The Source of Human Morality debate videos

Here are the first three (of nine) video installments of the debate between Matt and Fr. Hans Jacobse at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, yesterday. According to the writeup, Fr. Jacobse “views the current world as a battle between competing moral visions of the secular and the sacred, and hopes that Christianity can restore the moral tradition of the gospels.” Whether this involves angrily killing fig trees is, I suppose, left to be clarified. (Zing!) Anyway, enjoy. (Note: I’ll be embedding the rest of the vids as they are posted to YouTube, and will offer my assessments as I watch and absorb them.)

Final addendum, 9:30 PM 11/20: All 9 parts are now embedded, using the playlist embed code provided by the lovely and multitalented Catherine Blackwell. Thanks!


  1. Martin says

    ralphmcw: We didn't produce and don't own the videos, so it's not up to us if they release the audio as mp3's.

  2. says

    @ralphmcw: If you really want to you could strip the audio track from the youtube clips… if you don't care too much about the copyright. (I find it really strange that I could legally watch the debate but it is illegal to listen to it.)

  3. says

    This guy just doesn't get it. This makes me sad that someone who is obviously a very well-read and learned man, can just plain not understand what Matt is saying. I just don't get it.

  4. says

    I think Matt hit the nail on the head in his opening remarks when he said that theist morality has been forced to adopt much of secular morality and rebrand it as its own.The 'orthodox christian' did the usual thing of starting from a deistic view and then threw some TAG at it. This speaks to me of the weakness of his preferred position which he cannot support from the outset. Getting from the nebulus transcendent to specific denomination is never gonna fly.I have only watched the parts 1-3, so my view view will change when I see the rest, but I doubt it.

  5. says

    Ok, I'm a little over 2 minutes into the christian's intro speech, and already every statement is false that leaves his mouth.This is going to go well, I see.

  6. says

    Hi all, I've one of the event organizers for this debate (from the atheist side). @JT it was hard to yell at him while sitting in the front row, but just wait until later– some guy in the audience screams YOU'RE A LIAR at the good father when he starts suffering from Nazi tourettes. Also, if you all think this is bad, just WAIT until you get to Jacobse's closing argument. It will make you scream in frustration. More about porn and nazis. @erauqssi I don't think at all it was an issue of not understanding what Matt was saying. He flat out wasn't *listening* because he's so arrogant he refuses to admit that he could be wrong, so for the course of this debate he just talks and talks and doesn't actually reply to anything Matt says. @ralphmcw An mp3 will be cut and downloadable at some point in the next few days.

  7. says

    I had a feeling it'd go something like that when he stated, "Now, now ALL atheists are eugenicists." How about barely any? I literally know of no atheists eugenics supporters.Just more slander, as usual.

  8. says

    Also, the less-advertised (but more fun, in my opinion) half of this evening was a panel discussion featuring Matt, John Shook, a UMBC psych professor, and Greg Paul (author of the studies on secular nations having better quality of life statistics). We've got 95% of that on video, and will be uploaded soon.

  9. says

    Dammit ! Matt was in Maryland and I missed it… Was unaware that formal debates of this nature happened in this state, clearly i was wrong. Suggestions on how to be informed these events would be greatly appreciated.Jacobse concededs on numerous points that Matt makes on the ability of humans to decypher what is moral and immoral , but yet he hangs a Reserved for God sign on a miniscule corner of the morality equation. At that point why bother ? God has already missed a huge portion of the feature presentation…

  10. says

    martin wagner does not exist…, we’re gonna cut off your heads…THE HIGH PRICE OF

  11. says

    It kind of sucked that he's never been to MD before, and all he saw was the airport, hotel, and UMBC (in the rain). Just gives us an excuse to bring him back and give him a real tour.

  12. says

    "Philosophical materialism is the philosophical ground of atheism, a point that anyone familiar with more than the surface character of the atheist claims will recognize as true."This is only 1:31 into the priest's opening arguments. So right here in the very beginning he is implying that if you contend his point, you must not be familiar enough with "atheist claims". This really rubbed me the wrong way.

  13. says

    The OCF has for the past few weeks been doing a series here called "Why I Am Not an Atheist" in which talked at us for an hour and a half each session and explained what "atheist philosophy" and "atheist worldviews" are right to our faces. Fr. Hans follows this line of reasoning by coining the phrase in this debate "the Atheist Project of the 20th century". It's absolutely infuriating.

  14. says

    I am going to have to go over what Fr. Hans Jacobse was saying with a fine tooth comb, but my initial impression is that he is just saying a lot of nothing. I also was amused at his opening in which he claims a deist position, I am waiting for that to magically turn into Christianity myself.

  15. Hermes says

    Catherine, who has ownership over the video and/or audio for the event? Was there only one set of cameras?(It looks like the OCF has full control over the only copy, and that's a concern. I've seen theist groups offer to share audio and video before an event, and after the event is over they conveniently do not provide either.)

  16. says

    [logging my thoughts as I watch…]Your opponent was named Hans. Was he… clever?—Nope. Not clever at all. You warned the audience about how he'd be arguing from a presupposition that his beliefs are true, and he went right into that. Amazing. Clever Hans he is not.—Also, he actually seems to be arguing that it's impossible to have any grounds by which we can discuss morality unless we allow for the existence of the supernatural (i.e., what he's calling "transcendent"). Whhhhaaaaa? Sure, if you define morality as the result of some sort of transcendent purposeful agent, pure materialism can't discuss it. But we don't have a reason to think that such a thing actually exists, apart from his presuppositions.—Yeesh, Matt, you're so much better spoken than he is.—His whole argument is "matter can't give meaning." Of course it can. If there is no God and no supernatural transcendent of the kind Hans proposes, then *only* matter can give meaning.—Through part 2 now. Hans is very good at building straw men. He'll say "the atheist must argue X" or "the atheist would likely say X" and then shoot that down. I don't think he once bothered responding to anything Matt said. Now, back to Matt…

  17. says

    … and since I don't find myself disagreeing with Matt, back to Hans.Seriously. He played the Communism card. "I don't blame all atheists for that" but I'll bring it up to slyly tell the audience that I really do blame atheism for it. Sleazy move.Truth isn't seen – it's heard? Seriously? WTF? Is there a meaningful difference there?

  18. says

    my g/f asked me to stop watching as i yell at the TV.. wish i could watch and feel less emotional about what FR hans was saying. love the comments abovewill watch in entirity TMO when i have time

  19. says

    @Hermes: Unfortunately, since the only people who could get us equipment for free in time were in the OCF, they've got full ownership. However, the guy coordinating the AV is really cool, and is allowing me to download all of the raw video. They also generously filmed our follow-up panel, even though it wasn't in any way affiliated with OCF. I'm going to cut a 5 minute preview of the full debate for sharing purposes this weekend. I think in this case sharing is caring.

  20. Hermes says

    Catherine, good. I've seen a few similar situations turn out badly before and it would be a shame to have a repeat.

  21. says

    The change in tone of some (not all) of the OCF folks was staggering and, I think, telling.One individual was overly kind to me before the debate and visibly distraught and confrontational after the debate. Fortunately, there are other OCF folks who were kind before and after – and want to continue the conversation via e-mail.I'm under the impression that their speaker's tactics sort of backfired.

  22. says

    Listening to this guy is so fucking irritating, it really is. Now, he's a nice guy, we could have a beer and conversation, but it pissed me off that in his opening remarks he's already shifting the burden of proof by trying to portray morality in a materialistic paradigm as incoherent somehow. As though Matt said anything of the kind, as though he didn't specifically say that if God showed up with a set of rules one would still have to judge whether those rules are right! As if that weren't enough, he shifts the goalposts right out of the gate, saying that he's not going to talk about God, he's going to talk about the *transcendant.* What follows is ten and five minutes of ill-defined fog-blathering that's barely a step up from asserting the existence and nature of the "spiritual." I really hope Matt doesn't let the slippery rhetoric go unanswered.

  23. says

    Man I am really sorry this is taking so long, guys. But we're all college students, including the video editor, so keep being patient I guess.

  24. Hermes says

    Matt, thanks. I'm glad to hear there are good people associated with OCF who don't become untrustworthy when things don't turn out as they might have predicted. Tactics are critical, but ignoring or not understanding what the other person actually thinks — rightly or wrongly — is not a good idea. At best, it's rude. At worst, it's the shovel used to dig your own hole as seems to be the case this time. Maybe OCF won't lead with telling atheists what they think next time? If that happens, the debate will be fruitful even if no minds are changed on the higher level issues.[ additional grumbling gratuitous rant deleted ]

  25. says

    On a personal level, the people that we worked with to plan the debate at OCF have been great. They're all generally nice and friendly and conciliatory. Obviously, we had to work together to put this event on, and we all had to surrender some ground there. But like I posted somewhere above, their "Why I am not an atheist" weekly series was infuriating. When they put on their argumentative hats, they suddenly morph into anti-empiricism, unfalsifiable, intellectually dishonest, and generally ad hominem and confrontational debaters. They would open every discussion by stating what atheists are, what atheists believe, and how the atheist worldview leads to ultimate world destruction. Then at the end of each exhausting meeting where we were constantly on the defensive, we would all have to make nice again and work on the debate. It was an interested roller coaster ride. I went to three of these, including one small discussion with Fr. Hans on Monday, which was the worst of them all. I expected them to not fully agree with this man, but instead they seemed to absolutely support him as he made accusations at us, as if our apparently limited knowledge of history had kept us ignorant of the fact that, quote, "Atheists and atheism led to most of the blood that was spilled in the 20th century." One of our members came at him with an excellent counter to his loopy transcendental argument, to which the father responded, "Well, I'm considerably older than you. You don't know nearly as much about history as I do." The member shot back: "Oh, so since I'm younger, I can't be right?" Later, the same member asked, "Have you ever considered the possibility that you're wrong about all this? That's the difference between us. What do you think the likelihood is that God is in your imagination?" Fr. Jacobse responded: "The equal likelihood that I'm imagining you sitting here right now."I'm hoping that we can continue to work with the group, without either side getting into overly emotional lines of reasoning, but boy there have been times all of us seem equally provoked and on edge.

  26. says

    Oh yeah ^^ that part's pretty funny. Fr. Hans completely forgets to ask a question and we were just sitting there in the audience face-palming the entire time he was talking. "Wait, what? Was there a question ANYWHERE in there?"

  27. says

    Personally I can't wait for the questions (not trying to rush you Catherine, I swear!) if only because maybe then we'll move away from Matt's opponent being a paternalistic truth-holder who ignores Matt's points and just preaches on.

  28. says

    So far, I have only seen 15 minutes of Fr. Jacobse and lost count at about 7 "the atheist this" or "the atheist that" comments from him. Why is it so hard to understand that being an atheist just means you don't believe in a god? That's it, it doesn't lead to anything else, but it can be a product of rational and honest thought. Arrggh!Anyways, wish I could have been there, and just noticed part 4 is up on youtube. Thank you, and please keep them coming.

  29. says

    Haha it's cool, I'm not uploading– the OCF people are. And what you really want to see is the closing statements, trust me. Things get . . . pretty crazy.

  30. Hermes says

    Catherine, as an old fart I appreciate your efforts. With a few important exceptions, atheists and more generally skeptics have not been attentive for decades prior to 9/11, and I include myself in that list. Bertrand Russell said all that was necessary to kick things off and much more, but what was missing were people to continue on and push the points he and others have raised for centuries.The OCF representatives should feel like they missed something. That they have misspoken and need to look at the issues more closely. Hopefully a few will. I doubt that they all will, though they should if they were paying attention.As a spectator of the Atheist Experience crew, I have to say that Jeff Dee's attitude at times is spot on. When a caller starts to throw out ideas — often character attacks — to see what ones have traction, Jeff hunkers down on each point one at a time and demands that the caller retract or at a minimum acknowledge that they were mistaken or have not justified their attack. Being unyielding about addressing these bigoted character assassination attempts may be required at times.On the and sites, I've asked people — usually Christian theists — to justify their claims about what atheists think. The latest one occurred on CSA when a theist came in and started to say that atheists claim the universe came from nothing. Days go by, and after a few snippets of information, it is clear that the theist can't name a single atheist who thinks such a thing but that they are adept at misquoting or misunderstanding what specific atheists actually said. I even granted that there probably are some atheists who might think and make such comments and that they might know of such a person. I also mention that I personally have not encountered a single one myself, so the assertion doesn't seem to be very relevant. Still, I get plenty of Christians who say that this or that is what atheists think even as they can't name a single atheist that agrees with them.Meanwhile, without irony, they want to claim the moral high ground. Deny them till they stop acting immorally.

  31. says

    1. Philosophical materialism is not required for atheism, but methodological materialism sure helps. If there are other substances and realms beyond the physical, then the only way they could matter (excuse the pun) is if they interact with the physical. If this so, we should be able to detect it.2. Words exist in the physical realm, typically as ink on paper, vibrations in mediums, or the glow of phosphor screens. I see no reason to expect "revelation" to be derived from the transcendent. 3. If not all atheists support eugenics, then how could it be said atheism leads to eugenics? Of course, I expect Matt responded by pointing out the lack of one particular belief does not lead anywhere – you must add something else to progress. -10 points for Godwin.I look forward to the remainder.

  32. says

    [part 4]Nice jab at Fr. Hans' subtle relativism, Matt. Don't think he thought that through too well…—Booo. Right off the bat, Fr. Hans blames slavery on *paganism's* influence on Judaism. Did he just miss the bit in the Bible where it's *God* telling them to take people as slaves? How do you blame the pagans for that? Then he talks about the 4th century church fathers who said slavery was an abomination; they were moral relativists!—Fr. Hans: "A lot of morality is discerned in confronting the difficulties of human life." (So it's emergent.) "A lot of times, people have to wake up to the ultimate moral principle before the immorality of slavery is really written on the fabric of the heart." (So why did it take 300 years after God himself CAME TO EARTH? Why didn't he deal with it then?)—Blaming slavery on paganism and then thanking Christianity for eliminating it? Saying that Christians who believed it was God's will were wrong? … They certainly wouldn't have thought so.—"Christianity has, I argue – and atheism doesn't have this – Christianity has within it a self-correcting mechanism in that it can judge its own sins." DID SOMEONE SAY *MORAL RELATIVISM*?—Love Hans' equation of post-Christian and postmodernist. Clever false equivalency.—Lost of babble about Christianity defining the 'narrative' along the lines of Genesis rather than along the lines of paganism. Preaching about existentialists and World War I. Not even trying to pose a question to Matt. Really just meaningless filler. "I really got into the story and I forgot my point. Because I love that period. Where was I going with this?" Continues to preach and not ask questions as instructed. "I forgot my point, I'm sorry, but I get real excited about World War I. I get excited about the French exceptionalists."—Fr. Hans: "How do you deal with the fact that atheism as a philosophy [IT'S NOT A PHILOSOPHY] doesn't possess that self-corrective mechanism?"Matt: "[handing Hans' ass to him about the straw man and the lie]"—Matt: "Is there a discernible path to truth that is open to everybody within your paradigm, or does it require faith and individual direct revelation, that type of thing? Because I don't understand how somebody can assert any kind of truth without a demonstration of that truth. And that demonstration has to be open to anybody – that's kind of how we define reality; reality is the stuff that doesn't go away when one of us closes our eyes or one of us stops believing. So what discernible path to truth is there in, for example, the Christian worldview?"(Let me guess – quibble quibble dissemble distract straw man TAG Hitler?)[part 5 SOON PLEASE!]

  33. says

    "(Let me guess – quibble quibble dissemble distract straw man TAG Hitler?)"Actually, yeah, that's about right on. Oh, and PORN. And a beef about Madonna.

  34. Hermes says

    Materialism;1. It's hard to assert that matter does not exist. Actually, it's impossible. If someone says matter does not exist, then they can offer proof of that by signing over everything that they own to me, including clothes and bank accounts. Anyone who does hand over everything deserves pity and a good psychologist (psychiatrist?) — well, the one that can proscribe drugs if they consider them to be appropriate.2. It's not necessary to limit yourself to only mater.3. As matter is a given (1), if some non-mater explanation is raised mater is not removed as an option; it's still there. Additionally, the person proposing the non-mater explanation has to show why it is (like mater) a given. If they can not or will not do that, then materialism is the preferred option and the non-mater explanation should not be considered.The problem is that the people who snipe at materialism seem to think that mere criticism of materialism will eliminate the need to support some non-material explanation while — strangely — materialism isn't actually denied as an actual part of reality. (Disagree? Show me you are earnest. Hand over your materials; wallet, bank account, property (land, home, … jewelry, clothes, and food.)The non-material claims are harder to make, but they may have merit. Those who propose them have to prove that case to a reasonable degree.

