Open thread for 20.21: Matt & Tracie


Matt and Tracie take viewer calls, and might have a tongue-in-cheek discussion of “Left Behind,” since Tracie just watched it on Netflix last night. 😉

Comments

  1. adamah says

    Great show, Matt and Tracie!

    I see John, the resident JW, is calling again (the ‘matter is slowed-down energy’ guy), only he’s now using the name, ‘Edward’.

    I suggest the show name be changed to “the Theist Experience”, since what a painful experience it must be, dealing with the same ol’ tired rationalizations and parrots performing their cult clone drone, seemingly completely immune from all logic and reason….

    You might as well be trying to reason with a wall….

  2. adamah says

    @Tracie, the Bible passage about Jesus and the Adulteress is found in John 7, with the mob getting ready to stone her to death, as she was caught in the act red-handed.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_and_the_woman_taken_in_adultery

    Of course, Jesus utters his famous line, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”, which chills the stoning, as the crowd slowly dissipates as it becomes apparent there won’t be any blood-letting that day.

    I’ve always thought the account should conclude like this:

    After a long poignant silence as Jesus draws in the dirt, one of his disciples quietly asks Jesus, “Uh, Lord?”

    Jesus: “Yes, my son.”

    Disciple: “Aren’t you supposed to have followed the law of Moses perfectly up until now?”

    With a gentle and proud smile on his face, Jesus replies: “Yes, it is so….”

    Disciple: “Then if you’ve followed the law perfectly, then you would be free of sin.”

    Jesus: “Yes….”

    Disciple: “And since the law of Moses states quite clearly that adultery is to be punished by stoning her to death, wouldn’t NOT stoning her violate what you said in your ‘Sermon on the Mount’, about how the law of Moses remains in effect, and not a tittle would pass from the law until all prophesies are fulfilled?”

    Jesus: “That was only a figure of speech: I wasn’t being literal about that!!….”

    Disciple cuts him off mid-sentence with: “So what’s the point of your redeeming humanity with the blood of your sacrificial death, if you’re not a ‘perfect’ and ‘sinless’ sacrificial redemption?

    Therefore, since you’re the only one without sin here, shouldn’t YOU be the one to cast the first stone?”

    (Cut to a silent stare from Jesus, with a ‘deer-caught-in-the-head-lights’ expression on his face, as he realizes he’s been outwitted….)

    As Jesus mutters under his breath, “God-damned smart-ass disciples….” he slowly bends over to pick up a stone to hurl at the adulteress….

    🙂

  3. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Thomas is back! Unfortunately that poster was right about heading to a pastor and returning with the faulty excuses.

    Edwards was on mute.

    Alex is going through a rather common thing, that’s where looking into the laws of logic and how we go about believing things through verification and being convinced by evidence thereby helping to kick the “I feel” such and such is true in the butt.

    Jeremy’s laughing made me uneasy. I was left confused. What a mess.

    I enjoyed this episode, thank you to everyone involved!

    That’s funny adamah. 😀

  4. Philllip Moore says

    Great Show!
    A Christian at the beginnings of rational thought.
    I loved the part after Edward where Matt made a prophecy likely to come true, and Tracie replied, “It doesn’t mean everything else Matt says is true.”
    Matt and Tracie make a fabulous team; both have the nuts and bolts of logic; Matt can get down and dirty with any philosophical argument, and Tracie can show empathy and understanding for a caller’s confused position.
    Caller Reg is an expert at misunderstanding math and physics. Maybe he skipped algebra class.
    Matt’s lucky socks analogy was great, and Tracie’s and Matt’s further explanations were well done.

  5. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    CotE: Sorry to have spread the uneasiness to you. I really enjoyed Alex’s bit, and Tracie’s responses for him. Very very potent. Can’t wait to go through this show a second or third time and figure out what the heck happened, and what to do about this lucky shoe, and what the lucky shoe even refers to. 🙂 Sugar. Communication is hard. Thanks for trying.

  6. says

    @#2 Adamah,

    My favorite version of the “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” ends with a rock being hurled at the woman. Jesus stands up, looks around for who threw it, and then yells “Mom! Stop being an asshole!”

