Open thread on episode #841

Russell and Don discussed Christianity’s lies, and the modern propaganda evangelists use to win converts. Have at it.

Addendum: Oh, for fuck’s sake. What is it with entitled, whiny-ass little pipsqueaks this morning? We have a couple of them stuck in moderation, having tantrums and throwing all their toys out of the pram because WAAAAH WHY AREN’T YOUTUBE COMMENTS ENABLED WAAHAAAAAHHHH MOMMY THEY’RE CENSORING ME FREEZE PEACH BWAHHAAAHHH!

Jesus H, grow up.

Pictured: Someone complaining about our comment policy.

Pictured: Someone complaining about our comment policy.

For the douche demanding we explain ourselves, we fucking have, asshole, at length, and in English. It’s right there in Number 3 on this list, and if you’re too lazy and stupid to read the very blog you’re posting your petulant rants to, then don’t expect your hand held in Grown-Up World. And no, moderation is not a “new” policy with us. We were doing it way back when this blog was hosted at Blogspot. With the sheer number of douchetadpoles swimming the fetid swamps of the Internet, common-sense moderation is the least one should expect in terms of proper care and feeding of a sane and healthy blog. And yet even here, on the dreaded FTB (where we seek to tyrannize your mind!), you only go into moderation if you’re a) a first-time commenter (to make sure you aren’t a spammer), or b) if your comment has two or more links (to make sure you aren’t a spammer). That’s about it as far as moderation goes.

Of course, if you write a comment just to throw a shit-fit that we suck because we don’t allow comments the way you think we should, well — it’s remarkable how easily that can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, isn’t it?

This addendum is brought to you by “It’s Monday morning, it’s raining, and I have literally no fucks to give.”

Pictured: Me on a Monday.

Pictured: Me on a Monday.


  1. Benjamin says

    I believe the comments section of YouTube videos on your official channel should not be blocked. Its interesting to know what other people think right or wrong. It’s also in my opinion a form of censorship that to me is without justification.

  2. says

    I love the idea that it “doesn’t make sense” that intelligence can arise from non-intelligent stuff, but making up a heap of things that don’t conform to reality at all to address the problems of another heap of things made up that don’t’ confirm to reality at all, that was made up to patch another heap of assertions that don’t confirm to reality at all … does.

    He couldn’t seem to get the idea that our position could be “pending” on the question… as opposed to making up wild fantasies because of one’s own credulity (It makes sense to me!).

  3. says

    It’s like listening to a Christian complain that they’re being persecuted because the USPS didn’t show their Christmas stamps on the front page. It’s that ridiculous.

  4. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Don (9:34):

    The Code of Hammurabi is the oldest written legal code we know of […], and the biblical laws were actually stolen from there.

    Lecture: Yale – Intro to the Old Testament, #10

    ^ 11:42 – Biblical Law in Comparison with Ancient Near East Legal Collections
    ^ 29:58 – Radical, Characteristic Features of Israelite Law
    ^ 40:17 – Reversing the Code

  5. L.Long says

    To add my 2pennies….It does not matter what you think about it!
    It is their videos not yours, and they are not obligated to do anything.
    It is NOT censorship, you use the word but I don’t think you know what the word means.

  6. L.Long says

    When it comes to religion…
    Do you know when a preacher is lying?
    Are his lips moving?
    Yes? then the preacher is lying!
    However, every now and then they may comments like
    “most right wing re-Puke-ians are Aholes”
    show that they are capable of a few truths.
    But they are not talking religion.

  7. Penteus says

    Censorship is a rather strong word in my opinion.
    Moving the comments to an external site, like this or a subreddit, for example, is quickly becoming a common practice among youtube channels, and there is value to it. By requiring that extra bit of effort to post, it reduces trolling and stimulates actual discussion.


  8. says

    Russell you can celebrate.

    Nordic julen was the beginning of the winter festival before Christianity, but they have been known throughout the world as a spiritual need for hospitably entertained in the winter darkness.

    Therefore, we call the festival not Christmas but julen that do not suggest in any way to Christianity and was celebrated long before Christianity

    Everyone can celebrated jul no matter what religion they have. This is the winter solstice celebration.

  9. houndentenor says

    I can think of no value in allowing comments for youtube clips. Why give free reign to internet trolls? I can’t think of one intelligent discussion I’ve ever read in youtube comments. It takes no effort to come here.

    Also, someone refusing to let you hijack their website, message board, newspaper, tv station or other media platform for your own purposes is not a violation of anyone’s rights. I have no more right to comment here than I do to have the local tv station give me 15 minutes of air time. If you don’t like this blog, start your own. People have a really effed up view of their civil rights these days, especially when it comes to the internet.

