Open thread on episode #756

Sorry about whatever the hell was going on with UStream today, but it was nothing the control room could control. It was really nice to be back on, the calls felt good (it’s very helpful when a Christian caller will just come right out and admit that Christianity is neither logical or rational — saves time), and I found it a very pleasurable experience on the whole. Glad to the see the UT SSA gang in the audience, too. Here’s the info about this Thursday’s Sean Faircloth talk on-campus. To anyone in the area, please consider working that into your schedule.


  1. rrpostal says

    I couldn’t understand why the theist kept comparing us, who have no control over universal evil, and god, who does. There’s no comparison here. Whether you think TPoE is a good argument or not, it is based on the idea of god’s omnipotence. If god had but human powers, there would be no PoE. I think it was briefly mentioned but it made the whole argument bizarre. It was, however, interesting that he came out with such a grim outlook on life and then realizing he didn’t mean it, backpedaled as fast as possible at the end. Beyond being a “devil’s advocate”, If you must say things you don’t find true in your argument, it’s not a good argument.

  2. says

    Oh wow, that last (aftershow) caller was something else! “God is as real as Darth Vader and unicorns.” Exactly. I laughed my head off!

  3. Marella says

    I think the guy wanting to know why you’d have children as an atheist may have thinking along the lines of people who say that atheists have nothing to live for because they don’t believe in an afterlife. That could lead on to the question why you’d have kids who would also have nothing to live for I guess. Alternatively he needs some serious help for that depression he has going there. I felt a bit sorry for him, he sounded extremely miserable although also a bit confused.

  4. says

    The discussion about why atheists would make babies if they were just going to suffer and die is actually why I’m pro-choice.

    I’m more concerned about quality of life than quantity of life. My assertion has been that it’s more immoral to force a person into existence when one can be reasonable sure the person’s life will be miserable by poverty or society or whatnot, than it would be to simply stop a non-person non-suffering clump of cells.

    I’m all for ensuring that one waits until the conditions are right for maximizing the quality of life for the proto-person in question.

  5. says

    I kinda disliked the first call. It got derailed into this whole bit on ethics, when he made the argument that having children was sadistic. I think the discussion on ethics, while interesting, is rather missing the whole point of the problem of evil. I think that the caller didn’t really understand what the argument was.

    The problem with the whole discussion is that the problem of evil is not really a question of ethics. It’s a question of definition and existence. The argument isn’t “god is a meanie, so he doesn’t exist” (which is what the caller seemed to think). The argument is that god is a meanie AND you’re defining god as being all-loving. That doesn’t work. It’s one or the other.

    I can be a sadist, because there’s nothing in the definition of a human being that says I can’t be a sadist. However, the usual definition of god DOES contradict him being a sadist. You can’t be sadistic and all-loving at the same time. So, either the definition is wrong or the god simply doesn’t exist.

    I think maybe he was trying to get you to say that the world is a wonderful place, and then he’d jump in with “so why are you complaining about what god did?” Of course, that would again be missing the point.

  6. Kingasaurus says

    Personally, I liked the short diversion into “ghost” talk. Always good for a laugh.

    I always wondered if ghosts are supposed to be the “spirits” of dead people, why are they almost always seen (when visible) wearing clothes? Where’d they get ’em?

  7. Kingasaurus says

    If “non-physical” means “non-existent”, then nothing’s stopping them. 🙂

    The looks I get from true believers when I ask why the spirits of the dead need clothing…

    I can smell both the cognitive dissonance and the smoldering brain cells.

  8. Jacob says

    If they’re nonexistent, then it goes without saying they don’t need anything.

    But who says ghosts “need” clothing? My guess is that ghosts “want” you to see them wearing clothes. A naked ghost would be a distraction from the ghost’s purpose to scaring you or freaking you out or just communicating with you.

    By the same token, you could ask “why are ghosts in the form of people? Why don’t they just shape themselves like a stick of dynamite or something?” Well it looks to me that ghosts that want to communicate to people need to show familiarity with us “physical life forms” and hence show up fully clothed and fully human-looking.

    Of course, the best explanation is that they’re simply inventions of the human mind.

  9. says

    This might be dumb question, but… Is there a reason why the aftershow calls (I understand such a thing happens from time to time.) are not part of the podcast / downloadable episode?
    I’d really love to hear those.

  10. says

    Because the control room stops recording and starts breaking down after the show ends. The post-show doesn’t really last more than one call on average, because we have to be out of there.

  11. John Kruger says

    Others touched on this, but the first call was really just a terrible analogy. Atheists, unlike a supposed god, are neither omnipotent or omniscient. If I were somehow certain a child I was to conceive was going to meet a short and painful end and went ahead with it anyway, then yes that would be immoral. Likewise, if I had power over a situation that could prevent such a quick and painful end and did nothing, I would also be immoral. Of course I cannot be certain of such a thing, and there are many situations that are beyond my control. There is no decent comparison between myself an all powerful or all knowing god.

    The whole problem of evil only shows there can be no all-knowing, all-powerful, benevolent god. The first 2 descriptors are important to the argument, and the caller had to ignore them to make his analogy.

  12. John Kruger says

    Is it possible to set things up to record off the stream?

    Not that you all don’t do a lot already . . .

  13. Edmond says

    Isn’t that what’s called “residual self image”, the mental projection of your digital self?

  14. says

    As Opus put it: Life is life 🙂

    It doesn’t really seem all that complicated, as theists make it sound with arguments like “How could there be morals without a god” and “What meaning would there be to life without an afterlife”. Life is what you make of it, knowing you only have a limited time makes (or should make) it that more important to make the most of it. As for morals, making the most of one’s life does not mean you should pursue some hedonistic orgy of drugs, sex and mass murder. I think we have more than enough of examples of how overindulging in any of life’s pleasures will eventually lead to more trouble than it’s worth. But luckily we have a functioning memory that makes it possible to figure out a suitable balance through trial and error.

    What else do we actually need for forming personal morals? Even kids will figure out sooner or later that if they act like a dick, they’ll be treated as one. Even if you had no interest whatsoever in the well-being of others, treating them poorly will still likely affect your well-being negatively. Trying to make the world a better place will probably also make your life better, why is all this such a difficult concept for some of these theists to understand?

  15. says

    What exactly would a life without suffering be like? 🙂
    Other than being completely brain dead. That’s why I don’t quite get the problem of evil, suffering is an inevitable part of life. Some people suffer because they’re being tortured around the clock in the most horrible ways imaginable, others suffer because their iPhone is running low on battery and they forgot to bring along a charger.