  35. says

    After watching the first 5 parts I enjoyed the debate and I thought Matt did a really good job but this format of discussion can be very frustrating especially since Matt couldn't call out some of the BS Hans was sprouting as responses to his arguments.Specifically to the slavery question by arguing that Christianity is self correcting, while secular morals aren't…. ignoring the very verses Matt was quoting in his own bible, and affirming Matt's point that the conclusion slavery was a bad thing was reached without it.And then the rambling incoherent response to the question on what the discernable path to truth is in the Christian worldview by asserting that there were things trancending reason such as music and justice…Times like this I miss the TV show.

  36. says

    Well, the debate format can be problematic, especially if the other side knows how to play their cards. Like Hans led off with some weak claims like all morality is derived from Christian morality which is obvious bunk and Matt points out that this is wrong because a number of cultures that pre-date Christianity or had no contact with it had moral standards as well. Then Hans simply says, well what I really meant was that god created an inate moral sense inside of us. The problem is, now Matt has had to waste one of his rounds addressing something that should have been painfully and obviously false. But that is what you see in these debates, they will deliberately start with weaker points and make you waste a lot of time debunking garbage that they probably don't even believe themselves protecting their real beliefs until later when you have less chances to counter them. Looking forward to the rest, even if it is difficult to stomach Han's obvious dishonesty. (Nazis and eugenics? Really?)

  37. says

    Hans' closing statement is absolutely abominable. Truly amazing, really. I just have to wonder whether or not he has the self-awareness necessary to realize why.I mean, in a relatively civil debate, is it at all justifiable to just start shouting fear-mongering messages about how your opponents will destroy civilization? Is it not clear that that's more than a bit over the top?

  38. says

    And I have to say, I don't throw the word "shouting" around lightly. He's raising his voice exactly as if he was having to talk over someone, which (besides the random guy yelling near the end) is not the case at all. More than that, he is intentionally demonizing a position he acknowledges that Matt doesn't hold. How is that not polemic hysteria (from this "post-polemic" man)?

  39. says

    I'm still waiting for videos to load, but as a former communist and current atheist, I'd like to bitch. Granted, I'm working from hearsay here, as MikeTheInfidel said, quoting and extrapolating from the words of Fr. Jacobse, "'I don't blame all atheists for that' but I'll bring it up to slyly tell the audience that I really do blame atheism for it."Speaking as someone who has embraced the marxist ideal in the past, I know at least one path to communism that does not follow from atheism (as my atheism came along, at least conscious atheism, several years later.) My own path was not from the rejection of god, it was from the rejection of the immorality (that's right, it's a moral rather than philosophical path) of the capitalist system where those who work hardest have the least and those who have the most have the nerve to suggest that those without simply aren't trying hard enough. *foaming rant goes here*Of course, the reality of communism is… well, check your history books. It's a beautiful ideal with a fucking stupid, brutal reality. But it flows out of a moral sense, a sense of fairness and a longing for equality. It has sweet fuck all to do with religion. The only reason religion comes into it is the historical use of religion by the monarchies of this world to keep the trampled masses passified… *beret*I'm sorry… but I really hate being told that communism leads from atheism and that it is an immoral ideology. Anyway, the video's loaded now 😀

  40. says

    I appreciate Fr. Jacobse's statement at around 2:13 of part 2 that atheism is an "outgrowth" of christianity, even though I feel it is sometimes a little childish to simply say "Yes, we have grown out of this, just like we grew out of picking our noses and eating the goo inside." (I really hope we've all grown out of that…)I have to contradict his statement that atheism cannot exist without christianity though. It is true that for the term 'atheist' to be meaningful as a label, there must be such a thing as a theist to contrast with, but it's possible to be a Hindu, Muslim, pagan, Sikh theist, so even if Christianity were to die out tomorrow, atheism would still be meaningful. Atheism cannot exist meaningfully without religion, but without religion, we wouldn't care.What does the transcendent have to do with the bruise on Tim's arm when I punch him? I fail to see the necessity for atheism to recognise the transcendent to determine the existence or reason behind injustice.I have to agree with his assertion that my morals are derived from Christian morals. Even this very week I stoned my brother to death for suggesting I investigate Buddhism. True story.Man is indeed more than the molecules that make up his body, likewise a car is more than the chassis, engine and wheels. The whole is greater than the sum of it's parts, what does this have to do with morality?My mind is going… my mind is going… I'm afraid… I'm afraid… Dave… my mind is going…Daisy…Daisy…Give… me… your…. answer….. do………-GET TO A POINT!

  41. says

    Really… the second video at ~6:30. My brain just exploded when the idiot stated that when atheists say that killing is wrong it's because "Moses stated it first"… Yeeaaah, christians *cough* jews *cough* are the first group of people ever to decide that killing other people is wrong (as lax as their actual feelings about the matter are).

  42. says

    It started off like any other debate, if a little one sided, but then when Clever Hans began waving his arms around, and shouting and shooting lasers from his eyes and then when his head exploded…Well, I wasn't expecting that.It's much less frustrating than the regular format of: atheist makes point; theist doesn't get it; insert Godwin; round of applause.Matt, if I had to offer one piece of constructive criticism it would be this: You talk too fast. Everything you said, however, was pretty awesome.I look forward to listening to the complete debate once someone uploads the audio.

  43. says

    Oh good, we've gotten to the crazy preacher part. I think I did actually whisper to the person next to me that that guy's head had just exploded. He went from non-sensical and rather silly to maniacal.

  44. says

    I had mixed feelings about Dr. Shook's moderation at first, but when I talked to him afterwards he explained that his strategy was, seriously, just letting the guy talk because he was fully making a fool out of himself. I think John Shook had enough respect for the audience to bank on the fact that they realized just how ridiculous and insane Fr. Jacobse's behavior was, and he was right– you can hear the load groan.

  45. says

    I think the only real point of disagreement so far is that Fr. Jacobse seems to believe that the transcendent is the guy writing the rulebook (suddenly I am imagining god as a DM… we can't detect him because he's hiding behind his cardboard screen!) while we, if we accept that anything is transcendent, simply see the rulebook… which is full of annotations and post-it notes. The rules themselves may be transcendent – is it wrong to kill? Yes. But they have so many qualifiers – someone has broken into your house, they may be armed, your family is asleep upstairs, you have no chance of managing a peaceful, or at least non-lethal, resolution – is it wrong to kill? I cannot say that it isn't wrong, but neither can I say that it is.Here we are! Communism & Eugenics; the atheist experiment! I call bullshit.Communism is a political movement which, by merit of throwing religion (being a "tool of bourgeois oppression") out, invites atheism to the party. Since it is not an atheist movement, why would the correction come from within atheism? We do not expect correction to monarchy to come from christianity, do we? Correction to political movements come from politics. Correction to philosophical movements come from philosophy. What is hard to grasp here?Eugenics is… sick. Interestingly enough, eugenic practices existed long before Fr. Jacobse claims atheism came into existence.It was suggested by Plato as a valid practice. He apparently advocated government control over human reproduction by means of a fixed lottery where couples would be chosen by a "marriage number," although it appears that he later accepted it as flawed when it became clear that "gold soul" parents still produced "bronze soul" children.The Twelve Tables, essentially the foundation of the Roman constiturion stated, in its fourth table, "Cito necatus insignis ad deformitatem puer esto." – "If a child is born with a deformity he shall be killed." This is not a recent idea born of atheism.

  46. says

    Of course, I suspect Fr. Jacobse is referring specifically to Galtonian Eugenics, the reasoning the human society thwarts natural selection, thereby weakening the species through a "reversion toward mediocrity."I freely admit that I do not have a complete understanding of Galtonian Eugenics, to be honest, reading about it tends to turn my stomach, making an in depth study difficult. However, based on what I do know of the idea, it seems to be based on a simplistic idea of evolution, that we are climbing an evolutionary ladder toward a better humanity and that, by thwarting natural selection and allowing the weak and underprivileged to survive, we are holding ourselves back in this climb. It also appears to have a very narrow view of superiority which, seemingly, boils down to class with the assumption that great scientists or artisans could never come from the lower classes.Galton's Eugenicism was based on Darwin's theories, which are also often equated with atheism, but is essentially a social policy based on a misapplication of science and social prejudices with little or no relation to religious questions. Whatever the religious affiliations of those who supported or still support Eugenics, it is not born of any religious position.Just to hammer the point home a little excessively, atheism, however it may be arrived at by individuals, is a rational position based on the idea that we should not assume any claim for the existence of god is true unless it is shown to have evidential backing.We know from experience with dog breeding that breeding for specific attributes can result in a dramatic narrowing of the gene pool which leads to an increased risk of the emergence of genetic defects with a breed. To expect to be able to breed for specific attributes in humans, the underlying aim of Eugenics, without narrowing the gene pool is not a rational expectation. To maintain a large gene pool reduces the chance of preferred traits being present in offspring so it is not possible to run successful Eugenic programmes without also increasing the risk of genetic defects. Therefore to expect Eugenic programmes to produce superior humans is irrational. Irrational ideas do not emerge from rational ideas without an abandonment of rationality. Therefore Eugenics is not born of atheism is any rational sense….I might be making some huge fallacy in there though, please let me know if I am.

  47. says

    I really thought this guy was somewhat reasonable, and you could have a reasonable discussion with him. But in his closing statement, saying that materialism leads to concentration camps, he blew it. He's an idiot.

  48. says

    Matt,I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts/discussion on this in the upcoming Nonprophets.Hint. Hint. Nudge. Nudge.

  49. says

    @SpoondoggleI have 2 problems with the things you say:1) Nothing is born from atheism. Atheism doesn't lead to anything. Not believing in something does not suggest anything. Eugenetics and atheism are not related in any way. 2) It is irrational to narrow the genetic pool too much. However, in order to push the species in a certain direction, some elimination of genes is required. This is not a problem; natural selection does exactly the same thing. Instead of natural selection, it becomes human selection. Eugenetics is therefore not always irrational. It is however incompatible with the view that every human has the right to live his or her life according to his or her own view, only limited in the way that it does not interfer with that right for others. That's why most people (everyone?) rejects eugenetics.

  50. Hermes says

    Why did the room change in videos 6 & 7?Also, were Matt's jokes that were edited out in a previous video (5? 4?) understandable edits or censorship?

  51. says

    6 & 7 aren't from the debate. We're still missing 6-9 of the debate. I don't know why they posted them first, but those two are from their debate follow-up with Fr. Hans. By tomorrow night, I should have a video posted of Matt's and John Shook's panel discussion on secular morality, which was really interesting.

  52. says

    The jokes that were deleted (I heard from the editor) were 12 seconds of commentary about how they needed portable mics for "next time" so they could wander around the audience. They had to cut it to make this video section fit in one YouTube clip. You really didn't miss anything.

  53. Hermes says

    Ignore what I said about the different rooms. I'm a moron. At this moment, there are no videos from the debate past #5. What I took for #6 & #7 were from a different talk.

  54. says

    Argghhg! I can't be left hanging like this!This is worse than prime time science fiction drama.I'm hoping #6 is the one where Matt draws his flaming sword of atheist truth and smites the errant knave, and looking into his dying eyes speaks through gritted teeth: "Hitler… was… a Catholic."

  55. Hermes says

    On video #5, Jacobse has a point that is correct yet misattributed. In the last minute of the video, and earlier at ~8:30 where he talks about art and literature he is right to say that those things have value and point towards some deeper understandings. He is fractally wrong to criticize secular points of view or reason as being incompatible or destructive of art, literature, … or of being incapable of being used as tools to enhance those pursuits.Just as we should not take the bait of his nonsense about Christianity being the source of secular morals, or that there is a stark divide between transcendent experiences and materialism, we should reject these types of power grabs as well.Christian texts, like the religious texts before it, is tribal and uninformed.Matter exists, and our personal experiences that inform us about ourselves and the world exist.The expression and sharing of our personal thoughts well up from our nature not from a mystical fountain. A book by a cat, if there could be such a thing, would be quite a different thing from a book by a human even though there would likely be some points of similarity driven by biology and some shared references in the real world.Dwell only on what seems to be an internal mystical sense and refrain from understanding the world as it is outside of you and you damage expression not enhance it.

  56. says

    Oh dear… truth is beauty. No.There is symmetry, and that symmetry is a beautiful thing, in the rings, in that strong column and that expanding cap, of a mushroom cloud. When I see images of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, my immediate feeling is of the beauty of that cloud. The sickening feeling of the evil of what it signifies comes later… very quickly afterward, but still later. Beauty is not an acceptable source for truth or morality.And yes, the history of atheism is bloody. Of course it is; the history of humanity is bloody. It is not atheism that leads to concentration camps, nor is it christianity, it is human ignorance, human fears and human prejudices. Christianity recognises this and gives us forgiveness through Jesus for it. In a christian society, god will forgive you so long as you accept Jesus. Through this acceptance you will find harmony in the next life in heaven. In an atheistic society, there is no forgiveness from above for our evil actions, any forgiveness we receive comes from those we have wronged and our only route to harmony is through growing out of barbarism and embracing the civilised ideas we have pretended to for so long.

  57. says

    @MJI agree that nothing is born from atheism and that Eugenics & Atheism are entirely unrelated, but Fr. Jacobse's claim that Eugenics was a part of the "Atheist experiment" implied that it was born of atheism, this was the point of that rant… I accept that it might not have been all that clear though. Rantiness and clarity don't work well together.The thing with eliminating some genes, I'm not sure how to respond to this without being totally wrong… surely genes are not simply wiped out by natural selection, except in cases of mass extinction of course. More successful gene combinations will see greater reproduction and less successful combinations will see less, but except in cases where the presence of one gene causes a significant disadvantage in relation to those entities where that gene is absent, the direct elimination of genes from the gene pool is unlikely to happen. I could be wrong – I am only a layman in the field of biology, but in order to eliminate genes, it is surely necessary to eliminate every individual with those genes from the breeding pool, otherwise they will continue to exist?When it is humans eliminating genes from the gene pool, if we simply sterilise anyone with an IQ below 90, that will not stop people being born with a low IQ. If we sterilise the slowest 20%, people will still be born without the ability to run fast enough. It may not be so irrational to simply "push the species in a certain direction" but it would be ineffective. I might be misunderstanding your point though… I'm not sure. I can't really think of a way to directly eliminate certain genes, at least not currently, without sterilising or exterminating an unpleasantly large percentage of the human population, which would risk ending up back at the massively narrowed gene pool problem… and the having every freedom-lovin' person in the world out for blood problem…So I really think the only change I have to make there is to state that effective Eugenics is irrational.

  58. says

    @myselfNot that the existence of beauty in horrific things means that there is no truth in beauty, only that the fact that a thing is beautiful does not automatically mark it out as something from which we may discern truth or morality.

  59. says

    Wow, did Frans basically ignore all of Matt's question and just jump to the people that fought against slavery and say that makes everything better, when Matt was trying to point out that slavery is condoned and set up by God in the Bible?Then that closing statement is just straw man after straw man, right after Matt pointed out that atheism is not a belief system but only a stance on the existence of deities. Frans goes into preacher yelling mode I noticed too.

  60. says

    Two quick notes:@BeamStalk – he's not a Biblical literalist. From his point of view, the Bible is just wrong about slavery…that's why the question didn't really get answered.Yes, if video 6 gets posted, that should be the one where I respond to his remark about Hitler. There were some (OCF) people who felt I overreacted and that it wasn't fair of me to steal the last word – or that I'd missed his point. I've watched this segment again – and I was not wrong.The subject of the debate was the source of morality. His point was about the consequences of an atheistic/secular/materialistic morality and his claim was that this necessarily leads to eugenics and genocide. He's wrong. Factually wrong and utter dishonest in presentation.My response (which should be coming soon) was polite and honest and scathing. Which is precisely what his tactic deserved.

