Comments

  1. says

    Hey, AXP-
    I saw the movie, “Logan” last weekend. Many times in the film, I felt a burning sensation in my bosom and during several scenes, my eyes even welled up with tears. Does this mean Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are gods? Or does it just mean it was a well-written, emotional-button-pushing story?

    Not really asking,
    Bill

  2. Bret Frost says

    Dear Matt, the rest of the world has not gone on to daylight saving. It is only the USA which moved away from the standard dates that everyone else uses. So yes I was caught out by your show being early.

    PS Thumbs up to the sound levels this week.

  3. HappyPerson says

    I think the conversation with Stephany was derailed when Matt tried to get her to answer whether or not she was willing to employ reason. She clearly was trying to be reasonable, but just didn’t do it the right way, committing the fallacy of ignorance. I think the problem was that she didn’t comprehend exactly where her reasoning went wrong, not that she didn’t use reasoning in the first place. what Matt said after he hung up on her was exactly what he should have said instead of challenging her to accept reason.

  4. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Wow @(#1)Scott exposing KillingFoolishChickens©.

    Lawd, Stephany and Matt left me in a “Huuuuuuh?!” mood for the first few minutes, like “Yikes!”

    Early Christians? WHO CARES about them? Not me.

    Zoned out for Peter, I cackled at her, “Fallacy, fallacy” Stephany is killing me.

    That call was fun(in a way.)

    Gabriel brought my favorite dish to the cookout, voodoo. Naturally it involved money, the African Prince scam isn’t popular for no reason, Gabriel. We know how money is made and distributed but unfortunately no gawds have been shown to make people rich/wealthy(people do claim that though.)

    He says he understands that there’s nothing particularly wowing there that leads to ritualistic power in our world but that he can’t “dismiss” it. It’s clear that he’s enthralled with the idea of get rich animal slaughter schemes that happen in superstition drenched places with second, third, fourth hand accounts of its veracious merit.

    Unless these money making blood drenched rituals actually demonstrate anything other than how quick we are to slaughter other lifeforms for baseless gawd pleasing in order to maybe somehow achieve financial success in the future, we should probably stop doing them as unnecessary bloodshed is abhorrent.

    Jeff needs to get his(and the others affected) bossom checked out.

    Not a “love” grenade being thrown in and a “Did you read the book yourself?” quote dancing in. The book is unamusing(ime.)

    He’s running through the gauntlet, I’m sure of that now after the “false gawds” and Muslim mention. Common tropes that the religious share (people gonna people.)

    Yadaira(never saw that name before) was reassuring.

    Stanley sounds like the type that’d be interested in blowing up error events, when they aren’t interesting in anyway worth enquiring about.

    Odd, this “intelligent college educated” guy is struggling with the mundane belief in a being existing outside the “measurable reality” as though such a proposal is even worth wrangling with. You have already defined it outside the realm of falsification and now naturally struggle with the sheer idiocy of the proposal. Dub it the “Stanley Effect.”

  5. Vivec says

    I ironically love that one channel that does nothing but post AXP clips and titles them “Matt Dillahunty [Verb]s an [Adjective] [Synonym for “Theist”]”

  6. Nathan says

    I’m just listening to this show and Stephany is one of the most arrogant callers I’ve heard in a long time.

  7. Monocle Smile says

    @Nathan
    I agree. I didn’t even find her that interesting; my desire for her to shut the fuck up overrides any good tidbits of her call. She’s like female Frank Turek or that David Robertson character that Matt debated on Unbelievable a few years ago.

    She seems like someone with an overly inflated sense of self-importance. Sending taunting tweets at Matt? Theatrical accusations of “disassociation” on the show? That condescending, obnoxious tone? You’re a nobody who doesn’t know anything about anything, lady.

    Fuck, she just starts screaming and goes into full on preacher mode. She’s a worthless troll.

  8. Hugh Mungus says

    I think it reflects poorly that Matt hung up on Stephany. He also blocked her on Twitter. Because of this, she’s claiming victory. Matt needs to stop being a wimp and ejecting at every turn.

  9. cddb says

    “Why would there be ancient stories about religious zealots dying for their God if their God isn’t real??? Answer me that smart guy!!!”

  10. says

    (Sorry if this is a repost, I’m not sure if it got through the first time I tried to post it)

    Concerning Stephany’s argument from ignorance (because she was certainly the highlight of the show) and the concept as a whole, I think the important thing to note isn’t the “I *can’t think* of a better reason”, but rather the “there *can’t* be a better reason”.

    Whenever we are inclined to believe something or take a position, it’s precisely because we can’t think of a better position: equivalently, the position we take *is* the best position we can think of, otherwise we wouldn’t take it. I think she simply believes that the Jesus hypothesis makes the most sense. She may be wrong of course (and I think she is), but this is the conclusion that the evidence has brought her to, and that’s intellectually honest and fine.

    The problem comes in when she *asserts* that there *cannot* be a better reason simply because she can’t think of it. This assertion is when you move from the field of assessing the evidence yourself to making truth and knowledge claims that you have to back up. She may be convinced of the Jesus hypothesis to the point she asks “what better explanation is there?” and that’s fine PROVIDED you give evidence to show that your explanation is best. Just asking the question isn’t evidence itself.

    And I’m not pinning the burden of proof on the atheist or theist party here. I’m pinning the burden of proof on whoever is making claims. If a Christian says “What better explanation is there than Jesus?” (which often, as in this case, translates to “Jesus is the best explanation”) they have to show that “Jesus” is the best explanation. If somebody else says “Jesus is not the best explanation” then they have to show that “Jesus” isn’t the best explanation. (By the way, I realize I’m being informal by labeling “Jesus” an explanation, almost insultingly so, but I hope it gets the point across in simple English)

  11. guyblond says

    I don’t think that Stephany even knows what a fallacy is or at least the technical meaning. Maybe she have the idea that it’s just a false statement. Right from the beginning she sounded like she didn’t have a clue about rational argumentation. Does anybody know who she is and where she post?

  12. Monocle Smile says

    @Gerard
    Back, are you? Plan on answering the questions that were asked of you before? Namely, why you argue for theistic positions and which positions you specifically find compelling?

    You’re partially correct. I would argue that we do not merely accept any explanation merely because we can’t think of a better one. A rational person waits until there’s actually substantive evidence before accepting any explanation. Hence “I don’t know,” the very phrase that Stephany bitched about in obnoxious fashion. That was the first big red flag of her call.

  13. says

    @Monocle Smile (14)
    I don’t remember what questions you’re referring to and it’s been a while since then so I guess the answer is no. I’ll quickly address the specific one you asked though (although I’m pretty sure I already answered it), right after this other point.

    Notice, I said “position”, not explanation, so when I talk about taking a position I don’t just mean claims or assertions. “X” and “not X” are both positions on the subject of an explanation, claim, etc. “X”. Being in position “not X” would just mean not accepting any explanation “X”, which is precisely what you said. In other words, thinking that “X” isn’t sufficient is the same as saying “not X” is the better position, and so you would take it. It’s mostly semantics.

    With regards to Stephany, though I don’t care about her specific position particularly, I think she’s one of the many people that thinks we have to take a positive side, which is her fatal flaw. However, I can take a guess and understand her frustration with the “I don’t know” attitude which can present itself as philosophical laziness. That is, “I’m not going to try to compose my own philosophical propositions, I’m just going to reject and shun others’ attempts (and if I do come up with an argument it’s usually in response or to counter the proposed argument).”

    Uh, but for why I tend to argue on the side of theism can be explained sloppily, but simply. At one point, I believed in God. Then my mind was changed, I became an atheist, and I started to argue against God, the position I previously held. Then my mind changed again, I became agnostic, and so I argue against the position I previously held, i.e. I argue against (flawed) atheistic positions, which happens to also require me to defend (correct) theistic positions. And there’s no particular position that theists held that I found compelling enough to change my mind, it came from my own realizations. However, the realization is most closely related to the idea of first cause, while the rest is mostly mathematics and philosophy of the fundamental nature of reality.

  14. marx says

    If stephany would of had a two way conversation instead of an one way conversation it might of been productive!
    Play God Of War!

  15. Pivons says

    @Gerard Moledo
    How do you go from atheist to agnostic? You mean you went from gnostic to agnostic?

  16. Monocle Smile says

    @Gerard

    so I argue against the position I previously held, i.e. I argue against (flawed) atheistic positions, which happens to also require me to defend (correct) theistic positions

    Please provide an example of what you consider to be a “correct” theistic position.

    Also, I read your blog post about your musing on the term “atheist,” and I can tell you that you are mistaken. Others told you this before. This sounds condescending, but it matters if we’re going to have any kind of coherent communication. Most atheists don’t actively claim that no gods exist. You are mistaking the vitriol against the damage that the religious do to the planet (and boy, do I hope you recognize that this damage exists) for philosophical aggression against god claims to the point where we launch an opposing positive claim. It is important that you understand this distinction. Now, there are specific gods that I will claim do not exist, and it is rather trivial to provide compelling evidence.

    However, the realization is most closely related to the idea of first cause, while the rest is mostly mathematics and philosophy of the fundamental nature of reality

    “First cause” is nonsense, and we’ve known this for quite a while. It’s at best unevidenced, at worst totally false.
    You should most definitely elaborate on “the rest.” We just had a caller last week who tried to argue that the universe is a mind and we’re all just “thoughts” and that is the fundamental nature of reality. It’s garbage. It’s just random words strung together, as far as I can see.

    I take issue with the phrase “philosophy of the fundamental nature of reality” since, like panpsychism, it just sounds like you’re stringing together random words. Science is how we learn about reality. Philosophy that purports to address reality while ignoring science is bullshit, full stop. I also don’t see how this has anything to do with gods. I await being shown to be wrong.

    That is, “I’m not going to try to compose my own philosophical propositions, I’m just going to reject and shun others’ attempts (and if I do come up with an argument it’s usually in response or to counter the proposed argument).”

    I take slight issue with this (as I’m not sure you’re actually accusing Matt of doing this), as well. Matt’s been forthcoming about this in the past, and I agree that anyone is free to ask me about my philosophical positions, but there is no encompassing “atheist” philosophy. Theists don’t seem to get this. Sure, I could talk about rational empiricism and logical positivism, and that does guide why I don’t find what theists call “evidence for god” to be compelling in the least, but that doesn’t fall under the “atheist” banner. Now, if someone does ask in earnest about my epistemology and I refuse to divulge it, then yes, that would be philosophical laziness.

    Furthermore, Stephany seems to watch the show, which means that she’s seen Matt in action lay out his own philosophical positions. Whenever he talks about epistemology, demonstration, verification…that’s him avoiding the “philosophical laziness!” The fact that “I don’t know” is often a response to theists’ questions is a failure of the questioner, not a failure of Matt’s philosophy because the questions either require data we don’t have or are nonsensical.

  17. Jack Smith says

    I’m not sure that that Jeff from Utah was for real.
    Something about the story about South Park Mormon Musical did not add up.
    It may have been 20 minutes making the AXP look rather silly.

  18. Daniel Engblom says

    Am I the only one with problems with the youtube video? The first 11 minutes is only the same announcement screen and then starts the actual intro, but from minute one we can hear Matt and John talking, so the resulting video is completely out of sync for the rest of the show.

  19. John Iacoletti says

    It looks ok now. You might have caught it when it was in the middle of being updated.

  20. shadowblade says

    Matt Juggernauts a dishonest fool into Oblivion again.

    I’m trying to learn more about constructing valid syllogisms, can anyone help with this:

    The first hit on Google has this as an example in the definition:

    All dogs are animals
    All animals have four legs
    Therefore all dogs have four legs

    TRUE premise and conclusion, but flawed, invalid, unsound argument, or what, as the middle bit is wrong?

    Matt seems to use “flawed, unsound, invalid, fallacious” for different parts of the syllogism, but I’m not sure if that’s a formal way of talking about each part.

    But Google gives a terrible example, anyway, as it does not have an excluded middle.

    Apart from that, the middle term is just incorrect.

    All dogs are animals (true)
    All animals have four legs (false, as some have 2, 6, 8, 10 or more)
    Therefore all dogs have four legs (true, by observation, excluding amputation)

    So we start with a correct premise, link with biologically illiterate garbage, but still get the correct answer, although it is true because it is true, not as a consequence of the syllogism.

    And mammals instead of animals is no better, as bats have 2 legs and 2 wings and whales, seals etc have none, or almost none.

    So, can anyone explain what’s wrong with that Google example? It also seems to have scrambled bits of the major and minor premise.

    So instead of
    All A are C
    All B are A
    Therefore all B are C.

    And they have
    All A are C
    All C are B
    Therefore all A are B

    And would this be correct, sound and valid?

    Humans create codes.
    Humans are intelligent.
    Therefore codes created by humans require intelligence.

    Does this lack excluded middle?

    Cheers!

  21. 333and333 says

    I don’t think Matt and Stephanie ‘got off on the wrong foot’ at all. I think she was being petty and accusatory, and Matt saw through it right off the bat. Gosh, she seemed so confident, didn’t she? it took her all of 30 seconds to be reduced to screeching bible verses instead of answering questions. She had absolutely nothing to offer to the conversation, it seemed like her entire purpose for calling was to bitch about the wiki. I don’t even understand why she was so dead set on getting Matt to either take full credit for it, or distance himself from it.. (?) What difference would that make, either way? She never even explained what it was she disagreed with, or made any kind of point whatsoever. A true waste of time.

    That mormon fella, he’s got a lot of thinking to do! I think about halfway through the call, he realized just how little thinking he’d done on the whole subject and how he’d been suckered in to that dumpster-fire of a religion. I doubt he’ll call back as an apostate next week, but his faith was definitely shaken, Now, I’ve read the book of mormon, and how the hell anybody could even consider it even slightly believable… that just baffles me. You’ve got to be a special kind of stupid to be convinced by that horribly convoluted, obviously purposefully confusing, pseudo-biblical horse shit. It’s just such obvious fakery to me, I really don’t understand how any literate person of sound mind could believe any of it.

    As for “The Rock” …. I think it was pretty overrated, and not just by this guy. The plot was nowhere near believable, the characters were as cliche as cliche gets, and Nicolas Cage was just as unbearable as he’s been in every other movie. 2/10.

    Anyway I’m new to the blog here, but have been a fan of AxP for years. I love the work y’all do, and I can’t wait for next week’s show. I guess I’ll have to dive into the archived eps and root around for one I haven’t seen before.

  22. gshelley says

    This seemed to get off to a poor start. I thought at first Matt had wasted all his patience on Christine (first caller) – It probably took half a dozen times of her not answering the “Do you care if it is true” type question before he hung up, so that when the second guy came in, Matt was a lot more aggressive to him.
    But he seemed to pull back halfway through and started trying to lead him to a more rational conclusion (though in this case, I would have thought speculation was not a bad thing – for instance, could the caller think of anything other than voodoo magic that could have led to the people getting more money – perhaps they asked someone they hadn’t asked before, or they asked and with the added confidence from the voodoo priest, told the person they would pay them back, rather than it would be a donation which they had previously believed. It’s pretty easy to come up with many plausible explanations)
    By the third caller, it was mostly business as usuall.

  23. Monocle Smile says

    @shadowblade
    There’s lots and lots of material on syllogisms and logical fallacies out there. Google is your friend. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy can be helpful, but it tends to get technical quickly. Wikipedia is a bit more digestible.

    The technical terms that Matt tends to use are “valid” and “sound” which are really the only two that matter.
    Validity refers to the structure. In a valid argument, the conclusion follows from the premises.
    Soundness refers to the truth of the premises. A sound argument has premises that are shown to be true. Oftentimes they are conclusions of other syllogisms.

  24. Claude says

    You know you could have shut Stephanie rigt away with her own arguments..

