Open Thread for Episode 21.11: Tracie and Special Guest, Phil Ferguson


Tracie is joined by special guest, Phil Ferguson, host of The Phil Ferguson Show, a podcast about skepticism, atheism, investment philosophies, economics, and politics. Brief interview with Phil, followed by conversations with callers.

Comments

  1. Murat says

    A very basic question:

    How come the concepts of FREE WILL and SLAVERY be under the roof any single religion?

  2. Mobius says

    For Tracy –

    As I was going up the stair
    I met a man who was not there.
    He was not there again today.
    I think he’s with the CIA.

  3. Mobius says

    On the next to last caller who wanted to talk about Intelligent Design. I think Matt’s response would have been, “Why are you calling an atheist call-in show and not some biologists. We are not experts on the subject.”

    Where Meyer goes wrong is pretty subtle and one needs to know a lot about the subject to explain his mistakes.

    I do think that Phil’s point about falsifiability did address the issue to some degree, though, and the caller dodged the question.

  4. Sp00ky BedHair says

    Really enjoyed the new fangled chat feature. Thanks NonProphets mod person. ; )

  5. says

    adam’s mistake was really basic: logic is only half the solution. logic does not get us to what’s true; it only gets us to what’s plausible. evidence is the other half. evidence demonstrates whether a logical argument conforms with reality.

    for example, in a closed room a group can present their arguments why the sky might be one color versus another. they may all have logically valid reasons for their positions but the only way to find out who’s right is to open a window.

  6. says

    tracie’s point @1:09:04 regarding the misdirection of natural beneficial social behavior into harmful behavior hits on what i’ve long viewed as a major source of corruption and cronyism: the desire to hand out favors and enrich one’s family and friends — normally positive behaviors that become harmful when performed to the detriment of those outside the social circle.

  7. TheYouTubeGuy says

    I really think the call with Adam was handled sloppy. When it comes to logical deduction, you can prove things. This is actually the ONLY way to prove things. Science only shows evidence. If Adam was right with his argument than he has shown a God exists and they are not atheist. He was right, the show is over and they’re deists.

    Sorry I sound so rough on this but Phil does not seem prepared on his ability to debate these topics. Tracie comes from a VERY educated standpoint on biblical matters and is good at walking people through the flaws in what they believe. I’m not really seeing any expertise or ability to debate from Phil.

  8. Mobius says

    @5 aarrgghh

    Precisely. A valid argument does not mean the conclusion is true in reality, only that it follows logically from the premises. As Tracy was trying to point out, the conclusion needs to be tested against reality in order to determine whether the premises are themselves true.

    And, as Matt so often points out, the conclusion of the Cosmological Argument is merely that the universe has a cause. It says nothing about that cause or what it is. Saying it is a god, and in particular a certain god, is adding a lot of baggage that is not justified by the premises.

    And as quantum mechanics shows us, the first premise, that everything that has a beginning has a cause, is problematic. There are quantum events that happen without a cause in the traditional sense.

  9. atriokke says

    I was not entirely swayed by the whole argument thing with Adam, isn’t that the point of making logical arguments. Inductive reasoning is what is used in science, so if his inductive argument is true, shouldn’t we be in a position of accepting the conclusion that there is a god?
    If we accept the premises and the conclusion, are we not the ones that are being unreasonable in believing that there is no god?
    Like to some degree I can understand what they are saying, like you can’t argue something into existence, but im failing to see the distinction between arguing something into existence vs arguing that something is true (eg. existence)? Would the latter not be sufficient reason to believe that X exists anyways?

  10. says

    @ atriokke:

    adam’s argument was not merely that his reasoning should be convincing; he was insisting that it was true (conforms with reality) solely by virtue of its logical structure.

    many can be and are convinced by argument alone but it is perfectly reasonable to remain unconvinced as long as no evidence is produced.

  11. marx says

    The first caller was uncalled for!
    Tracie and Phil had an excellent show(especially Tracie,with all due respect)&
    Phil should become a regular(entertaining guy)

    I hope more shows in the future are like this!

    Matt’s on next week and I hope Stephanie phones in.
    Sweet!

  12. Adam Boghosian says

    I wish to see no more of Phil. “I don’t do arguments” means you just don’t do then well. Adam was right to laugh. But that’s where him being right pretty much ended.

  13. says

    And Jesus was a sailor, when he walked upon the water.
    And he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower.
    And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him,
    He said, All men will be sailors until the sea shall free them.
    But he himself was broken, long before the sky would open
    Forsaken, almost human, he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone.
    ” Suzanne”
    L. Cohen (a tribute)

  14. Jack Thornton says

    At the top of the show, right from the first call it seemed like Phil thought he was there just to rip on theists. Fortunately Tracie did a good job of reeling him in… but boy did he looked miffed for the rest of the show.

  15. kimsland says

    Um, worst atheist experience ever.

    From not listening to logical arguments (very strange), to stating you’re a deist and now how to use science to prove it, to not understanding what a moral system is (you guys got hung on biological nonsense). I’m sure others loved the show, I felt it went backwards and the only good thing was that you’ll probably get a lot of theists calling in next week and THEN they’ll get Matt. So I feel next week will be quite good.

    But this episode? Um, hmm, you can’t delete it can’t you? Well lets just call it a theist bait show then 😀 Thanks for listening to my opinion. I feel my decades of watching thousands of atheist shows documentaries and Matt 😉 And also listening to the delusional theists has finally paid of. Now I know when I see a bad episode, and my opinion is based on good reasoning.

  16. TheYouTubeGuy says

    I agree with Kimsland. They basically asked him what do you believe and why then when he said he believes the Kalam shows there must be a God then they:

    1 – Didn’t debate the Kalam
    2 – Said they accept the Kalam (Thus going against the Atheist Experience)

    I know “accepting” was to get the point across that the Kalam doesn’t get you to anything about that “God” but why not say to him.

    “Matt has handled the Kalam a lot. If you want that part of your argument handled, he will be here next week. He has debated this a lot and is the best to speak on it. With that said, are you a Christian? If so, how do you get from the Kalam to Christianity?”

    It was clear they did NOT want to handle the Kalam. All you have to do is use universe creating pixies and show that they’re sufficient instead of a God. They have everything needed to create a universe but aren’t Gods. They merely create universes and then stop existing. I know they would’ve basically copied Matt to say this but it is a complete take down of the Kalam.

    There, Kalam destroyed. The Kalam is not logically sound and anyone who has seen more than a few episodes of the Atheist Experience should be able to take it down in moments. I find it hard that they’re incapable of this. Their pick of a special guest this week was a bit lacking in abilities.

  17. says

    @Atriokke

    >I was not entirely swayed by the whole argument thing with Adam, isn’t that the point of making logical arguments. Inductive reasoning is what is used in science, so if his inductive argument is true, shouldn’t we be in a position of accepting the conclusion that there is a god?

    No, because “in science” it isn’t the reasoning that leads one to believe X should be our model of reality—it’s the verification of that reasoning. This is something I pointed out. We don’t stop at a hypothesis, no matter how iron clad it may seem. In many cases what scientists theorize *will* occur is not what occurs. And I’ve heard researchers say this is when things get most interesting, because, if there was not an error in methodology, then that element of the unexpected means we’re likely to be on the brink of discovery—learning something that impacts our expectations and interpretation about the world around us that we previously weren’t aware of. Verification—being able to repeated fail to falsify or to detect that which is theorized—is what matters more than the hypothesis. A theory that can’t be tested is not useful in validating our map of the world.

    >If we accept the premises and the conclusion, are we not the ones that are being unreasonable in believing that there is no god?

    A conclusion can be true even if premises are not, correct?
    And if premises are deemed to be true, a conclusion can still be incorrect if there is missing information.

    The argument often used is:

    All men are mortal
    Socrates was a man
    Therefore, Socrates was mortal.

    Until the discovery of black swans, this same argument could have been made for any given swan, to demonstrate it’s white. But because we weren’t aware of black swans, we’d be making a bad assumption—even if the swan in question turned out to actually be white. The fact you can get others to agree with you that “all swans are white” does nothing to demonstrate that a swan must be white, if we’re incorrect in our assessment of the range of swan colors.

    This is why verification matters. Convincing me and Phil his argument holds water doesn’t demonstrate his conclusion is true. And this is especially the case in a world view altering situation where “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

    Additionally it wasn’t a formal logical argument that deconverted me. It was 10 years of investigating the evidence for the existence of a god and finding nothing. It was repeatedly coming to the end of an apologetic claim and finding nothing, which made me begin to question whether my belief in an existent god was correct.

    Zeno’s paradox, for example, can be stated in argument form—sloppily as:

    Any distance can be cut in half.
    Between any two points there are, then, infinite points.
    Traversing infinite points is not humanly possible.
    Therefore traveling any distance is not possible.

    Many people have tried repeatedly and patiently to explain to me where the paradox falls apart. I have difficulty seeing it, no matter what I’m told. But in the end, the fact that I am able to advance in space by merely taking a step shows me that regardless of whether I see the flaw or not—even if no one was able to see the flaw, when vetted against reality—it fails. No matter how many people I can convince that the statement above is correct, it’s demonstrably incorrect. And when reality and claims don’t align, then the claims are what I toss, not reality.

    He was saying that if his premises were true, then his conclusion must be. The problem is—what if his premises aren’t true, but he’s not aware of it? He seems to think the remedy for this is running it by me and Phil. But what I pointed out was that Phil and I could also be misled, therefore verification is what would tell us if we’re all going down the wrong road. How do we verify it? If we can’t, then we have this interesting argument for the existence of god, but no way to determine whether it’s flawed—so what good does it do? We can’t verify whether it’s true or not. We can only say it makes sense, but could be wrong.

    >Like to some degree I can understand what they are saying, like you can’t argue something into existence

    Correct.

    > but im failing to see the distinction between arguing something into existence vs arguing that something is true (eg. existence)?

    Again, when what you’re arguing *for* would significantly alter the world view we now have supported by our “best tool ever devised to understand the way the world works,” (paraphrasing an old quote), which has so far found no evidence to support claims regarding the existence of god, you need more than something that seems to make sense. You need a method to verify it as well. I don’t think that’s too much to expect or ask?

    > Would the latter not be sufficient reason to believe that X exists anyways?

    Why? Since there is no compulsion to believe a god exists (it’s not like we’re in court and forced to make a determination), why wouldn’t we say, “that’s a heck of a claim you’re making, and I understand your reasoning, but how do we set out to see if you’re actually correct?”

    Basically I’ve blogged about this before–I call it “The argument from it just makes sense to me”:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2013/01/21/the-argument-from-it-just-makes-sense-to-me/

  18. hermantf says

    I have to agree with those here that have posted that this episode, and specifically the call from Adam, was the worst I’ve ever seen.

    The call was handled very poorly, and Adam definitely “won” the day in both his argument, and in how both sides came across to watchers on the other side of the screen.

    l of course understand the flaw in Adam’s argument (because I’ve listened to how Matt D. and others explain how it’s flawed, and I’ve researched it on my own), but Tracie and Phil looked like second rate amateurs that got schooled by an average caller because of how they handled the whole thing.

  19. says

    Deleting debates because they didn’t turn out the way you wanted is what theists do.

    Stating the opinion that the call didn’t go well… thanks. Thanks for your contribution to society.

  20. 333and333 says

    I really enjoyed this show! Aside from the dickhead first caller/troll, and the arrogant little shithead that seemed to think that verifying one’s position is an unnecessary step in proving a hypothesis, I think all of them were actually willing to take a look at their own preconceptions and actually think about the reasons they have them. Tracie has this way of presenting counter arguments that don’t put people so much on the defensive, compared to other hosts like Matt or Russell. And don’t get me wrong! I L-O-V-E the way Matt can intellectually dismantle the lunatic beliefs presented to him, and I LOVE it when Russell just flat out tells people “No, that’s ridiculous, and there’s no good reason at all to take that position.” (or something to that effect) — I’m just saying that Tracie has this way of approaching the arguments that seems to sneak under the radar of some of the defense mechanisms that these people rely on to perpetuate their beliefs.
    I don’t think either way is necessarily a “better” approach at dealing with these arguments, they all have their merits and faults, I just think that it showed in this episode, how her “nice” approach can sometimes work just as well as a good ol’ “Dillahunty Destruction.”
    Some callers would be much better dealt with in Matt or Jeff’s more abrasive style, like the kid who ended his call with the bratty “well then that makes you a more reasonable person” quip .. I think in that situation, even though after the call, Tracie was able to show exactly why his argument still got him nowhere at all, I think Matt would have been able to make that kid admit, before he hung up, that his position was fallacious and didn’t prove a goddamn thing. Sure, those of us that know better were able to identify the caller’s fallacies, but I think Matt would have been able to get through to the caller himself better than Tracie was able to, by forcing him to realize what was wrong with his argument. The kid was resorting to some bullying tactics, and Matt is just really good at turning the tables on callers like that, whereas Tracie is better at working with callers who aren’t so arrogant in the way they present their thoughts.

    On a different note – HEY CALL SCREENERS – STEP UP YOUR FUCKING GAME, YOU GOT FUCKING PLAYED LIKE FIDDLES TWICE ON THIS SHOW. Yall really shit the bed this week. OK, here’s a thought – when a caller sounds like a fucking 14-year-old, maybe put them through the wringer a little before just letting them waste everyone’s fucking time with their childish bullshit? You guys really dropped the ball, and you need to be more fucking diligent, ask more questions, ESPECIALLY when you can tell it’s some shitstain high schooler on the line. DO MORE than just ask them what their position is and what question they have. Make them explain what they want to discuss, why they feel the way they do, what would change their minds, etc. because I can guarantee you neither of those fucking retards would have been able to come up with a sound argument or a valid position, while being preoccupied with their little troll idea. And on top of that FAILURE, yall managed to let fucking HAMISH play your asses as well. Did you REALLY fucking think there was just ANOTHER Scottish dickhead with the same exact arguments and the same exact accent calling in? It was OBVIOUSLY him, just trying to talk a little faster than normal. Seriously, yall FUCKED UP MULTIPLE TIMES and you’re lucky Tracie is able to roll with that shit as well as she does.

    Other than that, though I really really enjoyed this episode. THANK YOU to Tracie and Phil!! And all of the spaghetti monsters flying behind the scenes running the technical aspects! Besides the call screeners. Yall sucked this time.

