Open thread on episode #732

Russell, Jen, and a young earth creationist make for a fun half hour, on the two time award winning Atheist Experience.  Also: deism, and what do you do about religious parents?


  1. jacobfromlost says

    The caller “Spence from Houston” was in the chatroom for a while. He claimed to be a deist who didn’t believe in religion, then began advocating specifically Christian positions.

    I still don’t know how to square that circle, and he didn’t act like it was a problem–“square circles” are wonderful.

    The other point that always annoys me is the claim that so-and-so wasn’t a real Christian because they did XYZ (a claim that Spence made in the chatroom–although it might have been one of his claims where he said he could not demonstrate it or that it would take to long to demonstrate it, because he seemed to do that many, many times).

    The problem I have with this is it comes very close to saying that “true” Christians can’t sin at all. If the claim is floated that so-and-so cannot be a real Christian because they killed millions of people, then what if they only killed one person? Can they be a real Christian then? What if they didn’t kill anyone, but stole someone’s lifesavings? Can they do THAT and still be a real Christian? What if they just told their wife that she didn’t look fat in that dress (a lie)? Can they be a true Christian then?

    At a certain point, you have to take the “savior” stuff seriously or you don’t. If believing in Jesus saves you from the sin of lying to your wife about how fat she looks, why, exactly, does it NOT save you from killing millions of people? (I know, I know. Because it is humans assigning the “forgivable” and “unforgivable” to sins, and saying god does that since they are actively assigning traits to their god the whole time. Isn’t it a weird coincidence that the contradictory nature of these gods exactly mirrors the contradictory nature of the person believing in them?)

    Anyway, it never fails to annoy me that someone will say X was not a real Christian because they did Y (a sin). What is the point of Jesus then? Saving perfect Christians from the sins they never commit?

  2. warren grubb says

    Really? No one has commented yet? So I will kick off with a potentially annoying “skeptical about the caller” comment- the young-earther struck me as insincere, I am suspicious he was calling in to stir things up.

    Regardless, he wandered all over the place without any resolution and I was very glad when you cut him off since there was nothing new. I guess it has been a while since the show had someone call in and read off of an apologist web site- you probably should have gone with your past “stop reading and put it in your own words” retort

  3. Andrew says

    The last caller was certainly an interesting pickle. I don’t know why he brought up the fact that historic communist regimes were not theocracies, when he subsequently agreed that being an atheist doesn’t necessarily indicate that one subscribes to fascistic forms of government.

    Good show overall though.

  4. Daniel says

    Yesterdays show is a prime example of why I’m not a YECer. My opinion actually doesn’t have much to do with evidence for evolution, it’s because the claims against it are incredibly absurd and poorly thought out.

    I grew up in a school that taught the creation story in their science books. I don’t really remember what I actually thought about it, I think I just didn’t think about it. I remember hearing the claim “Public school teaches kids that they’re monkeys and so they act like it.” But I still don’t recall having much thought on it, maybe I just didn’t care and was more focused on being a kid.

    Then when I was around 16 or so, and had been transferred to public school, I had a discussion with a friend who spoke about evolution as if it were true. I went all out and defended creationism as I was indoctrinated to, (which I never had done before)and the ironic thing was, in doing so, I actually heard how ridiculous my own argument was – as I was arguing it.

    But I didn’t let a little thing like realizing how ridiculous my own argument was stop me from being consistent, I had to win because it was a matter of pride. I couldn’t concede that my entire life to that point I had the wrong information. That was too embarrassing to admit. I had to prove to my friend, (and mostly myself) that I was right.

    My confidence in what I was taught earlier on didn’t last much longer after that.

    And I think that is the case for many young earth creationists. So to the comment that the caller didn’t sound “sincere” he may be going through the same thing.

  5. cfb says

    The simpler way to deal with the “there’s accurate historical stuff in the Bible” argument would be to point to something like the “Illiad”, or other legendary stories: the Illiad pointed to the existence of Troy, which was later found to be accurate. Does that mean that the actions of Zeus and the other Gods described in the story were accurate as well?