  7. StonedRanger says

    Another interesting show. Thomas (doubting Thomas?) should ask his minister/preacher if the old testament is out then what happens to original sin? If that’s out then whats the use of jesus?

    And then there is Edward. He got about as much time as he deserved. Matt, I feel your pain because it isn’t any better here in the forum talking to the guy. In the end with Edward its all ‘god didit, the bible says so and I believe it so neener neener.’ Answers that aren’t answers Edward. Try again.

    The rest of the show, Ive got to rewatch because things happen. Its interesting to listen to theists who are literally speechless when they try to answer the simplest questions that Traci asks. I wish I had the abilities that the hosts of this show possess when it comes to logical thinking and reasoning.

  8. coveswimmer says

    The last caller was a keen to the scratching of a chalk board.
    He was trying to be so elusive about whether or not the god of Orthodox Jews is an all knowing super natural deity. And his laughter, oh lord lol.

  9. PeterFromLondonUK says

    ‘Cast the 1st stone’ is spurious text, and not part of the Bible. Christendom use ir because they have not worked out that it is spurious text.

    Anyways….. Matt does not know if energy can become conscious without intelligent manipulation, and that it is a belief that energy could become conscious without intelligent manipulation.

    There is only one truth, and it is not dependent on you knowing about it.

    The fulfilled prophecy is the only proof we have, the rest of the text has a basis for trust, and that is how it works.

    It has been set up in such a way so as to give Satan an opportunity to brainwash humanity, but everyone will have to learn the truth, most learn it once they are brought back to life.

    I have proof, you do not. There is only one truth, and you do not know it temporarily.

    🙂

  10. Robert,+not+Bob says

    Peter, by what criterion do you judge whether a passage is “real” Bible or not? Wasn’t that a decision made by a committee of bishops centuries ago? (Yeah, yeah, I know you’re probably saying God didn’t mean for it to get into the text; that’s an unevidenced assertion. And it doesn’t demonstrate omnipotence, either.)

  11. Tod says

    “Christendom use it”

    Um, you do realise it was in your NWT until 2013?

    https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/bi12/books/john/8/

    So now that’s been admitted to be in error and corrected, will there be another revision soon removing the – also known to be interpolations – “1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35”

    Isn’t it strange that we knew it was an interpolation for years before those that considered themselves “bible students” – see Bart Ehrman’s book from 2007 “Misquoting Jesus”…

  12. Chikoppi says

    @PeterFromLondonUK

    There is only one truth, and it is not dependent on you knowing about it.

    Yes, and sometimes the things that you are absolutely, positively convinced are true turn out to be false, no matter how devout the belief. If only there were some way to tell the one from the other without the bias of personal credulity…

  13. Dan Gerhards says

    Peter, you seem to be saying that “I don’t know if X is possible” is equal to “I believe that X is possible.” In that case, what words should a person use to express the lack of knowledge about X?

  14. says

    @7

    Anyways….. Matt does not know if energy can become conscious without intelligent manipulation, and that it is a belief that energy could become conscious without intelligent manipulation.

    Sure, that can be a belief… as long as someone actually holds that position. It’s like we’re not convenient enough opponents for you, so you’re repeatedly trying to herd us into being an easier target.

    There is only one truth, and it is not dependent on you knowing about it.

    That’s right. Now if only you’d operate under that understanding. You seem to do a lot of projecting of your faults onto others.

    The fulfilled prophecy is the only proof we have, the rest of the text has a basis for trust, and that is how it works.

    First, it’s not “proof” at all. I shouldn’t have to explain this to you, given how many times it already has been. Even setting aside the myriad of ways that supposed “prophecy” can appear to come true without any divine or extraordinary mechanism, and can largely be illusory… even if everything it says came true, you haven’t demonstrated the God mechanism. We only have an observation – that a book has correctly predicted the future – and the mechanism is unknown.

    You merely assume that your God concept is the mechanism without any positively supporting evidence (which requires you to first demonstrate the thing actually exists to be a mechanism- the thing you’re trying to demonstrate – so it becomes circular).

    So, from beginning to end, Biblical prophecy doesn’t qualify as “proof” (which science doesn’t deal with proofs, so at best “proof” would mean “demonstration beyond a reasonable double”) in any way, shape or form.