  61. says

    Fr. Hans Jacobse uses a tactic I find to be disgusting. Throughout this debate he keeps referring to "truth" without explaining in any way how "truth" is relevant to morality. But the part i cannot abide is that it is obvious that he has a secret definition of "truth" that he is not sharing with anyone else. I know what the word truth means, but if I apply that definition to the "truth" Fr. Hans Jacobse keeps talking about none of his statements make any sense. By harboring this secret meaning for "truth" it allows him to rail on and on about it, with no possibility that anyone can counter his argument.Also, he hides behind his orthodoxy, or, rather, Matt's lack of knowledge about it, by claiming a position on morality that does not align with any other christian position I have ever heard. Matt can't really call him on this because of his lack of knowledge. This is a typical tactic from what I have seen. The religious know they can't really defend religion so they only defend some imaginary position and then try to shift that position around to where it seems to be the same as theirs.Also, I am amused that apparently even God is still trying to figure out moral truths. At least he still didn't have it right when he authored The Bible. I guess God figured out slavery was wrong about the same time man did.

  62. says

    Fr. Jacobse's initial argument boils down to a simple syllogism:I: Atheism denies the existence of non-material things;II: Morality is a non-material thing; thereforeCONCLUSION: Atheism denies the existence of morality and, accordingly, cannot be the source of it.Accordingly, I think Matt could have been a little clearer in his response, which would go something like this:1. Strangely enough, Fr. Jacobse doesn't argue for the major premise of his argument; he just asserts it. He says "atheism means you must be a materialist." But asserting something doesn't make it so; and this is nothing more than a straw-man. I can disbelieve in all gods and still believe in leprechauns, for example. More importantly, atheists believe in transcendant mathematics — that is, that in an uninhabited universe, two meteors plus two meteors are four meteors regardless of whether someone is there to count the meteors or not.Now, Fr. Jacobse is free to *dispute* this, to argue — as some Christians have done — that without God, 2+2 might equal 17 or a billion or something. But so far, he hasn't even tried to argue this; he's just asserted that atheists believe a thing that most atheists don't really believe.Accordingly: atheism does not entail hard materialism, and Premise I is a straw-man. At this point, we're done, because Fr. Jacobse's conclusion depends upon the major premise of his argument being true, and it's false. Atheists can believe in non-material things.2. But it gets worse, because his minor premise is — as far as we know — false as well. Now, "morality" may not be a material thing, but morality operates because of material things; namely, because of our meat brains. We know that this is so because I can alter the physiology of your brain and alter your moral preferences as a result — whether with magnets, or with chemicals, or with surgery. At the extreme, if I smash your brain to bits, your ability to make moral choices similarly ceases.How do we know that bees or ants don't make moral choices? Because they don't have brains. No matter what their activities might look like — and it can appear that an individual bee is engaged in noble self-sacrifice — we know that this is an ingrained behavior and not a moral decision because bees don't have brains. On the other hand, in animals that have brains that are awfully similar to ours — chimps, bonobos, gorillas, and so forth — we see the same kinds of behaviors and the same kind of decision-making that we call morality in humans. We see altruism, sacrifice, cooperation, punishing free-riders, and so forth. So again, this is good evidence that morality requires a material brain.Now, again, Father Jacobse is free to argue that there's some sort of non-material mind that can make moral choices. I know he believes in one, because he believes in God. But he's got to actually *argue* for it; he can't just assert it, and so far he hasn't done that, either.So we see that his argument fails at every level. Morality doesn't come from an imaginary god; it comes from reason, and atheists can and do account for rationality.

  63. says

    @Matt – I caught that he didn't believe in a literal reading of the Bible. So he gets to use it as a the Big Book of Multiple Choice and decide what is and is not really from God?The other tactic that I thought was underhanded was his very subtle shifting of the burden of proof. By him stating that all morals come from God so no matter where you think you derive morals from it is ultimately from God.

  64. says

    That sneaky so and so waited until he thought there would be no time for response to bring up the gulags and concentration camps. I cannot help but think he planned this, since he also more or less got into preaching and yelling mode. I sincerely hope Matt got a chance to respond later. Bring on 6-9 ASAP!I really do not think there can be any truly objective truths, they are all dependent on perception. A rock certainly still exists if there is no one to see it, but the human experience of a rock can only exist if there is a human. And in fact, if there were no humans to experience the phenomenon of a rock it does not make much sense to use the word rock.I always think of truth as the ability of a mental model to predict what your experience of things will be. Gravity would for example be pretty high in truth "value" in that it can predict how we will experience things on our planet, but it does not do so well in cosmological explanations on a large scale, so it is not a truly objective or complete truth.In this sense I agree with Matt in that objective evidence is the only actual path to truth. I was really disappointed with the way Fr. Hans Jacobse dodged Matt's question on what his other path to truth might be.That got long and philosophical, my apologies. I like to throw things out to a critically thinking crowd to get criticism though. Have at me.

  65. says

    @John KI'd differ from you in that I don't think truth has anything to do with perception at all, but that may depend on the definition.There's one true value for how many planets this solar system has in stable orbit right now. This is independent from perception.If you want to talk of more philosophic things, I still think it's grounded in what's real. For instance, you may see Truth in the philosophy of working hard, but it's actually true because it produces real non-perception results that can be evaluated with statistics and event analysis. For instance, your salary rises over those who don't work hard.If there's another "kind" of truth outside of that, I'm not sure it'd be terribly relevant (and my position on this may or may not be true).

  66. says

    ..and I'd add that due to my understanding of truth, it's probably why Jacobse's discussions about truth with morality made no sense to me.

  67. says

    It seems that a central premise of Jacobse's argument is that atheism (or, for him, philosophical materialism which MUST BE THE SAME THING as atheism…) denies the magical element that gives human life meaning. He makes this clear when he tries to make the link between 'materialism' and humans being 'nothing more' than the molecules that make them up, hence, completely without value (obviously).I think this is a good question for Jacobse:If you discovered, tomorrow, that you are incorrect and that there is/are no god/s, afterlife or soul, would YOU suddenly stop valuing human life?

  68. says

    @John KI was there and he got to respond to it (a questioner brought it up). Matt was adamant in his response and their was a huge applause.

  69. says

    I saw the 5 (currently posted) videos, and I found sad (or maybe infuriating) that Fr. Hans Jacobse in all his interventions said almost nothing, really, nothing to really grasp on. He even evaded to respond direct questions with non-sensical answers, and actually said practically nothing… EXCEPT at his closing statements when he started shouting…My opinion: he did that at the end because he knows Matt can no longer shot down his arguments one by one because the debate is already ended; his ugly closing statements and assertions cannot be discused or questioned any longer. Is that a way to make an honest debate?IMHO that is intellectually dishonest and pretty coward.It was like acting non confrontational all time you are near your opponent, until you reach the front door and get ready to escape: then you start insulting and yelling, knowing your opponent can no longer answer or catch you. Simply COWARD!

  70. says

    Towards the end of part five it sounds to me like Fr Hans is saying atheism is the dark cloud that is going to kill all the beauty in the world. People will no longer be able to think of themselves as a beautiful and devinely inspired, custom designed snow flake by god if all they are is the sum of their biology parts.Also, I say anything is possible when your high..even if that is on god but does it change the nature of objective reality? Should we all be drugged up on god just to see the world as devinely inspired and more beautiful as a result?I see beautiful in nature and the universe without the need for a god to make it so.

  71. Brice Gilbert says

    Abolitionists was purely a Christian movement? Seriously? Fuck you good sir. He didn't even answer the biblical slavery element.

  72. says

    No surprises in Part 5, apart from Hans dodging Matt's question completely and then losing his fucking mind. Bravo to the guy in the audience who shouted "YOU'RE LYING." You could hear the audience murmuring and getting uncomfortable.

  73. says

    In more colloquial terms I think Fr Hans seems to appeal that a higher truth in our world is distiguishable by the beauty in it. I think he seems to be saying that beauty can only have meaning or have been derived through/from god.I argue that beauty is not proof of a god nor depended on to see as such.

  74. says

    Any news of Videos 6-9 of this? Hans needs to be called out on his canards. Most notably:1. How is secularism 'the denial of the divine' when there are plenty of religious secularists.2. How he can tell us that Mao, Hitler and Stalin did the things they did because of atheism with a straight face.3. How he can completely misinterpret what atheism is in the first place.4. How if slavery is mistakenly condoned by Christ, how he came to this conclusion and why the other much less believable things aren't mistaken as well.5. Who are the 'New atheists' and what makes them new. And what the fundamentalist atheists are (in his closing statement).Among many, many othersBring on 6-9B

  75. Martin says

    Gang, you needn't worry about linking to each new vid as it's posted. I'm monitoring the YouTube channel and I'll embed every new installment as soon as it's up.

  76. says

    I have very little to say about part 6.The only issue I would raise comes near the end when Fr. Jacobse states, "I have encountered the risen Christ." Granted, he may simply be using poetic language and in reality he had a realisation that Christianity made sense to him, but if he's serious, if he truly did encounter the risen Christ, if it wasn't just a hallucination, why do none of us encounter Christ?Are our hearts simply hardened against Christ? What does that mean? My heart doesn't feel hardened… I certainly don't mean for it to be hardened. How does one unharden a heart which they did not consciously harden?Are we simply not among the chosen few who get to have the truth revealed to them? Why? How can a just god create us with a desire to know that our beliefs are the truth and refuse to give us any sign that Christianity is the truth? Especially considering the possible cost of getting that question wrong.Maybe we just have to believe, like really believe before he'll show the evidence… but how can we believe when we haven't seen the evidence?

  77. says

    Father Jacobse is a liar. Pure and simple. I wanted to scream at the screen as he pontificated about absolutely nothing. His tactic seems to be this; Ramble on about philosophical nothing for so long that by the time he stops people are just glad he is done and won't point out that he didn't address the point for fear that he might open his mouth again. If I had been there I would have thrown a shoe at him.

  78. says

    "Music is not reason."No shit. Neither is food, drinks, cars, people, buildings etc. Reason is a thought process. This is painful to watch.

  79. says

    "If I had been there I would have thrown a shoe at him."I'm not one to resort to throwing things at people, but his closing statements would have provoked me to throw both my shoes at him.

  80. DavidCT says

    How did the words "Gott Mitt Uns" on the belt buckles of the SS constitute an atheist slogan? To ignore the long history of institutionalized antisemitism by the Catholic church and later by the likes of Martin Luther as factor in the holocaust is intellectually dishonest. Just how far does Fr. Hans think a good Catholic boy like Adolf would have gotten without this wonderful Christian tradition. As for "Uncle Joe", collaboration with the Catholic church (Orthodox mind you) did his career no harm. Just look at the history. The trouble with history is that it is like the bible. One can cherry pick anything you want from it. One thing that is really infuriating about these educated holy men is their arrogant dismissal of the inherent greatness of human beings. All things good need god – the crap is all ours. Sorry Fr. Hans we get to take credit for all of it. Fr. Hans states that there has to be more than just atoms and molecules. Sorry but there is even less then that. All we have is the up quark, the down quark and the electron. From these we get the universe and all the wonders therein. Anyone who cannot feel a sense of awe over that simple fact has no soul. Oops I forgot – I don't have one. However will I find my way to Hell without one?I could not help but notice Fr. Hans' god is a lot more abstract than the misanthropic sociopath of the old testament or the Mr. Bo Jangles Jebus of the new. Not much more than the cosmic background radiation. That's the trouble with god these days. The closer you look the less there is to find

  81. says

    DavidCT said…I could not help but notice Fr. Hans' god is a lot more abstract than the misanthropic sociopath of the old testament or the Mr. Bo Jangles Jebus of the new. Not much more than the cosmic background radiation. That's the trouble with god these days. The closer you look the less there is to find Exactly, when you try to pin him down on what he believes, God starts to become more abstract and unfalsifiable but I guarantee that if you asked him if he believed in the God of the Bible he would answer yes. It is an amazing double think that let's people like Fr Hans (whoops misspelled his name earlier, I think I was thinking of Hans and Franz) claim Christianity and hold onto it when challenged.

  82. says

    I'm glad that Matt showed some backbone. I have been finding this guy increasingly insulting and condescending ie calling it "The Atheist Experiment" and then to blame Stalin, Hitler and the Eugenics on Atheism or as a direct result of it ? Clearly Hans Jacobse is beyond comprehension and through his delusional attachment to his invisible friend and an unquenchable thirst for the sense of self importance, is also completely incapable of being truthful with himself and others around him.

  83. says

    The Jesus narrative gave birth to science? I have not heard a more wild assertion in a long, long time. I guess to debate for Jesus you just take as much credit for as many good things as you can and blame atheism for everything unpopular.I can only hope the "applause" after that statement was a rapid series of facepalms. Who would buy that?Do I even want to hear the last 3 clips from this guy?

  84. Joe K says

    I think the most frustrating part about the interview isn't the Godwin issue. It's that Fr Hans immediately left the agreed upon topic and never came back. Something along the lines of "I don't like the way you asked the question, so I'm going to answer the formulation that I like" If the moderator could have done one thing, he should have paused there and said "No, if you aren't going to argue to the debate topic, you have lost the debate by default. I wish that theists would stay on topic, instead of launching off on to their own little pet tangents.It's pretty obvious why they don't though – every time they stick to topic they get massacred. See, for example, the Hitchens, Fry, et al debate on "Is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world". When theists must actually defend their positions instead of simply throwing out "what atheists believe" and their mushy "god is love and beauty" stories, they fail miserably.On another note, the argument that has become my pet peeve as of late is the idiotic postulation that methodological naturalism reduces humans, art, etc to "Mere molecules". The hell it does. The world is SO much more amazing when you realize that there's not infinite being tweaking things and making it all work. That we are here on this tiny, tiny planet in an incomprehensibly vast universe but for the sake of innumerable fortuitous random occurrences. Knowing that every molecule of my body, everything that I am was once something else, and will be something entirely different after I a dead is amazing. And the idea that not believing in an afterlife makes life more depressing – fuck that! This is the only life we've got, we have to make the most out of it. How much more valuable is human life when you realize that it is so fragile and temporary?I know this was pretty rambley, but I really wanted to get it out there. The world is fucking amazing – there's so much more for us to find out. But he wants to stop and say "God did it, that's all i need to see that it is beautiful". He's missing out.

  85. says

    Did he just explain that he can tell what parts of the bible are metaphorical and what parts are literal because "he knows a little hebrew" and thus it's obvious when they are speaking metaphorically? I wish he'd go through it and point out which parts are which, because I bet everyone disagrees. Even the ones who know hebrew. This guy is bad news. It hurts me to think how many people think these are the thoughts of a "good man". Is there even more heckling and bickering later on? Both sides were a bit squirrelly. First the "You're lying!" and then the missed-the-whole-point "What about communist Russia?". If you want to be part of the debate, then do it properly. Otherwise leave the pitchfork and torches at home with the mob mentality. Grrr.

  86. says

    Oh yeah- Where are we on the "Don't be a Dick" scorecard? I'm showing the theists are being dickier with a 5-2 lead after part 6. I wonder how Dr Shook is scoring it?

  87. says

    WTB Part 7, cause I'm getting tired of these videos form the get together with Jacobse where he basically talks down to everyone and asserts a bunch of nonsense.In "On the intrinsic value of a human being" he re-asserts the nonsense that science is the result of christianity's philosophy. And oh boy, I'm watching "On Old Testament Violence and Orthodox Interpretation of Scripture" he's saying that atheists "war" against the one god, not against all gods. This despite the fact that Matt brought up the "you are an atheist about all gods except one" argument in the debate.I know very little (well, nothing I guess) about Orthodox Christianity but this guy is convincing me that it has not dealt with reality and updated its understanding of the world in ages (I mean not even in the way the Roma Catholic Church has). His insistence on talking about the Pagan world and making the contrast between Pagan and Christian is hilarious.He seems completely incapable of dealing with words other people use and instead just preaches pre-packaged stuff.@Joe K: The problem people have with "reductionism" really gets to me too. I can say "why" music appeals to me and I'm sure at some point as I go further and further back I'd end up with I don't know. Then of course someone would seize on that and say "see, that's God" or some other nonsense and completely ignore that science has given me the opportunity to not only enjoy music but also speculate as to why and understand what is going on in my brain when I do enjoy it.How can you call explanations that expand on things and make them cooler and cooler "reductionist"? I know what reductionism means, but it's a terribly misleading label.