  10. houndentenor says

    I don’t know how we can make any assumptions about whether or not something makes sense when we only have one example of life arising at all, much less intelligent life. Is what happened on our planet typical of life? Is this the way life usually arises? If not, how is it different? We just don’t have any data yet so the discussion of whether or not something “makes sense” is rather pointless.

    Also, the assumption that we had to be created from something with consciousness doesn’t answer the question of where that consciousness came from. If that consciousness came from something, then what something is that? If it doesn’t make sense that we could have consciousness arising from matter which doesn’t (and how sure are we that it doesn’t?), then it also doesn’t make sense that supernatural entities could arise which have consciousness. Special pleading is a logical fallacy. I know that thanks to AXP and Nonprophets. Thanks for educating me. I never learned any of this in school!

  11. houndentenor says

    About a decade ago I was in Europe and took the train up to Malmo Sweden. It’s very dark there this time of year, but the lights everywhere made it festive and beautiful. There’s certainly need for a winter festival when the nights are so long. They did a good job, although being from New York I mistook the St Lucia candles (big ones outside) for menorahs! God Jul!!!

  12. says

    Has anyone ever even read Youtube comments. I prefer grown up conversations, there are a lot better places to leave comments and only so many moderators to watch for trolls. Like Martin I would give a fuck but I already gave at the office.

  13. Monocle Smile says

    Damn, Martin. I enjoy your posting style, but this is just another level. Now I want to know the details of the comments that generating that hilarious addendum.

    I’m getting really of this “YouTube pride” as if YouTube comments have anything positive to add to any topic…ever. I submit that nothing productive posted on YouTube comments has ever originated in those comments. Anything of substance came from somewhere else.

    Also, there seems to be this prevailing notion that anything and everything posted by anyone carries some sort of value and should be treasured. Sorry, trolls…most internet comments are inane. Typed characters don’t carry value just because they came from your precious fingertips.

  14. Corwyn says

    What we do know about the beginnings of the universe, and such, doesn’t make sense. Why should we use that criteria for stuff we don’t know about it? Our senses just aren’t accustomed to things outside our historical experience, and are thus easily fooled by the very small, very long ago, very large, etc.

    With regards to intelligence, which is more unlikely, that intelligence should appear through small changes in living creatures which are slightly less smart, or that it should spring fully formed, in perfect form, in the very first thing ever to exist? And why is this a tough question?

  15. says

    I love that, in setting his “intelligence must have come from an intelligence” argument, he tried to get the hosts to agree that “Intelligence arose. At some point there was no intelligence, and then at a later point there was intelligence.” Agreeing to his setup automatically excludes the eternal and intelligent god he was trying to use it to demonstrate, since if that god existed there could have been no point at which intelligence did not exist.

  16. Lana says

    I apologize if this doesn’t add to the discussion.

    My question is, how far does the definition of “intelligent life” go? I think that there are other species besides humans that could be considered intelligent, just in different ways.

    For example, I don’t remember exactly where i read it, but i read something that claimed that dogs are the only species that can understand nonverbal cues from their humans. This ability being evolved in order to benefit the human/canine relationship.

    Am I off my rocker for thinking that could be considered intelligence?

  17. says

    I don’t see why not. One problem, of course, is that we don’t really have a concrete definition of what intelligence actually is. Is human intelligence something fundamentally different from that exhibited by other animals, or is it just an extension of the same sort of thing?

  18. says

    I guess to some people, YouTube comments are this holy, exalted platform that are just naturally preferable and meaningful in a way that comments on other platforms are not. Fine, those people can feel that way — and I suspect they do feel that way because they’ve never had to spend an afternoon bombing dozens of trolls and spammers there.

  19. Monocle Smile says

    It’s an entirely anthropocentric argument. Most theistic “intelligence” arguments pretend as if intelligence is this linear scale and everything falls somewhere on this one-dimensional line rather than merely an emergent property of conscious beings.

    The “random or intelligent” is the lamest thing I’ve ever heard. All that means is that you don’t understand the meaning of either term.

    Brandon tried the worst Gish Gallop I’ve ever heard. It was kind of magnificent. Also, I’m going to go ahead and recommend a show topic of “Emergent Complexity.” Put this “random” garbage to rest…at least for the choir.

  20. Narf says

    Ditto. I’m willing to grant that dogs have an ego and sense of self, judging from what I’ve seen. I haven’t analyzed the animal kingdom extensively, but I imagine that most mammals would qualify, and I’ve seen things about some mollusks that lead me to believe that they’re similar.

    You’re wrong about dogs being the only species that can pick up non-verbal cues, though, Lana. There are many animals that are capable of that.