  16. says

    Actually I wouldn’t. I mean, sure, if I could somehow ensure my offspring would never come down with cancer or Alzheimer’s or be senselessly shot by a “neighborhood watch” guy living his personal Charles Bronson fantasy, I might take that option. But you can’t control that.

    As for the rest, adversity builds character and provides life lessons. Show me someone who’s been coddled and enabled and never forced to overcome any obstacles in life, and I’ll show you a douchebag of sufficient volume and displacement to float the Titanic.

  17. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    Since you were bringing up freethought bloggers…

    Audio: ReasonableDoubts – 063 Zeitgeist Debunked

    Audio: ReasonableDoubts – 063 Deleted Scenes

  18. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    Well, you can sniff out the recorded flv with Wireshark.

    The urls look like this.
    Live streams might use RTMP. I don’t remember.
    There are automated sniffer+downloaders around, but I can’t comment on their quality as I wrote my own custom scripts.

  19. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    * Don’t bother trying to manually download RTMP with flvstreamer/rtmpdump. Figuring out the args can be… problematic. Some automated apps may handle it though.

  20. Miwanpela says

    Off-topic subject: I caught Richard Dawkins on Australian TV last night in discussion with Cardinal George Pell on the ABC’s Q&A program; gosh I wish Harris or Dillahunty was with there as with a jet-lagged Dawkins (cos’ two jet-lagged minds are better than one huh?).

  21. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    The caller admits Christianity makes no sense, but he won’t bother changing positions until there’s an alternative that he recognizes is absolutely consistent, which includes any course other than maintaining his current version of Christianity?

    Being less nonsensical isn’t merit enough?

  22. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    Nevermind, he was just handwaving the problem of evil with a tu quoque to ignore criticism: when no criticisms are left, current affiliation wins by default. Actually vetting other positions wasn’t what was happening.

  23. jdon says

    I came here to say something pretty similar to this. The caller didn’t understand the problem of evil was to do with the proclaimed all loving god having made a choice to create a universe where bad things happen for no good reason. We as humans without any supernatural power or the ability to generate our own universe don’t have the option of bringing a child into a perfect world, we’ve got to make do with what we’ve got. A creator god would have that option, they simply chose to include things that cause arbitrary harm to innocent life.

    The stuff Martin and Russell were talking about wasn’t really related to what he was saying, so while I think the callers argument was silly and weak I thought he was right to say you guys weren’t really responding to it.


  24. moralnihilist says

    Just a small correction on one of the comments you guys made.

    One of you said “…and Jehovah’s Witnesses believe only 144,000 people go to heaven and everyone else goes to hell.”

    I’m a former Jehovah’s Witness, and yes they believe that 144,000 will go to heaven. However, they believe that after God destroys the “wicked people” (aka, everybody who isn’t them) at Armageddon, the rest of the JWs who didn’t go to heaven (which is most of them minus the 144,000) and survived will “inherit the earth”, be granted eternal youth and life, and spend the next 1,000 years making it a paradise (they believe birds will eat up all the dead bodies, yes they do get that specific). During this time, all the people who never had a chance to convert to the JWs as well as faithful JWs who have died will be resurrected. After the millennium, Satan (who was imprisoned at Armageddon, so he no longer had influence on the “new world”) will be let out and given a chance to corrupt the earth one more time. Once the people who follow him are weeded out, god will destroy them and Satan and then it’s eternal paradise forevermore after that.

    Sorry if that’s a bit more detailed, but the number one question I get from people about my former religion is why they try to convert people if only 144,000 get to heaven. So I figured I’d put it out there.

  25. Muzz says

    Excellent. I had heard there was a reason they hadn’t stopped door knocking.
    Where do they get all this stuff? It’s a bit like the Expanded Universe in Star Wars.

  26. rrpostal says

    I agree suffering may be inevitable, by some definitions anyway. But by their theology, there is this heaven thing were it is possible to exist and also not suffer. IMO it completely contradicts everything espoused by the free will argument. If free will is so necessary for us to “not be robots of god” and be happy, how is that avoided in heaven? Why could earth not have been set up that way originally if god loves mankind so much? It’s just one more idiotic contradiction that requires bizarre rationalizations to get around.

  27. Tanath says

    I just wanted to correct Martin on a persistent myth. The burden of proof is on the one making the claim, regardless of whether it’s a “positive” or “negative” claim.

  28. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    the number one question I get from people about my former religion is why they try to convert people if only 144,000 get to heaven.

    at Armageddon, the rest of the JWs who didn’t go to heaven […] and survived will “inherit the earth”, be granted eternal youth and life, and spend the next 1,000 years making it a paradise. […]
    During this time, all the people who never had a chance to convert to the JWs as well as faithful JWs who have died will be resurrected. […]
    then it’s eternal paradise forevermore

    So the unconverted get resurrected into earthly paradise regardless.
    They just don’t get eternal youth and life?
    Seems like prosthelytizing before the end times is still only relevant for the limited-availability one-time rapture tickets to heaven.
    Wait a minute. Does “had a chance to convert” mean door-knockers are causing whole neighborhoods to stay dead by making lousy offers, when otherwise the uncontacted would’ve gotten benefit-of-the-doubt 1-ups?

  29. CompulsoryAccount7746 says

    Oh, non-JWs alive when the apocalypse starts get killed off. And since every generation is the last one, they’re given the one chance to convert before doom.
    Then, the uncontacted non-JWs who were already dead get paradise.

  30. Metaphysical Ham Sandwich says

    Wow, I had no idea the biological desire to reproduce was the same as the aggregate suffering of sentient beings in the history of Earth.

  31. says

    Not sure to what degree you’re nitpicking on semantics, but if someone makes a claim, and I counter that with “I don’t believe that claim,” I don’t bear the burden of proof, even if you want to argue my disbelief constitutes a counter-claim.

  32. Plain Simple says

    My take on the Problem of Evil caller was different, but perhaps I was reading more into it than was there. I think he actually had a rather interesting question, just phrased it rather oddly.

    First, I don’t know why he mentioned the PoE since it seemed to have nothing to do at all with his actual question, which, I think, was this: It is morally justifiable for god and/or Christians to bring new people into this horrible evil world, because they have this super duper happy happy land they (can) go to after this life. Atheists don’t believe this afterlife exists, so how can they morally justify bringing kids into this world which they recognize as flawed and full of suffering.

    Granted, he only seemed to make the second part of his argument (the atheist part), without expanding on the first (Christian) part, but this is how I tried to make sense of his question. The Christian part of the question might have been so obvious to him, being a Christian, that it didn’t occur to him it needed explicit stating.

