based on apparent similarity is an objective, undeniable fact.

    If there was a creator who created every animal species separately, one would not expect to be able to classify animals as such. One would expect that every creation was different, special, and unique.

    For example, almost every fictional animal species created by humans does not fit into Linnaeus’s classification scheme. Some fictional creations have mammals with feathers – that doesn’t fit. Others have characteristics of anapsids and diapsids – that doesn’t fit either. And so on. It would be near trivial for a god to create some animal species so that this classification scheme would not exist – again, for example, a mammal with feathers. And yet, we see no such thing.

    This classification scheme is the strongest evidence for common ancestry. If one thought that animals evolved from a common ancestor, this is exactly what you would predict to see, and this is exactly what we do see.

    Further, this is not like god sharing parts in his design. You’re missing the point if you think that. Imagine cars by Ford, Chrysler, and GM. Many of the cars share parts. However, if you try to classify the different car designs, you could not make a classification scheme like Linnaeus did for animal life. For cars, because they mix and match parts, you could not classify cars into kinds, where those kinds fit into exclusive super-kinds, and so forth. Instead, if you tried to plot cars based on apparent similarities, it would be like a tumbleweed, with all sorts of relationships. It would look nothing like a family tree.

    […] DNA can’t be used to determine which animals are able to reproduce with one another.

    We’ve done over this before. While no one is ever sure exactly which groups of animals can and cannot reproduce, we are sure that with sufficiently large distance on Linnaeus’s tree of life, two species cannot reproduce. Again, we don’t know everything, but we do know something.

    In order for gametes (the egg and sperm) to bond together successfully and reproduce successfully, the DNA must be substantially similar. If they are too dissimilar, then reproduction cannot happen. We know this. This is not an open scientific question. For example, a chimp and a gorilla. Can they produce offspring? Probably not, but maybe yes. How about a chimp and a dog, which are much further apart on Linnaeus’s tree of life? Definitely not. How about a chimp and a jellyfish? Absolutely not. This is absolutely scientifically testable, and I would wager quite strongly that it has been tested, and that I’m right.

    With that understanding, the next best evidence for common ancestry is that we have sampled the DNA of many animal species, and we have used a straightforward computer algorithm, similar to the standard Unix diff utility,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diff_utility
    that produces an objective measure of similarity of DNA genomes. We can then take these measures of difference, and use other straightforward computer algorithms, in order to plot a graph that visually displays the measures of differences. If I were to randomly produce DNA genomes and feed it into this algorithm, the result would be like a tumbleweed – completely random, with no overall structure. However, when I feed real DNA genomes into this algorithm, I see structure. I see a tree, like a family tree. In fact, I see almost exactly the same family tree that Linnaeus discovered 250 years ago. In order to produce this visual representation of a family tree, I needed to make absolutely zero assumptions about common ancestry. I just had to measure the DNA, and use objective, neutral algorithms like Unix diff and standard graphical packages to plot the results.

    The strongest evidence for common ancestry are these two pieces of evidence, and the the fact that they match near exactly. Each was discovered independently, with no assumptions from the other. They are independent pieces of evidence, and their concordance is absolutely amazing. The evidence I refer to is: 1- the family tree based on apparent morphological similarity, first discovered by Carl Linnaeus, and 2- the tree structure when formed by plotting the distances between the DNA genomes of many animal species.

  174. L.Ron Dow says

    @SamFromUK #179
    I will repeat your full claim:

    “As a believer I simply accept that there are some things which is beyond our understanding and that we just need to accept them or trust in God. It’s meant to be like this.”

    and

    “Reality dictates it.”

    Tell me how Reality can MEAN for us to accept anything – ‘reality’ has no intent. Your response is insufficient.

    “The examples you mentioned were do with “affecting”, nothing to do with control. By “control” I mean have total control over them.”

    I gave you both why we have no control over our ‘feelings’ (Genetic Memory – hardwiring of instincts) and how the are under the influence (ie controlled) by chemicals/hormones. Your response is insufficient.

    You have not answered my final question at all:
    Tell me – this thing that is YOU – the thing that does the feeling and thinking – do you believe that this is separate from your physical body and can survive death?

    If atheists have hate in their hearts – how come it is the ‘believers’ who go around blowing up buses, metros and flying planes into buildings?

    #181
    1. Researchers have only being working a few decades on abiogenesis – they already understand the steps required to produce life but they are concentrating on discovering a sequence of naturally occurring environmental conditions that will result in all the steps ‘joining up’. It took half-a-billion years for these events to occur naturally, I think we can give the researchers a little more time before deciding it’s impossible.

    What evidence do you have that your god wrote anything in the Qur’an?

    2. We do see that the sea level has changed. There is a stretch of sea between the East coast of England and Denmark/Scandinavia called the North Sea. At the bottom of the sea is an area of land that was once occupied – it was called Doggerland (and was mentioned by the Scots guy in this episode.) The rise in sea level was gradual but unrelenting and eventually, about 500 to 8000 years ago, the people had to abandon their villages. These are now being excavated by marine archeologists. The sea level does change. So, Allah FAILS on that score (btw, in which verse does God fix the sea-level?)