  21. says

    I’m a fan of the “no logical arguments” thing.

    Maybe not as an all-the-time policy, but once in a while it’s worth pointing out that having a logically consistent argument is pointless if there’s no way to provide evidence.

  22. guyblond says

    Wow, the first caller propositioned Tracie for sex! A Christian I bet. Tracie probably did the right thing and didn’t make a big deal of it. But it looked like Phil wanted to hit the button. And you know that Matt would have cut the caller off within a millisecond of figuring out what was being said. Matt might have added a “fuck you!”

    And by the way caller, if you have to tell someone how good you are, you’re not that good.

  23. Monocle Smile says

    I’ll have to watch the show, but if Phil really said “I don’t do arguments,” then he probably shouldn’t be a regular. I mean, I get it, but if the show is going to be about discussing why theistic beliefs are unreasonable, then the hosts need to be able to engage the arguments with which they are presented.

    Also, I’m disinclined to watch yet another show with Hamish. At this point, it’s just a failure of the call screeners; Hamish has called enough in the recent weeks to recognize.

  24. Vivec says

    I was absolutely not a fan of this episode.

    The call about arguments was poorly handled, Hamish managed to get in and ramble, and the screeners really dropped the ball here.

    While I think that Tracie is correct in her criticism of Adam’s position – logical arguments without any evidence can’t be shown to be sound – the way it has handled sounded like technobabble to anyone with an understanding of logic. I think it would honestly have been better to go ‘not my department, call in when Matt is on if you want a more informed answer.”

    I’m sure it’s going to end up on youtube on a clip called ‘Rambling Theist gets Spanked With Logic’, but I know that if I was a theist, I’d have come away thinking you were smug laypeople punching above their pay grade.

    Also yeah “I don’t do arguments” is not really a good outlook to have on a show based around confronting people’s fallacious beliefs. While it’s true in fact that they lack evidence, I don’t think pointing that out is really an effective way of contradicting theists because many of them totally acknowledge that.

  25. mond says

    @Monocle Smile and 333and333

    Hamish was NOT on the show.
    Connor from Scotland called in and Phil Ferguson heard the accent and suggested that it was Hamish.
    Tracie actually had a coherent and interesting conversation with Connor.
    I am sure on other occasions it has been suggested that a Scottish caller has been Hamish using another name when it was not.

    Trust me, as someone who speaks with the same accent as Conner, that Hamish’s accent is from a completely different part of Scotland. I would suggest that Hamish is considerably older than Connor…but that is pure guess work.

    The big giveaway that Connor was not Hamish is that Connor spoke intelligently. He and Tracie actually had a reasonable conversation, that is certainly not Hamish’s style.

  26. mond says

    @the hamish believers

    Another thing struck me about the differences Hamish and Connor calls on a technical level.
    Every time Hamish has called his line has been quite choppy, multiple audio drops. I think he may have a fault on his end.
    This did not happening on Connors call.

  27. Vivec says

    I’m not sure I really buy the “this isn’t Hamish because his call was coherent” thing.

    I will admit that I’m not super invested in that argument because that was more of a side-criticism and not really related to my main problems with this episode.

    But like, the Mark from Stone Temple Church/chrislanganfan guy called in a lot way back when, and would alternate between accents, phone quality, and arguments pretty freely.

    One day you’d get standard american mark being an offended christian, then you’d get british fake accent mark being an offended christian, and then you’d get standard american mark faking a ‘wow my theism is wrong’ realization, only for him to call in again the next week and be an offended christian again, and then an intelligent british person the week after that.

  28. Robert, not Bob says

    Regarding “OK, I’m a deist now”. That’s clearly “I’ll accept your claim for the purpose of the argument, then what?”, not really a conversion. I thought that was obvious.

    Connor very likely wasn’t Hamish. Their accents don’t even sound the same, though both Scottish. Since it was a decent discussion, who cares anyway? I actually agree with Connor that the point is whether a phenomenon can be studied scientifically: a supernatural phenomenon can’t, ever. And that’s an impossible-to-test negative claim, therefore useless.

    I skipped past the financial lecture. “Yes, you can do what’s clearly physically impossible if you just…” No.

  29. TheYouTube Guy says

    To take on Tracie’s comments.

    Zeno’s paradox
    Any distance can be cut in half.
    Between any two points there are, then, infinite points.
    Traversing infinite points is not humanly possible.
    Therefore traveling any distance is not possible.

    Mathematically speaking a number on a number line is non-existent since it occupies zero space (i.e. 4-4 = 0). From this we learn that the number 4 contains no distance between it and itself. This means that the infinite points between two points are infinite nothings. Adding up an infinity of nothing is interestingly enough not nothing.

    The issue is that the points Zeno’s paradox adds up are also infinitely small if we look at the relative distance between it and the next nearest number. However the summation of infinite points between 4 and 4.0000000000000000000001 (Infinite zeroes) is equal to the difference between the two points. Even though this difference is infinitesimally small the summation of these points over an infinite series is the difference between the two numbers.

    Zeno’s paradox seems like a paradox until you realize the points are infinitesimally small and you bring math in to help solve.

  30. mond says

    @36 Vivec.

    I can almost guarantee that if I called many peoples knee-jerk reaction would be ‘Oh that’s Hamish”
    Ultimately I may wrong and Hamish playing us for fools but as someone who understands the nuances of the myriad of scottish accents and I personally convinced that Connor was not Hamish. (Also for the other reasons I stated in earlier posts)

  31. TheYouTube Guy says

    More of Tracie’s comments:

    A conclusion can be true even if premises are not, correct?

    This is very true. Showing the fault in Adam’s argument would not disprove God. It would merely show that his argument does not prove God.

    And if premises are deemed to be true, a conclusion can still be incorrect if there is missing information.

    Then the premises are incorrect. Missing information means we do not totally understand the premises yet. This is why we take on all the premises and dissect them in to little pieces to ensure there is absolutely not fault in them. The Kalam is such an easy argument to refute because the premises and even the conclusion are so faulty. It is one of the worst arguments for God I’ve seen.

    All men are mortal
    Socrates was a man
    Therefore, Socrates was mortal.

    This is very logically sound. It is reasonable to believe that all men are mortal. It most likely can shown at the time that Socrates was mortal and thus the conclusion follows.

    Until the discovery of black swans, this same argument could have been made for any given swan, to demonstrate it’s white. But because we weren’t aware of black swans, we’d be making a bad assumption


    This argument falls apart very quickly and this demonstrates the fault that can be shown in the first argument. How do you know for certain that all men are mortal? If there are immortal people who don’t tell us, then it is possible that socrates being a man might not be immortal. The fault in…

    All swans are black.
    Bobby is a swan.
    Bobby is black.

    …is the first premise and not the logical sound nature of the argument. Someone merely has to question, “How do you know for certain all swans are black?” and they’ve raised a reasonable objection that shows a problem in the argument. The Kalam raises so many questions:

    Whatever begins to exist has a cause;

    QUESTIONS – Did God ever begin to exist? How do you know that something can not begin to exist? What evidence do you have of this? Can you provide me an example other than this God you use here?

    The universe began to exist

    QUESTION – You just told me that God did not begin to exist so you admit there are things that don’t have a beginning. Is it possible that the universe did not begin to exist? If not, then you are special pleading for your God.

    The universe has a cause.

    QUESTION – Even if we admit you got here (Which you didn’t) then what can you tell me about this cause? As stated before, universe farting pixies (Matt D™) could easily be the cause. Let’s pretend you got here, how is your God this creator?

  32. triggerhappy says

    To the first caller. Using logic I can say all men are green, Jason is a man, therefore Jason is green that is using logic correctly but that’s not a factual statement. One cannot “logic” any statement into being true or “logic” something into existence.

  33. bigjay says

    No more Phil, please. HIs default demeanor seems to be that of the stereotypical “angry atheist” and that doesn’t serve this show well. He seems to look for every opportunity to make snarky comments just for the sake of being clever. (His reference to the word “seminary” is just one example.)

  34. Matt Petty says

    I came all the way over here to freethoughtblogs to tell you how insufferably smug I found Phil Ferguson. He insulted the guests, and his snide insults were demeaning to people who bothered to call in. I’m trying to be as polite as possible here, but smug condescending atheists like that are the reason people dislike atheists.

    His “area of expertise” was not only boring but entirely irrelevant to the show.

    Please don’t invite him back on. At the risk of sounding callous, he seems like a dick and I didn’t think the way he treated the guests was respectful or productive.

  35. Paul Money says

    I have to go along with those who found Phil irritating, talking over the callers, talking over Tracie and being an irritating smartass. For a long time I’ve wanted to see Tracie host the show, because I like her approach, but she doesn’t have a co-host here, just somebody who wants it to be his show. For the first time ever I turned the show off before the end.

  36. Kenvino Carvallhar says

    Hi. I am an atheist and would like to say good show. Love The Atheist Experience, but you should have second thoughts of having this Phil guy as your co-host, you need to lecture him and teach him common child manners first. He is patronizing the callers and doesn’t give anything else than being mean. If he continues in this manners, your show will lose credibility, as I am ashamed of being an atheist after experiencing him on this show.

  37. Tom Whitaker says

    Adam calls in with kalam regularly…I guess he figured he would take a shot while Matt was out of town and try to take advantage of less skilled debaters…

    Im not sure why adam feels the need to call with this all the time. The argument has been widely discussed and debated. Theists know very well some of the problems with the argument. Does adam think he packages it in a way that all the issues that have already been pointed out are not applicable???

    Even though there are issues with both premises…as was pointed out last night….even if they were all conceded…..it still only gets you to a “cause”. You have to add further to the argument to get anywhere close to God. And to somehow conclude that God must be that cause..(and is uncaused due to being timeless and spaceless etc)….they must actually establish that god is real….and possible…WHICH THEY NEVER SEEM TO DO…..

    At best the argument can be used for what most of us readily concede…that our existence is a mystery…..and we will continue to explore that mystery. Lightening was once unexplained…and thought to be GOD. Perhaps we will someday have a better understanding of how we came to be. Simply making up that a sky genie dunnit might be good for some. But if they claim that this is so..the bare the burden of proof….which they fail at meeting EVERY TIME.

    If adam reads this I would love to talk to him directly

  38. Paul Money says

    Alright, it’s probably not nice to call Phil a smartass, but I did feel that he was at best when saying nothing and sitting there looking sulky. How about pairing Tracie H with Phil Sessions? That would work!

  39. Tom Whitaker says

    Phil was fine. Its not as easy as it looks. Can he do better..surely…but he stepped in as a guest host. He was fine.

  40. TheYouTubeGuy says

    I hope the people at The Atheist Experience realize we’re not all hating on Phil for no reason or to be mean. We mean everything in a constructive way. I have to agree with the whole “Angry atheist” vibe that he gave off. He seemed to talk down to callers he disagreed with and basically gave off “I’m right and I don’t have to explain why.”

    Every host has had their own style. Some are a little more aggressive and some are a little more sarcastic. However, every single host has been able to breakdown an argument and explain the faults in it. That is the point of the show! Tell us what you believe and why.

    Once again… not to be rude but it was a pretty poorly handled show (Around 50%) but that is bound to happen. I wanted to comment again because… I almost turned off the show…. and I don’t do that. I almost turned off when Phil said “I don’t do arguments.” If the hosts acted like this for years:

    1 – No one would be watching the show.
    2 – No one would be convinced by anything said on the show.

  41. Tom Whitaker says

    jeez man….cut Phil some slack…he was a guest host!!!…..He said he dosent do arguments…big deal….the Adam call did not go as well as it could, I agree. Adam usually gets disconnected with his argument up his ass. But so what….thats going to happen from time to time. Its like my fellow atheists are in a panic because a call handled by a guest host dinnt go well…..lol. I am an atheist..and an atheist for what I believe to be good reasons. No one call is going to throw me into a panic. None of our hosts are professional debaters. We are all spoiled because Matt is so talented. The panic and sense of urgency to “never let this happen again” is just funny to me. There is quite a bit of pressure up there. I have seen the vast majority of hosts and co hosts at one time or another look silly or tongue tied. For those of you that felt the show was a disaster….grow up or don’t watch. I don’t expect the hosts to be so well versed that I accept nothing less than theist ass kickings…if you do..start your own show. Im pretty proud of all of them. Im confident in my atheistic position.

  42. Sigmun Lloyd says

    Very enjoyable show. Phil was a pleasant change. Aggressive and dismissive. No pandering.
    Impossibly hard job of screening done well – and the hosts handled the troll perfectly.
    Great work as always. Thank you.

  43. RationalismRules says

    I’m a fan of the “no logical arguments” thing.

    Every apologist argument presented on AXP has been encountered and rebutted multiple times previously. To exclude one particular type because it’s tedious for those who have heard it lots misses the point of the show. If it’s still being used to argue for god, then it is still worth refuting on the show.

  44. John Copeland says

    I found Phil to be a rude and arrogant co host. His sarcasm and bad jokes came at in appropriate times and he disrespected callers before they’d got to making their point.

    The Adam call was handled very badly. I guess it was an exam of why I only tend to listen when Matt is on. He’s the only host with the skillset to win the debate on every topic.

  45. Zachary says

    I think Phil Ferguson was absolutely great for the show. I think Phil and John or Don would make a great duo, because him and Tracie are both very dominate personalities which kinda reminded me how Martin and Matt used to be. In any case I really hope you invite Phil back for more shows I really enjoyed him on this episode.

  46. TheYouTubeGuy says

    Zach,

    Two questions:

    1 – What is Phil’s area of expertise and does that apply to AXP?
    2 – What good arguments did Phil make on the show this week?

    If the point of the show is to entertain, I can see someone defending Phil being on the show. However I and many others feel that the point is to talk believers and non-believers and take on the reasons for what they believe and why. I know I’m being hard and constantly replying but I think this episode is an anomaly. Tracie is really good and I felt like she was babysitting Phil.

    Ok…. Phil has 186 subscribers and 3,049 views. I have YouTube Channel with 1100 subscribers and 200,000+ views. Also in terms of YouTube, both of us are absolutely NOTHING! I’ll state this right here and right now. Get Cosmic Skeptic (80,000+ subs) on AXP. Want a fresh young intelligent individual who can handle the toughest of arguments? Well there you go.