    ‘why the 911 terrorist got so brave ?” ( and you HAVE to be brave to throw yourself into a building, screw the jingoism)

  25. tfkreference says

    I don’t know what the last caller’s point was. Matt said he was a theist, yet the Mandela effect explains a lot of supposed miracles.

    As for the common misconception of what Darth Vader says, big deal. Even George W. Bush thought that he had said “strategery” (it was SNL). Besides, in the Mackenzie Brothers movie, one of them puts on a hockey mask and says, “Luke, I am your father, eh.” (Of course, I could be misremembering that.)

  26. shadowblade says

    @Monocle Smile
    Cheers, it’s the big example that springs up on Google that confused me.

    Dogs ARE animals and dogs DO have four legs.

    But they do NOT have four legs BECAUSE all animals have four legs, because all animals do NOT have four legs. Look at insects, arachnids, crustaceans, centipedes etc.

    I want to know what is wrong with that example in formal jargon (and why they used it, actually).

    I made some notes from what Matt said here, Structure goes to Validity, Content speaks to Soundness, etc, but I still need to learn more of the vocabulary and terminology. Like, what is structure and content! LOL!

    A valid structure with false premises will lead to a false conclusion. But with the dog example, the minor premise is simply factually wrong (the content?), but the major premise and the conclusion are still correct.

    Why?
    .

    PS, how do I quote people and format bold, italics etc?

    >:8o

  27. says

    @Monocle Smile (17)
    Let’s talk about the “first cause” thing (I’ll use Cosmological Argument) then because that is a concept I don’t believe is “nonsense” as you say. As a matter of fact, I tried calling in yesterday to talk about this very thing but I got disconnected somehow.

    The critical thing that I don’t understand in the argument and debate over these classical arguments is the necessity of absolutes (which is pushed by theists and atheists alike). That is, God must be proven, otherwise the argument is worthless and we can discard it as “nonsense”. For example, the Cosmological Argument roughly states “everything that exists requires a cause, the universe exists, the universe requires a cause. Furthermore, the universe can’t cause itself so it has to be something else. Call it ‘God’.”

    Now here’s what I don’t believe. I don’t believe this argument proves God, I don’t even think some of the versions are valid, and I don’t claim to know the truth values of the premises. I wouldn’t point to “The Cosmological Argument” as evidence for God. What I do accept is that it points out some philosophical points of interest that we have yet to fully understand which seem to contradict our view of how the world works. In this case, that would be the role of causality in the origins of the universe. I think we can both agree that that is something we don’t understand yet.

    This is also another contention in why I consider myself agnostic rather than atheist. I’m not claiming to know which theories–causal loops, self-causation, no beginning, etc.–are most accurate or least accurate. I can assess them myself and come to my own conclusions on which I think makes most sense, but I wouldn’t claim it to be the one that makes the most sense (in other words, what we were just talking about with Stephany). You and most other atheists, on the other hand, claim that the idea of “first cause” is “nonsense”, refuted, incorrect. I don’t have that kind of gnosticism, or even that belief. I do have gnosticism about other things, like whether fairies and unicorns exist (they do not), but not in this case.

    As for the arguments against first cause, such as “What caused the first cause?” and its relation to God claims, I can give logically consistent and philosophically reasonable answers. They do not prove the first cause is the correct hypothesis, they don’t even try to, but they do argue that it is not disproven or unreasonable, as the arguments try to claim. So “come at me, bro” with why you think the “first cause” idea is nonsense (because you made that claim).

  28. says

    @shadowblade (25)
    I believe the problem with that syllogism is that it is valid, but not sound. The fact that the conclusion is true is merely coincidental.

    The argument follows the form:
    1. If A, then B (Premise)
    2. If B, then C (Premise)
    3. Therefore, if A, then C (Conclusion)
    This is a valid argument because it is logical syllogistic structure. However, just because it is valid doesn’t mean the conclusion must be true, because either of the premises could be false. For the conclusion to be necessarily true, the argument must be valid and all premises must be true. If this is so, then it is a sound argument, and a sound argument is the best argument you can have because everything is true and logically deduced.

    The problem with the Google syllogism is that it is valid, but not sound. That’s because even though it follows proper syllogistic structure, Premise 2–“All animals have four legs”–is false. Because one of the premises is false, the argument is not sound and therefore the conclusion is not necessarily true. In this case, it just happens to be that the conclusion is true, but the truth of the conclusion has nothing to do with the argument presented since the argument is not sound. It’s just a coincidence.

    A valid structure with false premises will lead to a false conclusion.

    This is not true. If you understand everything I’ve written above, you should be able to figure out why.

  29. Monocle Smile says

    @shadowblade

    A valid structure with false premises will lead to a false conclusion. But with the dog example, the minor premise is simply factually wrong (the content?), but the major premise and the conclusion are still correct.
    Why?

    Coincidence. Pure and simple. This is why you have to be careful; the conclusion of an invalid argument or one with false premises may still be true, just not by virtue of the argument.

    @Gerard

    For example, the Cosmological Argument roughly states “everything that exists requires a cause, the universe exists, the universe requires a cause

    That first premise is not only unevidenced, but has specific counterexamples like virtual particles. Secondly, we don’t even know that anything requires a cause to exist, as this would imply violations of the first law of thermodynamics. Lastly, any statement that purports to address “everything that exists” is going to get chucked out the window immediately because making knowledge claims without data is silly.

    What I do accept is that it points out some philosophical points of interest that we have yet to fully understand which seem to contradict our view of how the world works. In this case, that would be the role of causality in the origins of the universe. I think we can both agree that that is something we don’t understand yet

    I mean, fine, but so what? All that means is that the topic has no business being used in an argument.

    You and most other atheists, on the other hand, claim that the idea of “first cause” is “nonsense”, refuted, incorrect

    In some contexts, yes, in other contexts, it’s “I don’t know.” The specific language is extremely important, as is understanding of the physics involved. I understand the physics well enough to make judgment calls here. What’s more is that I am perfectly comfortable dismissing something as nonsense if the claimant purports to have knowledge they don’t possibly have, and it doesn’t matter one shit if the conclusion just so happens to be correct down the line. Plenty of bad, irrational arguments contain true conclusions out of happenstance. That doesn’t make the argument reasonable or sound. This is very different from what you call “gnosticism.” I’m not saying I have conclusively proven that there was no first cause, full stop, and that is a dishonest reading of my position. I feel like you make these same kinds of mistakes all over your blog post and in your previous posts here.

    They do not prove the first cause is the correct hypothesis, they don’t even try to, but they do argue that it is not disproven or unreasonable

    It is most definitely unreasonable to advance an argument that has not been demonstrated to be both valid and sound. I’m not about to waver from this position. I have already shown above why cosmological arguments fail. Here’s the other thing: even if there just so happens to be an initial cause to our local universe (and notice that cosmological arguments never, ever make the important distinction between “universe” and “our local experiential universe”), that doesn’t mean there had to be out of necessity, which is the gist of the cosmological argument. Again, merely having a true conclusion is not proof of a good argument.

    As I said in the show thread with Andrew, “not demonstrated to be certainly impossible” does not impress me and shouldn’t impress anyone interested in actual truth. I have no idea why someone would waste time defending an idea merely because it is “not technically impossible.” There are an infinite number of arguments that have not been conclusively disproven. The majority of them are worth literally nothing. While it is useful to point out incorrect reasoning against god claims (I do this myself, too), this seems like a very lousy hill to die on.

  30. says

    @shadowblade (25)
    Btw, I’m not sure about other styles, but for quotations you use the tags “blockquote” “/blockquote”, except replace the quotation marks with open and closing angle brackets (<>) and type whatever you want quoted in between the two blockquote tags.

  31. shadowblade says

    “I believe the problem with that syllogism is that it is valid, but not sound. The fact that the conclusion is true is merely coincidental”
    OK, valid structure, unsound syllogism? Excellent, thanks for the reply”!
    ~
    I think “A valid structure with false premises will lead to a false conclusion” is what Matt explained after he booted off the first caller, but, yes, it is possible for a syllogism with one false premise to lead to a true conclusion purely by coincidence and dumb luck.
    ~
    How did you quote me? I cannot see any formatting tools anywhere.
    ~
    And is there a forum dedicated to syllogisms and logical absolutes etc? Matt should write a book “Syllogistic Structures for Dummies”!
    ~
    What about this one? I know it’s cobblers because it littered with presuppositions, equivocation, false equivalence and argument from ignorance, but I’d like to have a better grasp of the logical formals.
    ~
    DNA is a code
    Codes are created
    DNA has a creator
    _
    Obviously, there is ambiguity and equivocation over the meaning of “code” as an analogy in molecular biology, and the major premise uses this to set up the idea that a mind writes all codes to convey preexisting information, like the Morse Code or computer code.

    “DNA is a biological code” wouldn’t work, either, as the minor premise is incorrect as we do not know that biological codes were created by a mind, we only know that artificial were created by a mind. And “Biological codes are created” is still something we do not know is true.
    ~
    But “Some codes are created” is something we know, and so and “DNA COULD have a Creator”, which could possibly be true as we do not know for an absolute certainty either way. But I don’t think this syllogism gets close to it.

    Cheers!

  32. shadowblade says

    @Gerard Moledo
    “Btw, I’m not sure about other styles, but for quotations you use the tags “blockquote” “/blockquote””
    Vheers, I’ll try that later. Is there no page for formatting codes here? I tried Google tags like *xyz*, _xyz_ etc, but it doesn’t work.

  33. kudlak says

    @Brett Frost #2
    Actually, most of Canada observes DST as well, but some places are seriously questioning continuing.

  34. says

    About @Gabriel from “africa” that called about 28mins into the show. I actually live in “africa”, Nigeria.
    We are in the process of registering an atheist society of nigeria. There is a growing number of atheists and skeptics in Nigeria these days and some of us go out to investigate the so-called “voodoo” or “black magic” that gets talked about.
    Somehow we have not been able to verify any of these claims. So perhaps Gabriel is exaggerating a bit when he says people down here believe all that superstitious stuff. We’re not all idiots.
    I am 42 yrs old and got de-converted by reading the bible in my teens. A lot of atheists I know have a similar experience, they got de-converted by reading the bible or the quran.
    Thank you, and a great show! I have been listening for a long time.

  35. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To shadowblade
    Here, you can use some html markup. Only a small subset of html markup is available here (for security, performance, to prevent abuse, etc.).

    Example:
    <blockquote>text</blockquote>
    becomes:

    text

  36. tfkreference says

    They do not prove the first cause is the correct hypothesis, they don’t even try to, but they do argue that it is not disproven or unreasonable

    tl;dr of Monocle Smile @ 37:
    Gerard is shifting the burden of proof (and admitting as much in the first clause of this quote).

  37. Monocle Smile says

    @Hugh Mungus
    You can’t possibly be serious.
    Removing real-life trolls from one’s life is “being a wimp?” Nobody worth a shit thinks Stephany is actually “victorious.” So what if she is “claiming victory?” She was going to do that anyone. Don’t play chess with pigeons. Allowing Stephany to waste an entire show and troll Matt on Twitter with impunity isn’t going to fix anything or anyone.

  38. says

    @Monocle Smile (28)
    You seem to have missed out on the major point of my previous post, and it’s evidenced by you responding to my informal representation of the Cosmological Argument. I stated that I do not use such arguments as evidence for God. Nay, I think the absolute nature of constructing proofs in that way is unnecessary and misleading. The reason I summarized the argument was so that I could talk about it, not use it as I explain in great detail in the following paragraph. I would suggest rereading the first couple of paragraphs to have a better understanding of my intentions.

    See, the way you (and most atheists, although probably most people in general) look at the argument is to refute it. Prove that it is not necessarily true and therefore not sound by showing the premises aren’t necessarily true. The end goal, in other words, is to abandon the argument because it hasn’t met its own burden of proof. The way I look at it is not to view each premise as a claim that must be proven, but as a philosophical contention that must be investigated. I don’t look at it and say “prove everything that exists has a cause”, I say “does everything that exists have a cause?” I think about it philosophically and it seems to make sense: the universe is pretty much deterministic (plus quantum crap), everything occurs with time which is a chain of cause and effect, plus other things I might think of. And when I look up the counterarguments and see “virtual particles” and start researching them and come to the conclusion that the idea is not sufficient evidence against the idea, then I insert them into the collection of ideas that relate to the premise without kicking out any other reasonable possibilities. Oh, speaking of which, you did just claim that virtual particles don’t have a cause (and is therefore a counterexample), so it would be nice of you to justify that position.

    As for the other stuff, gnosticism is perhaps the wrong word to use there. I didn’t mean to imply that you have literally proven something, only that you are secure enough in your knowledge to make claims like philosophical idea X is nonsense. Also, you completely missed the context of the last paragraph. What I meant by “they” when I said “they do not prove the first cause” is not my arguments for first cause, but my responses to arguments against first cause that claim to disprove the concept. All I have to do in that case is show that those arguments, like “What caused the first cause?”, do not disprove the first cause. Disproving an argument against X does not prove X, only that X hasn’t been disproven (but I could go further and show that it is not just disproven but that it is reasonable as well) which is what I was making clear.

    As a final note, let me make it clear that I do not care solely about syllogistic, pure logical proofs. I don’t care about the Cosmological Argument. It’s hardly more to me than an academic exercise whose premises are ripe for examination. Formal arguments in general are hardly more than academic, logical, and philosophical exercises. I care about the concepts that are brought up within argumentation and finding their truth value from a philosophical standpoint (the philosophy of which is based on science, observation, and theory).

  39. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Hugh Mungus is missing one last word in their name.

    @(21)Pivons: Ha! No he does not, stewpid atheist, your kind is always grandstanding and because I still dwell in Theism-Land mentally I’ll strap on a bunch of things to you even after I’ve been explicitly told that such behavior is dishonest and unproductive. Everyone knows that if you call youself an Atheist then you aren’t Agnostic at all.

    It seems the general consensus is that Jeff was a “#wastetheirtime” troll caller? Or a very standard model theist.

    And welcome @(#29)333and333!

  40. says

    @tfkreference (44)
    Fuck the burden of proof.

    I can give reasons in favor of the “first cause”, I can give reasons against the “first cause”. As a matter of fact, I quickly gave some reasons for the idea in my previous comment. Either way, I’m not claiming the “first cause” is correct so I don’t have to prove that it is true. The only thing I claimed was that I could give logically consistent and reasonable answers to counterarguments to the “first cause”. In order to do that, I needed an argument in the first place, so I asked Monocle to give me one. Also, read the second to last paragraph of my previous comment. I also addressed this there. But, yeah, don’t play the “burden of proof” game if you don’t understand my position and aren’t interested enough in my position to try to understand it in the first place.

  41. Monocle Smile says

    @Gerard

    The way I look at it is not to view each premise as a claim that must be proven, but as a philosophical contention that must be investigated

    …but we already know the answer. The fact that you don’t doesn’t mean nobody does. The argument does not work, which is really all that matters. It’s a little irritating that you seem to be upset that a response to a theistic claim tends to remain in the context of the discussion being had. That’s supposed to happen. Furthermore, you seem to be implying that no atheist has ever seriously considered a cosmological argument. That’s ridiculous. We don’t need to reinvent all of physics every time some apologist dunce blurts out Kalam.

    I don’t look at it and say “prove everything that exists has a cause”, I say “does everything that exists have a cause?” I think about it philosophically and it seems to make sense

    Stop looking at it philosophically. The question is scientific. And what “seems to make sense” based on nothing but intuition is worth exactly nothing.

    everything occurs with time which is a chain of cause and effect

    No, it’s not. The arrow of time is guided by entropy. You have this backwards. You claim to “investigate” these questions, but then ignore physics. Why is that?