  21. Narf says

    Yeah, I have yet to have a productive conversation on YouTube. The format just isn’t conducive to meaningful conversation. The most I’ve had is a bumper-sticker slinging contest with someone.

  22. Lana says

    I’m sure it is true that a lot of animals can understand nonverbal cues. That was just an example from something I read once. My studies were in other areas, so I can’t really claim knowledge.

    I just think it is awfully vain to limit “intelligent life” to species “that can do calculus” as a video game character once said.

  23. StonedRanger says

    45 minutes into the call they bring up the angle of sand poured into a pile. This is known as ‘The angle of repose’. Just thought youd like to know that for trivia purposes.

  24. says

    I think it’s perfectly acceptable to direct commenters to your official blog. Youtube comment threads have a well-deserved reputation for attracting the worst and most incoherent flamers, trolls and spammers the internet has to offer.

    If you don’t like it, I guess you can always go to the official blog and complain there instead of leaving an actual comme – oh, you did. Good on you. What a stellar use of your time.

  25. Narf says

    Personally, I don’t even understand why people complain about the inability to post YouTube comments, when a forum like this is made available. People will only see your comments while they remain in the latest 10 or so, on YouTube. If you make a comment that sparks a lot of discussion and debate, people could stumble upon in weeks later, on here. The well-organized, nested structure lends itself well to following a discussion long after the fact.

  26. Samuel Vimes says

    A minor quibble with this otherwise entertaining episode…

    You guys are great, and while of course there’s a few announcements to get through at the beginning of each show, pretty much the main reason for watching this call-in show is to listen to your responses to those who call in. With that in mind, when you’re jacking your jaws non-stop for almost the first 20 minutes of your hour, it tends to take away time that could be spent talking with even more callers.

  27. Corwyn says

    I think there is a convincing argument for the hypothesis that the mimic octopus is self-aware. It is certainly considered an example of a very complicated brain.

  28. says

    You must be a relatively new viewer. Don’s whole thing as cohost is that he comes with a prepared presentation. What you call “jacking your jaws” is probably more accurately termed “discussing a topic” or “exchanging information.” AXP is largely a call-in show, but it’s not always that, and Don’s presentations provide a break from the norm and are enjoyed by a great many of our viewers, even if they might not appeal to everyone.

  29. Narf says

    Yeah, there are a few species of octopus like that, which are fantastic problem solvers and exhibit signs of human-like, higher-order intelligence, like getting bored and playing around with things for the hell of it.

  30. Narf says

    Hell, back when the show was an hour-and-a-half, they would sometimes spend over half of that time on topic presentation. Some of those were some of my favorite episodes, since they presented information that I wasn’t aware of, such as the origins of Yahweh, in the Ugaritic Pantheon.

  31. erik333 says

    Well, if you are into youtube with comments having them not turned off is preferrable. Imo, having comments off detracts from the youtube experience in almost(?) every case.

  32. erik333 says

    So because you don’t like youtube comments, it’s better to have them turned off for everyone – including those who do enjoy them?

  33. A N says

    I came here to talk about what Don Baker said. He said that “Right after the big bang, the universe was at maximum entropy” (paraphrased). From what I’ve learned, this is not true. The big bang was the moment of lowest entropy. Entropy gives a direction to all physical processes, away from the big bang and in direction of whatever may come (heat death or a variant) of bigger (or maximum) entropy.

    I decided to post this not just because it was a error on his part, but also because it’s on the Iron Chariots wiki:
    ctrl+f search for “maximum entropy”

    If you need to understand why, the first answer in this explains it succinctly.

    As to whether or not a low-state of entropy can deny the existence of a God, maybe. If the big bang is the lowest possible state of entropy, nothing before it can have more entropy than it (if “it” is contained in this universe, of course).

    Baker’s conclusion from the “maximum state of entropy right after the big bang”, that there was no structure there at all also isn’t compatible with the correct view of lowest entropy. What we currently know is that it was so structured as to be the system with the highest amount of symmetry.

    Therefore, nothing symmetrical can exist before it, unless it is just as perfectly symmetrical. From our view of intelligence, I would say that this excludes the possibility of a god. Surely, someone would say, a perfect god (perfectly symmetrical) could exist! No, it couldn’t, because a god here (and to many believers) is an intelligent creator. Intelligence can’t exist in a system of symmetrical particles (in energy and in space). As a rough example, take a computer. It needs a minimum of two states, on or off, 1 or 0, to function, either happening one at a time (traditional computing) or both at the same time (quantum computing). This last one may seem like a contradiction to what I said earlier, but it isn’t: a perfectly symmetrical system has 1 state, that of lowest energy, therefore no differentiation can occur between particles, so no information can be transferred.