  6. cfb says

    A technical observation – my comment was posted at 1:11 PM Eastern time, and came out time-stamped as 5:11 PM; that suggests that the blog is configured for Iceland time…

  7. rrpostal says

    So the bible is confirmed by science. But I don’t accept any science that goes against my particular interpretation of the bible. Am I wrong, or was that the entirety of the first call? I always start white knuckling when some yahoo honestly thinks they can delineate obvious flaws in modern science with a dash of “it seems to me” and ten pounds of hubris. They don’t seem to understand what that would say about the state of humanity. How bad off would we be if the brightest scholars of our day are outwitted by some kid who “it just seems to him”.

  8. Ing says

    Assertion a) Their is this horrible disease that makes people bleed out all their pores!

    Wait 30 minutes

    Assertion b) But life is so perfectly designed!

    *face palm*

  9. Ing says

    Also just throwing it out there…Why would you Carbon 14 date (a dating method for organic matter) a mountain?

  10. jacobfromlost says

    I have used this strategy often, but it usually doesn’t faze the believer.

    The problem, I think, is that the evidence they present in favor of the bible (corroborating evidence of places, certain people, etc) simply is NOT the reason they believe the core elements of their faith (and probably not even the reason they believe those people and places actually existed).

    They are only offering “evidence” because they are arguing with US, people who seem to value evidence.

    It’s the difference between A) beginning by disbelieving until you have evidence to support it, or B) beginning by believing until evidence demonstrates it isn’t true. If you start off in B, then evidence doesn’t really matter…so how could evidence that contradict the belief I started off with be valid? If I keep referring back to my belief that I started with…then it doesn’t matter at all.

    Besides, we all know the true gospel is Matchbox 20 and their mystical prophetic powers:

    “I dreamed that the world was crumbling down.
    We sat on my back porch and watched it.
    I dreamed that the buildings all fell down.
    We sat on my back porch and watched it.
    I dreamed that the world was crumbling down.
    We sat on my back porch and watched it.
    In my head I heard the sound of 15 strangers dancing…”

    Clearly they knew in 1996, when this song came out, that 9/11 would happen, and that 15 of the hijackers would be Saudis. It’s undeniable evidence!

    If corroborating people and places in the bible confirms that EVERYTHING in the bible is true, then this prophesy confirms that Matchbox 20 are the Only True Prophets. Evidence! (of course, you have to begin by already believing they are the Only True Prophets…then the evidence makes sense, otherwise the evidence doesn’t make sense)

  11. curtcameron says

    What the first caller was trying to get at with the Carbon 14 stuff, was that creationists will sometimes point out that C14 can be detected in stuff that’s supposed to be really really old, like diamonds or coal. Those things are so old that there should be pretty much zero C14 left, but when the C14 levels have been measured in diamonds, coal, or in the soft tissue they’ve found inside dinosaur bones, there has been some C14 there.

    Although there is some C14 that’s slowly produced by radioactive processes, the levels we measure are way above that.

    The answer is that you have to prepare the material samples to be measured, and although our preparation techniques are pretty good, there will still be some contamination of the sample from outside carbon. Our ability to measure small amounts of C14 far outstrips our ability to prevent small amounts of C14 from contaminating the samples. It’s this small contamination that puts an upper limit on the date range that C14 dating is valid for. If a sample is so old that the actual C14 it has left is in the same ballpark as the C14 that creeps in due to contamination, then the sample is getting too old to reliably date with C14.

  12. andrew says

    The last caller was great. Paraphrasing – this is a christian nation, founded on christian principles. Why do you focus so much on christians? – Also, when people point out science contradicts itself, therefore it is wrong, it always makes me a little sad. Somebody has been filling their head with nonesense.

  13. warren grubb says

    Reminds me of what the hosts sometimes ask- if a caller is making an argument for God, is it the thing thing that made them believe? If not, arguing about it is silly because disproving it would just leave the caller saying “well that’s not why I believe anyway.”

    And, to tie that to your point, it typically comes from the fact that the caller doesn’t really believe in a need for evidence, they are just introducing it to try to convince an atheist by their own devices (which is why, not understanding reason and scientific method very well, they often come up with convoluted logical proofs that have little to no bearing on reality).

  14. Kol says

    I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re all sado-masochistic at varying levels.