    3. If the Earth didn’t have the core we think it has, it would not have the mass that it has (proven by both the strength of gravity and the time it takes to revolve around the sun.) Water simply doesn’t have a high-enough density. Science proves your belief wrong. You FAIL on that one.

    4. I will give you evidence of Common Descent in my next reply (too long for this one.) The changes may be gradual but if you only have photos of a clock taken every 4 hours, you wouldn’t see all the position is the hands had been in in-between. Fossils are too rare to give a finely detailed picture. But you are talking only about Darwin’s ToE. It is not the only theory or mechanism of change in town – there is also Saltation (which pre-dates Darwin’s idea.) Big changes can occur in one generation (leaving no intermediate forms.)

    But the really big changes may not be very visible. For example there is a family in China that has only 44-chromosomes. Two of our 46 have fused together in the same way that our Chromosome-2 did and caused the break from the the other great apes. Their plight was only recognized when members of the family had almost all their pregnancies end in miscarriages. Only one cuple seemed to be able to have children successfully – and they both shared a common grandfather (it was his chromosomes that had fused and that they inherited.) Incest is exactly the sort of ‘population bottleneck’ that most mutations get fixed in a population. This inability to breed normally is precisely the sort of ‘reproductive isolation’ that results in us declaring that a species has arisen. They look like otherwise ordinary human beings, almost identical medically – however, if they undergo more genetic changes, those will start to make them more recognizably not the same species as us (and their mutation will not be shared with us.)

    You don’t know much about evolution do you – just that picked up from cretinist websites? I thought they could teach evolution properly in the UK – perhaps you were sick that month? What grades did you get in science?

    What data shows that mutations are limited?

    We understand many of the mechanisms by which mutations occur and we know how to use such mutations to make changes in plants and animals – have you never heard of GMO? We are also able to reverse mutations that cause certain medical conditions – gene therapy delivered by specially created viruses are just coming onto line now. I will admit, we are less clear on how genes are actually expressed – but again, the night is young, we’ve only just mapped the human genome.

    5. Many of the ‘concepts’ are learned. But weren’t you listening again – brains are not that much different than lungs, arm, eyes or other organs – we get a combination copy from our parents – did you not read how we can give mice a fear of a smell, take one of its sperm to fertilize a mouse egg – and the pup born will share the same fear. Characteristics are passed down through the generations. Do you see many people born with three legs or six eyes or a mouth on the back of their heads? Same with brains – the same patterns are passed on.

    6. Scripture was written to provide an answer to all the questions we all have – but the answers came from men who had a bronze-age understanding of the world (and it shows.) Anyone could make up a story about how the universe was sneezed out of the nose of the Great Green Arkleseizure – and all the details could be tweaked such that no-one of that age could rebut it. But it doesn’t make it True – only satisfying. And that’s what you are – satisfied with a bronze-age explanation.

  175. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “One needs to make an argument of this form: “I see a god, and the god showed to me his ability to do magic, and he told me that he made all life, and therefore a god did it with magic”. Mere negative evidence will never be enough.”

    Are you basically saying that you actually need to see God in a physical form and then hear him make a claim and then demonstrate that claim? Is that what you’ve been meaning all this time?

  176. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “If there was a creator who created every animal species separately, one would not expect to be able to classify animals as such. One would expect that every creation was different, special, and unique.”

    Bizarre. I’m sure you have read or heard that in the Bible it mentions “kinds” so why the above statement? Instead you seem to want to assert you’re own understanding simply in order to prove God false. Sorry you’re not being honest or you’re just trolling.

  177. SamFromUK says

    @LRon,

    “What evidence do you have that your god wrote anything in the Qur’an?”

    Great question and a sensible important one too. I simply don’t know if God wrote or sent the Quran or even the Bible or any scripture. I can never know unless God actually personally decides to tell me. Which he never has. All I can do is read the Quran and Bible and any other scripture and see if it makes sense to me. To see if it makes sense and fits in with what I observe in the world. If they don’t then I believe I’m entitled to not believe in them but I can still have a belief in God because it’s something innate inside me which is always asking questions.

    I can understand why some people would reject the Quran and Bible and religion. Everyone has their own reasons. But I personally believe the Quran and Bible are support by science which put’s it ahead over other religious scripture,

  178. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “While no one is ever sure exactly which groups of animals can and cannot reproduce, we are sure that with sufficiently large distance on Linnaeus’s tree of life, two species cannot reproduce. Again, we don’t know everything, but we do know something.”

    This is great. So are you confirming that DNA and fossil evidence cannot be used to determine which animals can or cannot reproduce? This is a very important question.

  179. SamFromUK says

    @LRon,

    “We understand many of the mechanisms by which mutations occur and we know how to use such mutations to make changes in plants and animals – have you never heard of GMO?”

    (LRon, I just want to say I like you because you have good honest questions and you’re not vulgar in your language.)

    I think I see what you’re trying to say. You’re saying that if we can explain how something works or explain a ordinary or unusual phenomena using our known understanding of physics and chemistry then that means it’s not something divinely created or being influenced by God.