    Oh, speaking of which, you did just claim that virtual particles don’t have a cause (and is therefore a counterexample), so it would be nice of you to justify that position

    Wrong again. They have not been shown to have a cause, thus that premise of the argument is unsound. No more work is necessary. You have this severely incorrect notion that it is required of the atheist to disprove the conclusions of theistic arguments.

    All I have to do in that case is show that those arguments, like “What caused the first cause?”, do not disprove the first cause

    And this accomplishes what, exactly? You have done no work. You have bent no spoons. This is actually a non sequitur, as exposing a special pleading fallacy is meant to refute an argument, not disprove the conclusion. Those are two different things. There’s a rather laughable straw man hiding in there; you operate under the assumption that “what caused the first cause?” is meant to disprove the conclusion of a first cause. I have yet to meet an atheist who thinks that.

    I care about the concepts that are brought up within argumentation and finding their truth value from a philosophical standpoint

    But again, you are ignoring physics, as can be seen above. This also doesn’t really answer my. What theistic positions do you consider correct? Now that you have admitted that you don’t care about the cosmological argument, why did you bring it up as a response? This seems to be nothing more than a rather shallow way to make yourself feel superior to “atheists.”

    I care about the concepts that are brought up within argumentation and finding their truth value from a philosophical standpoint (the philosophy of which is based on science, observation, and theory).

    I get presented with loads of wrong arguments from religious apologists. It is not my job to do their work for them and determine the soundness of their premises. I will not apologize for this and I do not think you are justified in your condescension.

  42. says

    @shadowblade (39)
    I can’t really tell you about the formalities of the argument because I’m not educated enough on that front. Your intuitions in the flaws of the argument seem to be correct and you should probably explore those further, especially the idea of codes needing to be created, if DNA even is a code in the correct sense–and in that line of thinking what the different ideas of codes could mean–, if such a code does require an intelligent creator, etc. I personally wouldn’t worry about constructing a syllogistic argument for such a high-level, complicated idea as syllogisms are best used when the truth of the premises can easily be determined, like in purely logical or mathematical arguments. I could be wrong but that’s my two cents.

  43. says

    @Monocle Smile (49)
    I hardly understand the points you’re making at this point, so I’m just going to respond to the parts I do understand.

    My philosophy is based in science insofar that it tries not to contradict what is widely accepted as scientific fact and is also based on the best scientific models that I know of (QFT contributed a ton to my philosophy of reality). I don’t disregard science at all, however I’m also not afraid to try to go deeper than what the science says and into what the science means, which is more philosophical.

    As for time, I wasn’t making a claim there, I was loosely stating my belief, which could be wrong and probably is wrong because I hardly understand time as it relates to entropy and spacetime and the like.

    You literally said the premise “everything that exists requires a cause” has a specific counterexample that is virtual particles. That literally means that you said virtual particles don’t require a cause. I asked you to justify your claim and you just repeated “they haven’t been shown to have a cause”, which doesn’t align at all to the little research I did. Am I just supposed to take your word for it then? That doesn’t sound reasonable to me.

    I’ve seen the “Who created God?” question literally called the best argument for atheism. What’s the point of the argument then, if not to disprove or simply argue against the idea of first cause? That’s a sincere question.

    I already answered why I used the Cosmological Argument, you’re either not paying attention or not caring enough to understand.

  44. shadowblade says

    @Gerard Moledo (50)

    I personally wouldn’t worry about constructing a syllogistic argument for such a high-level, complicated idea as syllogisms are best used when the truth of the premises can easily be determined

    I’m trying to explain to someone why his argument is fallacious, and he will not accept that the analogy of the genetic “code”, in terms of a written cipher or computer code, is just an analogy used to explain introductory molecular biology to 8 year old kiddies. He has absolutely zero knowledge of the chemistry and molecular biology involved and some of his statements are so bizarre I think he may be a schizophrenic with Asperger’s. And, like Marshall, Meyer et al, he insists that the “code” terminology of molecular biology is actual and literal, not analogy. Neither of them are biologists and they are misapplying information theory to biology.
    ~
    While doing this, I got more interested in syllogisms etc and then saw this show on YT. Modern philosophy bores me titless, but some of those old Greeks actually provided something valuable.
    ~
    DNA is a code
    Codes are created by intelligent beings with a mind
    DNA was created by intelligent beings with a mind
    =
    FALSE, because we do not know this for the genetic code in the minor premise and he implies ALL “codes”. There’s also equivocation in the major premise.
    ~
    DNA is a code
    Some codes are known to be created by intelligent beings with a mind
    DNA MAY have been created by intelligent beings with a mind
    =
    TRUE
    ~
    There is no actual evidence for this, but I think the second syllogism is sound and the first is not. And most scientists and atheists would say, yeah, but I don’t believe it WAS as there’s no evidence. But more and more idiots are using the first one as “PROOF!”
    ~
    Anyway, thanks all for the help.

  45. kalebas veggie says

    Matt has way too much patience with this lady. She is not listening and she did not answer the question over and over again.

  46. says

    By the way, I have two fairly simple questions to anybody inclined to answer them.
    1. Do you believe God does not exist?
    2. Do you believe the tooth fairy does not exist?
    Interpret the questions as you see fit. For example, insert what “God” means to you in the case of your theism/atheism.
    My answers the way I interpret the questions are (1) no, (2) yes.

  47. walter says

    @shadowblade #34
    I think you meant to say that “not all animals have 4 legs” rather than “all animals do not have 4 legs”.

    The scope of negation when quantifiers (eg ‘all’) are used can cause problems.

  48. Monocle Smile says

    @Gerard
    What exactly is hard to follow?

    however I’m also not afraid to try to go deeper than what the science says and into what the science means, which is more philosophical.

    I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. Can you give specific examples?

    You literally said the premise “everything that exists requires a cause” has a specific counterexample that is virtual particles. That literally means that you said virtual particles don’t require a cause

    Nope. You’ve made this mistake before. “X has not been shown to require a cause” and “X doesn’t require a cause” are not equivalent phrases. In both cases, they are counterexamples to premise 1 of the cosmological argument.

    which doesn’t align at all to the little research I did

    I’m not confident you have a technical understanding of what is meant by “cause.” Take radioactive decay. We know that it happens and that it’s correlated to instability in atomic nuclei, but since the specific atoms in a sample that decay over time are random, radioactive decay cannot be said to have a specific cause. This highlights a severe issue with “causality” as described by folks like Thomas Aquinas, which is that it doesn’t accurately describe interactions in reality.

    I’ve seen the “Who created God?” question literally called the best argument for atheism

    Have I said this? Or anyone here? Then why saddle us with odd positions? You’re making another mistake by doing this, though I’m willing to overlook that.

    What’s the point of the argument then, if not to disprove or simply argue against the idea of first cause?

    It foils specific arguments about first cause. I’m not sure why this is so hard to understand. There are a number of ways to refute an argument; disproving the conclusion is merely one of them and is not a requirement.

    I already answered why I used the Cosmological Argument, you’re either not paying attention or not caring enough to understand

    I’m actually doing my best to understand your actual position, and you seem to be doing your best to avoid presenting anything concrete. I could be mistaken, but it seems your “position” is merely to be a contrarian for its own sake.

    I’ll answer your two questions.
    1) Depends on the god. I think you knew this. The term “god” carries baggage, but there’s enough wiggle room that my answer will change depending on the theistic claim. Typically, gods are described as extremely powerful agents that interact with reality to the point of violating how reality appears to work.
    2) No. The tooth fairy is dependent upon specific events happening that do not happen and for which there should be a vast amount of evidence. Such evidence is not forthcoming. Contrary to what some believe, absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence.

  49. tfkreference says

    @shadowblade
    DNA is not a code; DNA is a molecule with properties that are frequently compared to a code through metaphor.

  50. shadowblade says

    @tfkreference

    DNA is not a code; DNA is a molecule with properties that are frequently compared to a code through metaphor.

    Yes, I am a molecular biologist. But I am getting the same dunderheadedness Matt had on the first call, as the argument rages over why it’s not an artificial, created code, just a metaphor/analogy to explain a simplistic model of reality to little kiddies. So if I grant it’s a “code”, we can move on to why the second premise is flawed, but they won’t have that, either.

  51. marx says

    A scary thought is that Gabriel(Voodoo Claim) has just as much”if not more”evidence as Stephony’s claim.

  52. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    All I see in post 46 by Gerard is word salad mixed with pisspoor explanations of why the usual burden of proof that we employ for almost every question in our lives should be abandoned singularly for the most important questions. I see further examples in post 51. Case in point:

    My philosophy is based in science insofar that it tries not to contradict what is widely accepted as scientific fact […]

    Also:

    Fuck the burden of proof.

    Welp.

    1. Do you believe God does not exist?

    Yes. I positively affirm and believe that there are no gods. I may be an unusual atheist in this respect.

    2. Do you believe the tooth fairy does not exist?

    Yes. I also positively affirm and believe that there are no tooth fairies.

  53. tfkreference says

    @shadowblade

    So if I grant it’s a “code”, we can move on to why the second premise is flawed

    That is charitable of you and makes a good intellectual exercise. Rhetorically, you are moving the task of defining “code” from the first premise to the second, where you need to define “code” in a way that both includes DNA and doesn’t require an encoder. Single prong arguments generally hold up better.

    To see the value in demanding strict definitions, watch Matt refuse to accept the premise that something cannot come from nothing (20 minutes).

  54. says

    @Monocle Smile (55)

    however I’m also not afraid to try to go deeper than what the science says and into what the science means, which is more philosophical.
    I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. Can you give specific examples?

    Take the virtual particles for example. First of all, I grant that I may be mistaken by what counterexample means (I thought it means evidence for the negative, rather than just evidence against the positive), so I’ll let that go.

    From what I understand, they are often used to counter statements like “something can’t come from nothing” or “everything has a cause” by showing that even in empty space, particles can just pop into existence. The science may be true in terms of what we observe, and I’m not in a position to say that it isn’t true so I take it as true. However, the philosophy of virtual particles comes in when you ask “what is ‘nothing’? Is empty space ‘nothing’? What does it mean for the particles to ‘come into existence’? What even is existence?”And it is when I answer these questions, and I base the answers to these questions through some means to more concrete science and philosophy, that I find virtual particles are not sufficient evidence against the ideas. One reason, briefly, is because I don’t think empty space is “nothing”. It’s empty space. Nothing, to us, would literally be that which isn’t related to us in any way. You probably don’t understand what I mean by that because you don’t know my whole philosophy, which is fine because I’m not making a claim, I’m just stating ideas, possibilities, not asserting these things as fact.

    By the way, in regards to your answer to the tooth fairy question, you answered “no, I don’t believe that the tooth fairy does not exist”, but you also said “absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence”, which seems to suggest that you think there is sufficient evidence to say that the tooth fairy does not exist. So, what’s your answer exactly?

  55. says

    @Lillith (59)
    Contrary to what seems obvious, there is a fair amount of nuance in the statement, “Fuck the burden of proof”, which can partially be extracted from the rest of my comment, if you read it. But considering you only quoted the first five words rather than the paragraph beneath it, I have my doubts. And, yes, I was pretty much asking for that exact response and I partially knew I would get it, but I was also hoping that everyone would be able to avoid the knee-jerk reaction.

  56. Monocle Smile says

    @Gerard
    I tripped up in my response to your second question. When I said “no” I meant “no, the tooth fairy does not exist.” I should have read the phrasing of the question again.

    However, the philosophy of virtual particles comes in when you ask “what is ‘nothing’? Is empty space ‘nothing’? What does it mean for the particles to ‘come into existence’? What even is existence?”

    I still maintain that this is science, not philosophy. All of those questions are answered by or at least reliant upon scientific inquiry. There doesn’t appear to be a real-world referent for philosophical “nothing,” so physicists refer to the closest thing possible as “nothing.” Lawrence Krauss has a good lecture on this.

    You probably don’t understand what I mean by that because you don’t know my whole philosophy, which is fine because I’m not making a claim, I’m just stating ideas, possibilities, not asserting these things as fact

    I’m going to be quick to point out that this does not somehow magically exempt you from being challenged on this, though I won’t do this specifically here. I’m also still completely in the dark about your “philosophy” outside of the contrarian thing.

    And it is when I answer these questions, and I base the answers to these questions through some means to more concrete science and philosophy, that I find virtual particles are not sufficient evidence against the ideas

    I hope you understand that because I have very little confidence that you understand the topic sufficiently, I don’t take your objection seriously. I did provide another example of a causeless process which is much more understood.
    Still waiting for you to answer the questions I asked in my very first post.

  57. John Iacoletti says

    Lilith – I removed your comment. No gendered slurs or personal attacks please.

  58. bigjay says

    Stephany definitely came in spoiling for a fight, and with her hackles up. She also was highly emotional from the start, which is never a good position to put yourself in in a argument. However, I wish Matt hadn’t hung up on her. I was really looking forward to him dismantling her argument, and we all know that Matt can be very good at helping theists get out of their own way and actually have a productive discussion, we’ve seen him do it many times before.

    But then, he had what sounds like a lot of previous bad blood with her, and so it’s understandable why he had a short fuse with her.

  59. Monocle Smile says

    @bigjay
    I don’t believe for a second that a productive discussion was possible with Stephany. She’s basically an internet troll and literally admitted to wasting time. Matt did exactly the right thing at the right time.

    Here’s a post from her blog.
    https://sjthomason.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/thoughts-on-the-atheist-experience-show-along-with-arguments-and-a-testimonial-in-support-of-jesus/
    This is a heavily indoctrinated and severely deluded person. Some people you can’t fix.

  60. Peggy Clancy says

    @bigjay and @Monicle Smile:
    Yes, I agree. In addition to being loud and obnoxious, the content of her call was terribly flawed. Stephany actually said that other religions don’t have people seeing and experiencing things like the early Christians. This is, of course, false. All the major religions have miracle stories. She could go for the idea that other religions have gods that do miracles but that they are demons. Or she could say that the other religions’ stories are just stories while Christianity is the only real one. But other religions certainly have stories of believers who experienced things very similar to the Christian stories.

  61. says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal (60)
    If you’re going to try to slander me, at least make good points.

    First of all, “word salad”. I’ve had the notion that people often use the term “word salad” to describe lengthy and verbose or sesquipedalian (I had to look that word up, by the way, and it is quite ironic) arguments when they don’t understand them and don’t want to try to understand them, or some other intellectually dishonest motive. This seems to be another minute piece of evidence in favor of that idea (although my writing isn’t sesquipedalian in the slightest. Verbose, perhaps, but I’d rather think that I’m thorough). And yes it is intellectually dishonest because you could have pointed out a particular instance of “word salad” and ask for a clarification, which I would provide, but you didn’t do that.

    As for the burden of proof, I’ll go into deeper explanation here then. First of all, I draw a line between the pragmatism of science and the theoretical nature of philosophy. Science is concerned with observing things and drawing conclusions that further our knowledge of how things work. We can then use this knowledge to continue learning more and ultimately do more, like advance technology. So let’s take architecture for instance. If you want to build a new bridge or skyscraper, you better have a good plan, backed up by things we already know about architecture and engineering, otherwise we’re going to be wasting money, energy, time, and, most importantly, people’s lives if the plan fails. So the architect better be able to “prove” (obviously not in the pure mathematical sense because that is basically impossible) his case, and only then will we continue investigating. This can apply to more theoretical things like in the field of cosmology–failures of which don’t immediately endanger people–because we still invest our time and technology into learning about it.

    Before talking about philosophy, it should be noted that I am talking mainly about metaphysics, as other branches like ethics and politics do have pragmatic consequences and so should be held to a higher standard.