    Anyway, I do think it is an interesting question in general: How do people morally justify bringing new life into a world with the (near) certainty that this life eventually will die, and quite possibly also suffer a lot before it does? How you answer this will undoubtedly be informed by your world view, which, I think, is why the caller framed it as a question about atheists. (Atheism, while not being a world view per se in itself, does take away some significant options to answer the moral question above that are open to theists. Not that they are good options from my pov, but they’re legitimate options within a theist’s world view.)

  33. Plain Simple says

    “I don’t belief claim A” is not a statement (negative or positive) regarding the truth of claim A and as such you wouldn’t have any burden of proof concerning claim A. Of course “I don’t belief claim A” in itself is a claim about your beliefs. So someone might ask you for proof that you really don’t belief claim A.

  34. Plain Simple says

    Not exactly sure what you’re trying to say here, but it smells like a naturalistic fallacy. Just because we have the biological desire to reproduce does not make it morally justified.

  35. jacobfromlost says

    I’m having a discussion elsewhere with a theist claiming morals are absolute. I brought up a couple of points that forced him into a position I don’t usually hear from theists.

    The points I brought up were these. 1) Absolute things, as far as I can tell, cannot be violated. I can’t make x=”not x” the way I can violate any so-called “absolute” moral. And 2) absolute things cannot conflict with other absolute things. If they could, they wouldn’t be absolute, by definition. Moral dilemmas exist. And it doesn’t take much time or imagination to illustrate that ONE action put two moral “absolutes” in conflict–and with a teenie-tiny bit more imagination, you can put the SAME moral “absolute” in conflict with itself (with only one moral act). I have no idea how to make “x=x” conflict with itself in any meaningful way (and to claim moral dilemmas are not meaningful, when they can and do exist, seems dishonest).

    So how did the theist respond? He said moral absolutes have all their qualifications and conditions “built into” them, apparently like the anticipated good news of a stock price is “baked into” the current price. I explained that absolutes don’t have conditions and qualifications. He reasserted that they did, but could give no other examples of any other absolutes that had conditions and qualifications.

    This is a quite different response than I usually get. Usually they say something about heaven and hell evening the score, so to speak, so that no moral absolutes were TRULY violated–the evil ones go to hell, and the good go to heaven, and god sorts it all out.

    I have a feeling if I floated that idea, the theist would have ran with it, but it isn’t entirely compatible with his idea that the conditions and qualifications of moral “absolutes” are “built into” them, because there is really no reason for heaven and hell to even the score if the qualifications and conditions are already built into the moral “absolutes”.

    But that’s about the time he would probably say that heaven and hell are baked into the stock price of moral absolutes.

    Yeah. Half baked.

  36. Curt Cameron says

    Plain Simple is right – the Problem of Evil had nothing to do with that call. His point was “why would an atheist ever have a child since life is just a big shit sandwich?”

    That dude sounded pretty miserable, but the reason I had children is that I think this life is a pretty wonderful thing, and although there are challenges, I for one am really glad that I was born. Russell and Martin were addressing this when they asked him if he wishes he had never been born, and we all were surprised when he said he was so miserable that he would. I think *that* was the angle to pursue in that conversation. Is his life really that bad? And does he think it’s that bad for everyone else? It’s not.

  37. says

    So what would be the advantage of arguing with someone over whether or not they believe something they claim to believe? I mean I suppose technically your point is correct but I just don’t see what it gets you in a discussion.

  38. Plain Simple says

    I dunno. Depends on the discussion I suppose. That wasn’t the point of the question though. I’m not claiming anything more, concerning usefulness or anything else, than what I wrote.

  39. says

    Martin, please. over coming adversity is only useful because there is adversity in the world. What you’re saying is that you wouldn’t say make it so we don’t have to eat because learning to eat food we don’t like is good for us. It’s ignoring the ramifications of the question. The question is that if you had the power to make things better, would you? Hell let’s be less surreal about it; if you had the power to make it so there were actual silver age super heroes who could protect people would you? To remove random acts of natural violence such as Malaria?

  40. says

    What you’re saying is that you wouldn’t say make it so we don’t have to eat because learning to eat food we don’t like is good for us. It’s ignoring the ramifications of the question.

    Not only am I not saying that, I am having difficulty conceiving of any possible interpretation of the use of the English language that would read such a bizarre sentiment into my comment. Try going through it again. Would I make things better where and when I could? Certainly. But it will never be possible to eliminate all of life’s trials, and since pretty much every one of us endures trials in life, what we learn about ourselves is that not only do we have what it takes to get us through them if we man (or woman) up and face them, but that we come out of the other side with experience and knowledge to take us forward. The more sheltered a person is, the less they are able to cope. It’s just a fact.

  41. jacobfromlost says

    So your kids can help make the world better for everyone, including themselves and their children?

  42. Plain Simple says

    So the value your kids can have for the world then outweighs any suffering that they would have to endure in the process? A reasoning that seems in line with your namesake from Lost btw. Not sure I agree.

    I’m not arguing here that having children is immoral (or that it is moral), but I do think it’s interesting what arguments one could make in favor of either position.

  43. jacobfromlost says

    plain: So the value your kids can have for the world then outweighs any suffering that they would have to endure in the process?

    Me: No. The value they have for the world is valuable to themselves and their children as well–the value they add to a group is MORE valuable than the sum of the individuals in the group. Moreover, shared suffering is not only more bearable, but the more people who share a particular suffering are more likely to find a way to fix it. You’ve met no one who later died of smallpox, for instance. Before we knew how to stop it, many did die, and we did everything we could to stop it. Now no one will die of it again.

    Plain: A reasoning that seems in line with your namesake from Lost btw.

    Me: I don’t think that is a valid interpretation of the show.

    Plain: Not sure I agree.

    Me: Don’t have any kids then. Moreover, you don’t make the world better without suffering. That’s how you know what the problems are, and how to deal with them or eliminate them.

    plain: I’m not arguing here that having children is immoral (or that it is moral), but I do think it’s interesting what arguments one could make in favor of either position.

    Me: A basic desire to leave something important behind. There’s nothing more important than children because, without them, we have left nothing behind for anything else to matter (if no one leaves children behind, nothing else matters, at least not to us as humans). Matt once said that living another minute is better than dying right now. Working to make life better for your children, or for children generally, is the best thing we could ever do–because our children are just an extension of us. It doesn’t matter that everyone dies eventually, as there is no living without dying. (Some people appreciate suffering as it reminds them that they are not yet dead. Please reference how Jacob convinced Richard he was not dead, season 6, episode 9, “Ab Aeterno”, and consider who really and ultimately lied in the shadow of the statue, and the sacrifice they made to ensure goodness everywhere would persist. Thus saith the show. Can I get an Amen?)