    I’m stating it right here right now, I will contribute $100 to flying Cosmic Skeptic to America to appear on AXP. Anyone else on board with this idea or am I just tilting at windmills?

  47. Monocle Smile says

    @TheYouTubeGuy
    I’d rather see Seth Andrews on the show, actually. Or Scott Clifton (TheoreticalBullshit). I enjoyed all of the shows where AronRa has been on, too.

  48. tom whitaker says

    1. perhaps phil does not have an area of expertise….so what

    2. phil appropriately argued that even if kalam is accepted..it gets you to a cause…nothing more at worst. a deist at best…..

    love cosmic skeptic but if u think hed run ruffshot over theists on a live call in show you are assuming a lot/….doing live call in shows is different than making videos

  49. TheYouTubeGuy says

    Have you watched any Cosmic Skeptic yet? I agree AronRa and Seth Andrews are great though. I figured Phil had to have a decent YouTube channel but even Godless Engineer has more views and subscribers.

  50. Joe says

    Interesting mix of comments here that seem to fall into the camp of either “logical arguments are the bee-all-and-end-all” or “logical arguments should be confirmed to be true in the real world”.

    I fall into the latter category, a little empirical proof would be nice.

  51. Monocle Smile says

    @Joe
    Not exactly.
    I fall into the latter camp as well…if those were the two camps. Most here that you seem to put in the former camp are actually merely expressing distaste that a host would just flatly refuse to engage in discussion with a logical argument as the framework. Of course logical arguments need to be confirmed in reality, but that can be discussed with the argument as the setting and the premises as hypotheses. A mere “I don’t do arguments” is fine for most roles, but not, IMO, okay for a host of AXP.

  52. Vivec says

    A simple “you have no proof for your claims, neener-neener” is really good at making christians look dumb and make witty youtube clips, but garbage for actually disabusing theists of their faulty logic. I know plenty of theists who will absolutely admit that their beliefs have no tangible evidence, and just smugly pointing that out will do jack shit to make them change their mind because their whole heuristic is off and needs unpacking.

  53. Rizzm says

    By far THE worst Athist Experience episode I’ve ever see. Came here just to say what many others are saying. Tracie and Phil were literally converted from atheism on this episode because of their lack of understanding of how syllogisms work. Sound arguments are necessarily true; simple as that. I also agree that Phil was absolutely awful for this show. His demeanor is the last thing the atheist community needs to be associated with. He’s rude, annoying, condescending, and ignorant on the subjects.

  54. Les Black says

    @38 TheYoutubeguy But here’s how I see Zeno’s paradox: The number of points between two positions doesn’t matter. What matters is that the distance between the positions can be divided an infinite number of times. So while traversing the distance, one is constantly dividing it, which would take an infinite amount of time. Therefore you could never traverse the full distance. A similar problem exists for the trajectory of flying objects, such as a ball thrown straight up in the air. For what length of time does the ball have a velocity of zero at the top of it’s flight? These types of problems have gotten me to wondering if time and distance are in fact quantized, and are in fact not infinitely divisible, similarly​ to how energy states are quantized. Perhaps someone out there can address this for me.

  55. David Klages says

    Adam was just shopping his argument around, again. He had been shown its flaws previously by Matt. Completely disingenuous to call back when Matt wasn’t around just to try and get it over on a different set of hosts.

  56. Monocle Smile says

    @shadowblade
    Thunderf00t is a train wreck. I didn’t have a good feeling about you a while back, and now I’ve confirmed that feeling. I don’t find that you contribute anything of value. You’re going to have a bad time here.

  57. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    3rd Wave Feminazitarded moron

    I’m guessing that you’re going to receive a warning before being banned outright by the mods here. Regardless, I politely request that you leave this place, unless and until you become a decent human being who can treat other people with dignity and respect without needless hostility and antagonism.

  58. TheYouTubeGuy says

    How about instead of banning him for writing something most of us disagree with, we engage him in discussion. I regularly post on anti-feminism YouTube videos:

    “I’m a feminist. Ask me anything.”

    A few times it has evolved in to a 100+ comment thread where people engage me in conversation. I find that MANY of them have similar goals but express their views differently than me. Most people are good people and we need them on our side. Blocking/disengaging people is never the way to go.

    Would AXP block someone and never take their call again for saying this on the phone during the show? No. They’d probably have a discussion if they wanted to engage that topic. This topic isn’t directly related to atheism but it is an important one.

    I’m subscribed to Thunderf00t, Laci Green and Feminist Frequency. So go ahead and think I’m anti-feminist for one and pro-feminist for another. Or just take my word that I’m a feminist but I’m also willing to listen to people when they make an argument for or against what I believe. People who make arguments against something usually have a valid point or two. Really quickly….

    Ever notice how the AXP is very careful about what they say on-air regarding politics? It is because they are a 501C. Although I think Anita has done amazing work and agree with many of her videos. Thunderf00t rightfully pointed out recently a violation of being a 501C by Feminist Frequency. It was simply a black/white violation.

    Long story short… everyone needs to calm down and just talk. Let’s get back to a better topic at hand. Hell… I’ll put down $200 now if we can put together the money to fly Cosmic Skeptic over to America and have him on AXP. One of the mods who can see my email address (Or maybe everyone can) can email me and figure out how to put this together. The guy is 17 or so and is probably one of the best spoken / logical thinkers there is. I’m going to try and post a link but just google: Youtube Cosmic Skeptic No Idea is Sacred

  59. bodbod says

    Love the show in general and Tracie is a great host but the call with Adam was horrible.
    Can’t stand the “how are you going to falsify that” argument. That could be said to every single
    theist caller and we already know they can’t do that but we want to know why they believe what they believe.
    Adam said it killed the conversation and he was absolutely right. First time I’ve sided with the theist 🙂

    Btw I’m Scottish and that was definitely not Hammish.

  60. Rizzm says

    You would reject the first premise because there is evidence that not all men are green, making it unsound. The hosts ACCEPTED the caller’s premises, acknowledging that they were true (without even listening to them). The most cringeworthy episode without a doubt.

  61. Rizzm says

    A finite distance encompasses an infinite number of points. You can traverse infinite points in a finite distance. And an object thrown up doesn’t have zero velocity for any “length” of time, but at a single point in time.

  62. Matt Petty says

    The conversation with Adam didn’t go south because Tracy couldn’t handle it. It went south because this Phil guy was being an arrogant jerk to the caller. Tracy was trying to be as nice to the co-host as possible, but when Phil kept interrupting and insulting the guy, Tracy several times even had to apologize to the guest and ask Phil to let him speak. This is hands-down the worst and most embarrassing episode of AE that I’ve ever seen. Phil’s idea of atheism seems to include being as rude and condescending to theists as possible.

    And Phil’s “I don’t DO arguments” comment is going down in history as the dumbest thing ever uttered on this show.

    AE, if you’re ever short a co-host, please just let the host handle it themselves before plopping someone like Phil behind the desk. In an effort to try to be cordial to him, I got the sense several times that Tracy was frustrated and embarrassed to be sitting next to someone so arrogant and disrespectful.

  63. tom whitaker says

    Phil was a fill-in guest host. We are spoiled because Matt is so quick on his feet and is an incredible debator. I have seen almost every host or co host blow a call or two through the years. I wish my fellow atheists would stop crying over the adam call.

  64. tom whitaker says

    If all my fellow atheists think responding to live calls is so easy…might I make a suggestion….start your own show!!!!

  65. Matt Petty says

    Tom Whitaker, I’m not specifically talking about the Adam call. I think Phil botched the entire show by being rude and arrogant. Before they even accepted the next caller, he said something like “if we don’t like him, we can always just hang up. I’ll lean over and press the button for you.” How smug is that? I’m used to the hosts treating callers with a bit more respect. Why would a theist want to call a show with a legitimate question just to be relentlessly ridiculed?

    There’s a time and a place to make a joke of a caller, but Phil leads with that, and he did throughout the entire show. Embarrassing. He’s certainly not the caliber of person who should ever appear on this show again.

  66. tom whitaker says

    hahah….it was not that bad….ive seen don and russell get backed into corners that made me uncomfortable as well. Phil was a guest host.. a fill in. Stop with the panic. Atheism will always win where honesty prevails……

    Phil would not be my go to as a fill in….but stop with the panic.

  67. Jack Thornton says

    @tom whitaker.

    Please stop telling everyone to ‘stop panicking’. Nobody is panicking and yet you keep asserting it as if you want it to be true. All some people are doing, myself included, is expressing our dissatisfaction with Phil’s performance on the show. No panic. No drama, just opinion honestly given. You tactic of accusing us of ‘panic’ is akin to the juvenile playground tactic of ‘stop crying’. Please stop trying to shut/shout everybody down like this.

  68. tom whitaker says

    Phil was guest host..and probably nervous it being the first time he was on the show…thats nervousness can come out in many ways…one of which is to be a bit too sarcastic and or aggressive. I admit it was not a great performance….

    But ok i will stop asking those on the board to stop panicking…..I will revise it to stop CRYING!!!!! Its rather pathetic.

  69. tom whitaker says

    I am sorry Phil disappointed you….Do you really think that don or the other phil could have addressed Kalam much better??? LOL….they are not professional debaters…..

    It sounds like a lot of you cry babies are more troubled by phils snippiness……honestly..adam, the caller was not entitled to much respect. He was arrogant and passive aggressive as always….even claiming he had beaten the AXP…..

    Phil should listen to the criticism and make changes he is comfortable with if asked to co host again….Anyone willing to show up and take live call ins has much respect from me,

  70. Monocle Smile says

    @TheYouTubeGuy
    Yeah, I’ll pass. There are people who are mistaken and there are people like shadowblade who are too far up their own ass to make the effort worthwhile. I’m rather cynical in that I feel that engaging people in discussion only works for a certain subset of people. The rest will not be swayed by that method.

    I watched Tf00t’s entire series on creationists and then some, but that doesn’t make him not a train wreck and doesn’t make him fit to co-host AXP.

  71. Ethan Myerson says

    I really admire the way Tracie handled the troll callers. She recognized them for what they were and gave them more airtime than they had prepared for. The best take down of a troll is to let them flame out while you politely watch them do it. Kudos.

  72. TheYouTube Guy says

    “Atheism will always win where honesty prevails……”

    Contrast that with…

    “I don’t do arguments”

    and the problem with the way Phil handled the calls should be apparent.

  73. TheYouTube Guy says

    Do you really think that don or the other phil could have addressed Kalam much better???

    Don maybe.
    Other Phil yes.

    I have complete confidence that the true Phil could’ve taken a simple joke of an argument (The Kalam) and ripped it apart. Anyone who watches the AXP should be able to do this. So I revise my statement. I think Don could do this also. I feel like if we had hosts like Phil Session’s every week the show wouldn’t bring a single person to a better understanding about their views.

    Why are so many of us offended? Phil’s arrogant tactic and lack of abilities (Maybe due to nerves) only leads to negative views to the atheist community. Is that something the Atheist Community of Austin wants to promote? Do they want someone who hangs up on calls when they don’t want to talk to the theist? The call with Adam was the worst handled call in the history of the show. Aside from the lost episodes, I’ve seen them all. I know this is a mighty claim but let me break it down:

    1 – He acted like a jerk.
    2 – He threatened to hang up because he wanted to.
    3 – He refused to engage an argument.
    4 – He agreed to the Kalam and didn’t make it clear how useless it is.

    The correct thing would be to say “If the Kalam is sound, where does that get us?” . You could use that tactic. Then let the caller answer. All they can give you is that there is an uncaused first cause. There are so many ways to go from this. Many people will start heaping on attributes without any good evidence. Can he seriously not handle breaking this apart? If not… he shouldn’t be on the show.

  74. Tobias says

    I really did not enjoy Phil Ferguson’s contribution to the show. He was overly flippant from the start, and his inclination to ham it up for the audience detracted from the actual discussion, which is why I tune in. I don’t know anything about him, and assume he enjoys some celebrity in the Atheist community, but if found this episode too chaotic, in spite of Tracie’s stabilizing influence.

  75. TheYouTube Guy says

    I’m rather cynical in that I feel that engaging people in discussion only works for a certain subset of people.

    The whole point of the AXP is to engage believers and non-believers in discussion. I have a hard time thinking someone can be a skeptic if they’re not willing to hear out objections. It doesn’t mean you give objection equal merit. It merely means you listen to objections.

    While I think Thunderf00t is an intelligent individual and could’ve handled calls 100x better than Phil, he is seen as a devise member of the Atheist community for his strong views/videos on Feminism. I understand this and thus would not advocate for him to be on the AXP. With that said, I keep mentioning Cosmic Skeptic. He is blowing up right now and for good reason. He’s got sarcasm, wit and intelligence. However it seems any ideas are being thrown to the wind. Do I need to up my offer on how much I’ll contribute to flying him over. Does anyone care? Are we going to sit around here and do nothing or actually talk about real ideas and how to achieve them?

    We could just laugh at the butt sex caller though… hehe… such a poe…. so funny though… I love it when poe’s call in…. hehe… I wish the show as all poe’s…. hehe. I’m also glad Phil was rude. That makes the show way more funny. Also let’s not waste our time with discussions callers call in to talk about. Let’s divert and just agree a God exists.

  76. Monocle Smile says

    @TheYouTubeGuy

    It doesn’t mean you give objection equal merit. It merely means you listen to objections.

    Shadowblade is not worth the effort. That’s all I’m saying. I get sick of listening to rage-y garbage for the hundred and seventh time when the objection has already been considered and dismissed. If the facts have not changed, the conclusion hasn’t, either. The point is to have productive discussions, not have trollish flamers blast shit everywhere.

    Does anyone care?

    No. There are already plenty of hosts.

    I feel like you have an overdeveloped sense of self-importance and now you’re just being belligerent and condescending. Engaging with you is suffering diminishing returns.

  77. bigjay says

    Prayer – noun – “a telepathic message to a supernatural being who may or may not exist”

  78. Curt Cameron says

    TheYouTubeGuy said:

    I really think the call with Adam was handled sloppy. When it comes to logical deduction, you can prove things.