    Philosophy differs from science because it is not about getting things done in the sense of advancing technology and discovering knew things. Philosophy is about developing a better framework to understand the things that we think we know already. Think of it like pure mathematics, where mathematicians develop systems and models and whole methods of mathematics just for the sake of it. There is a ton of mathematics that isn’t currently applicable, yet mathematicians still use them to test the limits of what we understand and try to break preconceived notions. Sometimes, ridiculous ideas do become applicable. Simplest example, the square root of -1. Of course, these ridiculous ideas don’t come out of nowhere, they are still based in knowledge and theory that has already been developed. But it’s not like pure mathematical models are claiming to be the truth. They are just models that may have interesting rules and properties worth exploring. I view philosophical ideas the same way. They are considerations that must make logical sense, but may not be the truth. Because they aren’t claims but considerations, they don’t require them to be proven in the same way the architect has to “prove” that his design won’t fail, or (in a pragmatic philosophical sense) a communist has to “prove” that communism is ideal. The time that you do have to “prove” one of these considerations is when you do claim that it is true or false. It’s not a consideration any more, which is the flaw of theists who think they can prove God exists and when William Lane Craig asserts “something can’t come from nothing”. Similarly, if an atheist claims that God is a ridiculous idea or doesn’t exist, they have to back up that claim. You can think God is ridiculous or doesn’t exist, but once you state something as if its fact, you have to show that it is fact.

    Notice, I didn’t say “burden of proof” once in that explanation. The reason I say “Fuck the burden of proof” is because the phrase “the burden of proof” is often used more as a debate tactic or strategy rather than an attempt at honest conversation. When I write a long-ass comment that goes in-depth to explain my position and all you (general) have to say is “eh, shifting burden of proof” (or “logical fallacy” in general), that shows that you don’t care about actually engaging in discussion (“tl;dr” is a good indicator of that as well), rather that you’re trying to win the “debate”. It prioritizes a mechanical search for inconsistencies and flaws in logic rather than getting to the meat of the issue and really dissecting what the discussion is about. That’s why I don’t go point by point in people’s arguments and try to refute specific statements as they’re made.

    Oh, one last thing. That first quotation you used? Yeah, let me finish that for you:

    My philosophy is based in science insofar that it tries not to contradict what is widely accepted as scientific fact and is also based on the best scientific models that I know of (QFT contributed a ton to my philosophy of reality).

    And if I’m still mistaken, because I don’t know precisely what the error was in my statement since you didn’t explain it at all, and the little stuff you did say was incorrect anyway (where did you get the idea that I “abandoned” burden of proof for “the most important questions”? I don’t even know what the most important questions are. Seems like you’re talking about some other class of people, rather than me specifically).

  62. shadowblade says

    @Gerard Moledo

    First of all, “word salad”. I’ve had the notion that people often use the term “word salad” to describe lengthy and verbose or sesquipedalian (I had to look that word up, by the way, and it is quite ironic) arguments when they don’t understand them and don’t want to try to understand them

    In my experience, “Word Salad” describes a bunch of meaningless drivel spouted by an under-educated pseud who spouts terms and phrases he’s heard of but doesn’t understand as a stream of irrelevant non-sequitur which have nothing to do with each other or the topic, but he *thinks* it makes him sound clever. They are tossed in the air and fall in random patterns, just like a salad.
    ~
    One example is some Australian guy looking at ancient stone circles and korrals in South Africa and claiming evidence of Atlantis, tachyon energy and a civilisation going back 250,000 years. He really is incredibly comical to a reasonably scientifically literate person of lightly above average IQ with the way he spews out unconnected, meaningless key phrases.
    ~
    Another was the Afro guy who talked to Matt and claimed DNA and the enzymes involved are so small, so we’re talking nano-technology powered by the energy field of living organisms, plus a bunch of other “key-words” spouted out with no connection.
    ~
    A Word Salad! Tossed with an Idiot stick! In a bowl of scientific illiteracy! And drizzled with the oil of pig-ignorance!
    ~
    I don’t say your posts are like that as I haven’t read them all, but I recall you being helpful to me with syllogisms, so it’s possible that whoever said your writings were a Word Salad may not actually understand the meaning of the term.
    ~

  63. Vivec says

    Why bother engaging with an argument that is fallacious? By definition, a fallacious argument can’t be proven to be true, and anything of value that you could glean from it could also be gleaned from a non-fallacious argument.

    If I find a cockroach in my meal, I’m not gonna sit there and dig around in it and find the good parts of the meal, I’m gonna toss it and ask for one without a roach in it.

  64. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Before talking about philosophy, it should be noted that I am talking mainly about metaphysics,

    No, you’re just talking about physics. Talking about causation, the possibility of a first cause, etc. That’s talking about real things in the real world. That’s talking about physics.

    Philosophy differs from science because it is not about getting things done in the sense of advancing technology and discovering knew things.

    Science is a philosophy. All science is philosophy. Not all philosophy is science. Some non-science philosophy is good, and some philosophy done under the name “science” is bad.

    Simplest example, the square root of -1.

    Study some electronics. It comes up a lot. Also relativity and other fundamental physics.

    My philosophy is based in science insofar that it tries not to contradict what is widely accepted as scientific fact and is also based on the best scientific models that I know of (QFT contributed a ton to my philosophy of reality).

    One of the basic tenants of skepticism is that one should not hold beliefs for which one lacks good reason. It appears that you’re trying to defend your other beliefs by saying “they don’t contradict known facts”, and that’s a pisspoor reason. It’s a non-reason. That’s not good enough reason to believe anything. If that’s all you have, then this is where you should say “I don’t know”, and you should drop those extra, unsupported beliefs.

  65. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:
    Also, it’s unclear. It appears that sometimes you try to defend yourself by saying “I’m just musing aloud – I don’t actually believe anything of these things”. If this is correct, please be more clear in the future, to avoid the mistaken impression that you actually believe things for no good reason.

  66. Monocle Smile says

    @Gerard
    I’m with Vivec. I find it very odd that you dismiss identification of fallacies and bad reasoning as “mechanical problems” that should be overlooked. Listen, I hear loads of arguments from apologists, and “mechanical problems” are an excellent litmus test. Unlike you, I don’t find religious apologetics interesting in the least. I don’t feel the need to “consider” any part of an argument that can’t even pass muster. “First cause” is about as boring as it gets in my book, because the question won’t be answered with navel-gazing. It will be answered with science.

    The time that you do have to “prove” one of these considerations is when you do claim that it is true or false

    I half disagree. There are plenty of christians who say they don’t claim to know that a god exists or can demonstrate it, but they vote as if a god does indeed exist. They attempt to impose religious law upon the rest of us. I feel no remorse in challenging these people on their beliefs. You don’t get to erect a barrier that somehow exempts you from being challenged, which seems to be what you want.

  67. Joe says

    Because of Stephany’s call I feel like I should get something on the record. I have commented here and elsewhere that I do positively believe there are no gods. I think in a few decades (hopefully) I, and those who agree with me, will be remembered as holding the forward thinking and reasonable position while the “I don’t know if there are gods or not” people will be remembered as holding onto ridiculous beliefs in some way by lending credence to them and considering them valid ideas worthy of consideration. I think the idea that there are gods has no basis in reality and that means we don’t have a reason to take it seriously, despite how many people believe it. But please don’t consider my position representative of anyone but myself. I do know people who agree with me and while I am happy about that, I am not speaking for them and they are not speaking for me. So if you want to argue that “atheist” means only holding a positive belief that no gods are real you’re on your own and please do not use me as proof that your claim is correct. I stand by my statements and I do think I have a very strong basis for my position that I’m convinced there are no gods so if you want to cite me as *A* person who believes this you’re welcome to do that. I don’t check replies to my comments because I don’t have the time to do that so I don’t know how many of us agree or do not but even if everyone here did agree that would not mean I speak for anyone else. Thank you.

  68. Joe says

    @Monocle Smile:

    Agreed. Alarm bells rang for me when she was mistaken (honestly?) about Matt’s contribution to the Iron Chariots Wiki. When called out on this she immediately invented a scenario where Matt was trying to ‘distance himself’. When this was pointed out to be false, she still refused to admit she made a mistake.

    We were never going to get an honest conversation out of her. I’d have hung up well before Matt did.

  69. marx says

    I hope Stephany phones Matt back and has a rational two-way conversation.
    That’s what The Atheist Experience is all about!!
    Am I asking too much?

  70. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    If her twitter is anything to go by, I’d say that asking for a rational two way conversation might be the dictionary definition of “too much.”
    She seems to think that asking why the disciples would come out of hiding to a sure death is the ultimate gotcha and that Matt is a punk and a coward for hanging up on her.

    I will admit, I’m also a smidge disappointed she hasn’t turned up here to do a victory lap, but that’s only because deep down I’m not a good person, hahaha.

  71. cobbler says

    atheist experience 21.10… .your caller Jeff from Utah. I think he passed himself of as teacher or academic he wanted to come across as an openminded thinking person of academia.
    HOLY SHIT is that what passes for an intelligent person in the US no wonder the world is in trouble .god save America God save the world more likely ….eg he flippantly called Allah a false god amongst many others, but the penny did not drop regarding his own invisible friend .
    in reply to your request for clarification he reasoned that
    ” hey didn’t they bomb the crap out us on 11th September”
    Holy shit batman don’t you people know you bombed the crap out Vietnam over a period of many years not just one day.
    Both are historic events now but there is a huge imbalance in the power of induced fear created by each one … but it never gets mentioned on US TV .

  72. gshelley says

    Occasionally callers get hung up on one particular word or phrase so much that they can’t let go, so instead of putting forward their actual argument, they spend their entire time arguing over it – I think it was a few months ago someone called in and just argued about if theist only meant belief in a personal god or could be any sort of god. Stephanie seemed to have this problem, she couldn’t let go of the idea that she was specifically refuting what Matt said, rather than atheistic arguments in general (or iron chariots specifically), so every time she got close to presenting her case, Matt had to pull her back by reminding her that Iron Chariots was a wiki with many contributors and that even if he had started an particular page, it was possible, perhaps even likely that other people had since modified it.

  73. Lillith says

    @66, John Iacoletti
    I’m not exactly sure what a gendered slur is but I must admit that I have forgotten what I’d written. Rest assured, I’m glad you people still let idiots like that pompous “philosopher” drop his f-bombs here and be proud of it.

  74. John Iacoletti says

    Lillith, your gendered slur was “annoyingly stupid bitch”. It’s ableist too. So is “idiot”. Everybody, please avoid the use of any sexist, racist, ableist, homophobic or transphobic language or slurs on the blog.

  75. John Iacoletti says

    @Satan, how dd you manage that? She blocked me after I tagged her in only a couple of tweets. And that was after complaining about Matt blocking her.

  76. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Oh, wow. I thought it was kinda common knowledge what connotations the “b” word has. Especially concerning it’s usage against Stephany.

    The “f” word has no such baggage, wonder if this is one of those reclamation things that people are running around with.

    Considering the heavy humanist(with feminist, LGBT+ supporting and anti-discriminatory) stance of the average freethoughtblogs audience, the rules and norms here tend to reflect it.

  77. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Rest assured, I’m glad you people still let idiots like that pompous “philosopher” drop his f-bombs here and be proud of it.

    Yikes! This heavy overcast.

  78. ojspencer22 says

    The Guy talking about the Mendala effect saying that the lyrics to Smooth Criminal changed, easily explainable….. the radio edit and the music video had different lyrics for the second verse

  79. shadowblade says

    @ojspencer22

    The Guy talking about the Mendala effect saying that the lyrics to Smooth Criminal changed, easily explainable

    Oh, that meme really irritates me. I am not sure who are more delusional, Six Day Literalist Flat Earth Creatards or people who cannot grasp that The Mandela Effect is a name given to a false memory held by many people, named after the fact that when Mandela became president of South Africa in 1994, some people in the West (not in South Africa) thought they remembered him dying in custody in the early ’80s.
    ~
    But it was actually Steve Biko in the late ’70s.
    ~
    The other one is Queen’s “We Are The Champions” ending on an unfinished cadence on the album and single in 1977, and on the tape and on the later CD, but at Live Aid he sang “…of the world” at the end, for the third time.
    ~
    But people who were not even born until after Live Aid swear blind that DEMONS or Satanic Atheist Scientists at CERN have opened a vortex and changed reality!
    ~
    Not that their memories are flawed.
    ~
    I explained this to one guy, as I was 15 in 1977 and have all their vinyl from Queen and Queen II when I was 12 up to The Game and have everything on CD and he said:
    ~
    “Maybe in your timeline, not in mine”.
    ~
    What can you do with that sort of delusional arrogance? If they really believe such a thing is true, then I have shifted from a parallel dimension into their reality, but I retain my memories from my own dimension. “I know that I know that I know that I know that i KNOW in my heart Jesus loves me”.
    ~
    Kirk never said beam me up Scotty.
    Shakespeare wrote “All that glisters is not gold”, not “glitters”
    Bergman said “Play it, Sam, play Time Goes By”.
    Bogart said “You played it for her and you can play it for me.”
    and then, after Sam prevaricates,
    _”If she can stand it, I can. Play it!”
    ~
    “No! *I* am your father!”
    ~

  80. Satan says

    That’s a good question, John. I responded to one of her Tweets about how she and many theists act as if “I don’t know” is such an acceptable answer, but didn’t get anything from her, but she still is following me. It’s a mystery, I guess. I thought for a moment that she is someone who follows anyone that follows her.

  81. John Iacoletti says

    The “Stephany” spelling seems to have been an error made by our call screener. Her name is Stephanie.

  82. Devocate says

    There is a ton of mathematics that isn’t currently applicable, yet mathematicians still use them to test the limits of what we understand and try to break preconceived notions.

    Mathematicians do nothing of the sort. Go talk to one.

  83. mond says

    @Shadowblade

    I must admit that I had never heard of ‘The Mandela Effect’ before. (or at least had no memory of having heard of it)
    I really seems to be power of suggestion.
    The claim is made to you that ‘Lots of people remember popular event x having occurred in fashion y.’
    (mmm. Oh that’s quite long ago, now that you mention it I have a vague memory of it and think you may be correct in saying it happened in fashion y)
    ‘Aha’ you are told ‘but popular event actually occurred in fashion z.’
    (oh that’s really weird, my original vague memory was reinforced when you said it happened in fashion y, but now you say it happened in fashion z, oh I am confused, must be a hole in the fabric of space/time or sumfink)

  84. says

    I follow back most everyone on Twitter, so long as they’re not associated with porn or are eggs. My handle is @sjthomason1225. I also write a blog at sjthomason.wordpress.com.

    Thank you, John, for correcting the spelling of my name.

    As for the call, it had a less than ideal outcome. Matt hung up on me mid-sentence, which left the wrong final message. Then he blocked me on Twitter.

    As for the Wiki, it’s just strange that Matt spent so much time disassociating himself from it – while concurrently accusing me of saying he’s disassociating himself from it.

    No believers of other faiths of sound minds have made the claims the apostles made, which were claims that they’d seen the risen Christ. They would not have been so brave if they didn’t sincerely believe, and Matt noted they sincerely believed. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

  85. Robert, not Bob says

    @Stephanie, Matt only hung up on you after you admitted you were wasting time. As to the apostles, there’s no good reason to assume they ever existed. It’s quite easy to write whatever events you like into a story.

  86. Monocle Smile says

    @Stephanie
    You’re wrong about so much. Notice that I posted a link to your blog earlier in this thread as an example of your issues.
    Church tradition is not history. You need to get over the notion that everything you’ve been fed by your pastor and apologists is true. Most of it is fabricated out of whole cloth. Frank Turek is a (shrill) professional liar. William Lane Craig is also a professional liar. These men make a living off selling fiction as fact.

    Lots of people “sincerely believe” wrong things. Heaven’s Gate? Jonestown? Solar Temple? That’s just three cults culminating in over a thousand people who took their own lives due to “sincere beliefs.”