    I tune in to the show primarily for people like the first caller. Russel and Jen were chasing him around with a magnifying glass. For the most part, they were just looking closely at his arguments. When they would counter with knowledge, he would scurry in another direction as if burned.

    As a viewer/podcast-subscriber, I wonder, “why the hell do I keep picking at this scab?”

    I’ve only just realized that a scab suggest a wound. I honestly feel wounded by theology over the course of my life.

    My biggest problem now that I’m Out is that theists take this stance:

    “You don’t believe in God?”
    “So, you’re an Atheist?”
    “Here’s what Atheists believe…”

    Bullshit flavored Arrogance Cake topped with Stereotype Icing.

    Now that I don’t need a god to explain reality, I can actually look at some of the evidence it presents and wonder about ways of testing the theory that gravity propagates across parallel dimensions. I mean, if gravity is affecting the universe as if 98% of the matter is unseen, doesn’t that suggest the existence of a multiverse?

    So, I’m non-theistic. Suddenly, others seem to know what I “believe” even though they have no idea that I’m actually pretty fond of the implications in the above paragraph. I don’t have any proof aside from plausibly erroneous “bruising” discovered in the WMAP’s picture of the CMBR and the analogy of sound waves propagating beyond the surface of a billiards table.

    Tell me this: What do Non-M-Theorists believe?

    I thoroughly enjoyed the “Cultural Theist” segment. Too many of us understand that we have to go through the motions while thinking, “this has nothing, whatsoever, to do with the way reality works.”

    I’m non-theist and I think reality is AWESOME!

  15. says

    I always love the silence that follows after the “some stuff in the bible is true” argument. It follows a nice little pattern, like all good jokes. First the caller makes some statement about how some specific fact in the bible turns out to be true. The host that week agrees and then waits for the upcoming logical misstep. I imagine that the other viewers ready their hands for the facepalm that we all know is coming. Then the “well the whole thing must be true” argument follows and foreheads meet hands across the world as our hopes are dashed that this time it will be different.

  16. John K. says

    Weirdly, the first caller referred to a 6000 year old earth, but then referred to carbon dating results greater than 10,000 years. As usual, science is fine so long as it fits with the your God assumption and supports what you want it to support. Otherwise it is wrong.

    I get the feeling the first caller has never thought seriously or ever been challenged on the stuff he was spouting.

    As for the Christian Nation nonsense at the end, I like to make someone who says that list at least 6 of the 10 commandments that actually are supported by the US constitution. I find few can even name that many, much less justify how the constitution applies to them.

  17. Kazim says

    There is definitely something to the description of chasing him around with a magnifying glass. Another friend of mine once referred to it as “trying to nail jello to the wall.”

    In evolution/creation debate circles there is something known as the Gish Gallop. Creationist Duane Gish tends in debates to spew out a very large number of claims in one very long presentation. Each one is factually at odds with recognized science, but short and punchy, and convincing enough that it may take ten minutes of rebuttal to respond to one minute of Galloping.

    I feel like Sam was aiming at a discussion like this. I’m not personally sure about the best way to defeat a Gish Gallop, but I kind of feel that chasing a person around while he is blatantly, and obviously trying to escape from the failure of his last point, is greatly preferable to sitting through a whole bunch of bullet points and then trying to respond to them at the end.

  18. jacobfromlost says

    “If not, arguing about it is silly because disproving it would just leave the caller saying “well that’s not why I believe anyway.” ”

    Exactly. The other problem is that simply isn’t the way one argues for things that are real.

    “This is evidence, and this is evidence, and this is evidence for ABC.”

    “Is that why you believe ABC?”


    “So why are you bothering me with it?”

    Obviously they are bothering us with it because they have nothing else–they believe because they believe, and they can’t get us to “believe because we believe” because we DON’T believe it.

    It would be kinda funny if it wasn’t so sad.

  19. curtcameron says

    I’m not personally sure about the best way to defeat a Gish Gallop

    In a traditional debate format, it’s really hard because the Gisher has a set amount of time to spew his BS. However, in a discussion, such as a call-in show, the way to address it is to stop him when he spews out one point that needs to be addressed, hang on to it like a pit bull, and don’t let him gallop on to the next point without an acknowledgement that his previous point didn’t go so well.