  44. jacobfromlost says

    Plain: So someone might ask you for proof that you really don’t belief claim A.

    Me: And that would be simple–the words coming out of my mouth that start with “I don’t believe”. If someone still doesn’t believe that I don’t believe claim A, then what other possible evidence could there be to change their mind?

    There is none, making a claim that I don’t NOT believe claim A an unfalsifiable claim, and therefore nonsense, unless they thought they had further evidence (which might make the claim falsifiable if the further evidence were falsifiable). Therefore the burden of proof would fall back on the claimant that doesn’t believe that I don’t believe claim A. What motivation could I possibly have to say I don’t believe claim A if I actually did believe claim A, how likely is that reason in light of all the evidence, etc? At that point, the someone disbelieving that I disbelieve claim A is twisting his/her brain into knots in order to project their belief onto others, when the simplest explanation is that that the person who SAYS “I don’t believe claim A” just doesn’t believe claim A.

    If you want to know more about WHY they don’t believe claim A, ask them, and don’t tell them what is coming out of their mouth is not what they believe. If telling others what they believe is acceptable, contrary to what is coming out of their mouths, watch them turn around and do it back to you.

  45. says

    I was kind of surprised that nobody turned the “why bring a child into a world without God” guy’s argument around. Why bring a child into a world where that child might suffer eternal punishment if it doesn’t love exactly the right god in exactly the right way?

  46. Jacob says

    Well first of all, life being finite doesn’t make it pointless. That same logic would mean everything is pointless that is finite, ie the creation of a car is pointless because it’s going to break down at a point, or the learning of any knowledge is pointless because better more accurate information probably exists out there that we’re unaware of. So the question is flawed if we’re assuming that the fact that people die is a point against creating children.

    But I don’t believe anyone should have to justify everything in the positive sense, ie you have to justify that everything you do is morally correct. I don’t want to live in a world where all of my activities (including posting onto Freethoughtblogs/axp :)) has to be justified in some moral sense. I think the concept of rights basically starts from the point that we have inviolable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and to restrict me of those rights in some sense you should have to produce a case that what I’m doing is unequivocally wrong, and I don’t have to justify my right to do something to you or anyone else (basically it’s implicit in the concept of freedom that I can do what I wish without having to justify it).

    So, if it’s wrong to have children, then it isn’t because it’s not demonstrated to be morally correct, it’s because it’s demonstrably morally incorrect. If you believe that we should restrict our right to reproduce (voluntarily or involuntarily), then YOU should produce the case that it is immoral to reproduce.

    And there may be a case where it is immoral to reproduce and have children. If there’s some guarantee that my children will suffer throughout the entirety of their lives (a true possibility thanks to the everpresent danger of genetic disease), then I wouldn’t reproduce. If I viewed the world as not being worth living in (the world of 1984 maybe), then I’d abstain from reproduction. But I don’t view the world as not worth living in, and I’m not particularly susceptible to genetic diseases, so we’re left with the probability that my offspring would live in poverty or there will be nuclear war or something else (who knows really). I don’t know what the probability is, I don’t know the future. So I think we’re basically down to this question: does that probability outweigh the joys of being a parent and knowing your offspring carry on your heritage/traits/likeness/whatever? That’s up to you to decide, and you may be on one side or the other of the equation when you weigh the question. So I don’t think there’s any direct moral case to be made here against having children. YOU have to make the case to yourself that you want to have children or not (I don’t even know if I want to have children yet fyi), and you can’t possibly make that choice for other people either (as I said, it’s implicit in the concept of freedom that all people will have the right to reproduce).

    Even in the worst cases where both prospective parents are carriers of the same genetic disease, we still don’t restrict their right to reproduce if they so choose. So it looks to me that reproductive freedom is the trump card here. If you feel that reproducing is immoral, then don’t do it. If you feel otherwise that it’s perfectly ok, then do it.

    Now I’m kind of wondering why it would be particularly different for the theist to answer this question. Believing in God doesn’t magically prevent nuclear war or genetic diseases, so a child born to a theist doesn’t suffer any less than one to an atheist couple. You can only seemingly make the case that a person suffering today will have some eternal nonsuffering (ie heaven) after they die, but then again, if you simply don’t exist after you die, you also have no suffering. In fact, since some theists believe in hell and believe there will be suffering if you do or think the wrong thing, then that is almost an immeasurably worse solution to the question, because then you’re introducing a probability that a person will suffer for an eternity after death.

  47. Matty V says

    I’m sorry if this point has already been raised but the guy who was on about atheists being (equally?) immoral by bringing kids into a world ravaged with violence and disease must think theists are DOUBLY immoral.

    Its one thing to think in such a pessimistic way as he does but at least atheists believe that when you die…you stay dead!

    The violence and disease must exist in his worldview AND he has hell to contend with. That means that theists are bringing children into the world who may die from all the things he mentioned (with various liklihoods he seemed to ignore) and then after death there is a high liklihood that they will be tortured for eternity!

    Narrow minded thinking at its best!

  48. Metaphysical Ham Sandwich says

    My point was comparing having kids to the problem of Evil was stupid. I wasn’t suggesting that it was moral to have kids or anything. Jesus christ.

  49. jacobfromlost says

    Jacob: Well first of all, life being finite doesn’t make it pointless.

    Me: Right. The fact that life has an end makes it MORE meaningful, and as purposeful as it could ever be (to the exact degree the end goals of our purposes are shaped by our own efforts, and no more). In fact, “purposes” are goals that happen in the future. If your purpose in life is to spend your life praising god so you can go to heaven and continue praising god forever, that isn’t a purpose. There would BE no purpose in heaven (no goal to achieve in the future). Therefore, if your “goal” and “purpose” in life now is to achieve something that has no purpose, then an infinite life (and trying to achieve it) is purposeless by definition even in this life.

    Jacob: So, if it’s wrong to have children, then it isn’t because it’s not demonstrated to be morally correct, it’s because it’s demonstrably morally incorrect. If you believe that we should restrict our right to reproduce (voluntarily or involuntarily), then YOU should produce the case that it is immoral to reproduce.

    Me: I think you are right. To add to this thought, there are very good evolutionary reasons (and rational reasons) why people should or should not have children at any given time.