    However, if you say that god is a perfectly symmetrical non-intelligent system, then you might as well call it the state at the big bang itself, because it is indistinguishable from any other system in it.

    If we took Baker’s erroneous conclusion, there could be an argument about a more structured system (less entropy) before the moment of “just after the big bang”, since, as I said, physical processes follow from the lowest state of entropy to a maximum.

    I conclude my thoughts on the issue at the line above. Below are just ramblings that, while I believe are correct, have no direct relation with the subject.

    Oh, this also explains why God can’t exist today, at least in the views of Christianity/Islamism/Judaism :
    – If God is and always was perfect, he is not intelligent (because of the reasons above), unless he exists in a different universe with different laws of physics.
    – If God is part of this universe, he’s subjected to all the physical processes we all are subjected to. So if our universe goes to a state of maximum entropy, so he will. Therefore, not eternal, not perfect.
    – If God is a closed system (like a universe separate from ours), then either he is irrelevant to any process that happens here or he is not perfect nor eternal. In order to remain perfect (and non-intelligent), he can’t exchange energy or matter with ours, nor can he apply a force without a resulting force on his system, otherwise these processes would change him. In other words, in order to remain perfect, he has to NOT do anything about us, including create us. Any action, including setting in motion our creation, taking a part of him to create us, or anything else, will make him imperfect.

    Feel free to contact me if you feel that I’m incorrect or if you want to talk about it.

  34. Monocle Smile says

    Actually, my point is that I sympathize with The Atheist Experience in their conduct on YouTube where comments are concerned and can’t even remotely identify with your crowd, but go ahead and twist my post into some dictator-esque decree if it makes you feel better.

  35. Monocle Smile says

    In my opinion, having comments off detracts from the YouTube experience the same way not putting crushed glass in my cereal detracts from my breakfast experience.

  36. Rocky John says

    I am somewhat sympathetic with your stated reasons for disabling YouTube comments, and while i have tried to be accepting of the changes, I must raise one serious issue. And that is after browsing through the comments on the last few episodes I have not noticed a single theist posting here.

    Now i know FTB is notoriously insular and seems to love preaching to the choir( yes there are disagreements here but they are more like doctrinal disagreements amongst a church’s members) but what i loved most about the comment section on YouTube was responding to theists. Getting rid of the theist commenters by requiring all comments to be made here is as boring as if the show only accepted atheist callers. This is a point i know you lot are very aware of, which is why you encourage theist callers over atheist ones, so i can only scratch my head over this censorship of theist commenters.( i know you may not be trying to do this or actively censoring theist comments , but in reality that is what requiring all comments to be posted here has effectively achieved)

    Which leaves me to wonder why you could not keep YouTube comments open while still having this forum for basically atheist only commenters. The only thing that i suspect is this is actually a ploy to try and get more visitors to FTB, which has been hemorrhaging visitors over the last year or so.

  37. Narf says

    It’s better to steer the few thoughtful people to the blog, particularly the few thoughtful theists, rather than leaving them shouting futilely into the YouTube comment box. If turning off the comments accomplishes that, as it seems to, I’m all for it.

  38. Narf says

    … or to put it another way, I don’t care about the people who enjoy shouting into the YouTube comment box. If it hurts them in the process of accomplishing something I like, I’m fine with that. I’m selfish that way.

  39. Narf says

    I would rather pay attention to them … just in a format that assists in them hearing my responses.

  40. Narf says

    And that is after browsing through the comments on the last few episodes I have not noticed a single theist posting here.

    I’ve seen a few, here and there on the blog. I think they get a few more on their Facebook page. I’m not on Facebook, so I wouldn’t know for sure, though.

  41. Corwyn says

    Browse again. Try #839.

    Getting rid of the theist commenters by requiring all comments to be made here is as boring…

    There is no intention of getting rid of theist commenters, and I can’t imagine how you would think that just moving the discussion over to FTB was enough to prevent them (or even dissuade them) from participating.

  42. Corwyn says

    Yes, the direction of entropy is seemingly counter-intuitive. Don, and many others, get it backwards. I think it was just a sign error though.

    I often hear theists claiming that we couldn’t have come from complete chaos. And they are quite correct, but we in fact come from a very ordered universe (low entropy), and thus there is no contradiction. In fact, one of the unanswered questions of cosmology is how we got as much disorder as we in fact have, given how ordered it was at the start.

  43. Muz says

    Yeah but comments on youtube could be seen to only be there to increase views, subscribers and ad impressions to get more of that sweet sweet Google-change, since we’re profit libeling. Not a whole lot of difference really.
    You can hardly draw a breath these days without someone making money off of it. Certainly can’t look at anything. It’s all a craven, mercenary conspiracy.