    I liked Phil and Tracie’s approach to Adam’s call. Maybe you like the formal logic arguments, but I agree with Phil that they’re just verbal masturbation. Christians prove their god, atheists disprove a god, Muslims prove their god, and on and on. The language of the arguments gets so convoluted that no one can truly tell what’s going on. I like Matt much of the time, but when he gets into his formal logic mode, i start to get impatient. When I hear people like Teen Pop Sensation Justin Schieber go off into logical la-la land, my eyes roll back in my head. Tracie took a new and refreshing tack: let’s just tentatively accept the argument, and test the conclusion against the real world. Great idea.

    That is the point of the show! Tell us what you believe and why.

    OK, how many people believe in a god because of logic-only arguments? Zero! The arguments are just used as cover for people to explain away why they have no evidence.

    Ok…. Phil has 186 subscribers and 3,049 views. I have YouTube Channel with 1100 subscribers and 200,000+ views.

    Subscribers in what way? YouTube? I guess from your user name you think YouTube is a big deal, but I sure don’t. It’s good for some things, but not for discussions. Phil’s show is weekly or bi-weekly I guess, and I think he gets 40,000 to 50,000 listeners per show.

  79. Vivec says

    OK, how many people believe in a god because of logic-only arguments? Zero! The arguments are just used as cover for people to explain away why they have no evidence.

    I disagree with this in particular. Not everyone accepts the heuristic that lack of evidence is a reason not to believe something.

    Sure, that makes them wrong, but just going “You have no evidence, stop believing this” isn’t going to convince them of anything, and not because they’re being willingly combative or intellectually dishonest. Plenty of theists are perfectly fine saying that there’s no evidence for their god, and will simply shrug it off if you point that out to them.

  80. Curt Cameron says

    But my point was: that’s not WHY they believe. No one believes in theism because of the ontological argument, or the cosmological argument. They’re just wallpapering over their shoddy reasons for why the hold those beliefs in the first place.

  81. VICTOR AUGUSTO says

    Adam’s call was in my opinion very poorly handled, if the structure of an argument is correct, there are no fallacies, and the premises are true, it necessarily follows that the conclusion is true, Matt himself said that last show ( In Stephany’s call I believe).
    EX:
    All men are mortal (Major premise)
    Socrates is a man (Minor Premise
    Therefore Socrates mortal. (Conclusion)

    It turns out that the premises in the cosmological argument are dubious, not necessarily true, self-contradictory, and the conclusion doesn’t follow.
    Tracie and Phil could have explained that, rather than saying that the argument didn’t matter. or (I don’t do arguments)
    But I think understand Tracie’s point though, we would need evidence to verify if the premises are true, so it all comes back to evidence, BUT if the premises are true, then the conclusion is true, and you would be the irrational one by not accepting it.

  82. Les Black says

    @Rizzm 72
    Forgive me, but I’m afraid you’re defining the problem away, not really solving it. A mathematical point is an abstraction that does not exist in the real world. A distance between positions is real. To say there are an infinite number of points between positions is about the same as saying there are an infinite number of massless, dimensionless, invisible leprechauns between two points. To speak of a “point in time” also has no real meaning, as it would be an interval in time without duration, which is oxymoronic. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, and I’ve read a few “solutions” to Zeno’s paradox but I’ve found most of these explanations as paradoxical as the problem. Maybe I’m just stupid, but I wonder if it’s an example of a problem that exists beyond an a natural intellectual barrier or restriction that humans are just not equipped to surmount, kind of like a dog who can’t understand why he can’t find the other dog on the back side of the mirror.

  83. Curt Cameron says

    Les Black, we’re using numbers as abstract things to tell us about the real world. If you assign numbers to two different positions on a line, it’s not meaningless to say that there are an infinite number of points between them. “A point in time” also has a well-defined meaning (at least it does as long as time in the universe isn’t quantized).

    And Zeno’s paradox is only a paradox if you can’t accept that the sum of an infinite amount of numbers can be finite. We now know that it can. 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + … adds up to one. Bingo, it’s no longer a paradox.

  84. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Curt Cameron #93:

    But my point was: that’s not WHY they believe. No one believes in theism because of the ontological argument, or the cosmological argument. They’re just wallpapering over their shoddy reasons for why the hold those beliefs in the first place.

    I sympathize. The arguments are specious and frequently performed insincerely. The logical arguments are broken, *and* they’d be inadequate even if they weren’t.
     
    But there is no concealed root cause. The apologetic arguments get added late, but learning them contributed to the sense of legitimacy, which must be eroded.
     
    Video: Evid3nc3’s Deconversion – 1.1 The God Concept (5:32)

    It’s only when a sufficient number of these beliefs [supporting God endorsement] are countered, that a Christian will really start to question their faith. This is called graceful degradation. It’s a concept in network theory, where multiple nodes in a network can be knocked down, but the network as a whole can still stand up.

  85. Rizzm says

    A point is a representation of a position in reality. There aren an infinite number of positions (since you don’t like the word point) from 0 on a ruler stick.

  86. bigjay says

    Off Topic, so ignore this if you want. Does anyone know if any studies have been done into whether there may be something akin to color-blindedness that keeps non-believers from seeing/hearing/whatever the existence of the supernatural and/or god(s)?

  87. Vivec says

    But that’s the thing, not everyone who buys those logical arguments does it out of some bad faith “haha I know my belief is bad so here’s a shitty argument that I can use to hide it!” reasoning.

    Plenty of theists start out with the heuristic that “my belief is not invalidated by a lack of evidence”, and then see an argument that makes sense to their mangled epistemology, and go along with it because within their frame of mind, it makes sense.

  88. Monocle Smile says

    @bigjay
    No, at least, nothing that has passed muster. There has been zero evidence for the “sensus divinatus” and it wouldn’t make sense anyway, since people convert and deconvert all the time.

    Furthermore, I can most definitely demonstrate color to someone who can only see in grayscale. Russell had a good one for this. Reliable, repeatable predictions in a controlled environment can be made by someone who can see color, proving to the colorblind person that they have some mechanism by which these predictions can be made.

  89. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I feel like I should expand on Monocle Smile.

    Imagine proving to a color-blind person that other people can see in color.

    Take two balls that are different colors to a color-vision person, but identical to a color-blind person. Pretend to be the color-blind person: Have a purported color-vision person tell you the color of both balls. Remember which ball is which purported color. Then, go to another purported color-vision person, say “point to the red ball please”, and they’ll point to the red ball quite reliably. Repeat as necessary, and also do proper things like ensure that there are tricks nor conspiracy going on. That is ample proof that these other people do have a sensory apparatus that you do not.

    There’s countless imaginable ways that people who “talk with god” could trivially and beyond-all-reasonable-doubt show that they can talk to a god to someone like me who does not. Hasn’t happen yet, and based on the past track record, it almost certainly never will happen.

  90. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @bigjay #98:

    Does anyone know if any studies have been done into whether there may be something akin to color-blindedness that keeps non-believers from seeing/hearing/whatever the existence of the supernatural and/or god(s)?

    There are studies on whether magical beliefs are learned or innate (at least during young ages).
     
    Sensus divinitatis is a trope of apologists.
     
    Article: Epiphenom – The childish beliefs of Dr Justin Barrett

    As kids grow up they figure out that the people around them do not, in fact, know what’s going on inside their heads. They have plenty of evidence from observing how people behave, and employ their increasing brain power to work out the truth.
     
    Of course, they can’t do this for God, because God is a fictional entity. All they have to go on is what adults are telling them. And so, following the lead of the adults around them, they continue to accept that God is omniscient. Many kids have similar beliefs about Santa Claus, and for the same reason.
     
    Barrett says that young kids ‘get god right’. But the only reason they do this is that god is an extension into the adult world of childish understanding of how the world works.
    […]
    So the reason young kids ‘get god right’ is that their brains aren’t fully developed. The reason older kids and adults ‘get god right’ is that god is their imaginary friend.

     

    But what Barrett wants to know is “Why did these beliefs and not others?”. So, is there any evidence that these beliefs are what you get if you start to degrade the adult brain’s ability to reason about the world? Well yes there is.
     
    Tania Lombrozo […] has done similar experiments to those described by Barrett, but in Alzheimer’s patients rather than young kids. And it turns out that, just like kids, Alzheimer’s patients tend to see design everywhere.
    […]
    So kids are like adults but with an important bit of their brain missing. And that’s why they ‘get god right’!

     
    Article: Epiphenom – Do kids have to be taught about the supernatural?
    Article: Epiphenom – Religion facilitates learning about omniscience, but it still has to be learned

  91. TheYouTubeGuy says

    Christians prove their god

    No Christian has ever proved their God with logic. The point of dismantling the Kalam is to show that it is faulty and also it doesn’t even get you to you God. If a caller wants to talk about the Kalam and you don’t want to, then don’t take their call. Don’t put them on the show and say you don’t do logical arguments.

    Logical arguments are not verbal masturbation. People like Matt Slick abuse logic and will just go back to “Well how do you know that if everything is just brain fizz?” when backed in to a corner. That is when it becomes nonsense. However, in an honest discussion when faults in the Kalam are shown, the person shown those faults should reconsider their position. If the people on the show are unwilling or incapable of this they shouldn’t take the call and they should definitely not be rude to the caller.

  92. TheYouTubeGuy says

    if the structure of an argument is correct, there are no fallacies, and the premises are true, it necessarily follows that the conclusion is true, Matt himself said that last show

    We’ve got a bunch of people on this thread screaming “NOO!!!” to this. Schools need to teach people how to think critically and handle logical arguments because what you said is true. If someone presents a structurally sound argument with no fallacies, then it necessarily follows that the conclusion is true. My mind is blow by the backlash of people saying “Well logic is just word games!” The truth is that formal logic is anything but that. It’s how I can prove to you the pythagorean theorem actually works in all instances.

    If all A are B
    and all B are C
    Then an A must be C

    This is perfectly logically sound. The fault in the argument would be that maybe all As are not Bs or all Bs are not Cs. I’m sorry… this week just felt like amateur hour and many of the comments here agree with that sentiment. I know Tracie is ANYTHING but amateur. I’m also offended by the people who think it’s great when we have people being rude to the hosts and making jokes. It’s a waste of our time and sets the wrong tone for the show.

  93. Scottish Person (therefore Hamish) says

    Hello everyone. Scottish commenter here. I’ve never commented on this forum before but I just wanted to say that I am starting to get offended at the way Scottish callers are somehow automatically considered suspicious!

    I might have understood the situation wrongly but I seem to remember that a Scottish caller called in once – I think it might have been the first time Hamish called – and Matt or somebody thought he was perhaps a troll because of the way he spoke.

    And this episode, no, Connor was not Hamish. To a Scottish ear, it’s not hard to tell that their accents and manner of speaking are somewhat different, but even if you can’t tell the difference it’s not like everyone in Scotland has a completely unique accent. Connor took an entirely different position than Hamish; he was arguing for a position that had nothing to do with Hamish; he was reasonable rather than arrogant and yet Phil on air, and “333and333” in the comments section here, are both like “HAMISH!!!”, with 333etc even stating that they had “the same arguments”! Jesus Christ, were you even listening to Connor or when Scottish people speak do you just hear “Kilts, kilts, haggis, bagpipes…” Why, exactly, presume he’s Hamish? Because you can’t you conceive of there being more than one man in Scotland?

  94. pi314 says

    Way to many hoops to go through to make a comment here, so this is probably my first an last post. Phil made this episode the worst show of them all. How annoying can a person be? Yipes!!! Like a comedian with bad timing. Invite him back again ………….. with a gag over his mouth. I’d enjoy that very much. 😉
    As always, Tracie was on her game by allowing the callers the rope to hang themselves with, and they always hang themselves, and actually hang themselves on crosses too. Bible thumpers … ya gotta love em.

  95. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Judging from these posts, this is a must watch episode.

    Gonna need refreshments.

  96. RationalismRules says

    #105

    Scottish Person (therefore Hamish)

    Brilliant name! Still laughing at it.

    It doesn’t take a Scot to hear the difference. My Aussie ears can clearly distinguish between the two. (OTOH Mel Gibson probably can’t, if his accent in Braveheart is any indication)

  97. Curt Cameron says

    TheYouTubeGuy said:

    We’ve got a bunch of people on this thread screaming “NOO!!!” to this. Schools need to teach people how to think critically and handle logical arguments because what you said is true. If someone presents a structurally sound argument with no fallacies, then it necessarily follows that the conclusion is true.

    No one is questioning that that’s true. The problem is when you take the formal logic structure out of the black-and-white world of simple constructs like “Socrates is a man” or that of mathematics, then it gets much harder to do correctly. Are the premises of the Kalam true? I don’t think so, but you get into having to precisely define the words you’re using, looking for equivocation, figuring out the extent that the words apply, etc. etc. etc., and it’s just fruitless.

    Another example is the Transcendental Argument. I was interested the first time in hearing what it was, but it got pointless and boring pretty quickly.

    The Kalam’s premises have been talked about forever, and its adherents still want to stick with it. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care anymore. Tracie took a different approach. She and Phil know that even if it were sound, it just gets you to the point of an inaccessible entity that created everything. But that’s not the god that theists believe in, they believe in one who answers prayers and does miracles and sent his son in human form to Earth (at least in the case of Christianity). So Tracie’s approach was “OK, let’s grant the Kalam – what different does it make? You believe in much more than what the Kalam supposedly proves, let’s talk about that.”

    I agree with this approach by the way. I know the Kalam’s premises have been picked apart, and so does everyone else. But let’s talk about the god you actually believe in, and whether there’s evidence for it.

  98. Murat says

    To sum up the argument about logic & theism:
    I guess it is ok to claim the existence of a god UNLIKELY whereas problematic to claim it ILLOGICAL.
    Because rules of logic can be used for the sake of either side.

  99. mond says

    @105

    Well said not Hamish.
    Some of 333and333 comments were sailing close to a racist wind. (ie “Scottish dickhead” comment ‘#28)
    I must admit I find the real Hamish a pain and would prefer he didn’t call but there are no need for that type of slur.

  100. Les Black says

    Curt Cameron @95 says “If you assign numbers to two different positions on a line, it’s not meaningless to say that there are an infinite number of points between them.” When you “assign” abstractions (numbers or points) to real things (positions) and then just say “it’s not meaningless to say there are an infinite number of them”, this seems more like an assertion than a conclusion reached by reasoning. Furthermore, I’m not saying it’s “meaningless”. I’m saying it’s an abstraction, which may or may not apply in the real world. Also, when you say a point in time “has a well defined meaning”, I need more than just the assertion.