    No believers of other faiths of sound minds have made the claims the apostles made

    Firstly, I like the “sound minds” jab. This opens up a whole new can of worms that demolishes your assertions.
    Secondly, this is a rather primitive tautology. The supposed apostles didn’t make the claims that the martyrs of other religions made, either. So what?

    As for the Wiki, it’s just strange that Matt spent so much time disassociating himself from it – while concurrently accusing me of saying he’s disassociating himself from it

    You seem to live in your own little fictional reality. Matt’s corrections were just that…corrections. He wanted to set the record straight. You seem to assume he was merely posturing. This is psychological projection, as meaningless posturing seems to be your single talent.

  87. Stephanie Thomason says

    Matt tried to claim my points were flawed via a fallacy from ignorance. Yet such an argument claims one finds truth in the lack of contrary evidence. That’s quite frankly not the case.

    That’s not the claim of the early Christians. They simply
    found truth in the risen Jesus. They were beaten, flogged, stoned, beheaded and crucified upside down for Jesus. That’s all because they saw Him after He resurrected.

  88. Vivec says

    That’s not the claim of the early Christians. They simply
    found truth in the risen Jesus. They were beaten, flogged, stoned, beheaded and crucified upside down for Jesus. That’s all because they saw Him after He resurrected.

    So the bible says.

    Now we just need a reason to give a shit what the bible says. I’m not in the habit of trusting every rambling religious document I find as being historical fact.

  89. Vivec says

    My bad, messed up the blockquote. Been a while since I’ve used it.

    That’s not the claim of the early Christians. They simply
    found truth in the risen Jesus. They were beaten, flogged, stoned, beheaded and crucified upside down for Jesus. That’s all because they saw Him after He resurrected.

    So the bible says.
    Now we just need a reason to give a shit what the bible says. I’m not in the habit of trusting every rambling religious document I find as being historical fact.

  90. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Oh, wow. Welcome *Stephanie!

    Apologies for the name botching. I won’t be engaging beyond this as I don’t care for your proposed arms of discourse.

  91. RationalismRules says

    @Stephanie Thomason #97

    As for the Wiki, it’s just strange that Matt spent so much time disassociating himself from it – while concurrently accusing me of saying he’s disassociating himself from it.

    Saying this the first time is easily excused, you simply didn’t understand how a wiki functions. However, when you continue to assert this, when the video so clearly demonstrates it to be false, you stop simply being someone who made a mistake and become someone who is incapable of admitting a mistake.

    The simple admission “I got that wrong” would have gained you respect, whereas this repeated doubling-down on an obviously false claim paints you as dishonest and/or self-deluded.

  92. shadowblade says

    @RationalismRules
    Re:

    …it’s just strange that Matt spent so much time disassociating himself from it (Stephanie Thomason)

    …when you continue to assert this, when the video so clearly demonstrates it to be false, you stop simply being someone who made a mistake and become someone who is incapable of admitting a mistake. (RationalismRules)

    And reveals her to be a deliberate liar, fraud and bearer of false witness which, curiously, is true of every single theist apologist I have ever come across.
    ~
    It seems that as lies, deceit, distortions and misrepresentations is all they have when talking about their Book and Science (particularly evolutionary biology), they seem to unconsciously apply the same tactic to every single conversation they ever have.
    ~
    Stephanie, your argument from ignorance fallacy lies in the fact that you had one, possible explanation (assuming that the story is even true) and decided that there was no other possible explanation, based on the fact that you could not think of one that you personally found more convincing. That is, by definition, an argument from ignorance. But more important is the question of whether the story is even true in the first place.

    >:8o

  93. cam98 says

    The Kalam has been refuted time and time again. It equivocates creation ex-materia with creation ex-nihilo in the first premise, it makes no distinction between the observable universe and the cosmos, and it’s conclusion doesn’t get you anywhere to a spaceless, timeless, supernatural, and immaterial being.

    A great counter-argument to the Kalam that I have found is Occam’s Cosmological Argument which utilizes Occam’s Razor by YouTuber EssenceOfThought: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH3594W-aZc

  94. says

    At issue is that I’m stating the obvious, which Matt tries to falsely label. Consider the way a humble carpenter, a tent maker, a tax collector and some fishermen were able to change the world. No kings who have ever lived have ever lived on in the way Jesus has. Also consider that the Population Reference Bureau estimates that 98% of humanity has lived after Jesus appeared on the earth (so far). He came at the right time, made a huge impact, and unlike all others He still impacts us today.

  95. mond says

    @Stephanie

    Two people in a field at night look into the sky and see a “UFO”

    Bob “That was really weird I wonder what it was?”
    Jim “I think i was a an alien space craft”
    Bob “Don’t be daft”
    Jim “Well what is your explanation for what it was?”
    Bob “I don’t know”
    Jim “It was definitely aliens then”

    When talking to Matt you claimed that the apostles came out of hiding because they had “seen” Jesus rise. If you watch from about 16 minute of the video https://youtu.be/8uAzf2qWJ3E
    You literally say “why else would they come out of hiding?” At 16mins 18sec

    This type of thinking gets you to strange places.

    “The almighty volcano god is angy and must be fed a sacrifice!!!!” Claims the volcano priest.
    “How do you know that?” Says a villager
    “Why else would the volcano be rumbling and smoking violently?” Says the volcano priest, “sacrifice the unbeliever”

  96. shadowblade says

    And nowhere does it say that anyone had “seen him rise”. It says, in a variety of contradictory ways, that there was an empty tomb.The woman does not even know what her own religious texts say.

  97. shadowblade says

    @Stephanie
    I can understand you distancing yourself from the actual Gospels, as self-contradictory and as internally inconsistent as they are, but are you inventing your own scripture now?
    ~
    And I can understand you distancing yourself from the various scribblings you have scrawled across the internet, as full of lies, deceit and nonsense as they are; particularly as the most cursory and casual of glances would reveal them to be formulated in the mind of a gullible buffoon.
    ~
    But are you really inventing your own scripture now?
    ~
    So, in the Gospel According to Stephanie,
    Christ was buried before the Sabbath started on Friday,
    the apostles were in hiding on Saturday all throughout the Sabbath and into the evening,
    then, early on Sunday morning, they all went to Gethsemane,
    rolled away the stone
    and stood there looking at Christ’s rotting corpse, waiting…
    and then they all saw him rise from the dead.
    ~
    So, what is your Biblical and scriptural source for this ludicrous, heretical claim?
    ~
    And how did they come out of hiding to witness this wondrous miracle, if the only thing that could POSSIBLY have brought them out of hiding in the first place was that they had seen Jesus rise? Did they have remote access viewing technology from Space Aliens? Or did that have a dream that Christ was about to rise from the dead, so they all rushed over to Gethsemane so they could actually witness it?
    ~
    So why do the canonical Gospels not say that they were all there, and it was a woman/two women who found the empty tomb, not the apostles?
    ~
    >:8o

  98. mond says

    @Stephanie

    Clicked on the link that you supplied. MASSIVE (literally in a big font) argument from ignorance in the 1st page.

    “It Would Make No Sense Paul Would Convert to Christianity Unless He Saw Jesus Resurrected”

    This statement is saying that you cannot think of any other possible explanation for Pauls actions therefore his interpretation of what happened to himself is FACTUALLY correct. (Also the premise of the question that people would always act sensible is dubious to say the least)

    It can be very easily answered. For the sake of argument I concede that Paul thinks he experienced a real godly experience.
    Do bigfoot/alien abduction/illuminati believers all have to have their claims treated as FACTUALLY correct because of the sincerity of their beliefs? People who have strange beliefs do suffer from public ridicule and other negative consequences but they still publicly state them despite these consequences.

    The sincerity and conviction with which one holds a belief cannot in itself be evidence for that belief. It can be the result of having considered OTHER evidence. That OTHER evidence is what should be presented not the statment ‘Paul is convinced of a godly encounter and sincerely believes therefore it is a true event’
    As christians like to point out; we are all fallible human beings and capable of making mistakes but we do try and use various methods to reduce errors. Simply accepting another persons claim of an extraordinary experience is not a method for reducing errors.

  99. RationalismRules says

    @Stephanie #107

    Also consider that the Population Reference Bureau estimates that 98% of humanity has lived after Jesus appeared on the earth (so far).

    What on earth do you think this demonstrates? An even higher percentage of people have lived since Siva first appeared in the Veda, so what? – does that means that Siva is more real than Jesus? I mean, seriously, if this the level of ‘supporting evidence’ you’re bringing…

    He came at the right time, made a huge impact, and unlike all others He still impacts us today.

    There’s another religion you may have heard of, which arose at a similar time, made a huge impact, and is currently impacting almost everyone in the world in one way or another – it’s called Islam.
    How about Buddhism? Definitely a huge impact, presumably came at the right time (how to assess this?), very popular today, even without a deity.
    And Hinduism…
    …do I need to go on?

    They simply found truth in the risen Jesus. They were beaten, flogged, stoned, beheaded and crucified upside down for Jesus. That’s all because they saw Him after He resurrected.

    Many followers of Islam are happy to give up their lives for their faith. You seem to think this is of great significance in the case of the Christian apostles, and yet you don’t accord the same significance to the sacrifice of Islamic martyrs. Currently there are far more Islamists who are prepared to give their lives for their faith than Christians, so by your argument Islam should be considered the true faith.

    I’ve seen and heard Him too, which is why I’m so persistent.

    I don’t doubt that you genuinely believe this to be true. For myself, if I was ever ‘visited’ by a deity, or an alien, or even a not-dead Elvis, my main thought would not be “wow, this must be real, because I’m experiencing it”, it would be “I wonder why I’m hallucinating”.

  100. gshelley says

    First, for Stephanie
    Is there any reason why you are so obsessed with whether Matt dissociated himself from Iron Chariots? Can you really see no difference from “I disassociate myself from that site” and “I don’t know if that particular argument is my position as I may not have written it, and even if I did, it may have been edited since. If you give me the argument I can tell you if I agree with it”

    Secondly, is DNA a code? Well yes, that’s why they call it the genetic code. Is it a code in the generally understood meaning of the term? That’s harder. Dictionary.com, Merriam Webster and Wikipedia all specify it is in communication, so in that sense no, but are the people who are claiming it is a code trying to argue it is meant to be in communication? I would think they are using the deffinition excluding that. My experience would be that this is the common usage meaning of the word, but without going out and taking a survey it is hard. It may also be that like theory, there is an everyday use of the word, and a use in specialised fields
    “code is a system of rules to convert information—such as a letter, word, sound, image, or gesture—into another form or representation” by which I would say that DNA is a code. I don’t see arguing about whether people have got the definition of a word right as being necessarily fruitful, but I also don’t see why someone should just accept the definition the other person is insisting on.

  101. tfkreference says

    Welcome, Stephanie, I appreciate your willingness to engage in discussion.

    At 100, you define the argument from ignorance fallacy, and then state, “That’s not the claim of the early Christians.”

    Nevertheless, it is your claim that there is no other explanation. Is it not?

  102. mond says

    @116 Stephanie

    I don’t mean this as an insult, but as a statement of fact; there are plenty of people who would class themselves as christians who would disagree with YOUR interpretation of the bible. Can you demonstrate that YOUR interpretation is the correct one. I am not saying this to be a smart arse. It is a genuine question. It would be helpful, if possible, to sum it up in a paragraph or two on this comments page as you would reach more people than just linking to a mass of text with multiple links.

  103. Stephanie Thomason says

    How is my version different? If you’re pointing to the fact that I’m a liberal US Christian democrat, then you’re talking politics and not religion.

    To the people in the thread who have touched on intelligent design, I’ve written several blogs on the matter. I also recommend the “Improbable Planet” by Hugh Ross.

  104. shadowblade says

    @gshelley

    Secondly, is DNA a code? Well yes, that’s why they call it the genetic code.

    No, that’s like a 4 year old’s reasoning.
    ~

    Is it a code in the generally understood meaning of the term?

    No. It’s not. It’s analogy and metaphor.
    ~

    Dictionary.com, Merriam Webster

    Yes, and they probably define atheist as a person who denies the existence of God, abiogenesis as being synonymous with spontaneous generation and “theory” as an unsubstantiated guess.
    ~

    My experience would be that this is the common usage meaning of the word

    Irrelevant. All that matters is what it means in genetics and molecular biology when trying to explain introductory gene expression and protein synthesis to little kiddies. DNA is no more a “code” than the bond angles and hydrogen bonding in molecular water in conjunction with low temperature are a “code” for snowflakes, or copper oxide and sulphuric acid is a “code” for copper sulphate. It’s the complexity of DNA that most laypersons can’t get their heads around. In the case of creationists, their heads actually, physically explode, like Wendy Fright talking to Richard Dawkins.
    ~

    DNA is not a code, it’s a physical molecule. A code is an abstract, symbolic representation of something else, not a precursor of chemical reactions mediated by enzymes.
    ~
    The “code” part of The Genetic Code was invented by people to represent the mRNA anticodons. The letters A, G, C, U are the symbols which represent the physical purine and pyrimidine molecules we label adenine, guanine, cytosine and uracil. We can change the labels, but we can’t change the entities as they are real, not abstract.
    ~
    We can change A, G, C, U in our symbolic code to 0, 1, 2, 3 and it is still a code for the actual, physical entities. We could compare it to a quaternary computer code, but it is not. We cannot substitute the physical adenine, uracil, guanine and cytosine molecules for something else as they are not symbols, they are actual entities. The idea of a “code” is analogy and metaphor, not actual and literal.
    ~
    All this nonsense is equivocation, false equivalence and ambiguity of meaning fallacy and is exploited by some creationists with zero knowledge of biology to claim that DNA is a code and codes are created by minds therefore DNA was created by a mind.

    >:8o

  105. shadowblade says

    @Stephanie
    Even your links do not claim that anyone saw him rise from the dead. They claim people saw him alive again later. That’s not the same thing, but I am unsurprised that you are incapable of discerning the difference.
    >:8o

  106. Monocle Smile says

    @Stephanie
    Wow, you really don’t pay attention. Nobody here gives a crap what the bible says. This isn’t what we mean when we ask you to back up your claims.

    Hugh Ross is a charlatan masquerading as an expert. There’s a reason he wrote books instead of peer-reviewed research.

    Consider the way a humble carpenter, a tent maker, a tax collector and some fishermen were able to change the world

    Lol jesus wasn’t relevant to any significant part of the world until Constantine. I can’t fix you; all I can do is point out your hilarious errors.

  107. Bruce Smith says

    A story can be written to claim anything. Just because it’s written in a story does not necessarily mean it actually happened. Especially if the story claims someone was lifted up off the ground and disappeared into a cloud.

  108. Peggy Clancy says

    @Stephanie in post 122.

    You do know that, for example, the Islamic holy texts clearly have witnesses observing Mohammad ascending on a creature from the heavens, and riding to the seventh heaven. You probably know that this is “just a story.” (Or do you have some other explanation?) Yet, you are so committed to the idea that the Christian Bible stories have to be real. Why is that? Religious stories are not factual. They are written “So that you might believe.” (John 20:31). You can read them to fortify your faith, but don’t expect other people to necessarily find them any more interesting than anyone else’s holy book stories.

    Does this make sense to you? Do you understand that your stories are no more compelling than anyone else’s?

  109. mond says

    @Stephanie

    You do realise that there are many hundreds if not thousands of denominations of christians?
    Each of them disagree with each other on many aspects of doctrine.
    It is probably impossible to find an aspect of doctrine that they agree on (even the divinity of jesus)
    Considering that all of these variations of doctrine can usually be backed upped by biblical interpretation of the theologians of each denomination.
    I ask again ‘What makes you think that YOUR interpretation is accurate”

  110. Vivec says

    Quibbling over events in the bible is meaningless until it’s shown that the bible is worth believing. At the moment, there’s no more reason to care about what was said in the bible than there is on the Star Trek wiki.