    Anyway: The point isn’t a bad one I suppose, but really isn’t it just that youtube commenting is what people are doing right this minute and they don’t want to change? It’s true there is a big theist contingent on there and the shuffle of recommends is likely to bring them to AXP vids. But what’s the argument? There’s too many atheists for them to want to come over here? As opposed to AXP videos on youtube where it’s safe?
    Doesn’t make sense.
    It’s all just people and their habits. The barrier to entry for commenting is lower here than on youtube. (although it is true that clicking to another site is an incalculably high wall to many in our convenience driven society). They ain’t here yet in great numbers (but that was always the case. Old blog or new) A bit of time and consistency can change all kinds of things though.

  44. Rocky John says

    “There is no intention of getting rid of theist commenters, and I can’t imagine how you would think that just moving the discussion over to FTB was enough to prevent them (or even dissuade them) from participating.”

    How about by the simple procedure of looking through comments from the last three episodes and noticing a dire lack of even a single theist comment.Now even if it was not your intention to do so it is still what you have effectively acheived.

  45. Monocle Smile says

    I can kind of see your point, although my suggestion is to create the open threads when the show starts and then link the open thread directly when the episode is put on YouTube. I don’t believe this is happening as of yet.

    YouTube theists who watch AXP videos are generally a half-step above troll level. It’s not like we’re missing out on quality arguments and discussion, though that’s just my opinion and I’ll doubtlessly get a few butthurt replies to that statements.

  46. says

    It kind of waxes and wanes. We have plenty of older posts with 4 or 5 theists all over them. We just don’t have theists who stick around for a long time, after they realize we have already heard and won’t fall for the tired, old apologetic arguments from half-wits like Josh McDowell.

  47. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @A N 11:

    Entropy gives a direction to all physical processes, away from the big bang and in direction of whatever may come (heat death or a variant) of bigger (or maximum) entropy.

    Good catch! Don and the wiki were mistaken.

    What we currently know is that it was so structured as to be the system with the highest amount of symmetry.

    Your use of “structure” seems odd to me given that the early universe was a nearly-uniform soup, so highly energetic that normal matter couldn’t exist.

    Usually in cosmology discussions, “structure” is reserved for later: as stars, galaxies, and clusters form.
    Article: Wikipedia – Chronology of the Universe

  48. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    A likely reason for confusion between minimum and maximum entropy…
    Article: Wikipedia – Heat death of the universe

    “Inflationary cosmology suggests that in the early universe, before cosmic inflation, energy was uniformly distributed, and the universe was thus in a state superficially similar to heat death. However, these two states are actually very different: in the early universe, gravity was a very important force, and in a gravitational system, if energy is uniformly distributed, entropy is quite low, compared to a state in which most matter has collapsed into black holes. Thus, such a state is not in thermodynamic equilibrium, as it is thermodynamically unstable.”

  49. Rocky John says

    @Monocle- I have had many decent discussions with theists that started off in the comment section of the AXP youtube video’s . Now yes i will agree that the majority of them are little more than trolls at best , but to find gold you need to sift through a ton of dirt first. Sanatizing the comment section of theistic trolls also drives off those theists who are possibly open to some reason if handled right.

    @Narf- I do not think that is exactly fair. When i was a theist i often frequented a theist dominant site and the same thing often happened with atheists. They would come in, stick around for a short while and then leave. Funnily enough the theists their would attribute their leaving to similar reasons as you did here.

  50. Rocky John says

    ” But what’s the argument? There’s too many atheists for them to want to come over here? As opposed to AXP videos on youtube where it’s safe?
    Doesn’t make sense.”

    The mistake you are making mate is expecting theist reasoning to make sense or be logical. If that wasthe case they would likely not be theists. While i am merely commenting on the reality of the situation, which is still true even if it is illogical.

  51. says

    And I think it would be perfectly fair to say that the atheists left because they got tired of the theists not being receptive to logical argumentation, just as we aren’t open to their emotional appeals and poorly thought-through apologetic-arguments. I don’t see the point of disagreement between us.

  52. Rocky John says

    Narf- actually Lana is largely correct.virtually every animal can pick up on nonverbal cue’s though dogs are the only ones who instinctively understand human specific cue’s. Dogs instincitvely pick up human non verbal communication such as pointing or the direction of our gaze. Which is something that even chimps and banobos fail at. Search youtube for “Brian Hare Excerpt: Duke Canine Cognition Center”

    Interestingly enough dogs also share the human left gaze bias..This is due to humans displaying more emotion on the right hand side of their faces.