    So, an apple drops from a tree. You say it’s gravity which caused that apple to fall down because gravity is a natural force in the universe. Hence God did not cause that apple to fall down.

    You observe atoms form molecules or molecules being combined with one another to form even more complex molecules again and again for both our use and simply for increasing our understanding of them. You believe that because this simply complies with our understanding of chemistry it’s natural hence it’s not evidence of God if you see some really really complex molecular structures such as cells.

    As I said before. God did and does everything. Everything is obeying God’s laws which he created in the first place. When and apple falls, it’s apple obeying God’s law. The gravity is a creation of God. The atoms and molecules were created byt God an follow laws that are prescribed for them. So we can’t really say that just because we can explain something using science that it explains away God that it invalidates God in anyway. That’s not what the believers are saying, at least me and the ones I know of.

    I think this is one of the key concepts that many non-believers find hard to understand or don’t even consider.

  180. SamFromUK says

    @LRon,

    “I gave you both why we have no control over our ‘feelings’ (Genetic Memory – hardwiring of instincts) and how the are under the influence (ie controlled) by chemicals/hormones. Your response is insufficient.”

    When you say things like “hardwiring” you’re just confirming that we have no control. That we are bound by certain physical phenomena.

    “Tell me – this thing that is YOU – the thing that does the feeling and thinking – do you believe that this is separate from your physical body and can survive death?”

    Yes I do believe that I am a separate entity from my physical body, a soul, and that it can survive death. This is one of the core beliefs in Bible and Quran. And from a philosophical and theological point of view it makes sense.

    I believe the soul is wired into the body some way. When it comes to the day of resurrection a new physical body will be created and we’ll have our souls put into it and wired up again. There won’t be a spiritual hereafter, it’s going to be physical and real just like this one. If you need evidence of bodies being created from molecules just look around you. New life is being created all the time.

  181. NoOne says

    Sam :
    ” I simply don’t know if God wrote or sent the Quran or even the Bible or any scripture. I can never know unless God actually personally decides to tell me. Which he never has.”

    No shit Sherlock. Men wrote (and re-wrote) that nonsense. You have nothing but your pareidolia (pattern seeking), a useful mechanism that unfortunately can be short circuited. I’ll give you point’s for not claiming your internal dialog is a god speaking to you, but you still need to sort out that short. Congratulations you are getting closer to eliminating your mental virus.

  182. L.Ron Dow says

    @SamFromUK #188
    Re: the validity of scripture@

    “To see if it makes sense and fits in with what I observe in the world.”

    So, you have actually observed: flying horses, global floods, men coming back to life after three days, zombies walking into a city, thousands of people being fed on one small basket of bread and fishes?

    “If they don’t then I believe I’m entitled to not believe in them.”

    That does not mean that even if they do, you are obliged to believe in them. (I’ll come back to this later when I deal with #190)

    Look, anyone can write a story that conforms with reality. The James Bond books could be true but it doesn’t mean that they are.

    England is a nation in the UK.
    Kentucky is a State in the US.
    Most birds can fly.
    Some mammals can fly.
    Horses are mammals.
    Horses can fly.
    The Queen of England is a reptile.

    What does the fact that the first five of those statements can be shown to be true tell us about the truthfulness of the last two?

    The most effective lies are those that contain a element of truth. Now, I would not go as far as saying that the scripture writers were actively lying but they were not attempting to write factual history or scientific textbooks, they were writing parable to put over a moral or ethical value. That is how the Hebrews taught. The scriptures have also been edited and honed to make sense to commonfolk – whilst at the same time promote the theological preferences of the editors. Do you need some examples?

    Your method of determining ‘divine authorship’ of the scriptures does not pass muster. It is inadequate. So what you are left with is voices in your head (or gut.) Do you trust people who were told stuff by voices in their heads? How do you know that this ‘innate’ entity is not simply your subconsciousness or the great deceiver himself, Satan?

    I would like to know what science you think supports the scriptures.

    #189 Don’t read too much in to your conclusion about EL’s brief comment – DNA can tell you whether reproduction is possible between two individuals. Did you not read my account of the Chinese family that cannot breed outside of the family because of their Balanced Robertsonian Translocation? Fossil evidence can tell you which features have been inherited from earlier forms. Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), changes in one ‘letter’ of a gene, acts as markers that trickle down through the generations tracing our a lineage. I will cover some of this in my separate rebuttal to your ‘point 4 in #181, mentioned previously.

    Which brings us nicely onto #190:

    “I think I see what you’re trying to say. You’re saying that if we can explain how something works or explain a ordinary or unusual phenomena using our known understanding of physics and chemistry then that means it’s not something divinely created or being influenced by God.”

    Absolutely not.
    Steven Weinberg said it best:

    “Science doesn’t make it impossible to believe in God, it just makes it possible not to believe in God”

    Once we have found a way that any phenomenon can occur naturally, without divine intervention, then you have got to give evidence for why you believe it could happen only with divine intervention – which is by definition, far less probable.

    You are also using circular reasoning – look at what you say:

    “As I said before. God did and does everything. Everything is obeying God’s laws which he created in the first place.”

    and then you say “therefore nature is evidence of God.”