    It has been set up in such a way so as to give Satan an opportunity to brainwash humanity, but everyone will have to learn the truth, most learn it once they are brought back to life.

    … additional undemonstrated unevidenced wild claims.

    Would you take me seriously if I was claiming that the reason people don’t believe the Harry Potter books are real is because Voldemort is using the way they’re written as an opportunity to teach us that Harry Potter books are nonfiction? That’s how silly you sound to us.

    I have proof, you do not.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWJo2EZW8yU&ab_channel=DeanLord

    There is only one truth, and you do not know it temporarily.

    And we have methods to figure out what the truth it… none of which is working to your advantage.

  15. says

    If I sound a bit frustrated, it may because I am. You’re either not listening to what we’re saying, or you don’t care about what we’re saying. Either is frustrating.

    We are directly explaining to you what our objections are – those things that prevent us from accepting your position. We’ve repeatedly explained why we reject the notion of Biblical Prophecy as “proof”. If you do not address that to our satisfaction, it’s not going to get you anywhere.

    … and that leaves you as one of two people:
    1) A troll, who’s just trying to piss us off
    2) Someone who’s just trying to meet a proselytism quota.

  16. adamah says

    “Edward” (AKA Peter/John from UK) said:

    Cast the 1st stone’ is spurious text, and not part of the Bible. Christendom use ir because they have not worked out that it is spurious text.

    Caller “Edward” is the same poster as John/Peter from UK, and is a JW who uses the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT).

    The most-recent updated version was released just a few years ago (which is referred to affectionately by dubs as the “Silver Sword”, since the cover is silver), and one of the changes in the updated version is the entire account of ‘Jesus and the adulteress’ was deleted from it!

    So up until a few years ago, “Edward” no doubt would’ve vehemently been defending the truth of this account, since it’s found in the prior version of their “inspired” word of God.

    (I suppose JW elders found it troubling to have members point out the example of Jesus forgiving people of their sins only with a stern warning, and that must’ve kept many elders up at night riddled with guilt after disfellowshipping someone for the same offense?

    The account also contradicts Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount, where he said the Law of Moses would remain in effect until AFTER Jesus was killed, thus creating the ‘New Covenant’ with God, with Jesus serving as the ” perfect” sacrifice. Oooops: I suppose that kind of thing happens when people make up theology on the fly……)

    Edward, when your “truths” are subject to revision at any time, based only on the whims of your “governing body” (i.e. the leaders of the JWs), then what value does it provide to you, other than as an excuse to claim superiority over others?

    That “subject to revision” thing should tell you something about the folly of ever claiming to possess “the absolute “truth”.

  17. BillBo says

    For a laugh, God should put the “matter is slowed down energy” guy and the “he is wrong because it is actually the speed of light squared, not the speed of light” guy into a room and have them argue it out for eternity. I am sure neither of them even knows what a particle physicist means when he says “energy”.

    But that last caller was the most painful. “Heh, I don’t even know why I am calling the show but I am a Jew and I heard you guys don’t believe what Jews do and I can’t even explain what I believe but everything sure is funny, heh, heh, heh.” What?

    So I am 50 years old now and was brainwashed into Christianity up until my early 20s. But I still had lingering fears of Hell up into my 30s. It can take a while to work it completely out of your system, and you will feel so much better about THIS life after you do. And this one short little life is all that you get. Deal with it and make the best of it rather than wasting your time dreaming about some mythical paradise some con-men made up to control other men! The Holy Bible is obviously a malleable work of fiction written by men with an agenda. A god that could create the universe could easily write a book that says exactly what it wants that would be IMPOSSIBLE for any man to change.

  18. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @20

    The laughter was mostly just nerves and the whole “I can’t believe these people I look up to are actually responding to me and yet being themselves” thing. Sorry it was painful.

    I called because I wanted to talk my beliefs out with an “outsider”…it’s not an opportunity I get that often, so there were some vocabulary issues and we had to tune our language to each other, but that’s to be expected on a first contact between two “worlds”. Personally it seems to me we had a good discussion, and I’m finding Matt and Tracie’s feedback helpful (at least the sock/teddy bear part…but it’s also helpful to watch how the rest of it and how we and especially I go wrong…though some of it’s just exhaustion)

    It’s among my biggest frustrations with my current situation, and it might be as much a result of my personalty as it is a result of the “orthoprax” way of life* itself: that that language-tuning process can take much longer than anyone tends to expect. Matt and Tracie seem to on principle have more patience than most for that process, so I called.