    “Lincoln University published the results of a research into dog behaviour in 2008. In the study they had tested the reaction of dogs to human faces, showing by video takes that dogs share humans’ predilection to the left gaze bias. And they showed that this applied to human faces only, as they did not react this way with other dogs or animals nor inanimate objects.”

  53. says

    It depends to which degree we’re speaking, I guess. She was a bit more general in her statement. I wouldn’t argue against a statement that dogs are better at it than any other animal. That makes sense with what I know about the history of dogs.

  54. Rocky John says

    3 theistic posters on 3 different episodes with hundreds of comments is your proof that having the comments here is not highly insular?Are you serious?

  55. Muz says

    Well I’d keep the back slapping to a minimum. The vast bulk of the arguments surrounding this issue concern atheists not wanting to come here either, for largely similar reasons.

  56. Rocky John says

    The real difficult queston comes in on how do we measure the intelligence of something like an ant colony. After all they are able to build structures that would put the empire state building to shame , with sophisticated ventilation systems to keep the temp, humidity and oxygen levels stable. They are also the only other known creature to farm plants( fungus to be exact. They even use the heat created in their fungus farms to drive the convection cooling of their hive) and have even ‘domesticated’ aphids as livestock. Rather impressive even when compared to large brained mammals, let alone an insect with a brain smaller than a pin head.

  57. Rocky John says

    And how is promoting a forum with virtually no theistic posters any more conductive to meaningful discussions? It would be like you deciding to only really have atheistic callers into the show. It is the theists who mainly make the show interesting, and the same is true in the comments.

  58. Monocle Smile says

    I’m not sure you can blame AXP for the dearth of serious theists interested in actual discussion out there. You can only do so much to get people to make the effort.

    Again, linking the open threads in the video descriptions would be a good move, IMO. If that doesn’t attract more curious, thoughtful theist posters, that says more about the theist viewers than the show.

  59. Corwyn says

    3 theistic posters on 3 different episodes with hundreds of comments is your proof that having the comments here is not highly insular?

    Nope, it is my proof that you were wrong when you said:

    ..noticing a dire lack of even a single theist comment.

    How come you count ‘posters’ when counting theists, and ‘comments’ when not?

  60. AhmNee says

    The more we learn, the blurrier the line gets on what does and doesn’t show intelligence. I remember being told in school that humans were the only beings that could create art or music. Aaand later learning that Bowerbirds (arguably) create art as a mating ritual. Unique pieces of artwork with no other function.

  61. Rocky John says

    “Nope, it is my proof that you were wrong when you said:”

    Well excuse me for using some minor hyperbole. Three theist posters still does not detract from my point that using this forum is highly insular compared to youtube.

    “How come you count ‘posters’ when counting theists, and ‘comments’ when not?”
    What difference does it actually make to my main point? There is still virtually no theistic posters on this forum for the show.

  62. Corwyn says

    It is just another attempt to try to make your point dishonestly.

    If there were only two people in the entire thread of hundreds of post, you could say “there was only one theist in a thread of hundreds of posts” You could say it even if the theist wrote 99% of all those posts.

  63. Rocky John says

    “It is just another attempt to try to make your point dishonestly.
    If there were only two people in the entire thread of hundreds of post, you could say “there was only one theist in a thread of hundreds of posts” You could say it even if the theist wrote 99% of all those posts.”

    Yes, and if that was what i was doing then you could rightly point out i was being dishonest. .Though this is nowhere near the case. Even by thread count the theists only have a tiny portion of the hundreds of threads. The reason i have done it this way is due to the fact that i can’t be bothered counting every single poster in a thread with hundreds of posts.There is also no point in me doing so when what i am arguing is so obvious. Namely that the comments here are highly insular and there are virtually no theistic posters. Which is completely unlike Youtube.

    How about dealing with that point instead of trying think up hypothetical situations where what i said could possibly be dishonest.

  64. Narf says

    We’re not going to have many theists who want to engage with us in a thoughtful, productive manner, no matter which forum we choose. I’ve seen comments by a dozen theists, on some posts. Almost all of them did a hit-and-run, “I’ll pray for you,” and were never heard from again.

    Just enjoy the few we get who engage in real conversations, and don’t worry so much about it. I think of making them come to the blog as a sorting mechanism. If they’re not willing to move to a more organized forum that promotes better conversations, they probably weren’t the sort with whom we were going to have productive conversations.

  65. Corwyn says

    If you are prepared to forego the dishonest arguing style, I will be happy to explain that correlation isn’t causation. That what is desired is not theist throwing their claims up on the wall never to return, but an actual dialog. And that if you want youtube style comments on a particular call, you could always post the video yourself on your own youtube channel (provided of course that you follow the CC license).