  20. jacobfromlost says

    “As usual, science is fine so long as it fits with the your God assumption and supports what you want it to support. Otherwise it is wrong.”

    I think Spence tried to float that idea in his call also–that science keeps changing so who really knows what is true?

    Usually when I press against this so-called point, the theist says that science is wrong because of some older scientific notion. “And how do we know that older scientific notion is wrong?” I ask them.

    Because science told them! They really don’t seem to understand the IRONY of trusting science to tell them that science is untrustworthy–because, you know, science is so very reliable that we can rely on it when it says that it is totally unreliable. ???

    That’s when you have to unravel all the misconceptions about science, the burden of proof, new observations and evidence, how science is a process and not a destination, etc. But somehow they always think science comes to absolute conclusions, and when new evidence and observations turn up contradicting previous “absolute conclusions”, then science is “wrong”, so you can’t even trust all the evidence available because, you know, some part of it might be (absolutely) wrong.

    If that’s the case, someone throw the switch and shut down all of civilization. It can’t be trusted because it might all be proven false tomorrow. We’ll turn everything back on with the Power of the Lord, since it is absolutely certain.

  21. Zach says

    Because that’s the way creationist dumbfucks like to think carbon dating works. They think radiometric dating = carbon dating, and since carbon’s half life is short you can’t use it for old stuff therefore God.

  22. andrewhawkins says

    I particularly like Matt’s response to that line of horseshit: if in the future archaeologists find remains of New York City it won’t prove the existence of Spiderman.

  23. Brian says

    I’ve unfortunately haven’t had the opportunity to do this, but if someone makes the “our laws are based on the Ten Commandments” argument, here’s the approach I’d take:

    “Okay, well what’s the first commandment? It is ‘I am Yahweh thy God who brought you out of Egypt. You shall have no other gods before me’ is it not? Do you know what the first amendment says? It says ‘congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ Already the Ten Commandments and the Bill of Rights are diametrically opposed, here. One calls for exclusive worship of one god, the other calls for the freedom to worship any god one chooses, even no god. When was the last time you’ve heard of someone being arrested for not observing the Sabbath? Again, the Ten Commandments say you have to, and the Bill of Rights says you don’t. So how can you say our laws are based on the Ten Commandments when bullet point one of our constitution is in direct opposition with bullet point one of Exodus chapter 20?

  24. says

    I cringed when I heard the “some stuff in the Bible is true, therefore it’s all true” argument. It’s like, David Crockett was a real, actual person. We have records of him and his actions. In the 1950’s, a television show was produced based on his life, and there was a theme song which claimed he “killed him a bar (bear, sic) when he was only three.” Does the fact that a man named David Crockett really lived, and was really a senator, and really died at the Alamo mean that he really killed a bear as a toddler? For centuries everybody was sure the city of Troy was a myth, until it was discovered by archaeologists. Does that mean we can consider the events in the Iliad to be historical, including the presence of Achilles, the nearly-invincible warrior, and Poseidon, the God of the sea who punished Odysseus for not praying to him?

  25. rrpostal says

    Dating methods are simply tools that scientists use. Creationists try to make the argument that since a given tool has limitations, it thereby follows the tool is useless. It is directly tantamount to disparaging a wrench because it does not work well as a screwdriver. When used properly, however, they are very useful.

  26. curtcameron says

    I’m not sure that Russell and Jen were the hosts that could address the “some stuff in the Bible is true” by taking it head-on (someone would need a lot of Bible knowledge), but there’s actually very little historically in the Bible that is true. Historical info from about 500 BCE on is basically set around actual historical events, like the Babylonian exile and the oppression they suffered under Antiochus Epiphanes around 160 BCE.

    But the stories that everyone knows from the Bible are known to be NOT true: there were no Adam and Eve; there was never a worldwide flood where Noah rescued all the animal species. The Israelites were never enslaved in Egypt, and they didn’t move into Canaan and take over the land, instead the Jews were indigenous to that area. The cities that were destroyed in the accounts of Joshua were mostly already destroyed before the time Joshua is set. There MAY have been a David, but Israel did not have an extensive kingdom at that time. We KNOW this historically, and it drastically conflicts with the accounts in the Bible. This is basically all the stuff that was supposed to have happened before the Babylonians came in and kicked butt.