    However, I do appreciate your nod to the idea of quantized time, which I mentioned earlier.

    I’ve also seen the convergence argument you use (1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + …. converging to 1) before, but again, these fractions (1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc.) and their manipulation (addition) in this context are mathematical abstractions. Zeno’s problem deals with an actual, real action;, i.e. the decreasing distance between two positions by a moving object .

    Rizzm @97, once again, the number of points (or positions) between start and the end positions doesn’t matter. What matters is that the distance between the positions can be *divided* an infinite number of times. Dividing a distance by moving across it is a real *action*, not a calculation (although that would take time, too), so it would require an infinite amount of time, i.e. it could never be completed.

  101. X-Catholic says

    I liked having Phil on. I thought he had interesting things to say about approaching finance from a skeptic’s perspective. I know some people think he came across as mean, but I liked his straightforward explanations of why he thinks religion is bad. I wish more atheists were like him.

    I also thought Tracie did an excellent job hosting.

  102. Rizzm says

    You’re trying way too hard to convince anyone that it takes an infinite amount of time to walk three feet.

  103. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    […] it would require an infinite amount of time, i.e. it could never be completed.

    “What can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence”

  104. Monocle Smile says

    @Les Black
    There are a number of proposed mathematical and philosophical solutions to the paradoxes, and several of them are enough to close the issue. Are you aware of none of them?
    One of your issues is that you divide the distance an infinite number of times…but the time needed to traverse the distance is also divided up. It takes an infinitesimally small amount of time to travel an infinitesimally small distance. They are contingent upon each other given constant velocity. In mathematics after a couple of steps, this can be written as “dx/dt.” I shouldn’t need to point out that this should look familiar.

  105. RationalismRules says

    @Curt Cameron #110

    even if it were sound, it just gets you to the point of an inaccessible entity that created everything.

    You’re giving it too much credit. It doesn’t even get you to an ‘entity’, just to a ’cause’.

  106. Les Black says

    Lol. I was wondering how long it would take before someone would accused me of arguing that Zeno was right about motion being impossible. Of course, Rizzm and Enlightenment Liberal, I know motion is not impossible. Only an idiot would say something is impossible that’s observed literally every moment of every day. But that’s why it’s a considered to be a paradox — observation seems to be incongruent with logic. And yes, monocle smile, I am familiar with the proposed solutions, but as I said before, I find at least some of them as paradoxical as the problem. But it’s probably just me.

    In any case, I think I’ve bored everyone enough with this. Thank you to all of you who’ve bothered to respond. I’ve followed your comments here and in other discussions and I respect you very much.

  107. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    observation seems to be incongruent with logic.

    No, you’re sneaking in an extra assumption: “it takes an infinite amount of time to cross an infinite number of points”. I reject that assertion as unsubstantiated. It may be true, and it may be false, and you don’t have any evidence whatsoever that it’s true. It’s seemingly paradoxical only when you sneak in that premise, and the most obvious solution to the paradox is simply to reject the premise.

  108. Les Black says

    Ok. As long as you don’t think I’m crazy enough to believe that motion isn’t possible.

  109. TheYouTubeGuy says

    I’ve come to notice something. It seems even the hosts come on here to defend themselves then they walk away not reading the followup comments that point out the flaws. I know I have my own issues with arrogance… 142 and all… but it just seems absurd that the hosts layout their views then walk away when people point out the flaws. I’m also dumbfounded by all the people saying they enjoyed Phil. I don’t know the guy personally but he didn’t do well for the cause of atheism with the way he was treating believers (On the show this week).

  110. tom whitaker says

    then i can assume you wont be posting….see ya. the hosts and show is impressively respectful overall….sorry they fail to meet your standards…..im sure we will all limp around without you! look forward to seeing your show! bye

  111. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Well, um, this week was pretty eventful.

    I name it, “Backlash March.”

  112. tonyinbatavia says

    TheYouTube Guy @90 et al, I for one hope you don’t get banned, as you lamented was a possibility in the now-gone #88. I rather enjoy sad, whiny, ass-holish posts from people who make it sound as though they are outrageously put upon because a non-profit educational organization staffed entirely by volunteers who give out loads and loads of free content on multiple platforms — all on their own time — have the temerity to run their own outlets the way that they see fit to run them.

    I especially like folks like you who all-cap “free thought.” I bet doing that makes you believe you are as brave as that fella who stood up to that tank in Tiananmen Square, am I right? Trouble is, that vapid gesture says nothing at all beyond the obvious message that you are an entitled, privileged little asswipe who believes you have a right to have complete and ready access to any and all platforms for your tiny, ignorant thoughts. While you insist on being you — which is pretty much just a rude and demanding fuckpig — you want the AXP and ACA to keep cleaning the vomit you spew all over the red carpet that you seem to think they were obligated to roll out for you.

    I am also partial to the part where you are so clueless that it is beyond you to think you could simply ghost this website, give away your own time to start your own venues and outlets, create your own exacting and precise standards, be as perfectly consistent as you desire against those standards, and rule the world with all your evident superiority. Some people might think they actually have the power to start their own organization, do their own thing, and live by the very standards they demand from others, but not you; you get to just sit back and anonymously ask something of others without actually doing a damn thing. It’s a marvel really, to see a sad, pathetic assclown like you demand so much of the people at the AXP and ACA who actually contribute value to the world, while demanding exactly zero of yourself.

    Don’t go anywhere, TheYouTube Guy, please. Continue to stay here to whine and cry and whine some more so that we can continue to watch you be the ass-holish bore you clearly are. I find you genuinely entertaining because you appear to be gleefully unaware that all of your petty whines about the AXP and ACA says far, far more about you than them.

  113. Curt Cameron says

    How about something like this in response to a Kalam caller:

    OK, even if I grant all your premises and agree that it’s a valid argument, it still just gets us to a cause. And further, even if I agree that the cause had to be something like a god, then my position would need to move by about two inches on the big Venn diagram of religious belief. The position you hold, that of Christianity, is still a hundred feet away. Convincing me of the Kalam is next to nothing towards getting me to accept Christianity – let’s talk about that.

    This is one of the places that William Lane Craig pulls a fast one with his audience. He says that since he’s already demonstrated a god (which he hasn’t but let’s give him that for now), then his sending his son to Earth and have him die and resurrect is perfectly reasonable to believe! It’s like if there’s a god, then all standards of evidence and critical thinking fly out the window. If I tell you that I magically teleported to work this morning instead of driving my car, then you just need to believe it, because if there’s a god then anything’s possible!

  114. tom whitaker says

    bravo tony, bravo. He wont leave us, trust me. He lacks the venue for his s sacrimony if he does. That was one of the best azz ripping I ever read btw.

  115. RationalismRules says

    @tom #132
    “sacrimony” – interesting word, new to me. I could only find it in Urban Dictionary so I gather it’s relatively new? Ceremonial sacrifice “without intrinsic purpose”. In YTG’s case, might we say self-sacrimony?

    I’ve been puzzling as to why YTG has been acting so much like a petulant teenager, especially on the other thread. Eventually I realized, it’s because he actually is a teenager… (there are lots of signs, once you realize). It goes some way to explaining the anti-authority escalations and the flouncy exit.
    It’s a pity, I thought he was doing quite well until he decided to turn the language rules into some sort of bizarre personal crusade.

  116. Conversion Tube says

    I must tell a lot of you, you have formed an inaccurate first impression of Phil. I’ve listened to his show a couple years. He’s a great guy and a great guy to the community.

    Not every call needs to be handled the same. For us who have watched the show for years the Kalam has been beaten to death. It’s OK if you don’t hammer the premises every time. Don’t worry. Nobody is “Winning the argument”.

    With all that said, I was still disappointed in Phil. I love when Tracie is on and when he said “I don’t do arguments” and I realized Tracie wasn’t taking over, I was bummed. It’s fine if you don’t do arguments but Tracie does.

    One small quibble, still a great show.

    Phil is a great guy and I like how he handled most of everything else. (Not sure would need to listen again to be sure).

  117. Monocle Smile says

    @Les Black

    And yes, monocle smile, I am familiar with the proposed solutions, but as I said before, I find at least some of them as paradoxical as the problem. But it’s probably just me.

    No, you’re correct! That’s part of why Zeno’s paradoxes lasted so long…there were a bunch of proposed solutions and several of them create just as many or more problems.

    But that’s why it’s a considered to be a paradox — observation seems to be incongruent with logic

    Key word: “seems.” I took issue with something I read about Zeno: the idea that a paradox is not solved merely by demonstrating the falsity of the conclusion. While digging further to find out what’s wrong with which premise does indeed serve a purpose, an argument does not stand up if it has a false conclusion. In the end, this isn’t a paradox; the “logic” is either invalid or unsound at some point. This goes all the way back to Democritus, who argued that rationalism and empiricism are complements rather than opposing forces.

  118. Fieldmarshal says

    This is the third time I can recall a presenter has stated the pericope adulterae in the Gospel of John is an interpolation. Recognising the show’s agenda, I understand the reason for this; however, this is not an accurate representation of the reasoning behind its absence from earliest manuscripts. Presenters should state that their opinion is that the passage is a later interpolation, though different scholars have differing opinions regarding the passage authenticity. To continue to represent the interpolation opinion as a fact would be scholastically dishonest at best.

  119. Monocle Smile says

    @Fieldmarshal
    I mean, cool, but…how much does it matter? The hosts are not New Testament scholars; they get their information from a number of sources. Do you have a timestamp for the utterance on the show?

    The fact that the story is not in the earliest manuscripts seems to hint that it was part of oral tradition that wasn’t captured and integrated until later. This of course raises uncomfortable questions concerning the theology of those who put the bible on a pedestal.

  120. Fieldmarshal says

    Timestamp 1hr 11,50ish…
    It matters because the ‘fact’ is then used to further undermine the text, the character and nature of Jesus and thus Christianity in general. I understand that this is not the be all and end all of either theist or atheist positions, though the presenters are quick and thorough at picking out and picking over inaccuracies in theistic viewpoints (last weeks first caller for example – Matt got extremely pedantic over essentially a mute point, but I digress….)
    The hosts are not NT scholars but then make inaccurate assertions like this.
    Similarly, your second paragraph reflects a lack of understanding of the issues surrounding the pericope, leading to a general assumption of ‘not in the early manuscripts therefore later tradition’ and therefore ‘uncomfortable for theists’. You have illustrated the exact point of how much it matters.

  121. Monocle Smile says

    @Fieldmarshal
    I’m not sure you’re being very charitable towards Tracie’s reason for bringing up the pericope, although I realize I’m not really the best person to bring this up.
    She brought it up as an example of a story added to the bible for a purpose. That the story probably existed prior to its entry into the gospel of John is rather irrelevant to what she was saying, although “interpolation” carries baggage and I acknowledge that. There are also plenty of other examples of this practice; it was an example, not a lynch pin.

    leading to a general assumption of ‘not in the early manuscripts therefore later tradition’

    No. Read my post again. Given the references to the story in other documents, it’s reasonable to believe that the story existed in early tradition perhaps even before those manuscripts, but didn’t get included on paper until later.

    You have illustrated the exact point of how much it matters.

    No. My point is that picking the nit doesn’t strengthen the christian’s position at all; it has the opposite effect, if anything.

    last weeks first caller for example – Matt got extremely pedantic over essentially a mute point

    I don’t agree with your evaluation, nor your priorities. Matt wasn’t being pedantic (or at least not needlessly so); he got quickly to a fundamental issue that would determine whether or not the call would continue, and he was correct in doing so. It is not productive to have a discussion with someone who willfully ignores reason. It’s one thing to have poor reasoning, it’s another thing to not care. Stephanie called in looking for a fight and would have gish galloped and screamed incoherently for half the show.

  122. Monocle Smile says

    Following that timestamp, I listened to Joey’s call.
    Stephen Meyer is an employee of the Discovery Institute. Enough said. Joey is completely wrong about Meyer; he hasn’t published shit on the topic of biology that’s worth more than my toenail clippings. Just another Liar for Jesus(tm)

  123. Monocle Smile says

    Fuck, I should have kept listening. Joey has apparently watched Ben Stein’s “Expelled” and taken all of it at face value. Joey is wildly ignorant of all sorts of things, it seems.

  124. Fieldmarshal says

    First of all, thanks for the responses to my post. I’ve pondered after several shows whether or not to jump in and join the discussion(s), so to have a response to my first ever posting does mean something, so thank you.
    I am willing to accept that Tracie may not have been as vociferous regarding the nature of the interpolation – if it is one in the first place. Certainly when this specific reference has been raised by hosts on previous shows, the nature of the comment(s) were.
    A number of sources provide reasoning for the pericope being part of the original manuscripts and being Johnanine authorship. I will cite the wikipedia reference – not for authority, but because the article reflects both pro and con viewpoints.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_and_the_woman_taken_in_adultery

    – No. My point is that picking the nit doesn’t strengthen the christian’s position at all; it has the opposite effect, if anything.-

    I disagree that this is the point – you conclude your original post with -This of course raises uncomfortable questions concerning the theology of those who put the bible on a pedestal –
    Challenging original authorship, asserting certain passages are interpolations, even presenting the formation of the canon as a political censorship intrigue are strategies the atheist community utilise to undermine the christian position; defending this particular instance shouldn’t be considered nit picking, but part of an overall defence against these strategies.
    Of course I understand the oral tradition came first, but this does not mean this or any other passage were later additions to original manuscripts.
    I won’t concede my view that hosts insist upon accuracy when it strengthens their particular argument or viewpoint, however I will concede the point regarding Matt and last weeks caller (Stephanie?). I just remember being frustrated that Matt didn’t tackle the argument head on. I do enjoy listening to Matt’s arguments (which I concede are well formulated and delivered) and though I am a Theist, I do challenge my own held views (usually via a Matt argument).

  125. Monocle Smile says

    @Fieldmarshal
    No worries. Welcome to the blog!