  88. says

    Matt was great in this debate! I can't wait to see the last few parts. One thing I noticed is how clear Matt was able to make his points and how sloppy Father Hans was. It became really annoying that all Hans would do is explain himself with nebulous metaphors. I think its a symptom of sloppy thinking on his part. He really seemed to have no structure.

  89. Stamatis says

    Good job on the Debate!!!Realy frastrating that not all the parts are up yet…From where are they uploading anyway?

  90. says

    Hey everyone! I can't believe how popular this debate has been. I had a feeling it would take off with mobs of TAE fans on it, but it's been really entertaining to see the comments on the videos and the channel be almost 100% atheist. Anyway, I'm not sure why these last parts are taking so long. I know the person who is uploading (from the OCF), and I will say he is working his ass off on top of schoolwork and classes to get these things up. I'm sure he originally thought he could just throw the up at a leisurely speed over a week with no problem, but he did NOT anticipate his brand-new channel would get 13,000 views in 24 hours. He's got two computers working on compressing, editing, and getting up to YouTube asap. Sorry to keep you on the edge of your seat!

  91. says

    @ChrisIt's not just sloppy thinking – it's the kind of sloppy thinking that is cultivated in the religious world. That's the problem when speaking about God or a god or whoever, eventually the discussion has to be steered towards non-literal things. Thus the result is all this meandering mushy semi-philosophical stuff, which when you try to pinpoint what it is he (or other preachers and pastors) is talking about, you realize it's nothing at all. Lots of "deepities" as Daniel Dennett has said.This is the same crap I've heard from the pulpit on Sundays: it's either disgusting bigotry or complete nonsense. Or both.

  92. DavidCT says

    I just viewed the 6/9 episode where Matt was very clear about the intellectual dishonesty of claiming the atheist position on the existence of god leads to immoral acts. Great response Matt!!!Fr Hans made the claim that the term "atheist" came from christianity. In a way he may be right. While there have been non-believers since there have been claims of the supernatural, the latin derived term came into use with the beginnings of christianity. It was initially used by the romans to describe a religious sect (christians) that did not worship the roman gods. Like so many other ideas this one was glommed onto by christians, and morphed into the term now used to demonize people who do not accept their worldview. Fr. Hans goes totally wacko at the end of 6/9 with his claim that science has its origins in the church. For someone who repeatedly advises others to look at history he seems to have missed the part about the Greeks, the Egyptians and the Babylonians and their contributions to the systematic gathering of knowledge of the world. I suppose if your view of history is from the bottom of a WWI trench it is not very wide.Since Fr. Hans is so fond of the postwar French thinkers he should read some Albert Camus. I am thinking particularly the character of the priest in the novel "The Plague".I am looking forward to further posts of the debate. I complement Matt on his ability to keep up with an endless onslaught of logical fallacies. I have compliment Fr. Hans for his clear demonstration that moral relativism is at the heart of christian morality. The bible must constantly be reinterpreted to stay aligned with the values of society at any given time.

  93. says

    Finally finished part 6 and I agree with others that Matt's response to the Nazi claim was the best part. That was absolutely the right time to be forceful. Only thing I would add is that since it was a debate on morality that could have been the perfect time to point out the flaws in religion based moral systems.What I mean is this. There is nothing at all the links Hitler to atheism. At all. On top of that there is quite a bit that indicates, if anything, he was a Catholic theist. The point is, a person that has studied history like Hans could not possibly be ignorant of all that. I don't believe for a second he doesn't know this stuff which means he is being intentionally dishonest trying to tar atheism with Hitler and the holocaust. Right there is the perfect example of why religious moral systems fail. Hans is making his decisions based on what serves his religion first, and what serves principles like honesty or humankind in general 2nd and 3rd. Having your priorities as such is exactly why we get religiously motivated violence and things like the crusades and the Phelps gang. How can you claim moral superiority when your morals are first subject to the service of your religion? It is the same danger that permeates nationalism, when people place morality 2nd, you get moral failures. This is the potential strength of secular morality in that it (ideally) places morality first and other allegiances second.

  94. says

    Well there are some more parts up with the good father sharing some more of his brilliant insights. Apparently this Q&A lecture was after the formal debate. It's hard to tell the context. I thougt it was an unrelated recording except he mentions Matt at one point. He also claims christianity is helping many hindu converts by raising them out of mythology. Yep, their religion is myth based while his is, apparently, not. I have yet to see him defend this position in any real way. for all his talk, I am somewhat clueless about his own religion and how he justifies it? He talked and emoted and prattled and it seemed entirely muddled and the only specifics were insults or strawmen about the other position.

  95. says

    Part 7 is up now, if you want to add it Martin. "The only stand against the Atheist Program . . . the grand ideologies of the last century have always been atheist and therefore eutopic in scope . . . the only thing that stands against them is transcendent morality . . . now I'm not saying all atheists are totalitarian . . . Naziism and Marxism deny the transcendent character of the individual person . . ."FAIL.

  96. says

    This guy is a joke. He's appealing to the "atheism leads to nazism" canard again. Someone should ask him if he's only religious because he believes atheism leads to genocide.

  97. says

    LMAO I love how he fumbles with the next question of "how do you tell the difference between something that's immaterial and something that's imaginary?"

  98. says

    @rrpostal He said he could not prove God to anyone. So essentially he's holding an unprovable position and treating it as a fact of the Universe. Go figure.

  99. says

    I can accept that the Bible is true in the same way as a Dostoevsky novel is true. That is, not at all.When there's a scenario which is interesting or informative or didactic but not true, that's called a counterfactual. As in, against the facts. There's simply no use in redefining the word "truth" to include counterfactuals.And Hans sticks the "utopian" label on atheists rather than Christians? It's true that utopian thinking is vaguely linked to progressivism, which is mildly correlated with atheism. (Do no believers realize that there are many political flavors of atheists and that they differ?) But what we're talking about with genocidal dictators and eugenicists is generally top-down authoritarian utopian thinking. You know, the idea that society can be purified and subsequently perfected by a central authority that takes interest in all aspects of people's public and personal lives.Hmm, I wonder which religious perspective explicitly incorporates this idea, which has explicitly been used to justify mass murder? Christianity or atheism?

  100. says

    @SeanYeah, I really wanted to point out that he was conflating different meanings of "true"…there was just so much wrong and so much to address that I had to pick and choose things that didn't require a long philosophical answer.

  101. says

    Father Jacobse says in part 7 that "totalitarianism is, by necessity, atheistic" This is not so. Totalitarianism is by necessity areligious. This is because a religion is competition for power, not because of some need for people to not believe in God.Also I loved how he didn't answer the question about how to tell the difference between imagination and the immaterial. He just used it as an excuse to pontificate about his ideas on "truth" again. At one point you can see that he doesn't even remember the original question when he says, "I can't answer your question with a yes or a no" Of course he can't! Its not a yes or no question! What a fucking ass.

  102. says

    In part 7 Fr. Jacobse says"Nothing in life comes without suffering."Amen to that.We are having endure the inane witterings of Fr. Jacobse who likes the sound of his own voice too much. There are words coming from his mouth when he opens it but it is such bullshitty pseudo-wisdom that it doesn't mean dick.

  103. says

    "Nothing in life comes without suffering."I actually hate these sorts of all encompassing statements. Usually, when you try to describe "everything" you are wrong. I am sure that there are things in life that come without suffering.

  104. says

    JAFisher44 said"I am sure that there are things in life that come without suffering."Although I would agree with you, I am sure that Fr Jacobse would use some of his interpretive skills that he uses on the bible to justify his statement about everything requiring suffering. He is so dishonest in his use of language that I am sure that he would find it a breeze.

  105. Joe K says

    Not even five minutes in to video 7: "Hitler Hitler Stalin Stalin Mao Mao"This guy isn't worth having a discussion with. He's just a rambling twat who is unconcerned with the truth. He just wants to advance his position. Also, this guy's positions don't really jibe with what little I know about Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

  106. Joe K says

    Ugh, and then the jabbering on about the "self correcting nature of xtianity". How does he propose we tell the difference between christians "self correcting" themselves, and christians finally getting dragged into progress by the shifting moral zeitgeist?

  107. Hermes says

    JAFisher44: Totalitarianism is by necessity areligious. This is because a religion is competition for power, not because of some need for people to not believe in God.I was going to write something similar, but you beat me to it.

  108. Hermes says

    There's a saying that I picked up from a scientist dealing with the psychology of language;We are the story that we tell ourselves.Jacobse has created a story, a dramatic one, that has him as a character in it. His own ideals, sayings, and actions are locked into that character type. That's why he keeps insisting on such nonsense.On the whole transcendent mode of fuzzy thinking, if you map what Jacobse said to someone who is an avid and unrestrained fan of fiction you can see some correlations. As a writer of fiction, I do my best at imagining and making real what I know to be a construct of my own mind. There's a reason why writers and other artists fight with insanity at times and why some of them who go on medication for their psychoses feel as if they have lost something.more …

  109. Hermes says

    … continuedBoth religious mystical people and artists have to give in to the other, the muse and source of their inspiration. The question is how much and how are those sources, the muses, treated.Most artists realize that they themselves are their own muse, where that same attempt at objective distance is not encouraged in religious people.So, when a character speaks to me, I don't think that it's really an ephemeral phone call from a mystical entity. It's part of me or something that I've absorbed and can express through the character's perspective. I can learn and understand through that process of interaction, but I don't feel out of control of that character.When Jacobse talks to Jesus or listens to Jesus, he's completely given in to a psychosis. The character Jesus is like a personality that is is superior to his own sense of self — yet it is him. This is probably why some priests are so capable of justifying or shamelessly acknowledging their immoral actions. They had a revelation of God and thus can't be mistaken. If they do have guilt, they can always fall back on a different set of characters such as demons or devils.If I talk to a demon character, it's still a character not an entity. Religious people may call an exorcist or give in to their darker characters be manipulated or influenced by them.I would not be surprised if Jacobse sees Matt as an atheist character that his Orthodox scholar character must confront. That's why the priest is such a shallow bastard.

  110. says

    I can't believe the good Father actually claimed secularism isn't self-correcting, when it's secularism that brings religious idealogies kicking and screaming into modernity. Tell me, Father, how goes the 'self-correcting' Catholic church with regard to, I don't know, diddling kids? Not so well, I see. Jacobse also makes ridiculous associations with atheism and Nazism or Marxism, but not believing in some sky spook has nothing to do with those kinds of ideologies, anymore than not believing in Santa Claus makes one a racist or murderer. Matt's indignant response was perfectly appropriate….no wonder he got a hearty cheer (from me too, at home watching). Jacobse seemed wordy, dishonest, confused and self-contradictory at every turn. He claims 'narrative has power' so why the hell doesn't he believe in Grimm's Fairy Tales as a guide for good living? Please.

  111. says

    Btw Matt you did great!! Sound quality was good too. I think you should have clarified what 'Gott Mit Uns' meant but I think most people would have figured it out.

  112. says

    @Hermes:Actually, as soon as I posted that I regretted it. Many totalitarian states have eliminated religion as a competitor for authority, but this is not necessary. Totalitarianism is a form of government that theoretically permits no individual freedom and that seeks to subordinate all aspects of the individual’s life to the authority of the government (Encyclopedia Brittanica). This does not preclude religion in any way. All this means is that the government must also control religion. The church itself could be that totalitarian government. I am sure that there are in fact probably totalitarian theocracies to be found in our history.

  113. says

    great debate. little comment though to the makers: try to get direct access to the mixing desk next time. the best visuals can be thrown deep into amateur league of all you have is a lousy room microphone.

  114. DavidCT says

    I cannot help but think Julia Sweeney in her "Letting go of God" monologue when she states that the Invisible and the Non-existant tend to look a lot alike. I like the way Fr. Jacobse brings in that wonderful christian concept of a need for suffering in this life to achieve anything worthwhile. I agree that any real knowledge requires an investment of time and effort. Is this equivalent to "suffering"? The problem I have with this holy man's arguments is the continual use of undefined terms. This is mixed liberally with unsupported assertions. I am certain that courses with this man would involve considerable "suffering". A couple semesters of Fr. Jocobse would provide enough suffering to get anyone into heaven.I get the distinct impression that Fr. Jacobse spends most of his time in an environment where his arguments are rarely challenged. He is used to getting away with not having to back up his assertions. He can make up fairy stories about atheists because he does not knowingly interact with them. He can define truth any way he wants and even be inconsistent in this isolated world.I cannot get my mind around the concept of truth the holy man uses in this debate. As I understand him morality must be ultimately based on an underlying transcendental "truth" which requires a perfect god. Yet in spite of there being this absolute and unchanging underlying moral standard, humans are not able to perceive this standard directly an must move toward the "truth" by a process that requires constant error correction. In the end christians have a functionally useless constant on which to base their behavior since nobody can access this standard directly.Atheists must work out what is moral by what works and what does not based on trial and error. Behaviors that benefit the group tend to be encouraged and those that do not are discouraged. Over time the needs of the group may change and thus the standards for moral behavior will change. This evolution of behavior is considered moral relativism but a system based on constantly changing revelations about a supposed transcendental "truth" is not. Why do I sense the smell of a steaming pile?

  115. says

    That was possibly the worst answer to a question I've ever heard. I think he said that he may well believe in imaginary things but if the reflect some deeper meaning than it's OK and not necessarily a bad thing? I really wish Matt could have gotten a word in on this one. Father is starting to dominate the floor and his pap is threatening to overwhelm all.His whole "deeper area of existence" is imaginary, that's my take. Is it fair to label him a pseudo-intellectual? I hate that label, but he seems to say so many words and have so little value.

  116. says

    @Matt. Functional MRI scans done on inmates at the Mind Research Center operated by the University of New Mexico(UNM) have revealed parts of the brain responsible for things like morality are missing or atypical in structure in sociopaths. Science now suggests the source of human morality may be found in the human brain structure. I don't know if this would have helped with the debate or not.Here is a link to what I'm talking about.

  117. Hermes says

    JAFisher44, I agree with your re-assessment. V. good points, and they reflect many older and some current dictatorial and religious governments.

  118. says

    This shows more than anything else that in order to become a successful preacher you need to become a successful bullshit artist, really the amount of useless (at best) trash leaving the mans lips is staggering.

  119. says

    "Functional MRI scans done on inmates at the Mind Research Center operated by the University of New Mexico(UNM) have revealed parts of the brain responsible for things like morality are missing or atypical in structure in sociopaths."I've actually used something like that to argue against the "If people don't believe in God they tend to rape, murder, etc." argument. The only major group of people who really seem to lack empathy (and thus are even capable of being 100% selfish) are psychopaths, who aren't restrained by religion either (psychopaths tend to lack guilt and shame and are not strongly deterred by long-term negative consequences). So a complete absence of moral/social behavior seems to be largely a mental disorder, not an effect of any particular philosophy. (In fact I'm good friends with a nihilist who still consistently acts morally and judges others morally, despite believing that this "morality" thing is a fiction! Nonetheless, he has a strong innate aversion to hurting others and strong feelings of empathy.)To people who claim that they were immoral terrible people before they became Christians, I can only say that correlation does not prove causation (and even a handful of suggestive anecdotes does not prove a general trend).

  120. says

    Thanks Martin. I find myself in agreement with those who view the preacher as a bullshit artist. I noted that he had a mannerism in speaking which was to punctuate all of his assertions with "okay" and this served to act as a way to turn off any questionning. I would guess there were lots of people in the audience who wanted to shout "no, it's not okay". He was self-declaring all his statements as true and immune to question. Of course it was such a jumble of grandiose crap that it would take hours to deconstruct it into anything clear and understandable. Then you could discover the bullshit nature of his arguments. I loved it when Matt nailed him on his atheism = nazism crap. What a blow-hard.