    You are not justified in making your assertions until you have demonstrated that gods can and do exist. And now that science is giving explanations that differ from scripture – you have more of a problem.

    #191

    “When you say things like “hardwiring” you’re just confirming that we have no control. That we are bound by certain physical phenomena.”

    I don’t like your use of the word ‘control’ – it is your word and it seems like you are trying to force it into some sort of statement. When I use ‘hard-wiring’ – I mean this trait or that characteristic is a part of our set inherited features – and it’s only our ‘starting-point’. Our emotional responses have been determined by our ancestors as much as our physical capabilities. We can control them to some extent – sit in a chair all day vs get out and exercise, choose fishing as a hobby vs hang-gliding, watch movies vs play interactive strategy games – they change us and how we respond in the future. But if you are born with short fingers, don’t expect a great career as a pianist or guitarist.

    #191b

    “Yes I do believe that I am a separate entity from my physical body, a soul, and that it can survive death.”

    Why?

    There is a medical procedure used as a cure for certain symptoms of epilepsy – it’s called a Corpus Callosotomy and involves cutting the bridge (corpus callosum) between the left & right hand sides of the brain. There are some very interesting side-effects of this procedure. In one patient, they were asked ‘Do you believe in God’ – they gave their answer verbally and in written form. Guess what – the voice said ‘Yes’ but the written answer was ‘No’. Speech and writing are controlled by different sides of the brain – and the spoken question was heard by both ears, both sides of the brain. Each side processed it and gave their answer. Not only was the brain split into two – so was their consciousness – each side of the brain can have its own set of beliefs. Many other tests by neurologists confirm that this is the case and there are plenty of other fascinating side-effects to read about.

    The effects of brain trauma – either by diseases like Alzheimers or physical injury – all point in the same direction: when the brain is physically altered – so is our ‘identity’, mind or consciousness.

    If the thoughts we have, the decisions we make and the way we perceive ourselves can be cut in half with a scalpel – how can you maintain they are the manifestations of a spiritual, non-physical ‘spirit’?

    btw I don’t use ‘vulgar language’ normally, just on occasion when my frustration gets the better of me, but then I usually have the time to express myself more to my satisfaction than most people will have. I don’t do brevity – as you will have noticed.

  183. L.Ron Dow says

    SamFromUK #181 Point 4 as promised.
    sorry about that last one – I missed a couple of /’s
     
    Quote from ‘nwcreation’ website:

    “Genetic and physiological similarities are not seen as evidence of common ancestry, because there is no evidence available to refute the possibility that the genetic similarities are a result of a similar design being used on different ‘kinds’.”

     
    Well, here’s one argument for Common Ancestry of the Great Apes (Hominidae) by similarities of genetic damage.
     
    Preamble
     
    I want you to imagine that your brother has two birthmarks on his face – a star-shaped one over his right eye and a moon-shaped one on his left cheek. OK?
     
    Now, imagine that you and your Mom went into a coffee-shop – the only other customers in there are a man with his two children. As you get closer you see that all three have a star-shaped birthmark over their right eyes and a moon-shaped one on their left cheeks. The man looks up and clearly recognizes your Mom, she introduces him to you as an old friend from work, who’d taken a job on the other side of the country just before your bother was born. How much of your encounter would you tell your Dad?
     
    Background
     
    Viruses are not self-replicating (they may have been once but lost this ability, this has implications for those who preach ‘irreducible complexity’) and as such may not actually be considered living things, however, because of the way they do reproduce, they have provided us with some very clear evidence that the hosts they infect, evolve and of common ancestry. I’m talking here about what creationists call Macro-Evolution.
     
    Viruses normally reproduce by inserting their genes somewhere into the genome of their host (the victim) turning those cells into little virus factories. Exactly which genes the virus attacks is mostly irrelevant to the virus and can be anywhere at random or targeted. After recovery from such an infection the host/individual is left with cells that contain virus-gene fragments (genetic scars). The damage caused depends upon the cell and gene affected but if the infected cell is a germ-line cell (one used to make sperm or egg) then this scar will be passed down to all of its descendants in every one of their cells (a very rare occurrence.) Remember, a gene can be hundred of thousands of bases long and the sequence of these are like fingerprints – it is possible to recognize where unique sequences came from. We can spot these scars when we look for them.
     
    Amazing FACTS
     
    Borna Disease is caused by a virus – it seems to have a nasty effect on horses and sheep (it can kill them) but in other critters, it’s less serious – in humans, it has been linked with autism.
     
    The Borna Disease Virus (BDV) is a little bit different to most viruses, it is an RNA virus. That is, it doesn’t target a host’s DNA into which it could insert its own – but what can happen is, very, very rarely (that is, long periods of time are involved) if a BDV is present in a host cell that is in the process of dividing, bits of it can get ‘mis-incorporated’ into that cell’s DNA.
     