    A number of sources provide reasoning for the pericope being part of the original manuscripts and being Johnanine authorship

    No offense, but the arguments on the Wiki page are rather weak, in my opinion. Two religious apologists and a reference in a third-century document don’t really move the needle when the very earliest manuscripts we possess don’t have those verses. This also does nothing to damper Tracie’s point that there were edits in the Bible; the story could have been in the original, removed, and then re-inserted. At the very least, I am not convinced that the passage IS authentic.

    Challenging original authorship, asserting certain passages are interpolations, even presenting the formation of the canon as a political censorship intrigue are strategies the atheist community utilise to undermine the christian position

    It is merely one minor strategy and generally only in response to ludicrous claims about 100% preservation and infallibility. I’ve even heard christians say we’ve had the bible since the beginning of time. Personally, I avoid talking about the bible at all unless I have to in response to specific claims. Usually I ask for empirical evidence of gods, because that’s falsifiable and we don’t have to turn to old crusty people arguing about 2000-year-old documents in dead languages.

    I just remember being frustrated that Matt didn’t tackle the argument head on

    He did. Stephanie’s “argument” was nothing more than a textbook argument from ignorance fallacy (even supposing that any of the church tradition of early christians is accurate, which I would challenge all day long). Pointing this out is indeed tackling the argument head on. That Stephanie wanted to ignore that and keep going while Matt tied her down raises my opinion of Matt, because he’s most definitely right when he says that there’s little value in letting someone continue down a long road of apologetics when they start with a glaring error.

    though I am a Theist, I do challenge my own held views (usually via a Matt argument).

    Well, you’re still a theist, so maybe I bit more challenging is in order 😛

  126. RationalismRules says

    @Fieldmarshal You are clearly an articulate and considered poster, so I think this will interest you: http://blog.dictionary.com/moot-point-vs-mute-point/
    Welcome to the blog.
    Regarding your primary point: if the passage was missing from earliest texts, and then appeared in later texts, how is it incorrect to call that ‘a later interpolation’?

  127. Cousin Ricky says

    Assuming that Jake in Virginia was not a troll, his suggestion that Christianity’s hangup over virginity leads to anal sex doesn’t work for all denominations. In Roman Catholicism, for example, anal sex is just as hellworthy as PIV sex. (Also, oral sex, masturbation, and looking at a centerfold longer than it takes to drop the magazine like a hot rock will also send you to hell for all eternity, which might explain all the pregnant Catholic girls.)

  128. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Cousin Ricky
    You may not be considering a benefit of anal sex: it’s a pretty effective form of contraception, and getting pregnant is a pretty sure-fire way of getting caught by your parents (or others).

  129. tonyinbatavia says

    Thanks, tom whitaker @130, but I’m afraid we might have chased TheYouTube Guy off with all our mean widdle words.

    Or, perhaps he tripped over a crack in the sidewalk which led him to fall face-first into a previously-elusive fuckin’ clue?

    Or maybe John Iacoletti airlocked his entitled ass from the blog’s spaceship?

    I rather hope TheYouTube Guy uncovered several of the massive clues we left for him in these comments that he has been one colossal ass-hat since he got here, but I doubt that’s even possible with someone sporting a killer 359° blindspot.

    So: I suspect I have John to blame for my sudden lack of Sit-Back-and-Enjoy the Entitled Fuckhead entertainment. Thanks for nothing, John.

  130. Aman Amiri says

    I take no joy in saying that I think the first call was handled terribly.

    Phil’s responses were sarcastic, his tone rude and needlessly interrupted the caller. To say “I don’t do arguments, it’s verbal masturbation (what does that even mean?)” makes me wonder why he wanted to be on the show.

    When Adam asked are you a naturalist / do you believe in anything supernatural – He didn’t provide very good examples of what something supernatural might be however this question could have been handled so much better. It was clear what Adam meant; something beyond the laws of nature and our scientific understanding – Would it not be appropriate to say something along the lines of I currently am not aware of any evidence of anything supernatural existing? We can all imagine what one means by supernatural. Why waste time going round in pointless circles? Anyone with any experience of engaging in / listening to debates on atheism & religion knows where Adam was going with this question, why talk down to him and treat him like somebody who is there to waste time when he was trying to have an honest & constructive discussion?

  131. Monocle Smile says

    @Aman
    I’ll have to listen to the call, but judging by earlier comments, Adam has been calling in a number of times recently with different names for the sole purpose of going down pointless philosophical rabbit holes. If this is true and he is who I suspect, then despite my agreement with your assessment of the first call, I’m not about to shed tears for this person.

    It was clear what Adam meant; something beyond the laws of nature and our scientific understanding

    This isn’t clear at all. I find this to be a deepity. To the extent that it’s true (there are things about the universe we don’t yet understand) it’s trivial. To the extent that it is profound (there are things about the universe that are immune to scientific inquiry) it is false. “Supernatural” is a wibble word used to smuggle in nonsensical baggage more often than not.

  132. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Aman Amiri #147:

    He didn’t provide very good examples of what something supernatural might be

    Neither did you.
     

    It was clear what Adam meant; something beyond the laws of nature and our scientific understanding

    Something with utterly inconsistent interactions from moment to moment and evades careful investigation?
     
    Even if something like that did exist, how would anyone determine that? And how would anyone benefit from accepting the truth of that assertion? Such a thing would be so unstable, it couldn’t be relied upon for anything, even for recognizing its existence in the first place.
     

    Would it not be appropriate to say something along the lines of I currently am not aware of any evidence of anything supernatural [fhqwhgads] existing?

    Sure, but that’s not an informative statement.
     

    We can all imagine what one means by supernatural.

    There’s nothing for listeners to address if the speaker can’t form an intelligible statement. Speaking in nebulous placeholders for listeners to insert [whatever they’d like to invent for themselves] is not communication. The parties will use similar words, but it won’t be clear they’re referring to the same thing.

  133. tom whitaker says

    yes uest host could have done better.. if it upsets you this much go start your own show

  134. Adam Boghosian says

    I hope Matt addresses this, it would be a good time to reiterate what the Atheist Experience is about.

  135. Kudluk says

    Besides for sunshine, wouldn’t human photosynthesis also require you drink lots of water and … ingest … nutrients? Do these guys also eat dirt, because plants don’t just sit in the sun.

  136. says

    //” I’m not really seeing any expertise or ability to debate from Phil.”//

    He stated several times that he’s not into philosophy or the formal debate styles of atheism. Every atheist is different. He brought some financial expertise to the show, which I thought was a nice change.

    I suspect too many watch this show only to feel superior to theist callers., which, ultimately, would be a pretty sad reminder of what so many atheists dislike about theists.

  137. rocketdave says

    You can add me to the ranks of those who felt that Phil left an incredibly poor impression. I found his attitude so insufferable, I ended up muting much of the episode. He acted almost like he was trying to take over the show from Tracie, even though he didn’t seem interested in actually engaging with the callers in any kind of meaningful way.

  138. Vivec says

    Tom, there’s really no need to respond defensively every time someone criticizes Phil’s appearance on the show.

  139. tom whitaker says

    hey they may criticize all they want. to sat they had to turn the show off or mute it…is hillarious….not happy with the show no need to watch…..its not as easy as matt makes it look….a lot of whiners here….

  140. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    I don’t think it’s that he looked bad compared to Matt or any of the regular hosts, it’s that there seems to be alot of people that think he just flat out did bad. They’ve had guest hosts before who managed to take a somewhat aggressive stances without coming off as arrogant and alienating. AronRa for instance has a haughty way of speaking but is still willing to engage in discussion. Phil seemed like he came on the show because he thought it’d be funny to be a dick to theists.
    One of the things that drew me to TAE in the first place years ago was the fact that the hosts were willing to face arguments head on and discuss the how and why various things failed. Some callers were beaten into a submission with a logic, others were lead around by the nose occasionally even realizing when they’ve painted themselves in a corner. I’d like to say others have presented arguments have that really given me pause, but I can’t recall any off the top of my mind. What I’m getting at is that nearly all of these were engaged in good faith until they became disrespectful, dishonest or just were too ignorant to understand the discussion, Only then have they been let go with Matt, Jeff, Russel whoever venting whatever the point they were trying to make was.
    If they got 20 seconds in and were like “nope, this is stupid. Bye!” then the show would never have resonated with an audience the way they have. I don’t know if Phil has a channel of his own or is usually better in other formats, but the approach he displayed in this episode runs counter to the show’s stated purpose of promoting positive atheism and the separation of church and state.

  141. rocketdave says

    Perhaps I should add that there have been plenty of other instances in which TAE has failed to hold my interest for the full ninety minutes for whatever reason, but I’ve never felt the urge to register displeasure about a specific episode prior to now. However, Phil’s behavior was really beyond the pale. If I were a theist, I’d be thanking him for making nonbelievers look bad.

    I find it unfortunate that it often seems a lot easier to criticize than to find positive things to say. I’m far more motivated to review a movie I hated than one I loved, for example. I don’t like that the first time I’ve bothered to comment on this blog in what feels like forever is to complain. But I guess the fact that I don’t comment very frequently is a sign that I feel like the hosts are doing a good job most of the time.

  142. tom whitaker says

    I agree phil could have been better…but TAE and atheism will survive….have a cookie!

  143. tom whitaker says

    Hey guys and gals…..was not my intent to be a dick….I just think many of you are overreacting. We had a guest host who might not have been at his best, or perhaps not the best fit. Lets move on. WE have work to do.

  144. Robin brown says

    Re the Kalam argument. I have a few additional problems with it that I don’t seem to see mentioned in most refutations

    Whatever begins to exist has a cause;

    -When have we ever observed anything being cause to “begin” to exist. when we talk about causation in the universe it is invariably in the context of some state changing to another state but conserving mass/energy. Ironically, the one area where the idea of “beginning” to exist makes some sort of sense is the creation of virtual particles, which is precisely the area where the notion of causation is most problematic.

    -even if we grant that everything “in” the universe which begins to exist requires a cause, we have no justification to transfer this property to the universe itself. This is a straightforward fallacy of composition in the same way that water molecules are not wet.

  145. Monocle Smile says

    @Robin Brown
    Those are two excellent, well-worded objections to Kalam. William Lane Craig uses intentional equivocation fallacies on “universe” and “begin to exist” and hopes that the audience won’t notice. Gives you a glimpse into his opinion of his own fans.

  146. M B says

    I know I’m a little late to the party, but man – this episode was kind of insufferable…
    I want to state that I’m a nonbeliever myself, so this is not coming from a particular point of bias.
    The way Tracie and Phil treated Adam was really terrible. After about 2 minutes in it was clear (I hope?) what the point of difference was between the hosts and the caller. Tracie didn’t buy in to the idea that through logical argument alone one could get to decide if a statement (about the real world) is true. Adam on the other hand had something like “When A is B, and B is C, then A is C” in mind. Forget about the premises at this point: It’s about the soundness of logical arguments itself.

    It could have been a really interesting conversation from there on, trying to understand where both parties came from, and why (through logical reasoning perhaps?!?) one approach might be better / more reliable than the other.
    I myself haven’t even made up my mind about this question yet – and (as the comments show) this is not a question that has only one clear and totally obvious solution.
    And that’s where I got really angry. Whatever your opinion on the matter at hand is (and at this point is WASN’T even about god or belief), I don’t understand how they treated the caller like a stupid ignorant idiot. This isn’t like people calling in who are completely resistant against understanding the burden of proof – no matter how often you try to explain it. And they didn’t try to explain it or resolve the issue AT ALL.
    This really made me furious. People come from different backgrounds. Different approaches to life, belief, truth, etc. At least try to resolve the problem (which was more a problem of communication) before you smugly hang up on them…

  147. tom whitaker says

    adam is passive aggressive and he does this all the time. he also was an arrogant prick on the call boasting how he has defeated the the atheist experience. Was not handled well all around but dont shed too many tears for adam. Hes regularly allowed on, in fact he a little tiresome to listen too.. Patience may have been lost and certainly the call could have been handled better. Now can we all move on or do we have to cry for another week over this?

  148. tom whitaker says

    MB…its a lot harder than it looks to field live call ins…..since you are obviously critical, have you considered starting your own show???? ir was a bad call….there is no pattern of such calls…..the staff of TAE is human man. Stop crying!

  149. Jack Thornton says

    Again, despite you continuing to assert it, nobody is ‘crying’. Just like you (although not as often as you) people are expressing their opinions on the show. That’s why this comments section is here… to express comment on the show. Of the 173 comments expressed so far, 22 of them are yours and most of those are ‘telling the rest of us off’ for commenting… in the comments section.

  150. tom whitaker says

    thanks for your 2 cents Jack…..you do realize when I say crying….its a metaphor???? The level and tone of the criticism in many cases is overdone…..having to turn off the show…muting it…lol. I am amused at how little slack we show for what is a really tough assignment. Phil was a fill in guest host! People are so quick to judge. If TAE had some sort of pattern of this, I could understand the concern. TAE staff does an AMAZING job overall….how quick some are to jump on one call is amuzing…..

    If my comments disturb you Jack..have a cookie.

  151. Jack Thornton says

    Well I didn’t think you thought actual tears were falling. So ‘crying’ is a metaphor, for what? The ‘level and tone of the criticism’ is a matter of opinion. You consider it to be overdone. Others may consider it fair comment or maybe even a ‘metaphor’ for their true feelings. Whether you are amused by ‘how little slack’ is shown is neither here nor there. Phil is an experienced broadcaster and is as familiar with the tone of TAE as many of the other viewers. Similarly, the lack of any ‘pattern’ is also neither here. nor there. The comments expressed in this thread are pertinent only to this episode. I do agree that TAE do an amazing job, but how is that even relevant? We are discussing this show in a comments section provided specifically for that purpose. You only seem intent on shutting down that discussion. You have expressed your opinion, twenty something times, please allow others to do so without resorting to playground taunts.

    Finally, your comments do not disturb me in just the same way that they do not make me cry. (Again with the childish retorts?) As for suggesting that I ‘have a cookie’… is that another metaphor?

  152. Jack Thornton says

    Oh I caught on to you many posts ago. You are just my entertainment this evening while I am working.

  153. Jack Thornton says

    “and you are mine”. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? *Shakes head in disappointment.*

  154. tom whitaker says

    why dont you tell us how awful the call was jack!!!!! and about how disturbing it was to you and the audience!!!!….i have more cookies!

  155. Jack Thornton says

    *Makes careful note of the button I just pressed*

    You’re really not very good at this are you? You think you are, but… nah.