    If times are tough, food is scarce, sickness is rampant, etc, having a child should be postponed to a time when there is more food, times are less tough, sickness is not as rampant, etc (as taking care of children over time takes effort and resources)…IF IF IF, that is, such a time is reasonably foreseen. If such a time is NOT foreseen (if such a time hasn’t been known for a long period), and death surrounds you, the impulse to have children becomes greater and more desperate. The baby-boom is a kind of mixture of both of those, as soldiers came home with war and their personal death on their minds (coming home on a high of thwarting death personally and collectively and achieving stability), and they and their wives foresaw a chance to make a better future for themselves and their children that quite recently may not have been possible at all (and was being “missed out on” over an extended period of time). Evolutionary impulses and reason (and emotions) said, “This is the time to have children, as things are stable now and we might not have another chance.”

    Plus, in nature, there isn’t much in the way of birth control. Being horny and having sex often just naturally leads to children (moral considerations are secondary when the urge is great enough). And that “great” urge to have sex often occurs in both the circumstances above–when death surrounds you and everything is hopeless into the future as far as you can tell, or when stability is achieved and one can relax a bit from their hard work at achieving that stability. Both of these strategies to reproduce have good chances to work (we have examples of them working), it’s just that the people surrounded by death will have to have more children because many/most of them will die. But if that’s the situation you are in, that’s the situation you are in. You didn’t create it, and whether you think it’s god’s doing or not, it doesn’t matter, as most everyone values their children and their children’s survival, even if the hope for that survival is small (even people who believe their children will go to heaven after death forever OVERWHELMINGLY want their children to survive in the here and how; people who DON’T want their children to survive in the here and now, but go to heaven immediately, are seen as deeply immoral by even most believers).

  50. Curt Cameron says

    I’ve never understood why anyone would even try to make the “absolute morality” argument, and I get frustrated when I’ve heard the responses of atheists to it.

    Of course morality can’t be absolute – morality is simply one’s opinion on the desirability of an action. Opinions are be definition objective. How could anyone deny that simple fact?

    If they ask whether it’s immoral to torture babies, my answer is that in my opinion it’s immoral, and I wouldn’t want to associate with anyone who didn’t share that opinion. But is it capital-T Truth in an objective sense? Well, it’s by definition an opinion, so asking whether an opinion is Absolute Truth is a meaningless question.

  51. Chyrch says

    I hate to nitpick, but Russell’s comment about Jehovah’s Witnesses was incorrect.

    He said they believe 144,000 go to Heaven, while everyone else goes to Hell. This is incorrect on two levels. First, JW’s don’t believe in a Hell. Second, while they believe only 144,000 go to Heaven, they don’t actually have a finite number on who will be “saved”. According to them, all others will live on a “New Paradise Earth”.

    That’s all. Just wanted to clarify.

  52. Andy says

    You guys dismissed Troy too quickly without thinking. He has a point about life sucking and maybe bringing in another kid may not be good.

    I’m atheist. I don’t want to have a child because you are bringing another kid into this world which isn’t all that great.

    I would adopt a child and not have my own. I would consider this as saving 2 people.

    I think I’m going to stop listening to this show because you guys have started to dismiss people without actually considering the psychological aspects of life.

  53. subzerobob says

    this is bobby,

    I wasn’t the one who said that god exists mind Independently just like darth vader
    I only said that the concept of god and the mind dependent concept of darth vader, they both exist.

    BTW – Yes, Anselm of Canterbury was correct. God exists, and we can know that.
    In Latin, the form of argument I am attempting to use
    is called a “Reductio Ad Absurdum.”
    This method can be used to prove a particular premise is true
    by showing it’s negation to be absurd.
    Since premises are either true or false,
    when it is shown to be impossible for the negation to be true,
    then the premise itself must be true.

    In this case, I am attempting to show that God DOES exist in reality.
    I am attempting to show that by showing that it is absurd to
    propose that God exists in the minds only (not in reality).

  54. says

    In this case, I am attempting to show that God DOES exist in reality.
    I am attempting to show that by showing that it is absurd to
    propose that God exists in the minds only (not in reality).

    Sounds good. Let’s hear it.

  55. subzerobob says





  56. says


    A few suggestions:
    1) Drop the all caps
    2) Stop making assertions and start presenting actual arguments
    3) Saying “I’m obviously right and you’re a meanypants” is not an argument.

  57. says

    You alluded to an argument in the previous post. Why don’t you give it so we can have an intelligent, adult discussion about it?

  58. John says

    Let me add to this little topic.

    I’m quite curious in why so many Atheists and Skeptics alike always attack the morality of the old testament…. but the new testament is far worse. it’s worse because you got the idea of eternal torment or if you take the more candy coated version….. eternal separation form God in which it’s just eternal mental and psychological pain without the literal physical pain, either way you go such a punishment is the most evil of all evil and if a said being like this existed it be morally right to rebel against it even knowing you %100% lose too it, but the good thing is that the god of all Abrahamic religions is nothing more then a human man made thing.

    If God in the old testament is NOT justified for all the acts he does in it then there is NO way IN HELL he can be justified in eternally torture anyone…not even Joseph Stalin deserves such a thing…..finite sins cannot equal eternal punishment and I heard all the shit feast arguments to justify such an evil doctrine and I once bought in it all, the good thing is there are a small minority of Christians that believe in the annihilation idea and the small butch that adhere to all get saved in the end, but these people are looked at as heretics by many, but none of it’s true and that is that.

    I have debated with a few people on this stuff and even if I had a genus level mind I could not get through to these people, they’re too attached emotionally to it and the fear of hell and the deep indoctrination is hard to over come, and for them whether they admit it or not it candy coats reality because real reality is a lot more harsh to accept to them.

    I commend all who speak up because most of the times I’m too sacred to say anything and I’m still afraid to admit I do not believe to most people outside a few select I have told, yet, I’m still a moral person that wants true peace for the world, but that idea is a fantasy.

    Keep fighting the fight… skeptical and yet never be to closed minded either, because we never know what we may discover in the future, but these religions, these omni-all type of gods and all gods I’ve heard are NOT the answers to the real questions people are looking for.

    Logic and reason and questioning and critical think skills and rationality will lead to the demise of the Christian religion and other religions……that’s how it happens from all the de-coverts I’ve seen thus far. once you reached a certain point like I have the chances you ever going back to your former faith is extremely low. there so much more to learn about reality and as long people cling to the bible as the answers then they will never have a chance to know the true answers….as we learn more and more the bible and all religions seem like outdated junk that hold very little truth in it and they makes absurd claims that so extraordinary that I never realized it in till I gave up on the faith.