    A couple of years ago, it was found that human chromosomes 3, 9, 10 and 17 all carry fragments of Bornavirus’s ‘N’ gene, so rarer still, they must have been mis-incorporated into a germ-line cell (egg or sperm), not once but, four times in our history. Our infected genes have been named EBLN-1 thru 4, versions 3 & 4 don’t do anything good or bad, they’re inert (pseudo-genes), we don’t yet know about 1 & 2 (but that’s not important.) If you want to know more about pseudogenes then I can recommend the article: “Adam and Eve, Vitamin C, and Pseudogenes” by Daniel Criswell, Ph.D. on the icr website (in which he not only illustrates an argument against ‘irreducible complexity’ but overlooks that his second scenario supports common ancestry.)
     
    To recap: Every human being tested carries the same genetic ‘scars’ of these four BDV viral infections.
     
    Similar infections have been found in other animals too, that’s no big deal because their ‘scars’ are all in different places than ours – as you would expect with a virus that accidentally gets bits of itself bolted into random places in a host’s genome by mistake. Hardly the hallmarks of ‘design’.
     
    Now, here’s the cracker: chimpanzees, bonobos, orang-utans and gorillas have exactly the same ‘scars’ in EXACTLY the same genomic places as humans.
     
    THIS IS A MASSIVE DEAL – the chances of that happening by co-incidence are astronomical. It is extremely strong evidence that all the great apes (humans, chimps & bonobos, gorillas and orang-utans) have a common ancestry and that one of our common ancestors was infected by BDV sometime after monkey-like Haplorrhini separated from lemur-like Strepsirrhini about 40 million years ago and that this has been inherited by all of its offspring ever since. And because we can see that other primates have only three, two or one of these ‘genetic scars’ in common with us, we know roughly when their branches split away from ours. It’s just too beautiful.
     
    In Conclusion
     
    This is powerful evidence that one ‘kind’ has indeed given rise to descendants of different ‘kinds’ (through several splits.) Unless, that is, chimps, gorillas, orang-utans and humans are actually of the same ‘kind’ and, just like breeds of dogs, are adaptations of each other – in which case they should be able to mate with each (according to the Lord.)
     
    Macro-Evolution is a fact – and it doesn’t have to take many generations to occur. That would be true only if Darwin’s mechanism (gradual accumulation of small changes) was the only one in town – but it isn’t. There’s also Saltation & Punctuated Equilibrium.
     
    There is a young family in China who, like their grandfather (yes, the parents are first-cousins), have a chromosomal-fusion of the type that separated us from the other great apes – the one that stopped ‘us’ from breeding with ‘them’ and sharing our subsequent ‘improvements’ (like intelligence gifted to us by another mistake when our SRGAP2 gene was accidentally partially-duplicated three times.) The Chinese family have only 44 chromosomes which makes it extremely difficult for them to breed successfully with ‘us’ – they are the Adam & Eve of a new species (kind.)
     

  184. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Are you basically saying that you actually need to see God in a physical form and then hear him make a claim and then demonstrate that claim? Is that what you’ve been meaning all this time?

    Ideally, yes. However, at a minimum, you’re still going to need some positive evidence, such as some verified documented miracles, like some limbs being regrown through prayer.

    This is great. So are you confirming that DNA and fossil evidence cannot be used to determine which animals can or cannot reproduce? This is a very important question.

    Your question is too ambiguous. I already stated my position quite clearly. I’m not going to answer this fishing expedition. If you have a legit honest question, then ask it. Here, let me copy-paste what I said before:

    We’ve done over this before. While no one is ever sure exactly which groups of animals can and cannot reproduce, we are sure that with sufficiently large distance on Linnaeus’s tree of life, two species cannot reproduce. Again, we don’t know everything, but we do know something.

    In order for gametes (the egg and sperm) to bond together successfully and reproduce successfully, the DNA must be substantially similar. If they are too dissimilar, then reproduction cannot happen. We know this. This is not an open scientific question. For example, a chimp and a gorilla. Can they produce offspring? Probably not, but maybe yes. How about a chimp and a dog, which are much further apart on Linnaeus’s tree of life? Definitely not. How about a chimp and a jellyfish? Absolutely not. This is absolutely scientifically testable, and I would wager quite strongly that it has been tested, and that I’m right.

    Bizarre. I’m sure you have read or heard that in the Bible it mentions “kinds” so why the above statement? Instead you seem to want to assert you’re own understanding simply in order to prove God false. Sorry you’re not being honest or you’re just trolling.

    You’re very bad at reading. I suggest that you read again. Again, in short, we see kinds, which can be grouped together into other super-kinds, which can be grouped together into other super-super-kinds. Do you know what this is? This is a family tree. This is exactly what Linnaeus discovered, one hundred years before Darwin discovered evolution and common ancestry. Linnaeus actually discovered the best proof for common ancestry, but he didn’t realize it at the time. He didn’t know what he was looking at. He was looking at the family tree of animal life. A literal family tree, where dogs, bears, and cats are all “cousins”, and together they form carnivoria, and carnivoria are “cousins” with apes, but more distant cousins than dogs, bears, and cats are cousins.