  156. Jack Thornton says

    Aaaaaaaand just as I posted my last comment my spreadsheet updated. Thankfully you couldn’t wait to respond so i was kept hanging on.

    So it’s back under the bridge with you. No more food for you tonight.

  157. tom whitaker says

    cant you all see the universe is intelligently designed!!!!???? its so obvious!!!!! You atheists just love your sin too much to admit it!!!! to the furnace with you all!!!!!!

  158. tom whitaker says

    cant you all see the universe is intelligently designed!!!!???? its so obvious!!!!! You atheists just love your sin too much to admit it!!!! to the furnace with you all!!!!!!

  159. ChristianV says

    Very nice episode – please invite Phil more often. I like his humor and the special kind of pragmatic approach to atheism. That’s more interesting than the endless repitition of Mat’s arguments against the ontological argument. A new point of view is quite fruitful for this show.

  160. Ronald Franklin says

    Thank you. I really enjoyed that show.
    I was very impressed with the way Tracie approached each and every caller (especially the two silly ones) with humour and serenity. Very professional and a pleasure to watch.
    I also really liked the examples Phil gave at the very end to the final caller on how to approach a theist’s arguments. I’m sure I’m gonna find use for those in my own future arguments with theists. 🙂

    Keep up the good work, guys! =D

  161. seajay says

    For me, the reason bad things (evil) happens in the world is because of ‘the fall’. The transgression in the Garden of Eden set in motion, the why and how we have evil in the world today. The moment Adam and Eve disobeyed God, we effectively said “We are not listening, we want to do it our way.”

    Natural disasters, the evil that humankind is capable of, a seemingly uncaring and random universe, all this is because we chose not to obey God. We made our choice, and now, as a lesson, we have to live with the consequences of that choice.

  162. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @seajay #191:

    For me, the reason bad things (evil) happens […] a seemingly uncaring and random universe, all this is because we chose not to obey God

    Define “God” such that communication from it can be authenticated, apart from desperate assertions of people. Otherwise the disobedience is not to God, but to priests, or book writers, anyone ranting in the street, or televangelists coveting another jet, or politicians craving authority and an excuse for failure.
     
    Define “we” such that the pronoun is capable of “choosing”, unanimously and permanently, including the majority of generations which had not even been born. Why would that noun “have to” live with it.
     
    Explain “because” such that fruit has any connection whatsoever to children dying in earthquakes on other continents, in other cultures, in other millennia.
     
    Define “God” such that we should expect its orders to be worthy of being honored, if it would inflict “consequences” of endless collective punishment on an entire species (and all other species in the universe!) for being too trusting – of a talking snake – while not yet given the knowledge of good and evil.

  163. RationalismRules says

    @seajay #191
    You raise one of the truly great existential questions of our time – whether to engage with a provocative theist on AXP blog, or to sit back with popcorn and watch the fun.
    Damn, I have no popcorn (free choice is an illusion). Here goes nothing…

    Did the god know in advance A&E would disobey him and eat from the-tree-of-the-knowledge-of-good-and-evil-whereof-thou-must-not-eat?

  164. Monocle Smile says

    @seajay

    For me

    The others handle the rest well, so I’ll address this.
    Starting off a statement about reality with “for me” is a red flag and indicative of erroneous thinking. Reality is not subjective. There’s no “for me” when it comes to truth. In order to reason properly, you must divest yourself of the idea that your personal fantasies about how reality works have any bearing on the truth of the matter.

  165. seajay says

    “Define “God” such that communication from it can be authenticated”
    You’re right, I can’t authenticate it. But even if we were speaking about (for example) another person entirely, in a clearly fictitious book, or attributing it all to televangelists and priests, the basis of my post is still relevant, i.e. bad things are happening because we disobeyed. I understand you are saying if God doesn’t exist the rest of my post is irrelevant, but I do believe God exists.

    “Why would that noun [we] “have to” live with it”
    I don’t understand why, only how. The how is the transgression, the ‘why’, I don’t know.

    “Explain because such that fruit has any connection whatsoever to children dying in earthquakes”
    Another good question. I’ll get back to this one.

    “Define “God” such that we should expect its orders to be worthy of being honored”
    God is all knowing so He knows what is best (I know, you’ve heard that before). Adam and Eve never knew evil; they didn’t need to know evil. All they needed to do was trust God and listen to what He asked them to do. I believe that’s the point. It was about listening to God and doing what He asks.

  166. seajay says

    @RationalismRules
    Yes. But we have free will and so God would not force us to do anything. He knew He would give them a choice, He knew they would make their own mistake.

  167. Monocle Smile says

    @seajay
    You didn’t actually answer any of the questions with any substance. You merely repeated yourself in a different way.

    I understand you are saying if God doesn’t exist the rest of my post is irrelevant, but I do believe God exists.

    Prove it. That’s the entire point. It doesn’t matter whatsoever that one person happens to believe something that can’t be verified. I’m not interested in a sermon and neither is Sky Captain or RR.

    God is all knowing so He knows what is best

    It does not follow that therefore one should submit and obey said entity.

    All they needed to do was trust God and listen to what He asked them to do. I believe that’s the point. It was about listening to God and doing what He asks

    Mere obedience is not a virtue. You are advocating for Stockholm Syndrome.

    Yes. But we have free will and so God would not force us to do anything. He knew He would give them a choice, He knew they would make their own mistake.

    Free will in the context you specify and omniscience are incompatible by definition. This assertion is thus incoherent. The illusion of a choice is not a choice.

  168. seajay says

    @Monocle Smile

    “You didn’t actually answer any of the questions with any substance. You merely repeated yourself in a different way.”
    I disagree

    Passer: I understand you are saying if God doesn’t exist the rest of my post is irrelevant, but I do believe God exists.

    “Prove it. That’s the entire point. It doesn’t matter whatsoever that one person happens to believe something that can’t be verified. I’m not interested in a sermon and neither is Sky Captain or RR.”

    I can’t. It’s all to do with faith.

    Passer: God is all knowing so He knows what is best
    “It does not follow that therefore one should submit and obey said entity.”

    Correct. But if someone knows better than you on a subject and you don’t listen, and things get worse for you, then you should have listened.

    Passer: All they needed to do was trust God and listen to what He asked them to do. I believe that’s the point. It was about listening to God and doing what He asks

    “Mere obedience is not a virtue. You are advocating for Stockholm Syndrome.”
    I’m advocating for listening to sound advice from someone who knows much more than I do.

    Passer: Yes. But we have free will and so God would not force us to do anything. He knew He would give them a choice, He knew they would make their own mistake.
    “Free will in the context you specify and omniscience are incompatible by definition. This assertion is thus incoherent. The illusion of a choice is not a choice.”
    I think they are. If you know everything, then you know all different outcomes a person might make. There might be two different outcomes or 2 billion. Just because you know what choice I’ll make, doesn’t take away my freewill to make it.

  169. Monocle Smile says

    I can’t. It’s all to do with faith.

    Then why are you here? And why should anyone care?

    Correct. But if someone knows better than you on a subject and you don’t listen, and things get worse for you, then you should have listened.

    Does not follow. Said person could be deliberately lying for the sole purpose of making things worse. The being described in the bible does this pretty often. Also, said person needs to demonstrate their knowledge. In Genesis, god lied to Adam and Eve. The serpent did not.

    Just because you know what choice I’ll make, doesn’t take away my freewill to make it.

    Omniscience necessitates no free will. If the choice is known, then it is impossible to make a different choice by definition. That’s how omniscience works. If I know absolutely that you’ll wear a blue shirt tomorrow, then it is impossible for you to actually choose to wear a green shirt. The “choice” is merely an illusion. If the choice is not known, then there is no omniscience. You either get omniscience or free will, not both.

    Who is “Passer?”

  170. seajay says

    It’s a username I use on another site I debating on two and got mixed up

    Is there a way to edit previous posts or is it a one and done thing?

  171. Monocle Smile says

    No editing. Posters on blogs like this have a bad habit of editing previous posts for deceitful purposes. Use the Preview button gratuitously and you’ll be okay.

    That site wouldn’t happen to be RationalSkepticism.org, would it?

  172. seajay says

    SeaJay: I can’t. It’s all to do with faith.
    “Then why are you here? And why should anyone care?”
    To debate. Theists debate with Atheists every day

    SeaJay: Correct. But if someone knows better than you on a subject and you don’t listen, and things get worse for you, then you should have listened.
    “Does not follow. Said person could be deliberately lying for the sole purpose of making things worse.”
    SeaJay: Sure, but I am talking about God, who doesn’t lie.

    “The being described in the bible does this pretty often. Also, said person needs to demonstrate their knowledge. In Genesis, god lied to Adam and Eve. The serpent did not.”
    SeaJay: Adam and Eve had eternal life in the Garden of Eden. God told them the moment they eat the forbidden fruit they would die. They did die. Not instantly, but in the end, they died. When you have eternal life, an extra 900 years (or whatever it was) was the blink of an eye. The serpent lied and twisted things. Saying they won’t die the serpent was right in as far as they would not die instantly, that day. The process of death started the moment they ate the forbidden fruit, but actual death came later.

    Seajay: Just because you know what choice I’ll make, doesn’t take away my freewill to make it.
    “Omniscience necessitates no free will. If the choice is known, then it is impossible to make a different choice by definition. That’s how omniscience works. If I know absolutely that you’ll wear a blue shirt tomorrow, then it is impossible for you to actually choose to wear a green shirt. The “choice” is merely an illusion. If the choice is not known, then there is no omniscience. You either get omniscience or free will, not both.”

    As I say, I disagree. Not to be argumentative, but because I genuinely do disagree here.

  173. seajay says

    “No editing. Posters on blogs like this have a bad habit of editing previous posts for deceitful purposes. Use the Preview button gratuitously and you’ll be okay.”
    Ok thanks for the tip

    “That site wouldn’t happen to be RationalSkepticism.org, would it?”
    Yes

  174. Monocle Smile says

    I’m a rarely-posting member of RatSkep, so I’m familiar with your threads. I’m not exactly hopeful for much.

    To debate. Theists debate with Atheists every day

    Not why I asked the question. You can “justify” literally every position with “faith,” so we’re not going to get anywhere if you’re just going to drop a bunch of bald assertions and say you believe it on faith.

    Sure, but I am talking about God, who doesn’t lie.

    -_____________-
    Do I have to explain why this is nonsense? You’re just starting with a bunch of presuppositions and ignoring the reason behind the questions and responses.

    Adam and Eve had eternal life in the Garden of Eden. God told them the moment they eat the forbidden fruit they would die. They did die. Not instantly, but in the end, they died

    Yeah, that’s called “lying.” And every living thing dies.

    As I say, I disagree. Not to be argumentative, but because I genuinely do disagree here.

    I don’t care. You’re just plain wrong. If “I disagree” with zero substance and no attempt to engage on honest grounds is all you have, then we’re going to lose interest fast.

  175. says

    God told them the moment they eat the forbidden fruit they would die. They did die. Not instantly, but in the end, they died

    I suppose it depends which of the quadrillion interpretations you believe is valid.

    Genesis 2:17,

    King James Bible
    But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

    New American Standard Bible
    but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

    American King James Version
    But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.

    American Standard Version
    but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

  176. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @seajay #195:

    You’re right, I can’t authenticate it. […] if God doesn’t exist the rest of my post is irrelevant, but I do believe God exists.

    Even if God did exist, it wouldn’t matter. You can’t authenticate, so you can’t distinguish its word from gossip, usurpers, and your own wishful thinking. The rest of your post is irrelevant.
     
    #195:

    God is all knowing so He knows what is best

    How did you determine that?
     
    #196:

    God would not force us to do anything.

    How did you determine that?
     
    #196:

    He knew He would give them a choice, He knew they would make their own mistake.
    So they were set up to fail, the circumstances were engineered, and suffering was intended. Is this consistent with the personality traits you attribute to God?
    #203:

    I am talking about God, who doesn’t lie.

    How did you determine that?
     
    #199:

    if someone knows better than you on a subject and you don’t listen, and things get worse for you, then you should have listened.

    “Any sufficiently advanced neglect is indistinguishable from malice.” -Deb Chachra
     
    #199:

    It’s all to do with faith.

    Distinguish “faith” from “gullibility”.

  177. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    /Preview wasn’t working, and I forgot to close a blockquote. Sorry readers.
    @seajay #196:

    He knew He would give them a choice, He knew they would make their own mistake.

    So they were set up to fail, the circumstances were engineered, and suffering was intended. Is this consistent with the personality traits you attribute to God?

  178. Curt Cameron says

    You know how atheists are always pointing out that faith, in the religious sense, is not a valid way of deciding what’s true, because it’s just belief in the absence of evidence? And how, when they say this, that Christians always object and say that by “faith” they mean something different, like the word “trust”? And how we roll our eyes at that?

    I like to point out that when you press them for evidence, that very often you get to a point where they make our point for us when they say “you just have to have faith”?

    Well, I present to you that very thing:

    “Prove it. That’s the entire point. It doesn’t matter whatsoever that one person happens to believe something that can’t be verified. I’m not interested in a sermon and neither is Sky Captain or RR.”

    I can’t. It’s all to do with faith.

  179. RationalismRules says

    @SeeJay #196

    He knew He would give them a choice, He knew they would make their own mistake.

    So the god created A&E knowing in advance that they would disobey him on this absolutely crucial issue that would screw up the whole happy-joyous-peaceful-loving god/human dynamic?

    Being omniscient, the god knew all possible versions of creation, including all those where A&E freely chose to obey him, as well as those where A&E freely chose to disobey him. And being omnipotent, the god could have chosen to create any of those versions. But the version he chose to create was one where he knew A&E would disobey him, he knew he would visit monstrous vengeance on the entire human race for the failing of two individuals, and he knew he would freely allow evil to spread throughout the world.

  180. seajay says

    @ Sky Captain
    “Explain “because” such that fruit has any connection whatsoever to children dying in earthquakes on other continents, in other cultures, in other millennia.”

    I asked about this question and the reply I got was that we would have made the same decision in Adam and Eve’s place. Sin has consequences, and even if we were sinless we would still be affected by the consequences of sin.