  111. says

    To answer the question, “What makes you think that YOUR interpretation is accurate?” let me share with you a few of my beliefs, which happen to be consistent with those of C.S. Lewis whom I think does a fine job of explaining Christianity in his book, Mere Christianity, among others. There are many vehicles we can take, yet all lead to Jesus. Each vehicle caters to our particular needs. I was raised a Catholic, for example, yet my particular needs weren’t satisfied in the Catholic Church. My sister’s needs are very well satisfied in the Catholic Church and she is among many good Catholic believers who find the sacraments of the Church to be highly important, relevant, and satisfying. In my case, I like to dig in to scripture – and the sermons at the Baptist Church I currently attend are all about digging in and understanding passages. My church also devotes much time to contemporary Christian songs, which engage attendees immensely. I could have found myself in a different church, whether Methodist or Presbyterian or something else. The bottom line is that the particular vehicle one drives to get to Jesus matters little. One will still get to Jesus if one accepts Him. This also applies to other faiths. Though I do not feel that some of the prophets in other faiths were inspired divinely, I do believe that there are many great people who practice those faiths. I have Muslim friends, for example, who are much more devoted and obedient to Allah (especially during Ramadan) than I’ve ever been. I rarely fast, for example. Do I think they won’t get the opportunity to find Jesus? Of course not. Our Lord is the one who established the absolute moral standard to which we all adhere. Certainly, He, who placed us in our positions in life, will practice the same rules He established. It would be ethnocentric and flawed to think not. In other words, all believers in God with pure hearts and kind intentions will be given the opportunity to bow to Jesus.

  112. Monocle Smile says

    @Stephanie
    Nothing in that sermon answers any relevant question. Also, your beliefs are quite literally irreconcilable with most christian doctrine.

    CS Lewis had a way with words, but he was a horrible apologist and completely lost on logic and reason.

    Tell me, Stephanie…I am a nonbeliever. An apostate, actually. What will happen to me when I die?

  113. Stephanie Thomason says

    You’ll meet Jesus and will have the opportunity to follow Him. You might choose not to. Just know it’s your choice and He wants you to choose Him.

  114. Stephen Martin says

    Matt was right to hang up and block Stephanie. Her lack of critical thinking skills can be forgiven, but her blatant dishonesty is a disqualifier and invitation to waste time–like she did on the call. Further, she’s just trying to use this as a platform for meaningless evangelism. Albeit very poorly.

  115. gshelley says

    @shadowblade
    What it means in genetics and molecular biology is irrelevant if that is not how the person is using it. If that is what you are doing you might as well say “nah nah, I have a better definition than you so you lose” It’s a juvenile form of argument that persuades no one, just lets the person making the argument feel smarter

  116. mond says

    @Stephanie

    I am with Monocle Smile on this. You did not answer the question.
    I have heard lots of individual christians espouse “many paths, one destination” idea but it NOT a mainstream christian doctrine.
    You are a Heretic. Although I doubt you will acknowledge that.
    Again, I don’t call you a Heretic as an insult but rather as statement of fact.

    Your @130 comment sounds awfully like a threat of hell (or similar).
    I refer you to erstwhile AETV contributor Jeff Dee.
    https://youtu.be/ZfnUVqL7Qbk?t=48s

  117. Stephanie Thomason says

    Call me any name you like. I know the truth and my purpose here is to bring it to all of you.

    Can anyone in this forum identify an example of a design or an invention that was not accompanied by a designer or inventor? Our knowledge of physical science calls for a Creator. It’s really that simple.

  118. tfkreference says

    Stephanie @130

    You’ll meet Jesus and will have the opportunity to follow Him.

    I’m sure most people here will believe when we meet him (meeting him will be solid evidence that he exists).

  119. Stephanie Thomason says

    At issue is what you’ll choose to do once you’ve met Him. I’ve met many atheists who say they’ll walk away. Would you?

  120. Peggy Clancy says

    @Stephanie comment 135.

    Gee whiz, Stephanie. That part doesn’t even sound plausible. How many atheists have you met? If Jesus turns out to be real somehow, I’d be very happy to have a conversation with him. The atheists I know are open-minded and interested in having amazing encounters. I used to think that the warm feeling I got in church was Jesus in my heart. I still get those feelings, but without attributing them to Jesus. I moved on. If there is an actual person, though, and not just vague warm feelings and my own inner voice–I’m up for a conversation. We are not people who shut out reality.

    I guess that’s about it.

  121. Monocle Smile says

    @Stephanie.
    Oh, where to begin.

    You’ll meet Jesus and will have the opportunity to follow Him. You might choose not to. Just know it’s your choice and He wants you to choose Him.

    I don’t believe you for a second when you come out with this crap. If you truly thought that every last person got this experience when we died, then evangelism would not be a thing. You wouldn’t be here ranting. There would be no street preachers, no missionaries, no nothing. Try being honest next time.

    Can anyone in this forum identify an example of a design or an invention that was not accompanied by a designer or inventor?

    Stupid tautology is stupid. Protip: you don’t just get to call something a “design” or “invention” for no reason. This is defining your argument into existence.

    At issue is what you’ll choose to do once you’ve met Him. I’ve met many atheists who say they’ll walk away. Would you?

    No, this is not the issue at all. You’ve ignored all the actual issues in favor of preaching.
    Not only do I think you’re lying yet again in some capacity (because the “walk away” answer likely comes long after details and discussion, not immediately), but you’re trying to do the fire-and-brimstone thing and browbeat us into allowing you to monologue or fall on our knees or some shit. That might work on ignorant captive congregations, but it won’t work here. You have acted like a buffoon so far.

    I know the truth and my purpose here is to bring it to all of you.

    Said every lying con artist in existence. You’re deluded.

  122. mond says

    @stephanie

    I know the truth

    Honestly, you are so far down the rabbit hole.
    You have brought absolutely nothing new.
    I normal would commend someone for recycling but on this occasion – not so much.

    BTW we do get it. You think you are doing gods work. Its just that we think god should do his own explaining.

  123. tfkreference says

    I wouldn’t walk away. I would have many questions for him, and not the usual ones about kids’ cancer and the timing of the second coming.

    BTW, how did you do on the quiz I linked?

  124. RationalismRules says

    @Stephanie #133

    I know the truth and my purpose here is to bring it to all of you.

    Well, the first step would be to explain to us HOW you know that your particular religion, and your particular branch of that religion are the true ones, and you are consistently failing at that.

    So many religions, so many branches, and all of them claim “I know the truth”. You are no different from every other fanatical believer in every other branch of every other religion.

  125. Stephanie Thomason says

    What extrinsic benefits do I derive by keeping the conversations, blogs, books, and everything else going? Hitchens, Dawkins, Carrier, Krauss, Harris and others have made a mint peddling their baloney to atheists. I write freely for all to see the truth- as that’s what God wants me to do.

  126. RationalismRules says

    @Stephanie #144
    What extrinsic benefits do any of us here get from keeping conversations going?
    Why have you only listed big-name atheists? There are exponentially more people making money from preaching to gullible Christians, but for some reason you neglect to mention any of them.
    As I said before, if you’re attempting to bring ‘the truth’ to others, you’re falling at the first hurdle – explaining HOW you know that your ‘truth’ is the true truth.

  127. Monocle Smile says

    @Stephanie
    What? Where did that comment come from? What does that have to do with anything?
    Like RR said, it’s utterly laughable for you to crow about a few atheists with successful books (note that all of them are extremely successful in their professions, they are not “professional atheists”) when you share a label with Jerry Falwell, Ted Haggard, Kenneth Copeland, Jan Crouch, John Hagee, Peter Popoff, Pat Robertson…all of whom have made their millions purely by being professional evangelists.

    Of course, none of this is relevant to anyone’s questions.

  128. Stephanie Thomason says

    Fair enough. I’ve written blog posts on how I’ve made the decision that Christianity is the way, the truth and the life at sjthomason.wordpress.com.

    Beyond what I’ve written, Jesus has spoken to me, appeared in dreams and visions, and the Holy Spirit has filled me with joy and love.

    I’m sorry if I came off in fighting mode against Matt. I tried to show God’s best and I know it didn’t come off in the best way possible.

  129. Monocle Smile says

    @Stephanie
    Can you provide the links? I’ve read a few of your posts, and it’s mostly just preaching and citing horrible apologists.

    Beyond what I’ve written, Jesus has spoken to me, appeared in dreams and visions, and the Holy Spirit has filled me with joy and love.

    You don’t seem to get it. This means absolutely nothing to anyone besides yourself and other believers. How can I tell whether or not that actually happened? I’m not just going to take you or any other apologist at your word. You also seem to be ignoring the fact that other religious believers see visions and dreams far, far different from yours, and no, your “all paths to jesus” spiel doesn’t actually explain that.

    As a skeptic, I look for ways to demonstrate something to someone else, not just myself. I can refer you to an AronRa video where he talks about this point for a while. There’s no such thing as “subjective truth.”

  130. says

    @Stephanie
    At 133 you beg the question:
    “Can anyone in this forum identify an example of a design or an invention that was not accompanied by a designer or inventor?”
    No. By definition, designs have a designer and inventions have an inventor.
    Can you demonstrate that the universe has a designer/inventor?

    You continue with an argument from ignorance:
    “Our knowledge of physical science calls for a Creator. It’s really that simple.”
    No, it isn’t that simple. Can you demonstrate that knowledge calls for a creator?

    It seems you are incapable of logical thought. Nothing you have presented, ever, is based on rational, evidence-based reasoning. You ignore all evidences that refute your unfounded beliefs and often contradict the myths you vehemently regard as irrefutable. You also often contradict yourself. You even invent things that don’t exist to prove your beliefs in things that don’t exist.

    This said, people like you are beneficial to society. Because without you, rational people would have no one with whom to debate. Your function is to help expose ludicrously irrational thinking to people who think like you. Many people wake up to the fact that their beliefs have no foundation and subsequently become atheists. And that way lies the path to rationality. Not all take it, but many do.

    For this fact, I thank your diligent work in helping others to see the light. Keep doing that voodoo that you do so well.
    LLAP

  131. tfkreference says

    @mond
    If the quiz weren’t such a good demonstration of the validity of the bible, I’d feel guilty sharing it.

  132. RationalismRules says

    @Stephanie #147

    Jesus has spoken to me, appeared in dreams and visions, and the Holy Spirit has filled me with joy and love.

    MS responded:

    You also seem to be ignoring the fact that other religious believers see visions and dreams far, far different from yours

    I would add to this, not just other religious believers, but other people in general.

    Literally everyone dreams, and we all have experienced ‘visitation’ in our dreams. So what? I’ve often dreamed I was flying – this doesn’t mean I can actually fly.

    Visual and auditory hallucinations can have many natural causes, from mental health issues (schizophrenia, delusional disorders) to physical brain issues (tumors, oxygen deprivation) to environmental issues (gas leaks, toxins) to common cognitive errors that we are all subject to (pareidolia, feeling of presence). All of these can yield powerful but false ‘personal experiences’. How do your ‘visions’ differ from hallucinations or delusions?

    Islamists claim that Allah fills them with joy and love. How do you know your joy and love come from the Holy Spirit, and not from Allah?

  133. marx says

    I like to see Stephanie ran
    into a corner again and again!
    Please,have an honest discussion and everyone will benefit at the end.

  134. cam98 says

    Even if I were to concede that a man named Jesus did rise from the dead it still wouldn’t get you any closer to Jesus is the literal ‘son of God’ who supposedly performed all these other miracles. For all you know an advanced alien race could have zapped Jesus back from the dead (refer to Ancient Aliens) or maybe Jesus was very good at performing magic tricks. Hell maybe Jesus was an extra-terrestrial himself. After all, there is just as much evidence for that as there is being the son of God or God himself. However, any natural explanation is preferable to a supernatural one because supernatural explanations have no basis nor explanatory power and also fall victim to Occam’s Razor as they require more dubious assumptions to be made.

  135. GodlessAspie42 says

    @shadowblade (52)

    I’m trying to explain to someone why his argument is fallacious, and he will not accept that the analogy of the genetic “code”, in terms of a written cipher or computer code, is just an analogy used to explain introductory molecular biology to 8 year old kiddies. He has absolutely zero knowledge of the chemistry and molecular biology involved and some of his statements are so bizarre I think he may be a schizophrenic with Asperger’s.

    As somebody with Asperger’s who happens to be an atheist who thinks the design argument is a crock of shit, I would disagree with your assessment. Actually if anything Aspies are notorious for being highly logical people. I’m also pretty tired of people using Asperger’s/autism as an insult in this way as it is ableist.

    DNA is a code
    Codes are created by intelligent beings with a mind
    DNA was created by intelligent beings with a mind
    =
    FALSE, because we do not know this for the genetic code in the minor premise and he implies ALL “codes”. There’s also equivocation in the major premise.
    ~
    DNA is a code
    Some codes are known to be created by intelligent beings with a mind
    DNA MAY have been created by intelligent beings with a mind
    =
    TRUE
    ~
    There is no actual evidence for this, but I think the second syllogism is sound and the first is not. And most scientists and atheists would say, yeah, but I don’t believe it WAS as there’s no evidence. But more and more idiots are using the first one as “PROOF!”

    If there’s one thing you can guarantee in a debate with a theist, it’s that they will misuse terms that have multiple meanings depending on context by using the meaning for one context and applying that definition to other uses of the term.

  136. shadowblade says

    Crikey, this thread has gone downhill in the last few days.
    ~
    I have a friend whose uncle is in a secure lockup ward because he’s been having conversations with Jack the Ripper, who appears to him in the actual flesh during the hours of darkness.

    >:8o

  137. mond says

    @Stephanie

    Matt has often asked an really interesting question.

    ‘If road to Damascus experience is good enough for Paul then why is not good enough for me (Matt)?”

    You have said that you have had real experiences with Jesus…

    Jesus has spoken to me, appeared in dreams and visions, and the Holy Spirit has filled me with joy and love.

    Why have you been supplied with what you consider a real experience but expect us to come to Jesus on lesser (or no) evidence?

    The apologetics that you’re using do not match the reason YOU believe.
    It has taken many comments on this thread for you to come out with your personal revelation story and we all know why.
    We simply will not believe it..so you do this massive tap dance until you were forced into a corner and to give the real reason for your Knowledge that jesus is real.

  138. shadowblade says

    so you do this massive tap dance until you were forced into a corner and to give the real reason for your Knowledge that jesus is real.

    ~
    Too much cheese before bedtime, swallowed the tequila worm, or the same reason my mate’s uncle has about meeting the risen Jack the Ripper.
    ~
    Hmm…
    ~
    >:8o
    ~.
    PS mond, how do you do those paragraph brakes?

  139. shadowblade says

    so you do this massive tap dance until you were forced into a corner and to give the real reason for your Knowledge that jesus is real.

    ~
    Too much cheese before bedtime, swallowed the tequila worm, or the same reason my mate’s uncle has about meeting the risen Jack the Ripper.
    ~
    Hmm…
    ~
    >:8o
    ~.
    PS mond, how do you do those paragraph breaks?

  140. shadowblade says

    Oops, posted twice when I corrected the spelling at the last minute. I thought it would stop me doing that? I clicked the x to stop it sending, must have been too slow.

  141. shadowblade says

    Can anyone in this forum identify an example of a design or an invention that was not accompanied by a designer or inventor?

    Bacterial flagella, of which there are several types. Of course, we are misusing and misapplying one of the several meanings of “design” quite a lot, as cdesign proponentsists are wont to do.

  142. mond says

    @shadowblade

    I am typing my comments in a chrome browser and simply pressing enter twice at the end of the current sentence.

    To start a new paragraph.

    The paragraphs don’t show up on the preview feature but appear when the comment is posted…weird.

  143. shadowblade says

    That’s odd, as I’m using Chrome as well.