  121. Hermes says

    I apologize about babbling academic nonsense. Please bear with me as I think I've diagnosed the ailment that Jacobse specifically suffers from. It's an impressive defensive mechanism for what is just mysticism.At 6:00 (video 7), the questioner nails it brilliantly when he asks Jacobse;"Since you don't presuppose materialism, how do you tell the difference between something that is immaterial and something that is imaginary?"Pay close attention to the specific answer Jacobse attempts to stammer out. It takes him about 30 seconds to even compose himself while his eyes flicker like a liar attempting to compose a story for a dupe that asks him something that is dangerous to the whole scam he's running. He has a gap in his defense mechanism that even he realizes is there.At one point, he mentions anthropology, and from other things he mentions I now bet that he's referring to mythic studies. Anthropologists treat myth as (roughly) "a cultural truth that is not necessarily literal or historic".This fits nicely with what Jacobse says himself, yet unlike an anthropologist with a professional distance, he's either gone native or (more likely) decided to use the academic meanings in a literal sense that is truly twisted.Where a professional studying myth will acknowledge a cultural truth, he's now asserting that there is one cultural truth of myth and it's the one he has. That's how he can slide from denying literalism and historicity and at the same time make the claim that it's still true. [gibberish alert] Well, within a cultural meta-framework for a limited number of people it is a carrier of a truth but it's not like physics or biology where it's true for everyone and demonstratively so. That's why he does not demonstrate his cultural ideas but asserts them. He steps into mysticism when he claims that imagination is 'truer than life'. If you buy that as a replacement for material reality, who needs drugs? I'd like to get him under an fMRI and compare the results to other groups of mystics.***One commenter on the YT thread says of his performance;"blackwolf1200: In trying to answer the question around 6:40, Hans reveals that he refuses to admit to himself that he simply has no reason to assume transcendence for any reason apart from wanting so. He does not want to realize that materialism can be a supposition, but that it is also a consequence of unpresuppositional observation of reality. So, he needs to waffle a lot and hang himself on his own string of words. He argues by composing foamy poetry, not by stating facts."

  122. says

    @Sean. I'm unsure if I understood what you were saying or not but I wasn't trying to claim any particular philosophy influences morality or doesn't. I was just trying to point out that answers for the source of morality might be found in studying the mentally ill segment of society due to their abnormal brain structure/function. If any concrete exception can be found for the cause or lack of morality other than god then I'd say god isn't the full answer and probably not the answer at all.Of course using fmri scans at this level in the human brain in cutting edge research at UNM and relatively new but it looks promising for the atheist side of the no god argument for the cause of morality. Also, the 'handful' of subjects who were tested was over 1,000 with something like a 33% hit rate at that point in time. I would think more testing will lead to more accurate results. Results for identifying schizophrenia are at 80% using fMRI. I think we can safely assume humans function as a result of brain structure and chemcials mixed with their environment.

  123. says

    I have watched part 8. Here are my thoughts.The first thing that really stuck out to me was Fr. Jacobse's statement about reading literature vs. watching porn. He asserts that you will be a "different person" at the end of the proscribed period depending on which you choose. I am gonna give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he didn't mean that if I read literature I'm gonna be Jim Smith and if I watch porn I'm gonna be John Baker. So aside from that what can he mean? That afterward I will be either who i am plus the experience of reading 10 hours of literature or who I am plus the experience of watching 10 hours of porn? This seems to be obvious. I am going to guess that he wants us to assume that after reading 10 hours of literature I will have grown better in some way and presumably that if I watch 10 hours of porn I will have in some way become slightly less than I was before, but this is an assertion, nothing more. He seems to want us to think that literature will contribute to us in some meaningful way, which it may or may not. All of which is irrelevant since it does not answer the question he was asked.Next was this gem, "The fact that I believe it does not make it true. Ok? Its true. That's why I believe it." Does he think that this statement in some way proves anything? Can fancy double talk remove the burden of proof? NO!!! All of that could have been condenced to "I believe this is true."Now Fr. Jacobse instructs us in another tactic. Vehemence! No, really. If rejecting doesn't work, just step it up. Repudiate it! No one would ever repudiate something that wasn't false. And what is with all the "whether you believe it or not" Basically he is saying this is true, im not gonna prove it and you don't get to question it. Well guess what Fr. I question it. Prove it. Show me this "breath of God"

  124. says

    I have watched part 8. Here are my thoughts.The first thing that really stuck out to me was Fr. Jacobse's statement about reading literature vs. watching porn. He asserts that you will be a "different person" at the end of the proscribed period depending on which you choose. I am gonna give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he didn't mean that if I read literature I'm gonna be Jim Smith and if I watch porn I'm gonna be John Baker. So aside from that what can he mean? That afterward I will be either who i am plus the experience of reading 10 hours of literature or who I am plus the experience of watching 10 hours of porn? This seems to be obvious. I am going to guess that he wants us to assume that after reading 10 hours of literature I will have grown better in some way and presumably that if I watch 10 hours of porn I will have in some way become slightly less than I was before, but this is an assertion, nothing more. He seems to want us to think that literature will contribute to us in some meaningful way, which it may or may not. All of which is irrelevant since it does not answer the question he was asked.Next was this gem, "The fact that I believe it does not make it true. Ok? Its true. That's why I believe it." Does he think that this statement in some way proves anything? Can fancy double talk remove the burden of proof? NO!!! All of that could have been condensed to "I believe this is true."Now Fr. Jacobse instructs us in another tactic. Vehemence! No, really. If rejecting doesn't work, just step it up. Repudiate it! No one would ever repudiate something that wasn't false. And what is with all the "whether you believe it or not" Basically he is saying this is true, I'm not gonna prove it and you don't get to question it. Well guess what Fr. I question it. Prove it. Show me this "breath of God"

  125. says

    I have watched part 8. Here are my thoughts.The first thing that really stuck out to me was Fr. Jacobse's statement about reading literature vs. watching porn. He asserts that you will be a "different person" at the end of the proscribed period depending on which you choose. I am gonna give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he didn't mean that if I read literature I'm gonna be Jim Smith and if I watch porn I'm gonna be John Baker. So aside from that what can he mean? That afterward I will be either who i am plus the experience of reading 10 hours of literature or who I am plus the experience of watching 10 hours of porn? This seems to be obvious. I am going to guess that he wants us to assume that after reading 10 hours of literature I will have grown better in some way and presumably that if I watch 10 hours of porn I will have in some way become slightly less than I was before, but this is an assertion, nothing more. He seems to want us to think that literature will contribute to us in some meaningful way, which it may or may not. All of which is irrelevant since it does not answer the question he was asked.Next was this gem, "The fact that I believe it does not make it true. Ok? Its true. That's why I believe it." Does he think that this statement in some way proves anything? Can fancy double talk remove the burden of proof? NO!!! All of that could have been condensed to "I believe this is true."Now Fr. Jacobse instructs us in another tactic. Vehemence! No, really. If rejecting doesn't work, just step it up. Repudiate it! No one would ever repudiate something that wasn't false. And what is with all the "whether you believe it or not" Basically he is saying this is true, I'm not gonna prove it and you don't get to question it. Well guess what Fr. I question it. Prove it. Show me this "breath of God"

  126. says

    Whenever Fr Jacobse speaks, he's playing a rhetorical game, filling his speeches with "I'm not saying x" and constantly casting atheism as a worldview. It's utterly maddening.Matt, you spoke with clarity and conviction. You were simply fantastic.

  127. says

    Fr. Jacobse's answers in part 8 are amazingly vague, preachy and just willful. He declares whatever comes to his mind in long, drawn out words, big gestures, but he just skips actually defining, or deducing his claims from anything else. It's just one faith-based assertion after the other.I might as well say "warmth is meaning as it pulls the clouds over the sky, which is akin to our state of mind, and to enter that warmth and remove ourselves from that clouded viewpoint is what makes us human". See, I can simply pull out a string of metaphors and emotionally laden language out of my ass, and sound just as profound.It's just exhausting to listen to, let alone debate, people who simply do not care what language is for, who simply want you to agree with them if their words sound nice.It's ironic that this same person then advises people to seek out good literature to form their minds. I'm not sure he would understand what's good about good literature himself. He likes words, but actual meaning and content, not so much.

  128. says

    "I'm unsure if I understood what you were saying or not but I wasn't trying to claim any particular philosophy influences morality or doesn't."I was discussing a theist claim that I'm often presented with, and I only quoted you because you reminded me of my counterargument, not because I think you hold the same view as those theists.I think I agree with you generally.

  129. says

    As someone who has been involved in the writing/editing/publication of romance novels and fetishy erotica and outright porn, I found the pornography vs. Dostoevsky thing rather amusing. I don't know that I've ever been personally involved with Dostoevsky-quality story, but I know that stories which teach about human nature or the world, or have morally/aesthetically/emotionally uplifting qualities, can certainly incorporate explicit, arousing sex scenes.Which is not to say that your generic "Big Boob Bimbos 3" DVD (or a titillating but hackneyed romance novel) is high art, but I think this assumption being played on is rather funny, that thick old tomes are inherently morally uplifting while anything that contains an explicit portrayal of sex is at best a guilty pleasure.Not Hans was really trying to make a point about pornography, but he was leveraging a common taboo in our culture that has a Christian basis, but which I really think should be thrown out.(In other words, I felt like going on a tangent because I'm having an insomniac night.)

  130. says

    The "creativity is only explained by god" argument is the old God of the Gaps.Google "area of brain responsible for creativity" the first item I got was musicians creating music while having their brain scanned. The areas for music creativity.The God of the Gaps recedes with the conclusion:"Rather, when you move from either of the control tasks to improvisation, you see a strong and consistent pattern of activity throughout the brain that enables creativity."

  131. sans_Dieu says

    There's so much wrong with the assertions of Mr. Jacobse. I took the liberty to transcribe some of them.The question was:Since you don't presuppose materialism, how do you tell the difference between something that is immaterial and something that's imaginary?His answer:That's a good question. Sometimes with.. erm.. with.. you know.. well I'm thinking, see.. imaginary! There's a pejorative.. idea what you're saying. There's a pejorative attached to it. But I think that human imagination is one of the tremendous gifts. I think that one of the things that.. erm.. and this needs to be developed in our theology.. in our anthropology. But one of that things that really shows that we were created in the image and likeness of god – I hold Genesis to be true, not literal, not historical, but true – is our natural aptitude for creativity. Of taking the stuff of creation and words, clay, whatever and refashioning it in something that is larger than we are. And that speaks to a truth greater than the arts possesses, right? So I see human imagination as critical to human self identity and also the awareness of mans own transcendence. Okay? But that has to occur – and will only occur – if the notion that a transcendent truth exists. Because it calls to reach outside of himself and to reach higher. Okay? So something can be imaginary – okay – but still very true. The novel of Dostoevsky's. All the characters are imaginary they never lived. But they are truer than life. Okay? So the answer to the question then really – I can't answer it with a yes or no – the answer to your question is really tied into your deeper notions of were truth lies and how to discover it. Part of the reason that our culture is so vulgarised these days is because the notion that transcendent truth is dimming. Okay? And so what we have is, we have pop culture that doesn't reach very deep but it's very pervasive – everywhere! But it's simply not very good! Because it's not very deep, it's entertaining, But it's simply not very good! It doesn't tell us anything. Okay? If it's deeper.. and if it's.. these things are always learned in struggle, okay, nothing in life – I'm old enough to know this now – nothing in life comes without some kind of suffering or some kind of conflict. It just doesn't. Okay? But to say something is imaginary is not necessarily to degrade it. Again it needs a judgement: is that product of the imagination pointing to something that's deeper, that's truer, that's elevating us? Or is it not? You make the judgement based on that criteria and no other in my view. Okay?No! Not okay. How does he know that the transcendent truths of Gangsta Rap are less true than Dostoevsky's? He has a poor methodology to determine truth. If he thinks, something elevates us (whatever that does), it's true.

  132. sans_Dieu says

    Can someone please explain "man's own transcendence" to me?Another quote from him:I think it's historically demonstrable that the values of atheism draw from the christian moral tradition.Yet he doesn't say anything that would hint some iota of proof.Basically, he is saying "I believe it because I believe it's true."He said also that he believing it doesn't make it true, but rather it's true, therefore he believes it. Yet he has no methodology for finding truth. He just says that pop songs suck because they don't elevate us. Every human alive has some spark of divinity in him. That spark is defined in my narrative text that shapes how I view things as the very breath of god.Is he talking about the Bible that he doesn't take literally?So by watching porn I become more of an animal and less of an angel. Wow! And why? Because I'm denying something fundamentally true about myself. What? What truth? That I want to watch porn because dating sucks?Also he said that we don't know anything about god's nature! Great! Then what is he talking about? He goes then on and declares that we only know of god's person. And he knows it because of scripture (which he doesn't take literally).Boy. Does he know anything?Some things are beyond the scope of logical demonstrability." And "You can't stick creativity under a microscope.Duh. But you can hook the brain up to a computer and show what happens when we are creative. We know where it happens and there is no antenna buried in there that contacts the deity of choice to receive creative thoughts.I only wish that Father Jacobse would have called the tv programme. Then Matt could've dissected every single point. It's the same old argument like "you can't prove love exist."

  133. says

    Just watched part 8 and Father Jacobse makes a great barnum statement and acts as if he has imparted a great piece of wisdom."If you spend 10 hours reading a good book instead of 10 hours watching porn, you will be a very different person."Yeh, If a spent 10 hours hopping on 1 leg instead of reading a good book, I would also be a very different person.This falls in to the Noshitsherlock category.

  134. says

    Shook did a terrible job of moderating this.By the Q&A session, it was clear that Fr. Jacobse's strategy was to filibuster every question with vague wordy nonsense. I don't care whether that makes him more, less, or equally respectable to the audience; the moderator's *JOB* is to interrupt and say, "No, Father, you need to answer the question."Sans Dieu's transcription is illustrative of the problem, but really, this begins with Fr. Jacobse's non-answer to Matt during the cross-examination period. The ridiculous "oh, well, I just get so carried away when we're discussing philosophy, how joyous is that, what was my answer again?" crap shouldn't be allowed to fly in a formal debate.

  135. says

    Matt's discussing the debate on the non-prophets today, as far as I know.As far as Dr. Shook, I had some issues with the moderation as well. Matt said in the panel that he was actually fine with it, and when I asked John later, he said that it was actually a strategy. He had enough respect for the audience and viewers that he knew letting the father talk and say a bunch of nonsense, they would realize how unreasonable and idiotic he was being. But there were still obvious times, I thought, that he should have absolutely cut him off or made him get to a point. What was coming out of his mouth wasn't just ludicrous and insulting, it was largely boring and incredibly wordy. @Hermes, from a comment a while back: I went to the event Fr. Hans did on Monday, and your comment that he has no reason to assert the transcendent other than *he wants to* is absolutely correct. He said a lot of things like "I simply cannot live in a moral vacuum, so I turned to God" or "I must live in a transcendent world, because without it I would be lost." It has nothing to do with *actual evidence* and everything to do with believing because he wants to. It may make for a good personal belief system, but as everyone can plainly see, it falls apart when he attempts to argue along that line of reason. All of his equivocations, his erms and ums and okays, his references to "truth" and "transcendence" and "love" and "beauty", all come down to his main reason for belief being PERSONAL INCREDULITY. Because he was too cowardly to admit this, he ended up talking circles around himself. Callers on the show are more likely to freely admit they come from personal incredulity than he was. It was really a very pathetic attempt at finding rationalizations.

  136. DavidCT says

    I don’t think the good Father watches enough Porn. When you claim to have a moral system that is supposed to be based on some transcendental truth backed up by something supernatural, why does it so quickly become clear that individual behavior is based on personal bias? I personally don’t think of sex as immoral, but I can see how someone who has turned his back on one of the greatest joys of human existence would. Back when I was a budding intellectual snob, I remember reading some Dostoevsky. I remember particularly “Crime and punishment”. While it’s been a while I remember that is was about a pathetic loser. This fine character decided that he was justified in improving his miserable life by brutally murdering an elderly woman for a small amount of money. His pangs of guilt became more acute once he was caught. While I may have been too young to appreciate the philosophical ideas presented, I did not care for the book. I think the moral message was that if you have a miserable life and you do something despicable, your life can get even worse. Sometimes great literature can be very uplifting.My father thought that I was wasting my time with reading fiction and that reading history and the biographies of great men would make me a better person. Different people do not agree on the cultural pursuits that lead to living a good life. That does not stop them from being judgmental. If there is some transcendental truth about the way to live a good life, why is it that no two people can read it the same way? I AM NOT AN ANIMAL !!I noted from some of comments and the question from the young muslim that the holy man still wants to claim that humans are somehow special creations that are not part of the animal kingdom. It would follow that only humans can be moral. The more we study other species that live together the more we find behaviors that are consistent with moral behavior. Even the lowly red squirrel will adopt the orphaned young of another squirrel. The only use these critters would have for the bible would be to shred it up and use it for bedding. If lower animals have evolved “moral” behavior, is it that much of a leap to understand that the same forces act on the development of our behavior.