  181. seajay says

    I have to admit that I can’t say I agree with the above (post’s) answer that I received

  182. Monocle Smile says

    @seajay
    What are you even talking about? What do you mean, you “asked about” that question? Have you not thought this through yourself?

    Sin has consequences, and even if we were sinless we would still be affected by the consequences of sin.

    This is a great way to blame victims for being shat upon. That’s what religion does.

  183. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @seajay #211:

    Sin has consequences

    “Any sufficiently advanced neglect is indistinguishable from malice.”
     

    even if we were sinless we would still be affected by the consequences of sin

    Is torturing innocents and bystanders consistent with traits you attribute to God?
     

    @SkyCaptain:

    Explain “because” such that fruit has any connection whatsoever to children dying in earthquakes on other continents, in other cultures, in other millennia.

    I asked about this question and the reply I got was that we would have made the same decision in Adam and Eve’s place.

    Asked? So someone told you it’s okay to murder everyone you ever meet (slowly, painfully, and make their loved ones suffer), on the assumption they too would trust a talking snake to eat some fruit?
     
    And you think highly enough of this sociopathic drivel to repeat it here?
     
    #212

    I can’t say I agree with the […] answer that I received.

    Then you shouldn’t have made your thesis “For me, the reason bad things (evil) happens in the world is because of ‘the fall'”
     
    You’re just mindlessly repeating things you’ve heard.

  184. seajay says

    I am a thinker, I am trying to reconcile all my faith with Christianity. I have been this way for a long time now, at least 7 years. I have no axe to grind either way, I am just looking deep at what I believe. I have been absolutely terrified of eternal punishment for the last 7 years to the point I am still in therapy.

    If I believe it has to be for the right reasons but if I did not believe it would have to be for the right reasons. That’s why I come to atheist sites, to challenge what I believe and to force me to make me look at things I believe. I am a Christian with questions and I don’t always have the answers, not for others, and not for me.

  185. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @seajay #215:

    I have been absolutely terrified of eternal punishment for the last 7 years to the point I am still in therapy.

    Is that consistent with traits you attribute to God?
     

    If I believe it has to be for the right reasons

    You have given us no good reasons.
     

    if I did not believe it would have to be for the right reasons.

    – No good reasons to believe.
    – Getting a couple pages in and already defending monsters.
    – The absurdity of a talking snake. And fruit that inserts abstract knowledge into the eater’s brain.
    – A boogeyman people have threatened you with, yet curiously there’s no indication that it exists. There’s not even a description of what to expect if it ever did show up. It’s just a name, an empty label to attach happy/scary feelings to. A handle on your brain to jerk you around.
     

    I am a Christian with questions and I don’t always have the answers, not for others, and not for me.

    You call yourself a Christian, but you can’t even tell us what you believe without asking someone else to feed it to you.

  186. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @seajay:
    And whomever you asked was shamefully clueless as well, which would reflect poorly on any audience or organization who takes their theological opinions seriously.

  187. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @seajay #218:

    How do you get the little quotation and grey bar before quoting?

    <blockquote>INSERT TEXT HERE</blockquote>

  188. seajay says

    Is that consistent with traits you attribute to God?

    No. I have major issues with eternal punishment. Major issues.

    – Getting a couple pages in and already defending monsters.

    I’m just saying I have to be sure that’s all

  189. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @seajay #220:

    ’m just saying I have to be sure that’s all

    Absolute certainty is not necessary; it’s unattainable. The expectation that you should keep searching for excuses indefinitely before you can leave legitimately is another trap.
     
    You aren’t going around investigating whether children’s books with cartoon talking animals are real, are you?

  190. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @seajay:
    In any case, you already admitted you can’t authenticate. The threats are empty. The assurances of clinging to those beliefs are equally hollow. There’s no reason to take it seriously.

  191. RationalismRules says

    @seajay

    I am a thinker, I am trying to reconcile all my faith with Christianity. I have been this way for a long time now, at least 7 years. I have no axe to grind either way, I am just looking deep at what I believe.

    If you are genuinely examining your beliefs (as opposed to simply looking for confirmation), good for you. You’ve certainly come to a good place to put them under rigorous scrutiny.

    I have been absolutely terrified of eternal punishment for the last 7 years to the point I am still in therapy

    Why would a self-professed Christian be terrified of eternal punishment? Isn’t it fundamental to your religion that simply believing in the Jesus myth guarantees that you are ‘saved’ from eternal damnation?

    (We seem to have moved on from “the fall” already, but I’m hoping you’ll respond to my previous post before abandoning that topic entirely)

  192. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Why would a self-professed Christian be terrified of eternal punishment? Isn’t it fundamental to your religion that simply believing in the Jesus myth guarantees that you are ‘saved’ from eternal damnation?

    That should be obvious: He has doubts, and he was raised in a particularly horrible variant of Christianity which requires absolute blind obedience, with full trust and no doubts, in order to be saved or some such.

  193. seajay says

    So the god created A&E knowing in advance that they would disobey him on this absolutely crucial issue that would screw up the whole happy-joyous-peaceful-loving god/human dynamic?
    Being omniscient, the god knew all possible versions of creation, including all those where A&E freely chose to obey him, as well as those where A&E freely chose to disobey him. And being omnipotent, the god could have chosen to create any of those versions. But the version he chose to create was one where he knew A&E would disobey him, he knew he would visit monstrous vengeance on the entire human race for the failing of two individuals, and he knew he would freely allow evil to spread throughout the world

    @RationalismRules Is this the post you meant?

  194. seajay says

    Why would a self-professed Christian be terrified of eternal punishment? Isn’t it fundamental to your religion that simply believing in the Jesus myth guarantees that you are ‘saved’ from eternal damnation?

    There is an unforgivable sin called blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. I fear I might have committed that sin, in my head. Long story short, I didn’t mean it, I just had this thought that popped into my head. I couldn’t control it. Therapists over the years have diagnosed me with PTSD (abusive childhood), Borderline Personality Disorder, Intrusive Thoughts, Social Anxiety, and all round anxiety issues. I’m a bit of a mess on times and they tell me my mental health is to blame for all these bad thoughts I get. It’s a bit like a mental form of Tourettes. I don’t speak obscenities, I think them but can’t help it. That’s why I fear hell.

  195. RationalismRules says

    @seajay
    Yes, that is the post I was referring to.

    Regarding your ‘unforgivable sin’, all I can say is, how can you worship a god that would condemn someone to eternal punishment because of mental health issues? Such a judgement would be utterly unjust and immoral. Unfortunately it’s entirely within the character of the biblical god, so I can’t offer you any solace other than to encourage you to keep questioning your beliefs, until you eventually realize it’s all just superstition and indoctrination.

  196. Monocle Smile says

    @seajay
    If you haven’t made any progress over the last 7 years and you’re not to the point where you need to be in a facility, then your therapists might be just plain terrible.
    I don’t feel comfortable engaging with you any longer. I don’t feel like I can communicate well or do anything to improve your condition.

  197. seajay says

    So the god created A&E knowing in advance that they would disobey him on this absolutely crucial issue that would screw up the whole happy-joyous-peaceful-loving god/human dynamic?
    Being omniscient, the god knew all possible versions of creation, including all those where A&E freely chose to obey him, as well as those where A&E freely chose to disobey him. And being omnipotent, the god could have chosen to create any of those versions. But the version he chose to create was one where he knew A&E would disobey him, he knew he would visit monstrous vengeance on the entire human race for the failing of two individuals, and he knew he would freely allow evil to spread throughout the world

    After thinking about this, about all I can come up with is:

    (a) God is omnipotent but not omniscient (but the Bible teaches He is both)
    (b) God is omniscient but not omnipotent (see above)
    (c) God is omnipotent and omniscient but did not know Adam and Even would disobey Him
    (d) God is omnipotent and omniscient but decided not to intervene due our free will
    (e) The Bible is created by man

    I’d have to go with d. Though God is all powerful and all seeing and could have guided Adam and Even not to disobey, that would have been interfering with our own free will. The way I see it, even though God knows all outcomes and is all powerful, He does not interfere and lets people make their own choices. Isaiah 42:14 is a good verse for evidence God sometimes restrains Himself.

  198. seajay says

    If you haven’t made any progress over the last 7 years and you’re not to the point where you need to be in a facility, then your therapists might be just plain terrible.
    I don’t feel comfortable engaging with you any longer. I don’t feel like I can communicate well or do anything to improve your condition.

    I’m sorry you feel that way Monocle Smile, but I understand

  199. RationalismRules says

    @seajay #229

    (a) God is omnipotent but not omniscient (but the Bible teaches He is both)
    (b) God is omniscient but not omnipotent (see above)
    (c) God is omnipotent and omniscient but did not know Adam and Even would disobey Him
    (d) God is omnipotent and omniscient but decided not to intervene due our free will
    (e) The Bible is created by man

    As you say, (a) and (b) are contrary to the bible.
    (c) is self-contradictory. Omniscience rules out ‘did not know’.
    (d) is irrelevant (see below).
    (e) is simply historical fact. Not only was the bible written by humans, it was collated, translated, rearranged, revised, edited, annotated and interpreted by humans. All of whom claim that god guided them. None of whom can produce any evidence to support that claim.

    What you have is a book, written by humans, riddled with contradictions, yet claiming to be the immutable word of a perfect god. Which is a contradiction in itself…

    I’d have to go with d. Though God is all powerful and all seeing and could have guided Adam and Even not to disobey, that would have been interfering with our own free will. The way I see it, even though God knows all outcomes and is all powerful, He does not interfere and lets people make their own choices.

    Intervention/free will is irrelevant. That’s my whole point. If the god can create any possible universe (omnipotence) and it knows what is going to happen in every possible universe (omniscience) then whichever universe it creates is necessarily a choice. The god chose to create this version of the universe, where it knew A&E would disobey, instead of choosing to create a different version of the universe, where A&E would obey. ‘The fall’ was a direct result of god’s choice. No intervention required, no guidance, no compromise to free will. It is all set in motion by the god’s initial choice of which universe to create.

    This proposition that god can be absolved of responsibility for evil because of ‘the fall’ is in direct conflict with the notion of an omniscient and omnipotent god. They can’t both be right, because they are contradictory.

  200. seajay says

    Here’s the problem I have with what you say (not that I disagree or agree with it).

    SeaJay: If God decided to create a universe where there was no sin and no ‘fall’, then there would be no point in a plan.
    Atheists: What’s so wrong with that? Why the need for a plan? Why not create a universe where we live an eternal life with no sin?
    SeaJay: There’d be no point in anything. No point in striving to be good, in resisting sin, in building character.
    Atheists: Again, what’s wrong with that?
    SeaJay: For me, it removes a fundamental aspect of our existence; the acquisition of knowledge, our insatiable desire to learn. It also eradicates one of the most important concepts of our existence, that of morals and striving to be moral. If God did everything for us right from the start – we would stagnate.

  201. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @seajay #232:

    If God decided to create a universe where there was no sin and no ‘fall’, then there would be no point in a plan.

    I’m disappointed you can’t imagine being satisfied with your life, unless someone gets tortured and killed to make it interesting.
     

    For me, it removes a fundamental aspect of our existence; the acquisition of knowledge

    I’m disappointed you can’t understand why anyone would want to read a book or master a skill. Unless a teacher is allowed to beat you.
     

    (not that I disagree or agree with it)

    Your wanking is noted.

  202. seajay says

    I’m disappointed you can’t imagine being satisfied with your life, unless someone gets tortured and killed to make it interesting

    Meaning, there were a multitude of other ways of doing this? Good point.

    I’m disappointed you can’t understand why anyone would want to read a book or master a skill. Unless a teacher is allowed to beat you

    Again, good point.

    Your wanking is noted

    Not sure what this means in a literary sense

  203. seajay says

    Fear is the key.

    I have major issues with Christianity, from slavery, brutality, misogynistic practices, the need for a human sacrifice, the threat of an eternal agonising afterlife for some, the need for any of this. But I am terrified of being wrong. I have a phobia (diagnosed) about going to hell. I feel trapped. As I see it, there are only two ways out for me.

    1. To be convinced there is no hell (impossible – simply cannot say either way, not for sure)
    2. To not believe. All I will say is that I have major doubts.

    I ask myself, if my thought processes were not inhibited with fear and anxiety, would I still believe? Well, having a Heavenly Father sounds great to me. Someone to love and care for you. Having the biggest and strongest Dad in the world is what every child inside us wants. Someone to pick you up every time you fall down, someone to reassure you everything is going to be ok.

    All that said, if I could push aside all concepts of Christianity and have a mind unfettered with Christian tradition and influences (all of them), would I still believe it was all true?

    I’m too anxious to even ask myself that, which in itself speaks volumes. I can relate to Pascal’s Wager.

    I ask myself, why does an omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing) creator, feel the need to create a torture chamber, where the wicked are sent to spend an eternity in unspeakable, unthinkable agony? Why not just utterly annihilate us? Not enough punishment? Well why does there need to be any punishment in the first place? Surely an omnipotent and omniscient creator could just show us the error of our ways, teach us so we know why we did things we did, and then we can all live in peace?

    I see no point in it, but here is my problem: Even if I do not see any point in it at all – it doesn’t mean it is not true.

    Am I only believing out of a fear of punishment? It’s probably not the ‘only’ reason, but it is a major part of it. Truth be told, I am not in a position to really answer that question yet. I may never be.

  204. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @seajay #235:

    1. To be convinced there is no hell (impossible – simply cannot say either way, not for sure)

    I have a bridge to sell you. It leads to Asgard.

  205. RationalismRules says

    @seajay #232
    You appear to be attempting to make a case that your god was justified in creating the world with sin/evil in it.

    Whether you realize it or not, you have made a step forward – you no longer simply accept that ‘the fall’ absolves god of responsibility for the presence of evil in the world. That’s a pretty good step to have made in just a few short posts.

  206. snoopcat1 says

    I’m sorry I came to this discussion late; I watch them on Itunes when I have the time. Re the discussion with Joey about design in the universe: A designed object is different from an evolved object. A designed object is made for the sole purpose of achieving a specific end. An evolved object is the cumulative result of multiple prior states, each state arguably best suited for its ambient environment at that time. E.G. the precursors of the complex eye is known to be a light sensing mechanism that enabled primitive ocean dwelling the organisms to discern night from day at the surface. Possibly useful to tell up from down. A long way from the compound focusing lens.