    But it doesn’t work when I try it.

    But it will be just my luck if it does work now!

    I tried the p tags but they didn’t work, although they weren’t visible in preview, either

    Ah, well, never mind.

  144. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Consider the way a humble carpenter, a tent maker, a tax collector and some fishermen were able to change the world. No kings who have ever lived have ever lived on in the way Jesus has.

    The rapid spread of Christianity, and the rapid rise of legend in Christianity, is not unusual compared to other religions. For example, Mormonism, Islam, and the Cargo Cults.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult
    The Cargo Cults in particular convincingly show that extreme legendary development can happen within mere decades, when eye witnesses to the original events were still alive.

    That’s quite frankly not the case. Please click here for evidence of the many people who saw Jesus rise and/ or saw the risen Jesus. I’ve seen and heard Him too, which is why I’m so persistent.

    http://www3.telus.net/trbrooks/12groups.htm

    That only cites the Christian Bible, and it says that all naturalistic explanations have been exhausted. What if the original authors of the New Testament were liars? What if the Gospels of the New Testament was written several generations, at least 40 years after the events that they claim to document? The broad consensus is that the Gospels of the New Testament was written at least 40 years after the events, and possibly much later than that. The Gospels of the New Testament was not written by eye witnesses. It could contain outright lies, or mistakes, or the kind of legendary development that we saw with the Cargo Cults.

    Further, we have lots of evidence concerning edits made to the Bible after it was first written down. We have numerous examples of whole passages inserted or removed. For example, the evidence is very clear that the bit about snake-handling in the New Testament was added much later after the first writing of that particular book.

    I have no reason to trust anything that the Bible says. I consider the Bible to be about as reliable concerning historical events as a Marvel comic book. For example, New York is a real place, but that doesn’t mean that Spider-Man exists.

    You’re going to have to provide proper historical reasoning, and merely citing the Bible will never be sufficient for the aforementioned reasons. You’re going to need to provide evidence from other sources.

    Our knowledge of physical science calls for a Creator. It’s really that simple.

    And there is miles of difference between a mere creator, anything like the Jesus story. Even if you could show that there is a creator god, all of your work is still ahead of you to show that the Jesus god exists. THere are so many other possible gods that could be the creator god, whether Islam, Mormonism, John Frum of the Cargo Cults. I can name a unique god hypothesis for every star in the observible universe, each one is just as likely to exist as Jesus. That’s a trillion trillion different possible gods. Even if you could show that some god exists, it gets you absolutely no closer to showing that Jesus exists. It’s a non-sequitir. It doens’t help you at all. It only gets you closer if you are unjustifiably biased for Jesus, or if you have other evidence for Jesus, and if you have other evidence for Jesus, that’s what we need to be discussing.

    PS:
    Are you a young Earth creationist? How old is the Earth? Do you accept the truth of common ancestry and evolutionary theory?

    PPS:

    At issue is what you’ll choose to do once you’ve met Him. I’ve met many atheists who say they’ll walk away. Would you?

    What do you mean “walk away”? I’m willing to grant that I would no longer be an atheist. I would accept the truths of your claims.

    However, that guy has a lot of explaining to do before I’ll accept him as a friend. There are countless atrocities documented to his name and the name of his father in the Christian Old Testament. If any of that is accurate, then I am faced with an evil god, and the only proper response to an evil god is to try and blow it up. Nuke god!

    There might be a way that I would accept him as a friend. Here is but one example. Matt Dillahunty once gave this example: Suppose I get up there, and I meet a surfer dude at the Pearly Gates, and he turns out to be the god or Jesus, and he says “Oh shoot, I forgot all about you guys! Come on in! The party is still going on!”. It’s quite conceivable that I could accept that person as a friend.

    Will I accept him as my lord and savoir, as my master? Will I submit to being a slave? Never. I am no one’s slave.

  145. Stephanie Thomason says

    Scientists indicate the earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is ~ 13.8 billion years old.

    As for evolution, I’m not against the theories as none disprove God. If we evolved into conscious humans in the way that many atheists posit, it’s even more miraculous (and in support of intelligent design) than if we evolved in the way many Christians posit.

    I’m reading an excellent book by Peter Hitchens now called “The Rage Against God.” I highly recommend it to all of you.

  146. RationalismRules says

    @Stephanie #167

    If we evolved into conscious humans in the way that many atheists posit, it’s even more miraculous (and in support of intelligent design) than if we evolved in the way many Christians posit.

    You just can’t stop yourself from making unsupportable claims, can you? Please demonstrate your claim that evolution supports intelligent design.

    BTW, the above sentence contains two very basic errors:
    1. Evolution is science, it has nothing to do with atheists positing anything.
    2. Christians do not posit an alternate form of evolution. Some Christians accept the fact of evolution, others reject it. Creationism is not an alternate form of evolution.

  147. Monocle Smile says

    @Stephanie

    As for evolution, I’m not against the theories as none disprove God

    Cool What would disprove your god?
    Will this question also go unanswered?

  148. Stephanie Thomason says

    Nothing can disprove God. Sorry about the way that little inconvenience makes you feel.

  149. mond says

    @MS 169

    I think that it is even worse than your question suggests.
    I think stephanie is prepared to ignore or even claim as false ANYTHING which would come in conflict with her god belief.

    I do however stand to be corrected if she can answer your question in a satisfactory manner

  150. mond says

    @stephanie

    It is not a matter of inconvenience.
    You have declared yourself to be a closed minded dogmatist with whom there is no value in engaging with on this particular topic.

    Thats is all.

  151. tfkreference says

    No inconvenience at all. We don’t need to prove gods don’t exist – the default position is not to believe until the assertion is proven true.

  152. Bruce Smith says

    Stephanie, Can you prove that Zeus, Thor and the Egyptian sun god Ra, don’t exist? Sorry if that’s inconvenient for you.

  153. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Stephanie:

    Nothing can disprove God.

    A detector that is capable of only positive results is a crap device.
     
    Is it always finding the thing (when activated in EVERY context !?), or is it faulty?
     
    Is it even detecting what you expect it to? How would you determine that?
     
    (The potential for negative results is necessary for calibration, and for confidence in your methods.)

  154. Monocle Smile says

    @Stephanie
    I’ve given you every chance to be honest and reasonable, and all you’ve done is stick to poor thinking and simple, stupid one-liners. I guess I should have expected this…you called into the show in bad faith. You weren’t looking for a discussion; you were looking for a platform to preach in condescending fashion. You’re no different than any other godbot out there. You don’t know the first thing about logic, reason, or epistemology, and yet you claim to be in possession of some sort of truth.

    Put yourself in our shoes for a second. I don’t think you are capable of this, but try anyway. What are we supposed to make of you? We’ve got this person whose beliefs seem ridiculous posting here, and we’re all curious and trying to figure out why they believe and if there’s good reason for us to also believe. Instead, we get treated like we’re five years old. None of our questions are taken seriously and every response to every question can be boiled down to “because I said so.” What would you think if you were us?

    Notice that we’re not acting like you do on your blog…when atheists ask honest questions on your posts, you reply with bible verses and snide condescension. You enable comments for ego-stroking purposes, not to engage honestly.

    To put it simply, you’re not interested in learning anything. You’re a dogmatist, pure and simple. You’re convinced that you can never be wrong, so you’ll just ignore anything and everything that goes against what you already believe.
    This wouldn’t be a huge problem, except that you absolutely refuse to keep this crap to yourself. If you shut up and fucked off (from preaching and evangelism in general, not just here), I’d have far less of a problem with you, although I don’t condone rank dishonesty and poor thinking. It’s a much shorter step from this kind of dogmatism to committing violence in the name of said dogma than you’re probably willing to admit. You and your ilk are a plague upon humanity, and it’s very fortunate that you’re slowly going extinct.

  155. Monocle Smile says

    P.S. Peter Hitchen’s “Rage against God” is a piece of shit. The bulk of it is “but but but Hitler Stalin Pol Pot Mao” while he intentionally ignores super-bloody religious conflicts like the Taipeng Rebellion (or claims they aren’t religious, like the entire history of the wars in the Middle East). Most of the leaders he identifies weren’t even atheists, and atheism has no tenets. It’s one position on one issue. There are plenty of atheists I despise. It’s irrelevant to the issue. Christianity has lots and lots of guiding beliefs that the christian must accept as part of the religion. Atheism isn’t even in the same category.

    This whole line of apologetics is a tu quoque fallacy at its core. “Well, non-religious ideas can lead to conflict, too!” So fucking what? This is not an argument in favor of either religion nor the existent of god.

  156. Stephanie Thomason says

    Put yourself in my shoes. If you had personally witnessed the love and light of our Lord, would you share it with humanity or would you bury it under a bowl? My entire purpose is to share what I’ve learned with humanity. If I didn’t, I’d be an apathetic fool. This particular blog is my first, which was in response to one of my first atheist friends. I wrote several others in response to other atheists – not because I was “trying to score points” for my side but because I’d be a crappy human if I kept what I’ve learned to myself. Click here: https://sjthomason.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/a-christian-defense-against-atheism/?frame-nonce=05192bb16d

  157. RationalismRules says

    @Stephanie #178
    Still waiting to hear how you distinguish your personal experiences of Jesus from hallucinations or delusions.
    You seem reluctant to address this (and every other question that you can’t simply answer with preaching or bald assertion).

  158. Monocle Smile says

    @Stephanie

    If you had personally witnessed the love and light of our Lord, would you share it with humanity or would you bury it under a bowl?

    I’m a skeptic. You’re not. The first thing I’d do is attempt to verify my experience externally and repeatedly. I’d try to determine whether I experienced something real or not.

    That blog post is rather embarrassing. You spend most of it taking a shit on science despite using a computer to write it. Do you pray and your computer turns on? Does it run on fairy dust?

    You argue from Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas despite their ideas about cosmology and physics being long disproved. This is the 21st century, not the 12th. You can’t just burn people at the stake who object to your preaching, though I suspect you wish to return to those days. You cite exactly zero peer-reviewed research in support of your claims. All that comes close is a gross misunderstanding of Hawking…the universe did not have a “start date” and no honest person could get that so completely wrong from reading the source material. I’m guessing you got it from known Liar for Jesus(tm) Frank Turek. You have apparently modeled your combative, hysterical speaking and writing style after him.

    This is a real gem:

    Taken together with the energy in our minds, one might ask where this energy is transferred upon death. Energy can neither be created or destroyed; it changes forms. Believers would answer this question with that of the soul, which exits the body upon physical death. Atheists often break the “law” that says that energy can neither be created nor destroyed by saying that the energy from our minds simply dissipates.

    I wanted to punch a wall after reading this. This is hands-down the most mind-numbingly stupid thing I’ve read in 2017. You’ve clearly never set foot in a physics or chemistry classroom. You haven’t the first fucking clue what “energy” is or really how anything in science works. I would be ashamed of myself walking through life so ignorant.

  159. shadowblade says

    @Monocle Smile says

    What would disprove your god?

    Nothing can disprove the existence, or prove the existence, of any god. You should know this. Science is not an atheist vs theist or “evolutionist” vs creationist deal. Theism and Creationism are faith positions, and faith does not require verifiable, testable evidence and ignores contrary evidence by way of “miracle” or “Divine Plan”.

    “Evolutionism” is a false label Creationists apply to the understanding of actual, scientific evidence, including all science and evidence outside of evolutionary biology, including cosmology, astrophysics, geology etc. Atheism is a label often misapplied by theists to science that conflicts with their faith. Young Earth Creationists in particular believe that The Book is 100% literal, actual, historical, documentary fact; this is what science can prove to be false. AronRa has an excellent argument for why they worship The Book rather than a god and as The Book is a construct of Man, they are therefore Idolaters.

    The only thing the scientific advances of the last 500 years have proved is that The Book is full of factual, historical, cosmological, biomedical and other errors. This is no problem for most modern Jews and Christians as they know that The Book is not what YECs claim it to be. But YECs have a real problem as if The Book is wrong, then their god is either a liar or does not exist. This is why Ken sHam, Kunt Ho-Ho, Ray Confart, Meyers, Dembksi and others deny any and all actual science that conflicts with The Book. Members of Asswipes in Genesis and ID groups like The “Discovery” Institute, The Institute for Creation “Research” etc sign a Statement of Faith guaranteeing this: the denial of any and all science that conflicts with The Book and divine Special Creation by Magickal Incantation.

    You are never going to rationally argue someone out of a belief that they have received a divine revelation.

    ~

  160. Bruce Smith says

    If you had personally witnessed the love and light of our Lord, would you share it with humanity or would you bury it under a bowl?

    I would look for a real explanation, not blindly accept a magical one.

  161. shadowblade says

    @GodlessAspie42

    As somebody with Asperger’s who happens to be an atheist who thinks the design argument is a crock of shit, I would disagree with your assessment

    Are you also schizophrenic with an obvious inability to desymbolise and who exhibits literality bias and concreteness bias in the interpretation of metaphor, analogy, proverbs and so on, seeing only a completely literal meaning and also latching on to a single word as being the overridingly important factor? And then cling to this error and bang on and on and on and on by making more than 40 posts on YouBend of such bizarre irrelevance and incongruity, anyone would have to wonder?

    And as you didn’t see any of his comments, you are in no position to judge. I was not talking about you and your problems, I was talking about someone else and his imbecilic comments on YouBend. And I was not using the words as any sort of “Ableist” insult, as you claim, that is how he struck me. It’s not like I went up to someone like Stephen Hawking and screamed something like “You drooling, dribbling, spastic mong!” right in his face. Most people would find that unacceptable “Ableist” behaviour and discriminatory, except maybe Ricky Gervaise. Calling someone an idiot for making idiotic comments is not.

    What was it Hitchens said? “You’re offended? I’m still waiting to hear your argument”.

    Stephen Fry said something a little less charitable.

    No offence, but I just don’t care if you are misinterpreting my comments to fit your personal bias.

    By the way, the posts here seem a bit mixed up. You seem to have made your comment a little while ago, but I only got the e-mail today.

  162. Monocle Smile says

    @shadowblade
    You’ve gotten comments removed for being a dickhole to people with mental issues in the past, and you definitely crossed the line again. “This person is rather stupid” would have been sufficient, especially if you’ve already referenced YouTube comments, given that most of us understand that they are habitats for the ass end of the internet.

    Nothing can disprove the existence, or prove the existence, of any god. You should know this

    No. This is incorrect. Plenty of god ideas make testable, falsifiable claims, and despite the incoherent screaming of adherents, these gods can most definitely be disproved. If the existence of a particular god is dependent upon events that conclusively did not happen, then that god does not exist. Perhaps something ‘similar’ may exist, but that’s a different god.
    Take five. I’m trying to be Socratic and you seem to be one of the “theists are stupid” type of atheist that I can’t stand.

  163. stphnmartin says

    @shadowblade

    “Nothing can disprove the existence, or prove the existence, of any god.”

    Wouldn’t the god showing up prove its existence?

  164. shadowblade says

    @Monocle Smile says

    You’ve gotten comments removed for being a dickhole to people with mental issues in the past

    That is not true, either in the past or now. I have never been a “dickhole” to anyone with mental health issues, either in the past or now and certainly not on this forum. I don’t know where you attend your Remedial Comprehension night classes, but if you are paying any fees, you are entitled to a refund. Try reading things neutrally, in context, in full, in order, without your wussy 3rd Wave Feminazitarded Matriarchy indoctrination triggering your instantaneous gut reaction. It was people like you who destroyed Skepticon etc.

    “Dickhole”, by the way, appears to be a rather sexist, gendered, marginalising, derogatory comment, so perhaps you should try and practice what you preach.

    these gods can most definitely be disproved. If the existence of a particular god is dependent upon events that conclusively did not happen, then that god does not exist.
    No. We can’t.