    Christians need to realize without the devil entity the bible may of died out long ago…you got to have the big bad guy that opposes all that is good and this being wants you to join him even if that means being tortured for all eternity…’s hard not to laugh in how Christians are so scared of this entity……without him their religions fails even more…harsh but true.

  59. subzerobob says

    I think the caller has a very good argument. Nobody can prove that god doesn’t exist. But there also are no reasons to believe he does.

    MPE! the concept of god is priori knowledge, and everyone who equates god with darth vader and laughs or thinks it is funny, realizes that both of these concepts are not interchangeable and fundamentally different, where one represents a much bigger thing even for the realm of consciousness for which it is proposed to solely exist in! it is ridiculous to think that the concept of god exists only in our mind, because it that case alone – it wouldn’t be god; for god is even bigger than the mind.

    if the self – the thing which starts with the notion “i am” can be put into a test tube, then how? How can you put god into one quantifiable example, or one instance, where god is everything that everything else emanates from. you can’t prove god with means of quantitative science. you have to look for things in nature such as intent; balance as brought about the presence of imbalance; essence of truth and meaning – these are all things that materialist science would rather BLINDLY disregard. Bobby

    BTW, Martin – nice talking to you this past Sunday on TWL and take note that even the questions from the chat room were mine; i think you sensed that. the fact that you can sense that is my proof of quantum non locality to you; but yet i don’t think you are ready for that yet, because your closed mindedness sometimes takes you on the path of prejudiced presumptions about what i stand for, which are not true. I – on the other hand, still keep an open mind, and I am glad that I got you to say that in a way you respect that, kind of:

  60. says

    it is ridiculous to think that the concept of god exists only in our mind, because it that case alone – it wouldn’t be god; for god is even bigger than the mind.

    Of course the concept of god isn’t god. It’s a concept. As such, it necessarily exists only in minds, because that’s where concepts are found. The fact that the concept of god exists only in the mind says nothing whatsoever about whether or where the being god might exist.

    Let me try explaining by removing a few words and substituting them with simple reference points:
    it is ridiculous to think that A exists only in B, because in that case alone – it wouldn’t be C; for C is even bigger than B.

    It should be obvious now that this is complete gibberish. Your argument relies on equivocating between the concept of god and the being god. Once that mistake is corrected, it’s clear that your argument is nonsense.

  61. subzerobob says

    can somebody please explain to me – why do i have to argue this with someone who doesnt BELIEVE that there is god? it doesn’t make sense, yes – atheism doesn’t make sense to me – how come you are so blind to the perception that god is bigger/higher than our minds?!

  62. says

    Skeptics are quite used to being called “closed minded” by people who are just not very good at explaining what it is they believe in and why they believe in it, and that’s really all that’s going on here. I never got a coherent explanation on TWL from you regarding anything I asked you to explain, such as the “other ways of knowing” that supposedly transcend the perceived “limitations” of science, or any examples of minds existing independently from brains. And in addition to your failing to distinguish concepts of things from actual things (as LykeX has pointed out), I would add that if God were indeed a concept “bigger than the mind,” then we could not conceptualize him at all, and have no way of saying anything at all about him, including that he is “bigger than the mind.”

    But beyond even that, God not only isn’t a concept “bigger than the mind,” it’s not even big at all. Everything I’ve been shown from theists of one stripe or another is that God is a concept that reduces the universe to comprehensible levels, by projecting a human face onto it. Human beings take their ignorance of the nature of reality, place it on an altar, call it God, and declare themselves enlightened. But without being able to demonstrate that you have actually obtained greater knowledge of the universe in ways that the scientific method could not provide, as well as the methods you employed to obtain it, then it sounds like more of the usual mysticism and wishful thinking to me. And wishing does not make things so.

  63. says

    Once more with feeling.

    It’s easy to claim that a being exists that is “bigger/higher than our minds.” This alone does not demonstrate it actually exists. And to describe God as “bigger/higher than our minds” is self-refuting anyway, because if God existed and this were true, then we’d have no way to comprehend him and his existence is irrelevant to us.

    Here are the possibilities:
    1) A god or gods exist.
    2) No god or gods exist.

    If we take point 1 for the sake of argument, then these are the possibilities:
    A) Whichever god or gods exist act upon reality in detectable ways.
    B) Whichever god or gods exist do not act upon reality in any detectable ways.

    If B) is the case, then this god is not only irrelevant to our own existence, but there is no evidence even to support its own existence in the first place. As I explained on Trolling With Logic, a god whose existence is undetectable by any means is fundamentally no different than a god who simply does not exist at all.

    If A) is the case, then we should not only be able to detect its existence, but we would have ways to determine that the effects we were seeing on reality were not explicable by any natural phenomenon other than this god. In other words, the scientific method would be able to falsify him or not.

    As you insist upon proposing an idea of god as beyond human comprehension, then you are essentially proposing B). And any god who is “bigger/higher” than human minds can grasp has no way of distinguishing itself from no god at all. So you haven’t given me any reason to think your god is anything other than a figment of your imagination.

    I hope that’s explained it to you.

  64. subzerobob says

    martin, it is a little bit of both a) and b)
    but not to the point where god is type of god that is deistic.

    a) the detectable ways is through feeling. feeling for an intent for the existence of life. your everyday will to stay alive, is God in your life
    When you are sick, or unconscious, you continue to live because of your natural given will to stay alive (or God) kicks in and takes control. You can say that God is caring you on his shoulders and moving you forward.

    therefore it is inherent that in your deepest self you believe there is a God, otherwise you would loose this will to stay alive, and kill yourself. But the biggest proof that there is an intent to stay alive, is the fact that there are so many unsuccessful suicide attempts. In other words, even if you loose the will to live, the rest of what your experience is comprised of, continues to fight on on this basic principle of intent to stay alive. For me the ultimate suicide or disproof of intent is to loose the will to live on the micro cellular level and spontaneously combust.

    The most important part is to remember that this life is not yours to take away. it is given to you. Once you agree on this point, then that will be your ultimate proof that God exists through the power of intention. God is this will to stay alive and continue to fight and carry on.

    b) god doesn’t act, in the sense of making people walk on water or raise people from the dead right before your eyes. god doesn’t just stop the moon orbiting the earth, just cuz. and whatever “god’s thoughts” are are inconceivable to us. Like Einstein says:
    “I want to know God’s thoughts…the rest are details.” – Albert Einstein.

    there are so many things that i want to write here but it just not enough space…

    Martin, you are my brother, and I will respect you as long as you agree that we disagree. Dogma cannot break any type of feeling i have for that which everything else emanates from.