  137. DavidCT says

    I do not have a sound background in philosophy. I have a problem with understanding the need for establishing an underlying constant for secular morality. It seems that when Matt argues that secular morality is not relative that his arguments seem a bit weaker. I do not understand that if moral standards can change with time, that one has to concede all there is is moral relativity and that the slippery slope fallacy of theists becomes valid. Must moral standards always fixed or do they sometimes have to adapt to circumstances.I am reminded of a Jack London story about the death of an old Indian. This man was part of a small nomadic group and the time came when age made him unable to move with the group. He was made as comfortable as possible and left on the ice with a small fire to wait for the wolves. Was this act of leaving the old chief to die immoral. In our society where we have abundant resources some hold that allowing someone to die is immoral. When the choice is the survival of one person at the end of his life for a short time longer puts the survival of the group at risk, is letting him die still immoral? Circumstances must play a role and not all choices are written in an inconsistent fictional text.When looking at morality I start the the presupposition that god does not exist. Without god there can only be secular morality. This is something that evolved and is self correcting without external forces. Behaviors that are too far removed from respected societal norms are not sustainable. The excesses of the Nazis, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot can be blamed unjustly on atheism but with what do we credit their end. Certainly not the moral leadership of the christian church. The christian church has been around for some time no but the basic flaws in human behavior have not changed much. At the same time those societies that treat their populations the best and are happiest are those that have largely freed themselves of religion.

  138. says

    I just realized where I'd seen Jacobse's "okay" trick before: Cold reading. People like John Edward try to turn a miss into an apparent hit by spouting a bunch of bullshit and following it up with "okay?". If the subject nods or says anything affirmative, the audience or even the subject can remember it as a hit instead of the fact that they were just responding to the "okay."It's a way to distract people from responding to the patent bullshit that was just said… and I'm pretty sure Jacobse is well aware of this.

  139. says

    There's also the false equivalence of "true" and "inspiring." That drove me insane. When you say that fiction can be more true than truth, you KNOW you're bullshitting.

  140. says

    You'll notice that the hundreds of comments on the videos have been deleted and commenting has been set to "approval required." Why do so many Christians on YouTube do this?

  141. Martin says

    Well, to be fair they said they were getting too many comments full of profanities and personal attacks, which I can understand. YouTube is not exactly set up for in-depth discussion in comments. You're basically allowed not much more than a tweet-length reply, which is why YouTube comment threads very quickly descend into "Oh yeah, well suk my balls faggit!1!!" So yeah, I guess folks can come here if they want to swear at each other in style.

  142. Martin says

    Not surprisingly, umbcOCF are looking a wee bit dishonest. I made a comment on their channel page thanking them for their posting efforts and inviting anyone from either side who wanted to discuss the videos in-depth over here. It was deleted within seconds.I also suggested the some of the F-bombs they were seeing were probably a reaction by insulted atheists to being compared to Nazis. Maybe they didn't like hearing that. You think?Hopefully they won't decide to disable embedding. Maybe people better start mirroring just in case.

  143. says

    Something I noticed… is it just me, or does Hans' entire argument have nothing to do with whether or not his beliefs are empirically true? He seems to be arguing for the *usefulness* of his beliefs, not their validity.

  144. says

    Mike, I agree, his arguments at no point (that I recall right now) dealt with the subject of the debate. He certainly asserted the proposition that the source of morality is god, but that's an a priori assumption he never bothers defending. His defense is simply to attack atheism (false dichotomy) and make special pleadings.

  145. says

    This is from their channel: It's too much to pick through and remove, so we're going to have to disable comments on our videos. Remember, we're a Christian organization–we can't have this kind of disrespect in our channel. … then why aren't they removing the videos?

  146. says

    Mike, I think that's the "appeal to consequences" fallacy."If you're right, everything would be terrible!"Doesn't matter, either he's right or he isn't.

  147. says

    In the next three days, I'll mirror all of the videos and upload the panel discussion on a umbcSSA channel, which will be fully uncensored. The OCF censorship is disappointing. I've heard about it on the other videos as well (from the Fr. Hans discussion). Someone in my group contacted me to tell me that much of her commentary back at Fr. Hans at those meetings was quite obviously deleted. I really enjoyed reading a lot of the YouTube comments, and don't think deleting them was a wise decision.

  148. says

    Only one part left and I'm still hoping that someone asks for more detail about the Father's "encounter with the risen Christ".Like where did this happen? On the road to Damascus? the road to Detroit? the pattern of burned butter on a grilled cheese sandwich?And when did this happen? I thought Christ rose from the dead close to two thousand years ago – if the Father is that old, he's really aging remarkably well. If it's more recently, the second coming seems to be somewhat less than advertised.

  149. says

    The Father has a very narrow definition of science. He's under the false assumption that science is merely work with the microscope. Is he aware that there are such things like a telescope and particle colliders?

  150. says

    Thanks Catherine for all of this.Is there an email where we can contact Jacobse and/or the group who sponsored his stupidity so we can express our distaste?It's all good that we can refute his claims here, but it makes more of an impact if the case can be made directly to him and whatever the other group is called.

  151. says

    I'm not sure about contacting the other group. I'll see if I can track down a group email that you could forward comments to, or alternatively just message their YouTube account, I know they're checking it. I just don't know how much they're into negative criticism (seems like not much). Also, if anyone needs our group email, it's

  152. Hermes says

    I've run commercial comment boards before, and we allowed and responded to criticisms of our products that were entirely misguided or unfair. Why? Because if we could give a realistic response, the misguided and unfair comments would be seen for what they are.Now , if we did make a mistake — the product failed to work as it should — the proper response is to acknowledge the mistake and address the mistake in the product for the customer. It is not proper to hide the truth that we made a mistake, nor would it have been effective. If you push the customer away by silencing them, they will just go somewhere else and show that your company is dishonest or hiding something.The OCF is making problems for themselves and Jacobse by not trusting the viewers enough to judge for themselves.Editing or deleting comments should be an open process and done as rarely as possible. If they do not have the time to check posts, they should note that in the descriptions and request that readers flag or vote on the posts when the readers encounter a post that they do not like. This is not ideal, but it is representative of the judgment of the public as a whole and is likely to be more fair in the long run even if not for individual instances.

  153. says

    About faith having different meanings, I think the only unique meaning , which cannot be replaced with , trust,hope, passion and loyalty , is belief with no good reason. Which actually can be read between the lines on Father's Jacobsen definition. This actually inspired me to create this image:

  154. says

    @Hermes I wasn't going to mirror the videos, because I didn't see a point, but looks like the decision was made for me. So for the sake of free speech, feel free to add commentary on the SSA posted videos.

  155. says

    Done watching. Matt did really well in the debate. He was mostly to the point and clear. However I am quite disappointed with Father Jacobsen performance which was actually the polar opposite of Matts. He shifted the debate from the source of morality to a debate about the imaginary "atheistic" morality and philosophy and when Matt corrected him that there was no such thing he still insisted on using the same terms. Not to mention his condescending assertions that atheism borrowed concepts from christianity, implying that it is more superior than secularism. Frankly I was hoping for a more honest and rational debate, which unfortunately only Matt's side could deliver.

  156. says

    At the beginning of part 9, does Father Jacobse say "faith came into existance 2000 years ago"? Someone should tell him about pre-christian religions…And… "faith and cosmic despair are the only two options you have under pagan culture"?Yeah… right."If you're a deeper thinker, all you have is cosmic despair." Oops, better not think too deep then."Discernable order to the universe only came into existance as great thought was synthesized with Judaic thought through the gospel in Christians, in Christian thought."He nearly lost me there… my head spins now."…we no longer face cosmic despair, even the atheists don't, that is a debt that they owe to christianity."Atheist are happier now because of a certain story they don't believe in as they were 2000 years ago when they didn't have the possibility not to believe in this particular story because they didn't know about it. Makes perfect sense…I'm not even going to start on what he says about "truth". My brain is mushy enough already from listening to the father.Matt, you were really good. Was that your first public debate in this form?It's a bit scary, but after watching all Atheist Experience videos I could find and listening to nearly all Nonprophets episodes (I have too much free time, yes) and watching this debate, you still have to say a single thing I really disagree on with you. Well, maybe the question how subjective secular morality is. Gotta watch the video again where you state your opinion on that.@tekhiun:Nice picture (though a bit disturbing). :)PS: yay, I managed to upload a picture. 🙂

  157. says

    Matt, I do not think you over-reacted at all to Jacobse's continuing to call Naziism and Communism "atheist experiments". You did not actually say anything negative about HIM, just about what he was saying. It WAS dishonest and absurd for him to keep asserting those things and it needed to be pointed out firmly.All in all I think you held your own much better than him. He was off-topic pretty much every question he got and about 2/3 of the way through he seemed to think he was giving a sermon to his flock instead of participating in a formal debate. He resorted to typical apologist tactics:(1) Shifting the burden of proof(2) Making straw-man assertions about "atheism"(3) God of the gapsThere are many many more, but I think others have said enough…just adding my two cents.

  158. Martin says

    Done and done, Cath. Thanks! Much better having only one window. Frankly having all those up was giving me hell with load times, and I can imagine others were having similar problems.

  159. says

    I sent a message to the UMBCOCF (or whatever the username is) of whoever posted the videos and then censored them, calling them on their censorship crap. The response was… about as weak and stupid as you might guess. I sent him a REALLY long message back. I assume I'll just get blocked.

  160. Hermes says

    Guy, by all means call them on their censorship.That said, note to yourself that they are the ones that will cause themselves harm.As such, you need not do anything for them to hurt themselves by their own actions. The proper reaction is to pity them, or to simply wait while they figure out that they made a mistake. It is true that they may not figure that out, yet that should make you pity them more since they are unaware of what is to you and others painfully obvious.



  163. says

    @Matt…..I think you did very well given that the format of this kind of debate seems to favour the religious preacher rather than the rationalist debater.When rebutting the usual nonsense about the atrocities of Stalin and Mao being a sign of atheistic morality, it needs pointing out that these aren't/weren't secular societies. They are/were pseudo religious societies that work in the same way as theocratic societies but simply have a 'demi god' type human figure at its head rather than a sky pixie.

  164. says

    Sorry…..I forgot to add that the only other problem seemed to be a technical one re the microphones on Matts side which were set up differently from the xtians side which made the xtian come over as having a more imposing voice. Matt would have had to lean forward (almost in a subserviant way) to make his voice as noticeable as the xtians. Was this just an oversight by the organisers or an intentional set up of the microphones to make the atheist look subserviant?I'll let you decide.

  165. sans_Dieu says

    Faith is recognizing that life indeed has a spiritual dimension.As he provides not a shred of proof of this nebulous dimension, faith is wanting to have a spiritual dimension. Sorry Father, that's how REAL science works.Note also that he cleverly weaves the word "indeed" in there – as this alone makes it true.And that even if something is not quantifyable, it still can be true.Nobody argues that point, not even Matt. What yu have to do is provide some evidence, or this is just wanting to believe something.In other words faith – and I think in the modern definition is this: Things don't have to be solely material (knocks 3 times on wood) to be true. Truths exists (knocks 3 times again) not distinct from it, but it (knocks again) incorporates materiality but also exceeds beyond the categories of materiality.I think energy isn't material– and gravity– yet they exist, because we can analyse the effects. This is just another example of religious people and their "you can't see air" argument. That a priest is falling into the same old trap is lamentable.And it's just the recognition that life does indeed has a spiritual dimension. Now what that spiritual dimension is? We can debate! And many people do and they will until the end of time. But it recognizes – as I said – truth cannot be reduced to just what you see under a microscope.Now he goes on to say that even the discussion about his spiritual dimension is recognition itself. Are we all believers, we just don't know it yet?I was shouting at my computer while Mr. Jacobse was speaking. He droned on and on like a tibetan prayer wheel, without providing anything reasonable. He asserts and moves on from there. And his comment about atheists should be thankful for christianity because it prevents us from falling into "cosmic despair" is sickening.Please go away you evil spirit!

  166. says

    @Hermes and guyThe reason for deleting the comments stated on their channels was "Not making an effort to remove tasteless, disrespectful and/or vulgar comments reflects negatively on our group." , which is somewhat understandable. However It does more disservice to them to delete all comments than to leave them in there imo. As their actions only give those disrespectful comments more weight than before.

  167. says

    My God the good father can talk. His long, rambling, pointless answer the "what is faith" winds up nowhere. Hans to far to accustomed to preaching rather than listening or thinking.

  168. says

    Response to video 2: What is the significance of Moses handing down "Don't murder", if other cultures (and previous cultures) already established it as a moral necessity in their societies? It is a bit redundant, like trying to convince a person you invented the wheel in 2010. If atheists are piggybacking on Christian morality in the west, then wouldn't, by the same token, Christians be piggybacking on pre-judeochristian moral philosophies? Wouldn't this diminish the so-called moral revelations handed down by that religion?

  169. says

    It's worth noting that because of the way YouTube works, disabling comments also has the effect of rendering previously submitted comments invisible. There is no way (that I know of) on YT to allow viewing of extant comments while also disabling new additions.I don't agree with them disabling them, but given the normal level of discourse on YT, it's at least somewhat understandable (if cowardly) for people who think that words are mantras, and have intrinsic moral value.It's really irrelevant as we have here and the new SSA channel to comment on. I'm rather impressed that they made it available in the first place, and didn't attempt to edit the video content, unlike the ID debate (read: bloodbath) last fall at a Texas church between Lawrence Krauss and David Berlinski that just miraculously "disappeared" into the æther, and the track record with several others that don't go the desired way and just gently float into the memory hole…

  170. says

    Forgot to say thank you to Matt, Catherine, the SSA, and the OCF for having and hosting this debate, and especially the guys at the OCF for doing their best to get it edited, compressed and uploaded quickly.I hope this is the first in a long line for Matt on the lecture/debate circuit.

  171. Afterthought_btw says

    I have to confess that at the start of any discussion about morality between a theist and an atheist, I really think the term 'morality' needs to get nailed down.It's just, as far as I can tell, most theists seem to use a definition of morality that goes something like this when they narrow it down:"The laws that (my particular) god wants us to follow."Now if that were the actual definition of morality, then of course atheists can't account for morality. And also, if you define it any other way (that I have come across), then you haven't got a leg to stand on when you claim atheism can't account for morality. But the thing is, if atheists use the word morality, then obviously they are not using that definition of morality, so no theist should assume they are.I mean, I've heard theists assert that morality is 'the right thing to do', or something similar – but if you then ask them to narrow it down, they'll say something along the lines of:"The right thing to do is what god wants us to do." (In which case, see above.)I really wish Matt had nailed down the actual meaning of the word 'morality' in his opening remarks – other than that, I found it hard to disagree with anything he said. As for Fr. Jacobse, I found it hard to work out if he was actually saying anything at times. (Which, given that one of the main ideas of a public debate is to communicate your thoughts clearly, is pretty much an automatic loss in my book. Maybe he truly is far more imposingly intellectually than I am, and my little head can't understand what he said, but in the circumstances, that's his fault, and not mine.)Also, I really wish theists would stop saying that the 'objective' morality they believe in is 'subject to' their god, and what that god wants. If there's an objective morality then it exists regardless of what their god wishes. That's kind of what the definition of objective means.

  172. says

    I suppose they have the right to completely ignore what people think about the debate. It shouldn't be surprising. But I did read most of those comments before the blockade. Besides being decidedly anti-Jacobseian (The interwebs is one place where we don't feel like a big minority) I didn't see any especially egregious items. I thought they were somewhat tame and relevant. Maybe there were things I didn't see.

  173. says

    The theist position on morality is shaky at best. Their position seems to be that God set down a bunch of rules and "wrote them into the universe" like some sort of cosmic background morality. This is why all people have a sense of right and wrong. Then they try to say that this built in morality equals the rules of Christianity. But this is a pretty weak stance.If morality was written into the universe it would apply to everyone. Everyone would be moral. How does this stance explain sociopaths? In what way are they exempt from this universal constant of morality? If some people are born disconnected from the universal constant of morality why not gravity? Why isn't the occasional baby flung away from the earth by centrifugal force? Universal constants apply to everything, not just some things. Just as every object falls in a gravity well in a predictable way, if morality were universal and objective every person would behave in a predictable moral way, and this simply does not happen.