    Moving on to the New Testament, there is very little historical info in it, but some of the key points we know to be wrong. Everyone knows that the nativity story was set during Herod (according to Matthew), and Luke mentions the census of Quirinius, but we know that the end of Herod’s reign and the beginning of Quirinius’s term were separated by ten years! If Jesus was a little kid when Herod was alive (as Matthew describes), then he would have been a teenager when Quirinius took office, and the whole story about Joseph and Mary making a trip to Bethlehem while she was pregnant could not have also happened.

  27. Vall says

    I got hit with a variation of the gish gallop. My conservative buddy went on a Beck style rant, with hardly even a pause for breath. I was trying to pin him down on the first statement he made, but, he just ignored me and kept talking. I had an answer for all of the claims, but I realized how effective the strategy would have been if it weren’t just the two of us. I’m not saying he was right, but to a third party, I would have had the weaker position.

    Curtcameron points out a way to counter it. Interruption. That is the only thing that works.

    If I didn’t despise the technique, I would suggest a reality based gallop.

  28. jacobfromlost says

    I’ve used that techique before also (it doesn’t get any more basic than “have no god’s before me”, so why isn’t that in the Constitution?).

    But I got so annoyed with the theist I was arguing with that I just reversed everything. I asked why the Constitution just doesn’t blatantly SAY this is a Christian country, enforce all the 10 commandments, etc.?

    That’s when they started making OUR argument–that it wouldn’t work, that theocracies are oppressive, etc.

    But something doesn’t jibe if that’s the case. If the Christian god is the “one true god” of all of reality, then passing laws that enforce his commands, as well as belief in him, could NEVER be bad in reality, right? We pass laws that, quite often, demonstrably HELP society–that’s why we passed them in the first place (anticipating that they would help us function as a society). If god belief would stop hurricanes, AIDS, cancer, floods, global warming, the economic collapse, etc (all claims that have been made before, at least if we add “prayer” to “god belief”), then what could possibly be the harm in writing Christianity into the Constitution and passing laws enforcing it?

    The theists always seem to understand that their beliefs, the 10 commandments, etc, would not work to make society better…but just WON’T ADMIT IT to save their lives. But if if they truly believe their beliefs, there is no explanation as to why they wouldn’t want Christianity written directly into our laws–except cognitive dissonance.

  29. Jdog says

    Daylight savings time is still in effect in the US until November. The time zone the board uses is Greenwich Mean Time.

  30. Jdog says

    I’ve never been up against a Gallop, but my first thought was “call them out on it”. Anyone know if something like the following has been tried?

    “You just made several claims, all of which are demonstrably wrong, yet would each require several minutes to debunk. However, I only have this short time in which to debunk these claims. In the interest of fairness, I’d like you to pick the one you feel is the best or strongest claim for your position and I will explain why you are incorrect.”

    I’ve seen that used on the show: when a theist caller says they have “all kinds of proof” for their beliefs, a host tells them to give their best one.

  31. jacobfromlost says

    I don’t know how effective it is, but when they gallop through a bunch of different disciplines, I just say…

    Not according to the quantum physicists, not according to the biologists, not according to the geologists,

    or whomever. I usually try to interrupt and get it in right when they start going off on whichever discipline it is (although waiting for them to get to the end of their claims about a specific descipline can be effective also).

    And if they happen to be thrown off their stride and give me a moment of silence, I slip in a, “What makes you think you know more about quantum physics than the quantum physicists do?”, or whatever the discipline happens to be. I might also throw in a, “Do you think you know more about brain surgery than the brain surgeons also?”

    Usually steals their thunder pretty easily. I’ve had a couple then cite such an expert that supports them…but when you track down the citation, it is of an article or movie that quote mines the person, and the person subsequently said so scores and SCORES of times, denying vehemently whatever woo woo nonsense the person is trying to use them in defense of.