    All in all, it went much better than I expected (didn’t even expect to make the queue), but it’s up to the audience and the hosts whether they’d be willing to try again.

  19. StonedRanger says

    Why is anyone giving Edward the time of day here? He has shown over and over that all he wants to do is proselytize. He is not interested in having a conversation. Don’t give him the attention he wants and he will go away. He ignores what we say that shows he is wrong/doesn’t have a clue what he is talking about.

    Jasper @16 He is both. A waste of air and a waste of air time.

  20. Scott E says

    @Peter/John/Edward:

    “Anyways….. Matt does not know if energy can become conscious without intelligent manipulation, and that it is a belief that energy could become conscious without intelligent manipulation.”

    No, it isn’t. You wrote the same sentence twice, changing the word “can” to “could”, and they’re synonyms here. It’s nonsense to say “I don’t know if X can happen, so therefore I believe X could happen.”

    They had an episode wherein Tracie showed Matt a small bag with an unknown number of 6-sided dice in it. She showed that even if Matt acknowledged that he didn’t know if it was possible to roll a total of 18 with the dice in the bag (since he didn’t know if there were at least three dice), that did not mean he believed it _wasn’t_ possible. He would have had to be certain there were only two dice or fewer in the bag to believe that it wasn’t possible. The only thing here we know _is_ possible is the ability to take a middle “I don’t know” position.

    “There is only one truth, and it is not dependent on you knowing about it.”

    Am I understanding correctly that the caller “Edward” is the same person as “PeterFromLondonUK” and who has also used the name “John” when calling in or posting here? If so, we have someone making statements about truth who won’t even give their own true first name, or at least the same first name or nickname each time, so we know it’s the same person. Why should we take seriously someone who can’t be honest about something so inconsequential?

  21. The YouTube Guy says

    @PeterFromLondonUK

    The fulfilled prophecy is the only proof we have…

    Fulfilled prophecy would be classified as evidence for the truth of a religion. However there are key issues with this claim.

    1 – There are many unfulfilled prophecies in the Bible. I’d be happy to list them off for you if you’d like. The common response I get is that they will be fulfilled. So let’s go to the next problem…

    2 – There are IMPOSSIBLE prophecies in the Bible. Nebuchadnezzar was prophesied to destroy Tyre. Turns out he didn’t destroy Tyre. He is now dead so that’s impossible. We were told Egyptians will speak the language of Canaan. Now their language is gone and Egypt still exists even though it’s suppose to be a barren wasteland (Another unfulfilled prophecy.

    3 – Even if all the prophecies in the Bible are perfect (Which they’re not) it wouldn’t prove the religion is true. Fulfilled prophecy could happen due to a lot of reasons. Here is a short list:

    They made a lucky guess
    They had knowledge/insight in to what would happen
    They wrote the prophecy after the event and claim it to be written before
    The prophecy is from God (Can’t prove this is the reason… I’ll give you that it could be)
    They wrote it in a vague way that it could be easily fulfilled*

    This last one sums up much of the prophecy in the Bible. Much of the “prophecies” are people saying something will happen and then people in our present day looking through the verses and finding some way to say that thing happened. It’s just like people claiming the rapture will happen on XX-XX-XXXX because they found a verse that suggests this. Amazingly (Unless it has happened…) they’ve all been wrong.

  22. Marcel says

    Near the middle of the show, the caller who was talking about E=mc^2, clearly doesn’t understand math or physics. Regarding the c^2 portion he said “that’s like 3 trillion miles per hour”. That’s not how that math works. When you square a quantity, you don’t just square the number, but you have to square the units as well. c^2 cannot be measured/described in units of mph; it will have units of m^2/s^2 (or miles^2 per hour^2 for non-metric americans). c^2 is not a measurement of speed or velocity.