  174. says

    @ HermesI did point out that they were limiting free speech. Their response was that there is not guarantee of free speech on the internet.I told them that while that is true, THAT IS UP TO THEM. The speech on their videos is as free as they allow.@TekhiunNo, removing comments because of swearing is not understandable. They pointed out that calling JAcobse a jackass was one of the main problems they had. If Jacobse didn't earn teh title of jackass he wouldn't have gotten it. And it does NOT in any way reflect negatively on the group. No one with any experience with the internet can expect someone to keep everything swear free while allowing open discussion. That excuse is bullshit.I also pointed out that if they want to eliminate vulgarity they should abandon their religion that states that I'm going to Hell and deserve it since I find that rather vulgar.


  176. Hermes says

    Guy, we're in close agreement.Tekhiun, I understand their explanation and I've heard it before by other Christian groups. Note that while there were a couple comments that could be considered vulgar, there were very few of them. From my experience as a moderator I doubt that they are being honest but are instead choosing something as an excuse for imposing censorship. I don't speak for them, and they don't speak for me. Nobody will confuse someone else for them.I would bet that they are offended at being questioned on the merits of Jacobse's responses. That's what the problem was, and it was embarrassing to them when other Christians went to their channel and noticed that Christianity was not being promoted by Jacobse's efforts. They are talking about appearances — how they look to the world though mainly how they look to their fellow Christians.Related video: point comes up at 7:20, but 5:40 on is good as well.

  177. says

    An Orthodox news posting about the debate can be found here: includes responses from Orthodox who were offended by the youtube comments, as well as a comment from Fr. Hans himself:"I argue strongly and in several places that the 'Atheism Project' (as I call it) inevitably ends in the Gulags as the history of the twentieth century shows.The logical end of atheism in nihilism since the atheist, by historical necessity, must reject the One True God. Rejecting the God of Abraham requires a rejection of the victory over death accomplished by His Son. Hope dies, morality is subsumed by the state, and totalitarianism emerges as the expression of Nietzsche’s will to power."I can't even respond to that without throwing things, so . . . feel free to have a go.

  178. Hermes says

    SSA, I'm starting to peel an onion over there. Lets see if there's any normal humans over there able to communicate or dogmatic us-vs-them tribalism.

  179. says

    I guess I'm illogical, because for a staunch atheist, I'm full of hope, wonder, meaning and purpose.And I'm strictly opposed to totalitarianism.If he wants a good look at totalitarianism, he may want to look up the word "Catholic".

  180. says

    It is odd to me that atheism leads to gulags since Stalin founded the Russian Orthodox Church (Orthodox eh?) and was the leader of it.

  181. says

    I was just able to finish the last video (well about an hour ago, but then it took me that long to catch up on all the comments here) and can only conclude that Fr. Jacobse is delusional. Question after question not only unanswered, but not even on topic.The few times he does manage to mention morality, the source given has nothing to do with religion. I started to feel that he was making Matt's case for him.@Hermes,TP,MikeTheInfidel and others – I am with you when you call Fr. Jacobse out on his explanation of the self-correcting nature of morality. His response talks of people that question the morals of the church, and how they were then chastised for their views, but in later generations the church came around to their way of thinking. How can an honest, sane individual equate that as Christianity being self correcting?@sans_Dieu – thank you for transcribing some of Hans' greatest hits, listening to him talk in circles is painful, and being able to read some of what he said makes it tolerable, and your comments were proceless.@Matt – On The Non-Prophets and TAE you had talked about being prepared for some tough questions during the debate. From what I saw, you needn't have been worried. It appeared to me that Fr. Jacobse had his mind made up right out of the gate that an atheist has an agenda and he did not seem to provide any argument for the source of morality. It seemed to me that you toughest task was not being able to take apart every fallacy but just stick to the debate format. Well done Matt.There was a question to both Matt and Hans that basically asked if your mind was open to change. Fr. Jacobse's answer implied that he was. I found that somewhat absurd since he would not even listen when being corrected about his misconceptions. It would seem that he is dishonest too, but it could just be his delusion talking.

  182. says

    Well after messaging the person who runs the OCFumbc account at youtube and pointed out that he lied to me repeatedly and was censoring everyone and that vulgar language was a bullshit excuse for deleting and now allowing comments, he/she told me to take my contributions to the SSA account and called me arrogant and condescending. (And vulgar, but how could one NOT swear a lot when talking to someone who acted like swearing killed puppies or something?)To which I replied with an arrogant and condescending rant.

  183. Hermes says

    MAtheist, good comments. I'll add my own take on it.MAtheist: How can an honest, sane individual equate that as Christianity being self correcting?They can't if they are informed, and Jacobse can't claim ignorance.Yet, in his realm of imagination, of myth, he is correct. Just as a tribal leader will condescend to a 'little brother' — a cultural anthropologist or the rest of the world outside his tribe — for being ignorant of the great spirits, he is attempting to assert quite literally a family role where he is the wise old source of knowledge and culture. He chose a profession where his title is "Father" after all. It's entirely power driven tribalism.Yet, he doesn't hide his agenda.Note how often he emphasizes emotions, repetition, and specifically imagination. He wants the world to change to fit his myth. By using emotive words and not engaging in the world that threatens his myth he intends to drag us along. His initial charge of 'atheist fundimentalism' is intentional and a distraction as he engages in the same type of group think that any cult member or isolated tribal leader.When faced with his foes, he has to lecture. At best, he can deflect or dodge. We are below him and require his imagination, his cultural biases, his myths, become manifest in our own sense of reality so he's going to tell us about it. What we point out is just arrogant insolence to him.

  184. Hermes says

    Guy, keep in mind that if you don't talk with someone you can't let them step in their own BS.That said, there are times to cut your losses. The indoctrinated absolutists — the tribal, the cultish — often are not much fun to talk with. They not only don't notice how they aren't making any sense, you can't even point it out to them using their own words and claims. The BS — the evasions and distractions — just gets deeper.The lurkers, though, may get it even when the person you are talking to does not. The indoctrinated, though, may take months to years to get through to.

  185. says

    So without Christianity humanity would be stuck in 'COSMIC DISPAIR?' Hans portrays Christianity as a great devine light which has inspired the world to be a better place by giving it color. He credits Christianity with all the great accomplishments like science and discredits anything bad about Christianity.Who is to say Jesus and or his follower's weren't schizophrenic by thinking they talked with thee 'God?' What kind of devine light, hope and faith is delusion?

  186. says

    It seemed as though, at least to me, that Mr. Jacobse was either drunk, high, or sleep deprived. In any case, I think the clear victor here in this debate is none other than Matt Dillahunty. I couldn't help but clap when Matt made his points that were so clear that it was astonishing that Mr. Jacobse continued with his baseless assertions. I also couldn't help but laugh at the absurdities that Mr. Jacobse spewed and continued to perpetuate.

  187. sans_Dieu says

    @MAtheist:Glad to be of service. 🙂 If I had the time, I would transcribe the whole thing. Its easier to rip it apart.

  188. says

    Isn't it just absolutely amazing how this Jacobse guy could answer questions at great length, using sophisticated rhetoric (in his opinion, at least) and modulating his voice as if preaching from the pulpit, while actually not saying almost anything useful or to the point AND making a lot of bold and totally ungrounded assertions about things he, visibly, knows nothing about? Also, why, on Earth, was the moderator sitting silent there for the whole Q&A session and not nudging the father to actually talk about what he was being asked about? An example: someone asked a simple question inquiring about how father Jacobse tells non-material things from the imaginary/non-existent ones (or something to that effect). What we got as a reply was a tiresome speech about something completely else, although given in a manner suggesting that the father may have been thinking that he was revealing the most arcane secrets of the universe to some village simpletons.And I understand Matt why he often didn't call his opponent on all the BS he was spewing. As he himself said, usually the father was saying some many wrong things in a short period of time that it would take long minutes to point out the mistakes he was making.Anyway, congrats on the showing Matt. Too bad the format of the debate didn't allow you to fully show the ignorance and absurdity of father Jacobse's claims. I hope that at least after the debate, in less formal conditions, you had a chance to more efficiently get through with your message to the crowd.Cheers,A fan from Poland

  189. says

    Good to know I'm not the only one who had zero idea what that guy was talking about. I heard a lot of words, which individually I knew full well what they meant, but didn't really go together in anything resembling meaning.I literally just sat there, my ear tilted towards the speaker as if that'd help, trying to understand, yet couldn't. (its less coherent then if you asked a stoned guy what truth means.)Part of the problem may have been that I was trying to put what he was "saying" into context of either the topic of the debate or what Matt had said, which he was allegedly responding to.And then he went nearly balls to the walls two steps from "how do we shower without electrocuting ourselves" crazy. And holy mother of fuck is he a condescending dick when answering questions.

  190. says

    Matt final statement: REASON is the only criteria and FAITH is not. I find that Matt is limiting himself (a linear thinker) with that criteria for philosophy of life. Example: Christopher Columbus in 1492 was almost 95% sure the world was round, but he still had to take that trip of FAITH to prove it. Neil Armstrong was almost 95% sure that the moon's environment (x-rays, temp., gravity) was safe but he had to take that step of FAITH to prove it. I do feel Fr. Jacobse missed it on the closing statement (meaning the debate format); he was in sermon mode, but that shows passion.

  191. says

    The good father Jacobse was an elitist and a prude. He kept talking about the "vulgarization" of society because our music and our arts are devoid of the "sacred" element. That's an entirely subjective element. And who should be in charge of policing society to make sure that our music, our art and our literature are not vulgar?I'll bet the black-robed father would love to step in and be the Czar of the Sacred and make sure nothing vulgar slips into our society to lead us into the blood bath of a Gulag society.The faith he describes is entirely subjective. How can anyone know that the other person has access to the Truth? Jacobse refused to answer that question. His only response seems that it will be obvious to those who read literature, know the traditions and don't spend their free time watching porn on the internet.The man has a bizarre and completely self-absorbed faith. he leaves us , in his system, with no way to make sure we have accessed the truth. Truth is attainable only through some sort of connection to the Transcendant. What he doesn't say is that only a priestly class of Ecclesiastical Authorities is the only provision for insuring that the right "Truth" has been attained and can therefore be expressed and disseminated in a society that leaves room or the "sacred."His model, as he expressed in the debates, can only lead to the horrible oppression and suppression of creativity, inquiry and discovery of mutually attainable and externally verifiable truths as seen in the Dark Ages ruled by a hierarchy of ecclesiastical authorities.To me, that sounds more horrendous than the scenario he imagines would be created by secularism.One thing he does not realize is that most secularists propose a secular government and not necessarily a secular society. In a society with a secular govt, the citizens are free to express themselves according to their faith. The government just cannot fund, promote or establish religious faiths. And the "sacred" rights of one person cannot infringe on the rights of another.He wants us to think that secularism wants to purge religion from society through the force of government. As such, he constructed a momentous straw man. I'm saddened that distinction was not drawn out by Matt. However, there was such a spray of B.S. coming from the father. I don't blame him for missing that.

  192. says

    @davidMatt final statement: REASON is the only criteria and FAITH is not. I find that Matt is limiting himself (a linear thinker) with that criteria for philosophy of life. Example: Christopher Columbus in 1492 was almost 95% sure the world was round, but he still had to take that trip of FAITH to prove it. Neil Armstrong was almost 95% sure that the moon's environment (x-rays, temp., gravity) was safe but he had to take that step of FAITH to prove it. I do feel Fr. Jacobse missed it on the closing statement (meaning the debate format); he was in sermon mode, but that shows passion.I don't think you know what faith is, or, at least the definition of faith that we object to.- Accepting a claim as true without evidence, or in the face of contrary evidence.We had evidence of what the conditions of the moon were, as well as our technology's capacity to handle it – therefore, not faith.I'm not fully aware of Columbus's knowledge about the evidence suggesting the world was round, but, if he had it, it wasn't faith.Faith has little to do with certainty. It's about whether a belief is justified by sufficient evidence, or not.

  193. says

    @DAVID – "Matt final statement: REASON is the only criteria and FAITH is not. I find that Matt is limiting himself (a linear thinker) with that criteria for philosophy of life. Example: Christopher Columbus in 1492 was almost 95% sure the world was round, but he still had to take that trip of FAITH to prove it. Neil Armstrong was almost 95% sure that the moon's environment (x-rays, temp., gravity) was safe but he had to take that step of FAITH to prove it. I do feel Fr. Jacobse missed it on the closing statement (meaning the debate format); he was in sermon mode, but that shows passion. "Hi, David. I don't think what you are describing is faith of a religious or Ultimate nature. By your apparent definition every scientific endeavor is an act of faith since the scientific method includes testing , confirming and re-testing hypotheses so that a theory can be established.The great explorers had courage (or fool-hardiness) to travel the oceans. So did the astronauts. And Columbus might have been inspired by his faith in some way. But it was still documented by the greeks that the earth must be round. For generations it was commonly felt the earth was round. Columbus did not necessarily rely solely upon "Gawd" for his certainty and courage.And, despite the uncertainty that infused the space program at the time of the first moon landing, there was much scientific and evidential support going in to the effort. They did have to match their scientific knowledge with the courage to confirm their theories. But to claim that what the astronauts had and what Columbus had was some sort of faith despite the evidence that equates with faith as result of contact with a Divine or Transcendent Being is quite a stretch.You may be in danger of collapsing the religious and sacred elements of faith into a trivial and temporal quality. At best the "faith" you describe is an analog of an imagined faith in a greater ideal. But to borrow from Fr. Jacobse, you are in danger of vulgarizing the very concept of faith so valued in many Christian traditions.

  194. says

    WHERE IS THE PANEL DISCUSSION VIDEO!Sorry to raise my voice. I keep looking on youtube for the video of that panel discussion. It sounds fascinating.Does anybody know the status of the plan to post it?

  195. says

    I was going to reply to David, but I see that JT and dc1983 beat me to it. I will just mention a recent episode where I think Tracie said that is like having faith that your brakes will work. That is not the same as having a belief without reason.When dc1983 notes that Fr. Jacobse's notions would actually lead "to the horrible oppression and suppression of creativity, inquiry and discovery of mutually attainable and externally verifiable truths", it makes me aware of something I have been noticing more and more. What religious people say is a polar opposite of what is true. I don't see it as an intentional dishonesty, but it exists. For example when Fr. Jacobse speaks about what secularism will destroy, it is in fact what it creates, or when you hear people claim their rights are being taken away, they are in fact being protected. I see this pattern again and again, and like I said, I don't think it is intentional. I don't even think it is a play on a subconscious fear, but somehow religion perpetuates the lie. It is as if the thought process has evolved to protect the religious belief, and provides insulation against the truth so it can continue.Here is an afterthought, it seems to me that Fr. Jacobse can not see the truth which in a way is sad, since he does go on and on about it.

  196. says

    @Hermes and dc1983: The video is rendering now, sorry for the delay. I just got the raw video from the OCF camera guy on Monday, and had a lab report due today. He's an animation major, and I'm biology/psychology so he wins in the fast-uploading department. I should have it edited and posted hopefully by tomorrow, depending on how fast YouTube uploads it. It's about an hour and a half (we're unfortunately missing the concluding remarks, because the video guy had to leave early). But it'll be plenty to watch when we get it up. You'll see when it goes up, but next time when I have further notice, I'll make sure to be in charge of filming. We just didn't have access to a camera in time. I would have gotten the camera on a tripod and improved sound quality, but it was a late night for everyone and we'll do the best with what we have. One of those things where you had to be there to get the full experience :)Anyway, the panel was really interesting, so stay tuned to the secularUMBC channel on YouTube to see it soon! -Catherine

  197. says

    Thanks Catherine for your hard work in supplying the video. I don't want to rush you at all.You are doing a great service by providing the videos when you can fit it into your schedule.