    Some of these experts that are routinely quote mined can be anticipated beforehand, but if they pull an expert out of the air that supports “the universe is conscious”, or whatever, then I’d blatantly tell them that I don’t believe them. Give me evidence that this person is A) an expert, B) said what you claim, and C) that their single expert opinion should hold more weight than that of 99.9999% of other such experts.

    If they can do all that, then my next question is…why do the other 99.9999% of experts disagree with them? (And why haven’t they published a peer reviewed paper with this evidence and thus won a Nobel Prize? Are they lazy or something?)

  32. Felipe says

    Am I the only one fearing that the Poe from the last couple of shows has almost ruined the crazy-christian-caller experience that we’ve always enjoyed in this show?

  33. says

    Well, duh!

    I mean. I had a hammer. I couldn’t nail things that were too close, nor could I nail things that were too far away.

    My hammer was stupid. I threw it away.

  34. Kazim says

    As far as I can tell, that is exactly what we did — I hope. We listened to one point at a time, we responded, he gave up, and we moved on afterwards. My main concern is that perhaps we didn’t hammer home each failed point quite hard enough, but I think it went pretty well for live TV.

  35. DS says

    On Jen’s comments on religion and child abuse…I think the link is actually more direct than the effect of diminishing family planning options. There is this “strict father” philosophy that underlies the religious right movement which not only endorses corporal punishment for children but also informs the religious rights hawkish attitude towards foreign policy and it’s disdain for social safety net programs.

  36. wholething says

    If a hammer had a warning that said it should not be used to wash windows, a creationist would break a window just to show the hammer could not be used to drive nails.

  37. wholething says

    I wish you had mentioned that Isaiah does not say the world is a sphere. It says the world is a circle and circles are flat.

  38. nude0007 says

    I kinda wished the hosts had pinned him down on each argument more, instead of letting him just bring up another argument. At the end ask “do you agree?” or “Do you understand?” after a few arguments, just state that the source for his arguments seem to come from creationist sources that have already been proven wrong. Give him a site or tell him to go look at sites that disprove his creationist arguments and he will learn the truth. “Why do you accept what they say, who are unqualified, over the hundreds of scientists that disagree with creationist claims?” And be sure he answers. Then say that true scientists accept the truth about evolution and an old earth, whatever, and there is no VALID evidence that ever remotely calls those facts into question. So why believe one uneducated source claiming different?
    Then move to asking why he believes the bible. Give him a few reasons why the bible is not considered factual.
    PS: found a great video on reddit. Have you guys seen this?:

  39. says

    It’s even worse than that – the world being raised on pillars, being able to see the whole world from the top of a mountain, etc.

    I think we have an Iron Chariots article on it.

  40. sumdum says

    Aw, just as he started talking about a connection between Alexander the great and Jesus he cuts it short. What a shame. Great talk though.

  41. Thomas says

    Matt made the point that “atheists who do bad things” is a subset of “atheists”, and the caller said “sure, just as not all Christians are saints”. The implication is “not all atheists are fascist dictators, and not all Christians are saints (but they tend to lean in those directions)”

  42. Joshua Fisher says

    People who claim that some historical fact in the Bible proves its all true are apparently unaware of an entire genre of literature called historical fiction. Whole stories written with the goal of being believable in the context that they might have happened during actual historical events.

    Setting that aside, even blatant fiction often has historically verifiable content, I have plenty of evidence of London, therefor, Harry Potter.

  43. Escuerd says

    Though they were/are certainly highly authoritarian, there’s something very wrong about referring to communist regimes as “fascistic” given that fascists were explicitly opposed to communism.

  44. jacobfromlost says

    “Setting that aside, even blatant fiction often has historically verifiable content, I have plenty of evidence of London, therefor, Harry Potter.”

    I get the distinct impression, and I may be wrong, that some Christians don’t read much of anything…including their own bible.

    It is amazing that the young and/or ignorant often ask an authority figure, “Is this story true?”, and if they are told, “Yes, it is true,” just accept it. They don’t have the mental tools to question it (if they did, would they have had to ask the authority figure?).