    Here is an example of that family tree:
    first-animal-----
    | . . . . . . . |
    jellyfish . . . first-mammal
    . . . . . . . . | . . . . |
    . . . . . . . apes . . . first-carnivoria
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . | . . . | . . |
    . . . . . . . . . . . . bears . cats . dogs

    That is a family tree. The Biblical description of “kinds” is wrong. Rather, each kind is a bucket, and those buckets can be grouped together into larger buckets, and those larger buckets can be grouped together into larger buckets still. That is a description of a family tree. The tree does not contain a list of non-overlapping kinds. Rather, every kind is just a sub-kind of a larger super-kind, and every super-kind is just a sub-kind of an even larger super-kind, and so forth. This is exactly what you would expect to see if common ancestry were true, and this is the last thing that you would expect to see if the Biblical story was true.

    Sorry you’re not being honest or you’re just trolling.

    Fuck you, you ignorant dipshit. I’m half tempted to conclude that you’re just a fucking American troll.

  185. NoOne says

    L.Ron Dow says @ 194

    So what do you think? Will the goalposts move? Will the lens be smeared with Vaseline?

  186. SamFromUK says

    @LRon,

    @194. Good research. However I don’t believe you answered the question of “Can DNA be used to determine if one living organism can reproduce with another”.

    Let me try to clarify the question. Let’s say you were given 2 samples of DNA from 2 living organisms. Sample A and sample B. Just by examining the DNA can you determine if those 2 living organisms are able to produce an offspring?

    If so what technique would you use and how reliable would it be. Bear in mind that there a numerous couples who are unable to conceive a child.

  187. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “Ideally, yes. However, at a minimum, you’re still going to need some positive evidence, such as some verified documented miracles, like some limbs being regrown through prayer.

    Read more: http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2016/11/27/open-thread-for-episode-20-47-matt-and-don/#ixzz4SiCpLxiY

    So, let’s say you see a being. He identifies himself as God. Do you just trust him and accept his word?

    Let’s say you see this being produce a number of miracles. Both which are witnessed by you and many others and on top of that documented.

    How do you know it’s not some mass hallucination?
    How do you rule out that it’s not just one being from an advanced alien civilisation trying to fool you?
    How do you know if this being (who could be an alien or even a magician) is all powerful and all knowledgeable?

  188. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    om 2 living organisms. Sample A and sample B. Just by examining the DNA can you determine if those 2 living organisms are able to produce an offspring?

    If so what technique would you use and how reliable would it be. Bear in mind that there a numerous couples who are unable to conceive a child.

    We’ve done this dance before. I remember your tactics. You should remember mine. I already gave you your answer. Let me repeat myself, using slightly different words.

    They take the DNA samples, and place the DNA samples on Linnaeus’s tree of life. If they’re within the same species, then to the best of our knowledge, maybe they can reproduce. If they’re separate species, but really close on Linnaeus’s tree of life, such as chimp and gorilla, then probably not, but still maybe. If they’re relatively far on Linnaeus’s tree of life, such as a chimp and a dog, then definitely not. If they’re super far away, like a chimp and a jellyfish, then absolutely not.

    This probabilistic statements are absolutely testable, and they (probably) have been tested.

    We would not know for sure, but that’s nothing in science. In science, we never know anything for sure. Everything is probabilistic, tentative, and open for review. Evidence is probabilistic. Results are conditional on the evidence, and never absolute. Everything conclusion is simply the subject to revision, and a great many conclusions are revised, albeit slightly. Scientific knowledge is never set in stone. As scientific knowledge progresses, along the way, we identify many errors in our old way of thinking, and we fix them.

    In other words, it’s as Aronra puts it: Science doesn’t know everything. Religion doesn’t know anything.

  189. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “We’ve done over this before. While no one is ever sure exactly which groups of animals can and cannot reproduce, we are sure that with sufficiently large distance on Linnaeus’s tree of life, two species cannot reproduce. Again, we don’t know everything, but we do know something.
    In order for gametes (the egg and sperm) to bond together successfully and reproduce successfully, the DNA must be substantially similar. If they are too dissimilar, then reproduction cannot happen. We know this. This is not an open scientific question. For example, a chimp and a gorilla. Can they produce offspring? Probably not, but maybe yes. How about a chimp and a dog, which are much further apart on Linnaeus’s tree of life? Definitely not. How about a chimp and a jellyfish? Absolutely not. This is absolutely scientifically testable, and I would wager quite strongly that it has been tested, and that I’m right.

    Read more: http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2016/11/27/open-thread-for-episode-20-47-matt-and-don/#ixzz4SiF1VJf7

    Let’s say you have a childless couple. Their DNA is similar. They have tried all methods but still cannot conceive a child. Can you use DNA to find out why?

  190. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Let’s say you have a childless couple. Their DNA is similar. They have tried all methods but still cannot conceive a child. Can you use DNA to find out why?

    Maybe.

    It might not be a problem of their DNA. Perhaps the sperm count is low because of environmental reasons. There’s a bazillion different reasons which involve perfectly fine DNA as to why two people cannot have kids.

    Suppose you ask “we can put this sperm and egg together of two different animal species and it works, but not for these two other species. Why?”. Maybe modern science can answer that in some cases, and maybe not in others. Again, science does know some things, but it doesn’t know everything. Someone can know some thing without knowing everything.