  198. says

    The good Father kept harping at the fact that he can not believe that we are just the sum of our molecules, that we are more than that. Well, of course we are! That's what emergent properties are! And not only has neuroscience not found evidence for anything cognitive or creative which is outside the brain (i.e., a "soul"), it has provided a large body of evidence against such a thing existing. There is no evidence whatsoever that the mind is anything other than what the brain does, Fr. Jacobse's baseless objections notwithstanding.His whole position was based on Arguments from Personal Incredulity (as above), Arguments from Ignorance, History Revision, and bald assertion. If he wants to know exactly why the Nazis scapegoated Jews, he need go no farther than asking Mel Gibson. Indeed, I find it difficult to believe that the Holocaust could have happened in the absence of something akin to Christian anti-Semitism. At no point does he actually give us any reason to accept a single thing he said.

  199. says

    @Shamelessly Atheist – "At no point does he actually give us any reason to accept a single thing he said. "For instance, Fr. Jacobse kept asserting "Truth is a property of the universe. . ."This is the basis of his theory of morality. YET, he does not do anything to demostrate that this position is true. It is a mere assertion.That's a pretty important foundation to leave to mere assertion. If he thought his position was correct, then the Father could have done more to support his contention about Truth.

  200. says

    Yeah, dc. It's so because he says so. That pretty much sums up his egocentric world view. Pity the universe need not and does not give a damn.There was also this idea that music can't be measured. Sure it can. Or rather, it's effects on various regions of the brain of the listener can be observed using e.g. fMRI. (I'm writing MRI pulse sequences as I write this, so I do know from whence I speak…) This idea that science can't measure everything that we experience is arbitrarily limiting what science can do – either now or in future. We can measure quite a few things more than we could 20 years ago and the good Father is behind the times.But like truth being a property of the universe (and I disagree with him – there's no reason to suspect that "truth" is anything other than a product of the human mind as all abstract concepts seem to be. For him, truth is somehow found in fiction and music. What rot. His criteria for determining truth is a joke. Pick the most compelling narrative? What was that all about? Why does any narrative have to be true?), he posed assertion after assertion without substantiation. Anyone who cares at all about how they arrive at belief would – and should! – recoil in horror.His position was sophistry at its worst.

  201. Hermes says

    So as to not upset any sensibilities of the easily offended and tender eared OCF censors, the following was posted on the debate thread OCF visits in response to a news report about a RCC Cardinal saying atheism is irrational;Link:——-Patrick, on the prelate;Are puns and punctual precise pronouncements punished, or preferred by the people present?Proceed if preferred.Proceed *not* if prudish.Paragraphs and phrases put forth for pleasure not paroxysms of pain…Proceed? Precisely. Presently? Promptly.* * *Pontifications promoted in the press or in private by persons of a profession — practiced packaged parsons — popularly picked out for their private predatory pederasty, promotes possibilities for producing potential poppycock, but piddling else. Practical promoting of prosecution and prison of predatory pederests in public would be pleasing and productive. Popularly so. All else is the politics of pity, properly and popularly pshawed.Pugilistic pronouncements of philosophers are peccadillos to protecting or not prosecuting practiced pederests. Prisons preferred for particular persons; proscribed predatory pederests and pederests protectors.

  202. says

    There's apparently some post videos up now from the OCF, featuring a small room with apparently one atheist in the audience. Not really clear on when this was in the proceedings. (and for the photo nerds, the cameraman appears to be using some sort of Lensbaby defocuser. They're definitely well equipped these folks. The debate was one of the best photographed things of its kind I've seen. Multi-cam, graphics, all the biz)

  203. says

    There would have been more atheists in the audience, but many of us had gone to a similar session on Monday night, and with that load of bullshit piled on top of the bullshit from the OCF side of the debate, we were all bullshit-ted out. Only one or two brave souls went to their debate follow-up the next day. The video quality for the debate was really excellent, I was impressed. For both post-events, it could have been way better. Since we didn't have access to any equipment, the OCF guy had to film for us. I would have done a better job, but we all had way too much to do on our end to track down a camera. Future talks and events will likely go up on our channel as well [We're accepting donations of used small HD cameras! 🙂 The SSA follow-up was immediately after the debate, and is rendering overnight and should be up sometime tomorrow, depending on YouTube uploading speed. It was actually more interesting than the debate, in my opinion, because it was more informal. Subscribe to the secularUMBC youtube channel to see it. -Catherine

  204. says

    Odd, I posted a comment yesterday and it hasn't appeared.In it I suggested that Matt (and all atheist debaters) have a standard response to that oft brought up "if you use reason/logic you can't account for beauty and music and creativity so therefore you have to connect with God/the Transcendant/the divine/aliens/David Bowie to explain the universe" argument.Matt didn't really address that outlandish claim. The claim itself clearly uses "Spock Logic", where emotions are considered illogical and unreasonable. The confusion here is often that they think because we accept logic and reason as the best way of devising truth, we reject the value of anything emotional or creative. Clearly, this is a Spock based misapprehension.Indeed, I personally love emotional and creative things, and they CAN be an avenue to truth and to superior morals. They are clearly things that exist, and perhaps only nihilists might deny they do and I doubt most of them would. The important thing is that emotional and creative ideas be filtered through the logical and reasoning filter using the best just assumptions to guide that filter we can.Anyway. I'm not eloquent.But I think when this sort of strawman is presented by the likes of Hans it's important that the likes of Matt address this immediately and not let him repeat it unchallenged.

  205. Hermes says

    "Odd, I posted a comment yesterday and it hasn't appeared."It looks like some comments were reset late last night. For example, Mr. Conspiracy Theory at the tail end of the first page of comments had been removed but was restored for a little bit. The moderators seem to have noticed that, and have re-removed him.One of my comments were lost entirely in the shuffle, though.

  206. Martin says

    Actually guys, I haven't touched the comments and moderation has been disabled, allowing freer access. What probably has been going on is the usual Blogger glitchiness. Sorry for that, but unless you're a useless spamtroll like Markuze, your comments won't get plonked.

  207. Hermes says

    Well, it got me. I posted something last night, checked on it, and then left. It's not there anymore. Not even a 'post removed' message.

  208. says

    Is it just me or did anyone else notice when the Christian would talk about Atheists he would always make a point to say "Now I don't think this about Matt, he's not like the others" in some way or another?Let's try another statement:I like Bob, he's not like all the other black people.Notice both statements are dripping with prejudice.I'm curious as to how much hate that guy is repressing toward Atheists and how much of his reason is being clouded by it.Another problem was when he began talking about the creation story as a narrative. The Christian stated that he looks at all the other creation stories as narratives and basically decided what jives with him the best. I took this to mean he feels Big Bang Cosmology and Evolution to also be narratives. The problem with this is Big Bang Cosmology and The Theory of Evolution provide empirical evidence to support the so-called "narrative". These other creation stories do not.Thanks for coming to MD. Sucks I couldn't make it down there to watch this live.

  209. says

    Anyone feel like having a go at a properly worded response for the "reason/logic doesn't allow for beauty/creativity/wonderment" argument?I know what my response means, but I also know it's flat and unclear for those who don't already agree with me.So wordy folks, get wordy!

  210. Hermes says

    Optifaster, just ask an artist that produces art that requires technical abilities. A novelist, for example. The problem is that the priest takes logic and reason for granted or as a gift from his idea of a deity, and not that none is required or used.I could expand on that to make a full argument, but the burden of proof is on his side not ours.

  211. says

    Part 2 @ 2:45 Hans says "Does atheism even acknowledge the independent existence of the transcendent? Or any being or even principle apart of matter?"Yes, as a concept. A concept/idea/thought may come from the brain which is matter, but the concept/idea/thought itself is non-matter. Thus, if the concept/idea/thought we're talking about is god, or some independent existence, than I would accept that, but only as a concept/idea/thought.

  212. says

    Great debate! Just wanted to give a big "Thank you" to the entire TAE team, y'all have not only presented a heap of helpful information over the years, but have also provided more than a few laughs along the way.Also, i'd like to personally congratulate Matt on and a strong performance, you rock dude. Your direct and "plain English" responses are hallmarks i've come to expected (and admire) from many episodes of TAE. You and AronRa are at the top of my "favorite Atheist activists" list. ;-)ps. i'd bitch about how pathetic Father Jacobse's arguments where, but i believe that avenue of discussion has been throughly exhausted. the debate started good, but got pretty sad towards the end.

  213. says

    @Hermes: Invariably the burden of proof is on the accuser, but it would be a hard stretch to assume that the majority of audiences realise this fact.It's the reason a few scientific, naturalist and athiest organisations advise against debating – the opposition brings nothing but strawn men so why bother debating? It just gives them a platform.So if you're going to engage in a debate it's important to be able to counter the wishy washy emotional appeals to said strawmen. If you don't, you give the supporters of the likes of Hans no pause for thought – their misapprehensions are confirmed by the lack of response.

  214. Hermes says

    Optifaster, I have a stub of what you're asking for in some comments I've posted here and elsewhere, and I'm not loathe to refine it for popular use.Unfortunately, these people have an infinitely deep list of make believe accusations. It's time to stop defending what defends itself and to point that out. The priest has a social agenda pushed like a politician. Have a response to the nonsense? Yes, of course, yet demonstrate it is nonsense and then step over the flotsam that the unethical theists keep throwing to slow us down and keep us away from the point.That's why I don't defend naturalism, science, logic, nor do I feel the need to prove atheism. I'm entirely willing to agree with people I currently disagree with if they have the goods. In public, the emphasis should be that they do not have the goods.So, I agree with you in principle. Where I disagree is on the emphasis. Do we spend all of our time on their agenda and not hold them accountable for their nonsense?

  215. says

    @optifaster "Anyone feel like having a go at a properly worded response for the "reason/logic doesn't allow for beauty/creativity/wonderment" argument?I know what my response means, but I also know it's flat and unclear for those who don't already agree with me."I think the position is based on personal bias. It is yet another straw man.I see two possible meanings in Fr. What's-his-name's critique.I. Possible meaning: "Emphasis on logic and reason makes one incapable of appreciating beauty, being creative and experiencing wonder."Reason and logic are pathways to discovery. For those able to comprehend the beauty of discovered truth, creativity and wonderment follow.I think whenever somebody follows an author like Stephen Hawking in his popular work "The Grand Design," and begins to comprehend what it is saying, it blows the mind (potentially, anyway). When I read the work and struggled in the concepts I was amazed once I caught a glimmer of what the various scientific endeavors had uncovered about the universe.Ultimately, Hawking may turn out to be incorrect at many points. His whole picture of the universe may fall apart like a jigsaw puzzle tossed to the ground.If I were a more creative person, I might have written a poem or painted a picture. Unfortunately, the images and expressions of wonderment are locked inside me like speech as a mode of expression may be locked up inside a stroke victim. But for others, I know the "path of reason and logic" can lead to great works of creative expression.II. Possible meaning: "The father may be trying to say that appreciation of beauty , engaging in creativity and standing in wonderment may themselves be pathway to truth."The priest not yet shown that Truth is a property of the universe. This leaves me with the impression that he considers the subjective sensations about a moment of comprehending a perceived truth, the private thoughts and unconnected eruptions of internal dialog that may transpire when caught up in an "aha" moment of meditation and study to be just as valid discoveries as the discovery of DNA, black holes or anaerobic organisms living in the hot water vents at the bottom of the sea.The question that Matt posed to him and that he refused to answer was, "Is this truth accessible to everyone?" Do you use reason and logic to come to this universally available truth? Or do you use reason plus something else? What is the something else?Since he could not support his assertions about the nature of Truth, the point of view as expressed in my interpretation in pt. II is rather useless. I think this is what the priest meant by "reason/logic doesn't allow for beauty/creativity/wonderment," but if true, so what? It just doesn't follow that reason and logic NEED to allow for these concepts as pathways to truth.

  216. Hermes says

    dc1983, on point II;The priest is implicitly claiming the presupposational position of some protestants even though he is not a protestant. It's a subjective solipsistic power grab and should be smacked down whenever it shows up. So, he has the truth (small and large t) and he knows by necessity that those who do not are wrong since he's right. That's why he was so strident and had no qualms about atheist bogyman scare tactics that don't address what Matt actually said or what most of the atheists listing to him think.That's why I frequently attempt to get theist to acknowledge the basics and to go from there. Many rank and file theists just don't know or even think about what the issues are, and get dragged off on issues that are irrelevant.Once I get them to acknowledge what is the case as opposed to what they thought before, and that I'm not a stiff puppet taking an inflexible position, I get them to acknowledge those basics;* I'm not unreasonably stubborn. Please, if I'm wrong, convince me what is right and I'll accept it. Really.* Nobody gets special privileges.* Nobody gets to put words in another person's mouth.* Material reality exists. It's up to them to show the extra non-material aspects.* You can't toss out logic and reason using logic and reason.* An argument made in one place can be re-used by your opponent.* Don't argue what is already supported by the specialists in another field. You're wasting your time educating someone in a short conversation, and most people don't have the stamina or honesty for longer conversations where those fields can actually be explored. So, don't do it.The basics. Most bad arguments fall apart if these are addressed firmly but in a relaxed manner.

  217. Rosemary says

    So something can be imaginary – okay – but still very true. The novel of Dostoevsky's. All the characters are imaginary they never lived. But they are truer than life.What esoteric meaning does this guy give to the word “truth” and what has it to do with the word “moral”? What is an imaginary truth? And why is it really “true”?What is “true” about life? How, exactly, is it “true”? How can fictitious characters be more “true” than real ones? Further, what is “transcendental truth”? How does it differ from non-transcendent truth?Jacobse’s woolly reasoning about the “transcendent truth” of “good” literature and music could lead to something like this.“Your Honor, I would like to point out that my client is a writer and composer of fine music and so he is therefore telling a transcendent truth that is more valuable than materialistic truth. He is thus, transcendentally innocent of all materialistic charges.“If you were his/her Honor, would you buy this?

  218. Hermes says

    Rosemary, fiction is true in the sense that it communicates a general truth to many people.I — like you — don't think it is more true than real life.It is through living that those writers are able to distill what they find true while they make fictional characters and situations. That the writers he promotes still make it up does not seem to matter to this priest. Yes, by all means discuss the issues the writers raise but don't mistake a portrait for a real person.Yet, this is exactly his mistake. He let his prejudice — his shallow fictional understanding of people — define his reality.If you notice how he approaches atheists and atheism, though, he treats us as if we are some character in a novel. He's not interested in reality, but in the abstractions he can distill from his limited view of his own presuppositions. In the process, he makes a character of himself, and not an endearing one.

  219. Hermes says

    Rosemary, to continue…When Christopher Hitchens talks about the numinous and when Daniel Dennett talks about his love of music including specifically religious music, both are touching on what the priest is strangely claiming for himself and his group only. Then, he hijacks it as a bludgeon to slam his philosophical enemies with. It is a clown's toy hammer.At best, his actions stems from his lack of curiosity with the world. At worst, he's intentionally manipulating his flock while being keenly disinterested in honesty.

  220. Hermes says

    Catherine, thanks. Not surprising. It's not much different from who I'm talking with at the other blog. It looks like the conversation there is dead there (the last post was on the 20th). If it wasn't dead, I'd drop a few padded comments there to see who is honest or has the potential of getting a clue.

  221. says

    Wow. Get this: I’ve been arguing with Jacobse in the debate discussion at the AOI blog, correcting Jacobse again and again about what atheism is, so he comes back with “you clearly don’t understand atheism in any comprehensive way”! So there you have it. If you don’t believe all the things Jacobse, authority on atheists, says atheists believe, that means you don’t understand atheism.

  222. says

    Is it me are most of F. Hans' evidence for God's hand in the morality of humans actually just human art, human literature, human music (and not the purported word of god, ie. the bible)? So his proof that god gives us morality is that humans have morality (as seen in the so-called 'higher' artistic endeavors of humanity). Further, the fact that such art makes him feel good, or might make him a 'better' person is proof that it is at the least inspired by and at the most purposefully put into us by God. That art is relative too, just like human morality and any other human endeavor doesn't matter to him. Russian literature is for him essentially more moral than Madonna. The former is proof of God and the latter is the ruin brought about by secularism. He ignores the fact that he is necessarily making a moral judgement of the two art forms when he argues that the one form is evidence of God's moral truth. Is it me or is there something wrong with this – it's like he's saying 'this is moral because it's moral' or something. I can't quite put my finger on it but something seems wrong here. If anyone smarter than me can expand on this, I would appreciate it.

  223. B-Man9666 says

    Jacobse employs an escalating amount of verbose and irrelevant blather in his dialog. He failed to directly address most of Matt's and the audience's questions.