  66. A N says

    Your use of “structure” seems odd to me given that the early universe was a nearly-uniform soup, so highly energetic that normal matter couldn’t exist.

    Because you are thinking of structures like stars, planets, etc, as you said it yourself. These are, indeed, structures, but they are less ordered in a system with a gravitational force, as you said it yourself in the next post. I’m using “structure” in a broader sense, not referring to physical objects, but opposing the idea of a chaotic system.

  67. says

    Yeah, he was.

    Although deists and atheists play that labeling game of redefining ‘God’ to mean whatever they want it be: eg Einstein basically gave Xians permission to ride roughshod and quote-mine the Hell out of him words by using ill-defined references to religion and God, when Einstein was usually referring to ‘cosmic religion’ and was a deist.

    Maybe Einstein played the word game on purpose to avoid the pejorative ‘atheist’ (and he may have had good reason for it, seeing the Hell atheists like Freud received by being out as atheist), but it creates much more confusion.

  68. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    stars, planets, etc […] are less ordered in a system with a gravitational force

    I think you misread the role gravity plays.
    “in the early universe, gravity was a very important force
    “in a gravitational system, if energy is uniformly distributed, entropy is quite low”
    Low entropy = high order.
    In a tight space, despite energy being distributed evenly, everything strongly attracts everything else (or at least tries to), so it’s not gonna hold still.
    Over time, the usable energy coalesces into sparse lumps – gravity gets less significant – that are increasingly unable to react to one another… until they each go completely inert, decay, and reach equilibrium.
    Along the way, stars and such form as the universe becomes less ordered overall, and more complicated to model.

  69. Narf says

    Hell, Einstein lived during the McCarthy era. Being known as an atheist was bad and could get you in a lot of legal trouble. I can forgive him for using religious metaphors for cover.

  70. A N says

    We are not disagreeing. I’m saying that if you follow the course of physical processes (the arrow of time), they tend from an ordered system to a less ordered system. Stars and such are intermediaries between highly ordered systems (early universe) and lumps of mass, highly disordered systems (black holes).

    See that I avoided using the word “structure” because it’s doing more harm than good, but I was using it as an equivalent to order.

  71. says

    I still think it’s worth losing the hundred incoherent theists damming us to hell, if we can steer the occasional ONE coherent theist to the blog. I find no value in YouTube comment section.

  72. says

    Brandon is just another person using I.D. as an excuse to prove the existence of their god, in which it doesn’t matter whether this god is the Christian god or any other god, it still lacks any tangible evidence for the existence of any god. If someone cannot establish the truth and pretends to know the truth then they are more certain of their ignorance then they are of the truth.

  73. Steve B says

    The minister housing allowance case was in federal district court. It applies only in that federal district. If, as is likely, the government appeals the decision, that appeal would be heard in federal appeals court. If the court of appeals upholds the decision it would apply within that appellate circuit. Stay tuned.

  74. K85 says

    On the emergence of intelligence. How is it surprising that beings which emerged and evolved in an obviously structured universe, have a sense of interpreting that structure, that is, what we call intelligence.

  75. says

    When reading Leviticus where locust have 4 legs and bats are birds, I sometimes wonder where is the authors intelligence who wrote that. Especially when the amount of hairs on our heads are counted.

    Leviticus 11:20-23, Leviticus 11:13-19, Matthew 10:30

  76. says

    I’ve read in places about how, while individual ants are incredibly limited in intelligence, hives as a whole exhibit a great deal of intelligence that emerges fro the interplay of all the much simpler individuals that make it up. The other day it occurred to me to wonder… if a hive can exhibit a collective intelligence, has there been any work done on whether different hives display different collective personalities?

  77. David Munson says

    I have been a fan of AXP for some time but just recently visited the blogs here at FTB. Admittedly I do not know the full story behind the addendum to this post, but from what I have seen I have to say I am somewhat disappointed in ACA for posting such a vitriolic diatribe. I find it remarkable that such an ad hominem attack is waged on a “freethought” blog just because someone had a … thought. Surely you can disagree with the thought using rational discussion instead of hurling insults. Perhaps this has been a sore subject for a while and you were pushed past your “tipping point” – which would explain your behavior but certainly not excuse it. I checked out this blog with the hopes of encountering adult conversations about atheism; please don’t tell me I was wrong.

  78. jcsscj says

    On the statement that intelligence can’t come from something less intelligent.

    I came from something less intelligent. My father’s sperm was definitely less intelligent than I’m currently.

  79. Monocle Smile says

    This reeks of concern trolling, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for now.

    Yes, the “freeze peach” crowd has been bitching and trolling hardcore for years. It’s utterly obscene that people throw a shit fit because they’re mildly inconvenienced and claim that said inconvenience is a violation of some imagined privilege.