    We do know damn well that the sperm and egg of two different animal species far on the Linnaeus tree of life reproduce to an extremely high degree of confidence. Statistically speaking, to a high degree of confidence, only things that are close on the Linnaeus tree of life can reproduce. And even if you find one counterexample, it does nothing to destroy the general trend. The general trend survives, and that’s all that is needed to count as extremely strong evidence for common ancestry.

  191. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “We’ve done this dance before. I remember your tactics. You should remember mine. I already gave you your answer. Let me repeat myself, using slightly different words.
    They take the DNA samples, and place the DNA samples on Linnaeus’s tree of life. If they’re within the same species, then to the best of our knowledge, maybe they can reproduce. If they’re separate species, but really close on Linnaeus’s tree of life, such as chimp and gorilla, then probably not, but still maybe. If they’re relatively far on Linnaeus’s tree of life, such as a chimp and a dog, then definitely not. If they’re super far away, like a chimp and a jellyfish, then absolutely not.
    This probabilistic statements are absolutely testable, and they (probably) have been tested.
    We would not know for sure, but that’s nothing in science. In science, we never know anything for sure. Everything is probabilistic, tentative, and open for review. Evidence is probabilistic. Results are conditional on the evidence, and never absolute. Everything conclusion is simply the subject to revision, and a great many conclusions are revised, albeit slightly. Scientific knowledge is never set in stone. As scientific knowledge progresses, along the way, we identify many errors in our old way of thinking, and we fix them.

    Read more: http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2016/11/27/open-thread-for-episode-20-47-matt-and-don/#ixzz4SiO8kYjS

    Sorry but as before you’re not answering the question, just like Matt and many other non-believers.

    You are saying we don’t know for sure however Dawkins is sure. So who is correct you or Dawkins. Check some of Dawkins debates where he dares those who don’t accept evolution to deny it because when they do he comes out with huge load of crap about DNA and fossil evidence. What surprises me is that no one has taken the fool on and challenged him. Cos if they did he’d respond with exactly the same response as yours which is useless.

    So I’m going to ask you again. You have a childless couple. DNA is similar, no other cause has been found as to why they can’t conceive. Can you use DNA similarity to determine fertility?

    Bear mind that horses and donkeys have dissimilar DNA yet they can produce mules. So once you’ve answered the above please answer why horse and donkey are able to reproduce.

  192. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You are saying we don’t know for sure however Dawkins is sure. So who is correct you or Dawkins.

    You’re argung with me, not Dawkins. Address your questions to me, or not at all.

    So I’m going to ask you again. You have a childless couple. DNA is similar, no other cause has been found as to why they can’t conceive. Can you use DNA similarity to determine fertility?

    I answered the question already to the best of my ability. Take it or leave it.

    Bear mind that horses and donkeys have dissimilar DNA yet they can produce mules. So once you’ve answered the above please answer why horse and donkey are able to reproduce.

    Horses and donkeys are incredibly close on the Linnaeus tree of life. It’s not a huge surprise that they can interbreed to some extent. Just like poodles and Boston Terriers, and just like dogs and wolves.

    Calm down it’s only a discussion.

    If you’re going to baselessly accuse me of dishonesty, while also being willfully ignorant and obtuse as you are now, I am going to use vulgarities. Deal with it, fucking dipshit. In other words, you’re the one who started it, and I have no intention to sit idly by while you accuse me of dishonesty. Fuck you and fuck your pretentious shit.

  193. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “I answered the question already to the best of my ability. Take it or leave it.”

    Your ability sucks. You’re just full of baseless arguments like many non-believers of your ilk. I’m done with you since you’re just a typical vulgar non-believer with nothing else to offer. Good day to you and peace.

  194. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    So, let’s say you see a being. He identifies himself as God. Do you just trust him and accept his word?

    Let’s say you see this being produce a number of miracles. Both which are witnessed by you and many others and on top of that documented.

    How do you know it’s not some mass hallucination?
    How do you rule out that it’s not just one being from an advanced alien civilisation trying to fool you?
    How do you know if this being (who could be an alien or even a magician) is all powerful and all knowledgeable?

    This is solipsism. How do I know that I’m not in a dream? How do I know that I’m not in The Matrix? How do I know that I’m not a brain in a vat?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Matrix
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_in_a_vat
    In a certain sense, I don’t know if I’m The Matrix. In a certain other sense, these ideas are incoherent, precisely because they’ve been formulated to be untestable. If an idea like this is completely untestable, then it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if I’m in The Matrix. I’m still going to need to perform the same activities to get food to sate my hunger. My food might be virtual, might be “not really real”, but eating it will still sate my hunger, and my hunger is still very real. In The Matrix, if I punch someone else, that someone else is still going to hurt, whether it’s a virtual body or a real body. Their emotions are still real. The pain is still real.

    If the god demonstrates the ability to do miracles, and it goes on for many years, asking “could it be a hallucination?” is no different than asking right now “could you be a brain in a vat?”. It’s not a terribly useful or interesting question.

    If the god demonstrates the ability to do miracles, going over several years, under the best scientific equipment and tests that we can muster, then yea, the only reasonable and tentative conclusion is that this creature exists, and has the power to break the normal material laws of physics. What we should do based on that information, we disagree, but at least we would have agreement that this thing exists, which is far more than what we have now.