  23. favog says

    Hey, Reg, if you’re out there … if you’ve really been studying cosmology since you were a kid, you need to start over completely. Like, the how the concept of units works in science. If your version of things was correct, then if we have two photons and both are travelling at the speed of light squared, the one using the metric system is going faster than the one using the English system. Which is absurd. Also, how you missed that fact that nothing can go faster than the speed of light is beyond me if you know anything about cosmology. Einstein’s equation is about how much energy is in an amount of matter, and the speed of light squared is a conversion factor, not a speed that anything travels at or under to transform into the other mode.

  24. adamah says

    Back to the adultery thing:

    Recall ‘thou shalt not commit adultery’ is the 7th of the “10 Commandments” (found at Exodus 20:14), and thus is a BIGGIE on God’s Top 10 “do not do this” list of sins.

    Hence Jesus was not simply disregarding an obscure passage from the Law of Moses (like ignoring the requirement to not mix cottons and linens), but was violating a biggie.

    Remember too where Jesus removed kosher dietary restrictions in Mark 7 (declaring all foods to be clean), but Jesus was modifying one of the BIG TEN commandments of the Law of Moses, which both Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22 expanded upon by proscribing the penalty as death by stoning (and not just letting the sinner off with a stern warning and telling her not to do it again).

    Again, the contrast between Jesus’ claiming that the Law of Moses would remain in effect until Jesus’ sacrificial death is in stark contrast with the glaring contractions of passages of Jesus’ own words in Mark 7 and John 8 (as well as other examples re: sabbath violations, or demanding his disciples symbolically drink his blood and eat his flesh, etc).

    Billbo said:

    For a laugh, God should put the “matter is slowed down energy” guy and the “he is wrong because it is actually the speed of light squared, not the speed of light” guy into a room and have them argue it out for eternity. I am sure neither of them even knows what a particle physicist means when he says “energy”.

    That caller seemed to believe matter converts to energy ONLY when it’s travelling at the speed of light SQUARED?

    That would be a nice trick to pull off, since NOTHING can travel faster than the speed of light….

    The caller was flat-out wrong, as matter constantly and spontaneously converts into energy, even when stationary; hence why we have the concept of “half-life of radioactive decay”, wherein a small amount of energy is released whenever matter converts into different atoms.

    Einstein’s famous ‘E=mc^2’ equation is used for the purpose of allowing us to calculate and keep track of the AMOUNT of energy to be released. It says NOTHING about the matter having to move at the speed of light…

    And this one short little life is all that you get. Deal with it and make the best of it rather than wasting your time dreaming about some mythical paradise some con-men made up to control other men!

    Sometimes I’m just overwhelmed by realizing the rampant religious mass delusion still at play in 2016 AD, which doesn’t necessitate the idea of evil actors looking to control others to perpetuate a false belief: as the old saying goes, the road to Hell is often paved by those with good intentions….

    One of the many down-sides of living under a religious delusion is a deferred grieving process, wherein the person faces the prospect of pent-up emotions bubbling to the surface once the believer realizes they’ve been living a pipe-dream. In the case of JW’s who are told their deceased loved ones will be resurrected to a paradise Earth, they suddenly have to face the prospect of realizing that it’s all just a lie, and have to confront the painful realization that not only have they been duped, but they won’t EVER see the deceased person again…

    Compound that with the fact JWs may feel guilt over to contributing to their loved ones death (eg by refusing a blood transfusion), and they face an incredibly-painful truth that’s insurmountable to accept. Some commit suicide when they’ve realized they’ve squandered their lives based on a lie.

    I believe Tracie made the same point on the show about how it’s preferable not to alienate loved ones, and enjoy the here and now, rather than accept a highly-questionable premise based on one’s hopes and dreams….

    @Jeremy, I interpreted your laughter as you say, a sign of your nervousness. That’s natural: it seems like calling in to the show would be an unsettling experience to anyone, and you did a good job of it… 🙂

  25. Monocle Smile says

    @favog
    I encounter these “I’ve studied X for years and years” types fairly regularly. They’re more annoying than anything because they don’t know what “studied” means. Reg was particularly baffling…failing to understand math that badly is rather special.

  26. BillBo says

    @Jeremy I am happy that your call-in helped you. The show is really more for people like you that are having doubts or confusion about what they believe, not to keep people like me happy or entertained. I apologize for misinterpreting your mannerisms and inability to clearly articulate your position as insincerity.