    What I also don’t get is the idea that “free thought” is the same as “un-criticized thought.” Sorry, if people think your thoughts are stupid, you’re going to be told that, and that’s really the point of free thought. You won’t be censored unless you’re trolling or spamming, so your voice WILL be heard, but you don’t get some special shield that deflects ridicule.

  80. David Munson says

    Monocle I don’t even know what “concern trolling” is. I visited this blog because I thought it would be a nice forum for discussing atheism. I have no problem criticizing thoughts, especially those that deserve it. I even believe that ridicule can be a powerful means of addressing ridiculous thoughts. But surely you can discern a difference between disagreement, ridicule, and an expletive filled rant – or are you really too much of a stupid douche to understand my point (see if you read my original post for comprehension, then you will see that I was amazed by the ad hominem attack for a thought; I made no mention that the thought should not be challenged or even ridiculed. Do you get it now?)

    ps the last part of my post is ironic sarcasm in case you missed it.

  81. David Munson says

    On a side note MS, wasn’t Martin also throwing a “shit fit” over a mild inconveniece? I do agree that such behavior is “utterly obsene”

  82. Greg Gower says

    As an atheist, I’m wondering what others think of this idea. In stead of arguing with religious people about the existence of God. Why not just say (experimentally) “OK. We agree that God is responsible for everything we don’t understand.” That way we can just move on to topics that are more relevant; like organized religion or belief that the Bible is God inspired. It’s not that I believe God had anything to do with anything. It’s just that the argument tends to settle into a circular thing with no chance of resolution. Why not skip that part and move on to telling people there’s no need for the supernatural, when nature is just so super. Take, for instance, Evolution. Why not just say evolution was one of God’s best inventions and it pisses him off when we dismiss it as a magic trick! I’m not suggesting abandoning atheism, but it might be interesting to try a different tact from time to time.

  83. jdoran says

    They’ve already decided what their god says about evolution, organized religion, and divine inspiration of holy books. I don’t really see them accepting some bullshit you just made up in place of that.

    Feel free to try it, though.

  84. AzzaNine says

    While I find that having to go to an external site to comment annoying by lacking some of the connectivity G+ provides.
    We have to remember AE is not a Youtube specific endeavor, they are placing it there for those who cannot or will not watch them in the usual channels. They have no obligation to continue using G+ or to provide service to G+ users.
    Of course it would be nice if they did, chances are if this thread is replied to I will be none the wiser as I don’t check my email often. I find G+ sufficient for my needs, I’ve followed a hell of a lot more discussion since YouTube’s implementation as I now see notifications on the Google home page.

    But to call this censorship is silly, and even if it is they are well within their rights to clean up anything they see as inappropriate as this is not a public forum, neither is Youtube. When on your own private land you can do a you please within the law.

  85. Simondenysketels says

    I ended up on this video during what has been an hour of clicking in youtube. I started with Bill Maher, who was for some reason suggested to me by youtube. In this first video, he said that he disagrees to the fact that religions impose ideas on other people. I agree. Next to this, I’m an atheist myself. Or maybe the pussy agnostic version.
    Anyhow, I do feel that people can believe whatever they want and I do see some social benefits to religion (next to a lot of social “bads”). And I have to say that this show mocks people who believe in a God. I found the mocking comment on the Koran a bit offensive. This should be a show about reason and the guy was doing his best to do this within his unfortunately unreasonable frame of reference. I think he’s realizing this and was disoriented. From your part, I’d expect a compliment rather than making fun.
    Anyway baseline is: if you agree (and maybe you don’t and then forget it) that everyone can believe whatever he wants, shouldn’t you a bit more tolerant to random religious people?

  86. Narf says

    Well, a lot of us disagree. Bill Maher says a lot of funny, pointed, entertaining things. There’s also a lot of stuff he says that is bat-shit insane and wrong. His stance on most medical issues comes to mind.

    Likewise, I think most of us regulars on this blog don’t believe that religion is a net good. I see it as a generally bad thing which has had a net retarding effect on our culture. The more people we can snap out of their religious worldview, the better. Mockery can sometimes have that effect, so it’s worth a try.

    I’m curious about the context of the clip you’re referring to, though. Can you link us the YouTube video? The smaller YouTube videos are often taken way out of context, by enthusiasts. You sometimes lose a lot.

    And sure, people are free to believe in what they want, but can you blame us for trying to influence others into beliefs which will be better for the human race as a whole? That’s why some of us try to break believers out of their brainwashing, by whatever means seem right at the time. Of course, sometimes we misjudge. We’re human, after all. I’m curious if this is one of those cases.