    When I was younger, I had a couple of uncles that would spin OUTRAGEOUS stories to the younger nieces and nephews, and only occasionally get a “Really?” (usually excited rather than skeptical), which was soothed with the extremely complicated and convoluted explanation of, “Yeah.”

    The older nieces and nephews would smile, laugh, or say, “He’s just pulling your leg,” but that didn’t stop the younger ones from getting that look on their face–the look that said, “I’m not so sure. It would be really cool if that story was true.”

    And that would be enough to allow the uncle to add even MORE to the outrageous story, and the younger ones would be ENTHRALLED.

    If you want to believe something, and its more fun to believe it than not, and you have no mental tools to figure out if it is true or not…

    …you end up accepting the first story that hooks you, either from the power of the story itself, or from the sheer power of the group around you constantly telling you it is true.

  45. says

    Now that I don’t need a god to explain reality, I can actually look at some of the evidence it presents and wonder about ways of testing the theory that gravity propagates across parallel dimensions. I mean, if gravity is affecting the universe as if 98% of the matter is unseen, doesn’t that suggest the existence of a multiverse?
    Tell me this: What do Non-M-Theorists believe?

    Right now, not M-theory, because M-theory has no evidence to support it. Like string theory (which is typically related), it’s still in the hypothetical stage, with all sorts of great and elegant mathematics to support it, and not much else.

    As far as the claim of “98% of the matter is unseen,” and connecting that to gravity, what you’ve stated is a little misleading–and not evidence for a multiverse. It’s true that about 95-96% of the mass-energy density of our universe is made of unknown substances, currently labeled “dark energy” and “dark matter.” Dark energy is the more recent discovery, and is the reason that the expansion of the universe is accelerating; its effects are the opposite of gravity, repelling the fabric of the universe rather than attracting it. Dark matter is a somewhat simpler issue; it definitely exists within our universe, and interacts gravitationally with normal matter, even if it doesn’t appear to interact in other ways or give off light. We’ve been able to observe, for instance, how dark matter within colliding galaxies pass right through each other, while the gases and stars slam into each other, but the dark matter still has gravitational effects on the normal matter.

    As for alternate hypotheses, there are several that are more parsimonious than invoking 7 unknown spatial dimensions, undiscovered supersymmetrical particles, and an entire multiverse: that dark matter and dark energy are simply exotic substances that we haven’t yet been able to study in detail; that there is a cosmological constant to our universe as Einstein thought, which drives the acceleration of space; that there is matter beyond the visible horizon of the universe exerting a gravitational force on the matter on the edge of that horizon; etc.

    The time to accept the existence of a multiverse is after it has been demonstrated with evidence, not before. Right now, it remains a possible implication of the Many-worlds model of quantum mechanics (vs. the Copenhagen model) and a set of many (sometimes contradictory) interesting mathematical models designed to reconcile the problem of quantum gravity, which have produced no evidence and few testable predictions in the twenty-odd years that string- and M-theorists have been working on them. If the LHC produces some supersymmetric particles–one of the hopes of the whole project–it’ll be a major step toward supersymmetric and string theories. It won’t demonstrate the multiverse’s existence, but it’ll be more than they have right now. Until then, I remain skeptical and unconvinced.

  46. Jason Houston says

    I made an argument for Deism in response to video #631, and evidently it made to much sense, because I was blocked from posting comments and all of my comments were removed. All of the posts were reasonable and contained no vulgarity or spam. Is this how the Atheist Experience gets their point across? By censoring anyone who disagrees with them, and makes a good argument? Then the person that blocked me (whoever maintains the Atheist Experience page on youtube) had the nerve to say “Deism is just the hangover that some people have after an overdose of religion.” That’s not what Deism is. There’s a website devoted to Deism, and you should visit it and learn about it before making such blind statements. Any suggestions on what I can do to make my view heard? What would you do if you were in the middle of a debate with someone and someone else came along and deleted all of your posts, and banned you from commenting on any of their videos? This seems especially tasteless, considering what I THOUGHT AE was trying to accomplish.

  47. Kazim says

    You were probably watching a YouTube video. For the 30,000th time: The ACA does not own a YouTube channel. As you will see at the top of the channel you were trying to post at, it is a fan run channel, and we are not responsible for the moderator’s actions.