  65. subzerobob says

    RE:it is ridiculous to think that A exists only in B, because in that case alone – it wouldn’t be C; for C is even bigger than B.

    the concept of god (A) was made up by convention or definition, by people sensing (or feeling) qualities of god (C).
    so A refers to C, and C is the reason why A exists
    then the argument is clearer? No! Cuz you are missing the perception that something has occurred; or some state exists.

    so that’s why you didn’t see this in my argument in the first place! nough said, all that it proves is that you are “blind” to that perception!

  66. says

    the concept of god (A) was made up by convention or definition, by people sensing (or feeling) qualities of god (C).

    How would they know they are qualities/feelings of God, and not something else, including delusion, dream or hallucination? A feeling about something doesn’t prove a real thing. People’s senses can deceive them. You still don’t comprehend falsifiability.

  67. subzerobob says

    i am not afraid of making a bad call here. and if it is a bad call afterall, or even a call made because i am sick or whatever, i am willing to live with my “mistake” At the end – what do i have to loose here? being not right and not facing non-existence?
    if one day i know for sure that i’ve made a mistake about this, i would not struggle to say i’m sorry to myself, but even then nor now – i’d never feel sorry for saying that god exists. the only thing that i might feel sorry for is my misanthropy and belief that this world wasn’t intended for our species but perhaps for some other species which would evolve from the countless possibilities of the universe. if there is one faith in humanity that i have, and would rather give up, is that there isn’t a human being on this planet that wouldn’t kill us all. and I just can’t see myself giving up this belief in the current condition of humanity we are in and propelled even further by the spark that we don’t have to held accountable for our actions against divine intent, and the fuel that could keep it going to unseen extreme – is the belief that there is no god. then and only then my belief that this world wasn’t indented for our species would be confirmed.

  68. Question Everything says


    So… the only thing keeping you from killing every other human on the planet is because you are worried about divine reprisal?

    You are a scary, crazy, man… I am glad to live far away from you.

  69. says

    So, in summary, a bastardized version of the ontological arguments, backed up by a bit of circular reasoning. Then a few unsupported assertions, the “spiritually blind” gambit and finishing off with Pascal’s wager.

    Are we done now or would you like to try making an actual argument?

  70. subzerobob says

    re: “You are a scary, crazy, man… I am glad to live far away from you.”

    my brother! you are an idiot, too – my friend! I love you so much! how do you get from: “I’d love to; and I want to denounce my misanthropy” to “I want to kill people”?
    and as far as crazy – if hundreds of millions in america alone have this “crazy” feeling about a supreme entity, and less than 100 thousand people don’t have it – aka atheists, then how can you say that the latter are normal, when the normal thing to do is to have such a supernatural feeling?! and by the way – why being crazy is bad? because it’s a condition of unpredictability? my hats off to the truly insane then, as they are truly atheistic in their unpredictability.

  71. subzerobob says

    RE: LykeX says:

    So, in summary, a bastardized version of the ontological arguments, backed up by a bit of circular reasoning. Then a few unsupported assertions, the “spiritually blind” gambit and finishing off with Pascal’s wager.

    Are we done now or would you like to try making an actual argument?

    i love how you are trying to put me into familiar categories. I don’t even recognize half of things/people you wrote up there. all i am speaking is directly from the heart, the way i feel it. if that is the “unsupported assertions” that you are referring to, so be it! I would call that my faith to the extend of which I can recognize and believe that the things in this world will remain unchanged for me continue to live by their invisible rules. until one day people up and start walking on water for no particular scientific reason, and the moon stops orbiting the earth for no particular explanation. until then i don’t have to give you any proof, because the kind of proof you are looking for is a curtain for you to hide behind for the rest of your life.

  72. says

    I’ll take the liberty of making a fresh post. The nested comments are getting a bit squished.

    I don’t even recognize half of things/people you wrote up there

    I’m not that surprised. If you did, you’d also know that the “arguments” you’ve been presenting have been refuted since before you were born.

    all i am speaking is directly from the heart, the way i feel it

    Try speaking from the head next time. Your feelings are irrelevant for the validity of your arguments and feelings don’t impress me in the slightest. I know that some people find it oh so wonderful when people “speak from the heart”, but I’m not one of them.
    Make sense or don’t bother.

    I’m not quite sure what the rest of your post means. Are you saying that you don’t feel you have to actually give any arguments? I ask because in your first post, you indicated that you had an argument. Now you seem to be saying you don’t need one.

    So, let’s cut to the core, here. Do you have an argument that doesn’t require the listener to agree with you beforehand?
    If yes, please present it.
    If no, then what exactly do you hope to accomplish here?

  73. subzerobob says

    i am talking about a certain “blindness” about existence, and without incorporating this method of in a way “feeling” the additional parts of existence, i don’t think you are getting the whole picture. I was actually very hesitant to come back here and have these discussions with you guys, because i just started to realize that I should start formulating my questions more articulately & my questions should be directed to the scientific community. So I will be leaving TAE as quickly as I came across to it, but I have to thank you for making me realize who I should work with closely in order to try to come up with a way to, in a way, “measure” things that are not apparent to the senses nor obvious to the current gathered intelligence; things beyond ordinary understanding. How do you approach the subjectivity of non-materialist nature of priori truths with scientific tools beyond reason. i’ve reviewed cognitive neuroscience, and my conclusion is that they only demonstrate how brain activity impacts our experience, but brain activity doesn’t create capacity for experience itself. Example is – I can intent to feel cold and a result I can start to shiver, while the temperature is unchanged. Also anxiety is a kind of disorder that is more subjective than objective for me. Anxiety can cause a panic attack that will shut down the entire neurosystem and body, and that is a downward causation of experience which doesn’t originate from the brain, but with the help of the brain it is executed through the rest of muscle and body system.
    just because some body takes this equation:
    E=MC^2 to this version E – MC^2 = 0 and calls it the big bang, doesn’t mean they are entirely correct, because they omit a huge part about whether or not there was a space present before time? Where does absolute zero have space enough to contain even one particle to start with? And for me that demonstrates the lack of intention from the whole picture. The kind of intention which emerges from the probabilities of the pulse that pops particles in and out of existence on the quantum level. In other words, if “I am” is intention, then how to you equate that with math?
    It seems to me that there should be a formula of this sort:
    I + E – MC^2 = S
    Where I is Intention and S is Space
    Then if I is 0, then space will be 0 as well.
    I don’t know… You tell me what am I trying to show you here? And again, I am not expecting you to see this if you are blind to it to begin with…