  195. NoOne says

    Sam:

    “Bear mind that horses and donkeys have dissimilar DNA yet they can produce mules. So once you’ve answered the above please answer why horse and donkey are able to reproduce. ”

    Close enough to reproduce, but not close enough to produce fertile offspring. Now show us where the holy scriptures explain EVRs. You have nothing…

  196. NoOne says

    Sam:
    ” Bear mind that horses and donkeys have dissimilar DNA yet they can produce mules. So once you’ve answered the above please answer why horse and donkey are able to reproduce. ”

    Are you really that stupid that you can’t figure out what the answer to that would be? Or are you simply dishonest?

  197. L.Ron Dow says

    @SamFromUK #197

    “Good research”

    Thank you, I did most of the work on it two or three years ago and I’ve used both arguments a number of times with theists and none yet have successfully rebutted the conclusions (or even attempted to.) I guess because they’re not generally well addressed (if at all) by the cretinist websites – and that’s where people like you go to for your confirmation biased ‘education’.

    I now expect you to rebut my arguments against all six of your numbered points and tell me why the shared BDV genetic damage does not point to common ancestry.

    The question of whether DNA can be used to explain failure to conceive was not addressed to me – I merely added some clarification to EL’s response. It is not incumbent on me to provide an answer – but I will add further clarification.

    About 45 years ago, one of my lecturers was Jack Cohen, a sometime colleague of Isaac Asimov. He was an expert in fertility and he and I had a number of discussions about the problems & possibilities of immunizing girls against becoming pregnant (although I never worked in that field.) The technique in question was to raise girls’ immune systems just a little – it already kills off 99.999% of all sperm in the vagina & uterus. The method by which the one or two sperm that do get through to the fallopian tubes, are recognized as being different than those that didn’t, was still being researched (I don’t know the current state of research on that) but the immune system could even then be boosted enough to prevent a successful pregnancy. The main obstacle was finding a way to re-enable fertility on demand (it was hoped that abstinence for a year would be the key.)

    I mention this because we know that the DNA of the individuals might say ‘Yes’ but unless you know the condition of the single-strands of DNA is of each sperm (& ovum) after meiosis of the germ-line cells to create the gametes – there is no way of knowing whether the zygote will be accepted by the mother’s system and be allowed to implant. This is why during in-vitro fertilization many eggs will be fertilized and implanted – most will fail anyway but when they don’t, sextuplets, octuplets etc are common.

    The very fact that the zygote usually does implant, in the uterus wall, is evidence of another set of viral infections, starting about 100 million years ago, that gave mammals the ability to produce the protein Syncytin, vital to forming a placenta, and that’s why all mammals, other than monotremes, give birth to live young without having to use eggshells. Women with a syncytin deficiency are usually unable to maintain a pregnancy – the protein allows the fusing of two different individuals in such a way that the immune system does not reject the fetus as an invader (the same process viruses use to infect a host.)

    This is why I said reproduction may be possible – natural conception and a successful pregnancy is a completely different matter with a thousand times more variables.

    Please note that horses and donkeys don’t truly reproduce – they produce a sterile hybrid of a different species. To get a viable offspring of the same species requires that the full gene-complement be present in both egg & sperm – in a balanced translocation event, the full set of genes are there but they are packaged into a differing number of chromosomes.

    Now, why don’t you answer our questions as fully as we answer yours?

    How can an immaterial soul be divided in half by a very physical scalpel?
    Do you now accept that the BDV genetic damage shared by all great apes (inc humans) is evidence of common ancestry and if not, why not?
    Why are my rebuttals of your six points wrong?

  198. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Your ability sucks. You’re just full of baseless arguments like many non-believers of your ilk. I’m done with you since you’re just a typical vulgar non-believer with nothing else to offer. Good day to you and peace.

    At least I have the decency to explain myself. That’s called honesty and integrity, and you have none of it. You still haven’t answered as to whether you have reasons to believe that that the Bible and the Koran are the word of god, and what those reasons might be. A decent and honest person would have answered that in post 1, and here you are, still avoiding the question.

    As for the rest, politely disagreed. I think I did a very good job explaining my position, and I cited numerous pieces of evidence in my favor. I cited the Linnaeus tree of life, and the evidence of molecular genetics and the DNA distance tree of life. I also cited the probable existence of tests of fertility between distantly related species, to contradict your silly position that DNA-similarity has nothing to do with whether two individuals can reproduce. Rather than baseless, I’ve put forward very good evidence to form the base of my argument. Whereas, as far as I can tell, you did not cite a single piece of evidence in your favor. All you did was put forward (weak) arguments against your opponent’s position, and not once did you make a single argument in favor of your own positions. Again, see earlier paragraph.

  199. sielunveli says

    SamFromUK, you wrote: “What initially convinced me is that some claims in the Quran are true”.

    It is of course true that SOME of the claims in the Quran are true but what about the claims in the Quran which are not true ? There are a lot of those ! There should not be ANY errors in the Quran !

    Watch this video about the Quran and astronomy !