    We can prove that certain writings are not true if such things contain demonstrable errors, such as bird’s blood curing leprosy, mating livestock in front of striped and spotted sticks giving rise to spotted and striped offspring, Noah’s Ark etc. But we cannot disprove the existence of gods anymore than we can prove their existence. I think only literalists think that a god’s existence depends on the writings in an ancient book, because they believe that the god wrote it, or inspired it to be written. But that is just their assertion, not a fact. We have no evidence at all that a god’s existence is dependent on the writings in The Book. Surely, if a god existed, he existed BEFORE the Book? And if we prove that an alleged event never happened, we have proved that the event never happened and that The Book is not inerrant and unerring. We have not proved the non-existence of the gods involved and I don’t recall any educated atheist make that claim. Even Matt’s atheism stemmed from his disillusionment with his literal interpretation of self-contradictory fables that most modern theists, both Jews and Catholics, accept as parable, metaphor and fable, but I don’t recall him ever claiming that he can prove YHWH does not exist.

    you seem to be one of the “theists are stupid” type of atheist that I can’t stand.

    Careful, is that “ableist” speak?

    I’m not at all sure what you are, or what you think you are, but most theists I have come across are clearly not blessed with a great education or intelligence. Some of them are utterly delusional, particularly the Flat Earthers. Some of them are utterly uneducated and some demonstrate symptoms of mental illness (Asperger’s is not a mental illness, by the way, and autism is a spectrum with massively diverse severity of symptoms. I don’t use such terms as insults). Some, like Jonathan Wells, Stephen Meyer, William Dembksi, Ken sHam, Kunt Ho-Ho etc are simply deliberate liars and frauds. William Lame Crackhead seems quite intelligent, but he has been recycling The Unmoved Mover and Prime Mover idea for 40 years, and it was already flawed in ancient Greece and just as flawed when Aquinas resurrected it. I am not sure if he is actually a liar or simply delusional, as he claims a personal revelation when he was a teenager.

    But DNA is not a 4-dimensional code of substitutional representation containing holographic information deliberately coded in by an intelligent mind and which acts as a literal blueprint for a 3-dimensional person. And that is barely the gist of the nonsense that guy on U-Bend was spouting. A “person” is a product of personality, experience, psychology, brain chemistry and experiences, as well as genetics, anyway. And plants, fungi and bacteria all have DNA.

    ~

  165. shadowblade says

    DOH! Can someone delete the comment before this as I screwed up the blockquote.

    @Monocle Smile says

    You’ve gotten comments removed for being a dickhole to people with mental issues in the past

    That is not true, either in the past or now. I have never been a “dickhole” to anyone with mental health issues, either in the past or now and certainly not on this forum. I don’t know where you attend your Remedial Comprehension night classes, but if you are paying any fees, you are entitled to a refund. Try reading things neutrally, in context, in full, in order, without your wussy 3rd Wave Feminazitarded Matriarchy indoctrination triggering your instantaneous gut reaction. It was people like you who destroyed Skepticon etc.

    “Dickhole”, by the way, appears to be a rather sexist, gendered, marginalising, derogatory comment, so perhaps you should try and practice what you preach.

    these gods can most definitely be disproved. If the existence of a particular god is dependent upon events that conclusively did not happen, then that god does not exist.

    No. We can’t.

    We can prove that certain writings are not true if such things contain demonstrable errors, such as bird’s blood curing leprosy, mating livestock in front of striped and spotted sticks giving rise to spotted and striped offspring, Noah’s Ark etc. But we cannot disprove the existence of gods anymore than we can prove their existence. I think only literalists think that a god’s existence depends on the writings in an ancient book, because they believe that the god wrote it, or inspired it to be written. But that is just their assertion, not a fact. We have no evidence at all that a god’s existence is dependent on the writings in The Book. Surely, if a god existed, he existed BEFORE the Book? And if we prove that an alleged event never happened, we have proved that the event never happened and that The Book is not inerrant and unerring. We have not proved the non-existence of the gods involved and I don’t recall any educated atheist make that claim. Even Matt’s atheism stemmed from his disillusionment with his literal interpretation of self-contradictory fables that most modern theists, both Jews and Catholics, accept as parable, metaphor and fable, but I don’t recall him ever claiming that he can prove YHWH does not exist.

    you seem to be one of the “theists are stupid” type of atheist that I can’t stand.

    Careful, is that “ableist” speak?

    I’m not at all sure what you are, or what you think you are, but most theists I have come across are clearly not blessed with a great education or intelligence. Some of them are utterly delusional, particularly the Flat Earthers. Some of them are utterly uneducated and some demonstrate symptoms of mental illness (Asperger’s is not a mental illness, by the way, and autism is a spectrum with massively diverse severity of symptoms. I don’t use such terms as insults). Some, like Jonathan Wells, Stephen Meyer, William Dembksi, Ken sHam, Kunt Ho-Ho etc are simply deliberate liars and frauds. William Lame Crackhead seems quite intelligent, but he has been recycling The Unmoved Mover and Prime Mover idea for 40 years, and it was already flawed in ancient Greece and just as flawed when Aquinas resurrected it. I am not sure if he is actually a liar or simply delusional, as he claims a personal revelation when he was a teenager.

    But DNA is not a 4-dimensional code of substitutional representation containing holographic information deliberately coded in by an intelligent mind and which acts as a literal blueprint for a 3-dimensional person. And that is barely the gist of the nonsense that guy on U-Bend was spouting. A “person” is a product of personality, experience, psychology, brain chemistry and experiences, as well as genetics, anyway. And plants, fungi and bacteria all have DNA.

    ~

  166. Monocle Smile says

    @asshole

    I don’t know where you attend your Remedial Comprehension night classes, but if you are paying any fees, you are entitled to a refund. Try reading things neutrally, in context, in full, in order, without your wussy 3rd Wave Feminazitarded Matriarchy indoctrination triggering your instantaneous gut reaction. It was people like you who destroyed Skepticon etc.

    Yeah, I won’t be responding to your posts, because if you’re not actually banned for this, I’m going to act as if you are. Kindly fuck off.

  167. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    wussy 3rd Wave Feminazitarded Matriarchy

    I should also take the path chosen by Monocle Smile, but I won’t let this one bit lie without contest:

    But we cannot disprove the existence of gods anymore than we can prove their existence.

    Wrong.

    > 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

    PS:
    I do plan on minimizing my engagement, or stopping altogether, with this person.

  168. Vin says

    I understand the meaning of the phrase “argument from ignorance” because I listen to AXP on a regular basis.

    However, I do wish it had a different name. Almost every time it’s used, it seems to me that the person on the other end just hears the word “ignorance”, translates it internally as “ignorant” and is deeply insulted and that affects the following debate.

    I do wonder whether on its first introduction, the call taker might just mention “It doesn’t mean you’re ignorant; it’s just a term for the logical mistake you’re making”

  169. John Iacoletti says

    I do wonder whether on its first introduction, the call taker might just mention “It doesn’t mean you’re ignorant; it’s just a term for the logical mistake you’re making”

    We have done exactly that on a number of occasions.

  170. Denver L Mason says

    Evidence requires logic and reason to create knowledge. It is just as required that evidence is also proof of a cause. Thus a prime cause is not illogical, but a recognition that our powers are as limiting as they are liberating. This is why listening to atheist attempting to use logic and reason is scary to me. In order to refute the idea of a prime cause one has to break the mental tool we call logic and reason. After all there is a effect using logic and reason has or there would be no cause for us to value using it.

  171. RationalismRules says

    @Denver #193

    It is just as required that evidence is also proof of a cause.

    Is this a repackaging of “everything that exists must have a cause”?
    – At the quantum level we have observed events which do not appear to require a cause
    – The causal chain is a temporal concept – effect follows cause. Outside of space/time there is no foundation for an assumption that cause/effect operate in the same way – that is simply not known.

    Thus a prime cause is not illogical, but a recognition that our powers are as limiting as they are liberating.

    – Actually, the prime cause argument is kinda illogical, because it attempts to use cause/effect to argue the existence of something that does not require a cause. It’s not a good start…
    – Even if the notion of a prime cause does not violate logic, that doesn’t constitute evidence that it actually exists.
    – “A recognition that our powers are as limiting as they are liberating” sounds like woo to me. I mean, it’s poetic and all, but it doesn’t really mean anything, does it?
    – Recognizing the limit of our understanding leads to the statement “we don’t know” not to the statement “there must be a prime cause”.

    In order to refute the idea of a prime cause one has to break the mental tool we call logic and reason.

    Instead of making a blanket assertion, why don’t you demonstrate where a particular refutation ‘breaks logic’. Presumably you have something specific in mind?

  172. RationalismRules says

    @Denver #193
    I forgot to add the most important point:
    Even if, for the purposes of the discussion, we set aside all the flaws in the argument, and simply accept that a prime cause has been demonstrated, what then? All you have is a ‘prime cause’, about which you know absolutely nothing. What is the value of this? You can’t draw any conclusions about it, you can’t make any predictions based on it, you can’t draw any inferences from it. All you’ve got is something that lacks any explanatory power whatsoever.

  173. Monocle Smile says

    @Denver

    Evidence requires logic and reason to create knowledge. It is just as required that evidence is also proof of a cause

    This is called a “non sequitur.” The second part does not follow from the first. It’s not even related.

    Thus a prime cause is not illogical, but a recognition that our powers are as limiting as they are liberating

    This is called “random words strung together.”

    This is why listening to atheist attempting to use logic and reason is scary to me. In order to refute the idea of a prime cause one has to break the mental tool we call logic and reason. After all there is a effect using logic and reason has or there would be no cause for us to value using it.

    These are called “grammatical errors so easy and bad that you look like a troll.”

  174. Denver L Mason says

    – At the quantum level we have observed events which do not appear to require a cause
    – The causal chain is a temporal concept – effect follows cause. Outside of space/time there is no foundation for an assumption that cause/effect operate in the same way – that is simply not known.

    No human being has ever observed anything at the quantum level. The best example of the idea I am expressing is how electron microscopes work. First the technician coats the object to be viewed in some other element thus we are observing only the shape the coating reveals and not the object in question. I must admit it has been a while sense I have reviewed how electron microscopes work and may be out of date, I hope this conveys the idea.

    I have a question for you. Why are you using evidence, with logic and reason if not to discover the cause so you can manipulate the cause to greater effect?

    You ask:: why don’t you demonstrate where a particular refutation ‘breaks logic’. Presumably you have something specific in mind?

    I did not learn logic or reason in college when I had the opportunity, because I could sense something was wrong with what I had been taught. The best way I know to answer your question is to ask questions of you.

    Question: is it necessary to have evidence in order to use logic and reason?

    What causes evidence to be necessary?

    What essential element or characteristic does evidence have that allows the use of logic and reason?

    What is the meaning of evidence?

    P.S Thanks for your prompt reply. Your reply made me recognize that my thinking may be a bit disorganized. I would like you to know that I have very poor writing skills and do not want you to think that I am some kind of troll. I very much like your shows though I do not always agree with you, I do appreciate the way you think.

    I also want you to know that I recognize your show as your effort to give people better tools for thinking and I am attempting to take advantage of that. Thanks for that!

  175. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Denver L Mason #197:

    I did not learn logic or reason in college when I had the opportunity, because I could sense something was wrong with what I had been taught.

    *sigh*
    So you don’t know what you’re criticizing, what the criticism is, or how you sensed a problem. And you’ve decided the fault is with atheists.

  176. RationalismRules says

    @Denver #197
    First, just to be clear, most of the posters here, including me, are not representatives of AXP. We are just commenters like you.
    .

    No human being has ever observed anything at the quantum level.

    You appear to be treating ‘observe’ as though it refers solely to direct visual scrutiny, but this is not the scientific meaning of the word (or even the common usage).
    As a simple example, if you squeeze one end of a gas-filled balloon, causing the other end to bulge, you are observing the existence of the gas, as well as its movement and pressure. All of this, despite not being able to see the gas itself.
    There are other posters on this blog who are a lot more knowledgeable about quantum mechanics than I am, so I’ll let them take on your claim (if any are still keeping track of this page).
    .

    The best way I know to answer your question is to ask questions of you.

    Asking questions is not a way to answer my question, it’s a way to avoid answering it.
    I have a pet peeve about apologists who make big assertions without any supporting evidence or argument, and when challenged on them, attempt to divert by firing questions back at the questioner. It’s a common tactic from theists – perhaps because theism is long on assertions and short on evidence.
    Bottom line: if you’re not capable of demonstrating your assertions, why are you making them in the first place?

    However, you’ve said you want to work on your thinking tools, and I’m up for a debate/discussion, so let’s go…
    .

    is it necessary to have evidence in order to use logic and reason?

    No. Logic and reason are cognitive processes that can be applied to abstract ideas as well as to evidence-based reality. However, logic and reason alone cannot demonstrate the truth of a proposition. For that, evidence is required.
    .

    What causes evidence to be necessary?

    To distinguish between true and false propositions.
    .

    What essential element or characteristic does evidence have that allows the use of logic and reason?

    Logic and reason can be applied to anything that can be conceived of in our minds.
    .

    What is the meaning of evidence?

    “The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.” (OED) Note: ‘facts or information’. Argument, by itself, is not evidence.
    .

    Why are you using evidence, with logic and reason if not to discover the cause so you can manipulate the cause to greater effect?

    I can’t make any sense of this question. We apply logic and reason to evidence to draw inferences from that evidence, in order to increase our understanding of the world we inhabit.
    I don’t know what you mean by ‘manipulate the cause’, how do you manipulate a past event?

    I’ve given you direct answers to your questions (as best I could understand them). Quid pro quo, can you please answer my question?

    You said:

    In order to refute the idea of a prime cause one has to break the mental tool we call logic and reason.

    I offered a half-dozen or so rebuttals of the prime cause argument, none of which violate logic or reason, as far as I can see. Can you please either:
    a. show where my rebuttals violate logic or reason
    b. show where my rebuttals fail, or
    c. concede that your statement was incorrect

  177. Denver L Mason says

    I have always perhaps wrongly thought that evidence was the substance in reality which could be used to know things about reality. In my mind evidence has always had the attributes that religious people assign to the creator (what ever the creator is). I always have just thought of creator as a nebulous cause. LOL.

    Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to comprehend that my knowledge of what evidence is was not knowledge at all. I must in all honesty concede that my statement was incorrect.

    I personally have been a deist anti theist most of my adult life. To me this is just a recognition that there are causes for which I have no way to comprehend, but that effects always in my empirical experience have a cause. I learned to despise religion and those who profit from the pious fraud religion represents after I realized that it was all a lie.

    P.S What do you mean by a apologists. I get a sense from how you used the word in the sentence, but would like to know what you mean directly?

    I also would like to know where I could read more about preposition and the like?

    Thanks!

  178. RationalismRules says

    @Denver #200
    An apologist is someone who defends a position or belief through argument/debate. It is not limited to religious beliefs, but that’s arguably the most common usage.
    .

    To me this is just a recognition that there are causes for which I have no way to comprehend, but that effects always in my empirical experience have a cause.

    This ‘everything requires a cause’ argument fails because it immediately leads to the question: what caused the ‘prime cause’? And what caused the cause of the prime cause? And so on, in infinite regression.

    There are things that none of us can comprehend, or don’t yet have knowledge of. Attributing them to an imagined ‘god’ doesn’t get us any closer to understanding them – it simply adds a useless extra step. It’s the same as saying “it’s magic” – how is that in any way more explanatory than simply acknowledging “I don’t know”?
    .

    I also would like to know where I could read more about preposition and the like?

    This is the basics of critical thinking. I don’t have a book to recommend to you, but I found a YouTube playlist that might be a good start:
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB8A5292FC68E2D77

    Thank you for conceding the argument with good grace – that’s an ability that is worth hanging on to.