  74. subzerobob says

    . What is consciousness?
    Think back to your first kiss. The experience of it may pop into your head instantly. Where was that memory before you became conscious of it? How was it stored in your brain before and after it came into consciousness? What is the difference between those states
    An explanation of consciousness is one of the major unsolved problems of modern science. It may not turn out to be a single phenomenon; nonetheless, by way of a preliminary target, let’s think of it as the thing that flickers on when you wake up in the morning that was not there, in the exact same brain hardware, moments before.
    Neuroscientists believe that consciousness emerges from the material stuff of the brain primarily because even very small changes to your brain (say, by drugs or disease) can powerfully alter your subjective experiences. The heart of the problem is that we do not yet know how to engineer pieces and parts such that the resulting machine has the kind of private subjective experience that you and I take for granted. If I give you all the Tinkertoys in the world and tell you to hook them up so that they form a conscious machine, good luck. We don’t have a theory yet of how to do this; we don’t even know what the theory will look like.
    One of the traditional challenges to consciousness research is studying it experimentally. It is probable that at any moment some active neuronal processes correlate with consciousness, while others do not. The first challenge is to determine the difference between them. Some clever experiments are making at least a little headway. In one of these, subjects see an image of a house in one eye and, simultaneously, an image of a cow in the other. Instead of perceiving a house-cow mixture, people perceive only one of them. Then, after some random amount of time, they will believe they’re seeing the other, and they will continue to switch slowly back and forth. Yet nothing about the visual stimulus changes; only the conscious experience changes. This test allows investigators to probe which properties of neuronal activity correlate with the changes in subjective experience.
    The mechanisms underlying consciousness could reside at any of a variety of physical levels: molecular, cellular, circuit, pathway, or some organizational level not yet described. The mechanisms might also be a product of interactions between these levels. One compelling but still speculative notion is that the massive feedback circuitry of the brain is essential to the production of consciousness.
    In the near term, scientists are working to identify the areas of the brain that correlate with consciousness. Then comes the next step: understanding why they correlate. This is the so-called hard problem of neuroscience, and it lies at the outer limit of what material explanations will say about the experience of being human.

  75. Question Everything says


    how do you get from: “I’d love to; and I want to denounce my misanthropy” to “I want to kill people”?

    I got there from this: “if there is one faith in humanity that i have, and would rather give up, is that there isn’t a human being on this planet that wouldn’t kill us all.”

    You said that. Your argument was that without being held accountable by a divine presence that all humans (I took the liberty of assuming that you included yourself as a human being) would devolve into mass-murdering psychopaths. That is batshit insane.

    If you truly believe that without a god you will go on a killing spree and attempt to wipe out the human race, then by all means, keep on believing.

  76. subzerobob says

    small steps first? lets abandon capital punishment, get rid of everything “WMD” and stop all wars? hmm, yes – I would rather give up my misanthropy in exchange for admitting that there is no god, but somehow I think that I will keep my faith in god much longer… simply because my misanthropy is hard to get rid of
    and in this argument i am using the word god as a sort of divine justice in a way.

  77. Question Everything says


    small steps first? lets abandon capital punishment, get rid of everything “WMD” and stop all wars? hmm, yes

    Yes, these are worthy goals.

    – I would rather give up my misanthropy in exchange for admitting that there is no god, but somehow I think that I will keep my faith in god much longer… simply because my misanthropy is hard to get rid of
    and in this argument i am using the word god as a sort of divine justice in a way.

    No one is saying that abandoning god belief immediately makes you a better person. Your argument was that without this divine justice every single person would want to wipe out the human race. I hope you were exaggerating, because if you truly believe that then you have some psychological issues that are beyond the scope of blog comments to help.

  78. subzerobob says

    the argument is that every single human on this planet, when put in the position to make the decision whether to cry or destroy, they would pick destroy in means of self preservation, because it is our natural given will to stay alive that would supersede everyone else’s life. and if they don’t pick destroy in the means of self preservation, then in that case they are really true believers of god [that god exists], or after life, or divine justice etc.
    but that’s not personal to me and you yet, because we are currently not in such situation [yet]. in that sense atheism is just in its infancy.
    you are missing my main point! i would never give up my misanthropy over my belief that there is god, because if there is anything that’s been proven, is that if not in our minds only, then in reality too, we – humans, have proven that we are capable of being gods ourselves, and so far we have proven that we are the gods of destruction [the abomb, etc]. we have the knowledge, the power of destruction of worlds, and we not only have the intent but we have shown that we are not afraid to use it. if we are such gods of destruction, if our imagination combined with knowledge, is so powerful, then our existence must be defined as an image of even bigger being. we are the image of god, and if not that, then we are gods. as long as we are on any level concerning the divine, i am not giving up neither my misanthropy nor my belief that there is a god.

  79. subzerobob says

    I don’t even recognize half of things/people you wrote up there

    LykeX says:
    May 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I’m not that surprised. If you did, you’d also know that the “arguments” you’ve been presenting have been refuted since before you were born.

    refuted with what? with blindness?

    Are you saying that you are not surprised that people come up with the same ideas about divine, independently? In other words, that knowledge about the divine is priori knowledge? Not a coincidence but a reflection on a type of reality which cannot be quantitatively measured? Collective [non-local] consciousness is real by means of existence of ideas in invisible realms and this knowledge is achievable by our local consciousness interaction in quantum non-locality? The downward causation. Subjectivity as primary type of existence before material existence? Atheism is a “blindness” to dimension[s] unseen? To the way we arrive at true priori knowledge?

  80. JE Hoyes says

    If one knew in advance that one’s child would form the opinion expressed by Troy, (that life is not worth living), would you still force that person to be born? Problem is, we have no way of knowing if our child wants to be born. When Russell stated that killing one’s child was a horrible thing to do, he neglects to see that, as soon as we give birth to another human, we’re sentencing them to death. In essence, all parents are killing their children. Personally, I’m all for adoption and fostering and I couldn’t face the thought of forcing someone to live and die if there was even a 1% chance that they would feel the same way as Troy.

  81. says

    Great episode as always, but I’d like to correct Russel on something he said toward the end, which was that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that only 144,000 people will go to heaven and that the rest will go to hell. JWs don’t believe in hell or the soul, but that number going to heaven is correct.

    From what I understand, they also believe that an unspecified number will go to paradise Earth and reign with Jesus or something similar, but only JWs will go to heaven. They’ll go through the thousand-year period of learning how to avoid sinning, which begs the question of why everyone can’t go through that process that wants to.