    @adamah Religious beliefs are perpetuated not only by parents training their children but by communities that all hold the same view. When I was growing up all of my friends and their families were Christians, all of my teachers were Christians. Everybody I knew and all the collective group tradition was Christian. I even got my 4-year undergraduate degree at Calvin College where I took (required) classes on Christian philosophy, and it all seemed pretty reasonable. It wasn’t until I went off to a secular graduate school and met professors that did not believe but that I respected for their intellect and made friends with Indians and Chinese and Czechoslovakians that I seriously questioned why my beliefs were superior to anyone else’s and came to the obvious conclusion that they were not. When you come face to face with others that sincerely hold beliefs for which they have no basis other than “tradition” from where they grew up it becomes impossible to continue to hold onto your own that are of the same nature. To do otherwise is both arrogance and ignorance. I have also lived in 5 different places. I can tell you from Facebook that most if not all of the people I knew growing up that remained in that community are still stuck in the same Christian tradition rut.

  27. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    AUGH!
    So I’m fairly certain that, “yeah, I understand that,” is just Peter/Edward’s way of saying “I haven’t really been listening, but I hear that you have stopped speaking – must be my turn!”

    @Peter/Edward
    You wrote in the thread for last weeks show. You wrote the exact same thing that you said when you called into the show. Several of us responded to you last week. I can just about understand going with the same basic message, even though several of us pointed out that it’s wrong and/or utterly meaningless, but it didn’t even occur to you that maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t just presume that other people share your misunderstanding of the relationship between matter and energy and believe the opposite version of your ridiculous idea of conscious energy beings*? What’s the point of attempting your proselytising if you’re not going to make the most basic attempt to communicate with people? If you’re not going to bother trying to understand the concepts you’re clumsily flinging about, why the hell would it seem reasonable to try it out on people who, whatever gaps they might have in their knowledge, do bother to try to understand what they’re talking about? I can’t decide whether to pity you, or be enraged at you for a) wasting time on a reasonably informative and entertaining show that I otherwise enjoy and b) dragging the already slightly tarnished name of my home nation into disrepute. I don’t mind when theists call in. That’s mostly what I watch/listen for, actually – I want to hear new and interesting theological and philosophical arguments; I want to be forced to think, and I want to see Matt, Tracie, John, Jen, Russell, forced to think, and I want to see what different conclusions we reach. But you? Why the fuck are you wasting everybody’s time with your insipid shit?

    *reverts the “days since I was last an arsehole to a theist” counter to 0*

    *Yes, I understand that you’re talking about basic, mundane, material beings, but ffs, all that irrelevant and nonsenseical crap about how “physical is slowed down energy”… the word you’re looking for, by the way, is matter. That is, “matter is slowed down energy” (it isn’t, that’s a ridiculous misunderstanding) not “physical is slowed down matter.”

    @Jeremy from Pittsburgh
    Don’t worry about the nerves, the laughter isn’t that off-putting. Just relax- they’re just people, there’s nothing to be nervous about! 🙂
    (Oh… aaaand don’t read anything in this post that isn’t directed at you… nothing to see here. *whistles*)

  28. The YouTube Guy says

    I have to agree with the critique of Peter/Edward. It seems at any moment when the talking stopped he would say one of two things:

    1 – I agree
    2 – I understand

    However after saying either of these things, it appears he did not understand nor did he agree with anything they had just said. It went to the level of ultimate face-palm when they had to explain for the third time:

    1 – Don’t presume the other person’s beliefs.
    2 – The reject of a claim isn’t a claim in and of itself.

  29. Chikoppi says

    @Athywren

    *reverts the “days since I was last an arsehole to a theist” counter to 0*

    Oh no! Is that a metric I’m supposed to track? I just lost all confidence that my year-end performance review is going to be remotely positive. 🙂

  30. Mobius says

    @24 favog

    Correct. When you square c (or anything else) you square the units as well as the number. “Miles squared per second squared” is not a unit of velocity.

  31. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @BillBo all good…I personally hold by the “if someone said it, there’s an element of truth in it” doctrine 😛 and will try to come in a bit more prepared next time to explain things with structure rather than forcing the hosts to play “find the right question”.

    The God’s-will/God-himself distinction seems to be throwing things off, or I’m just personally too caught up in it…either way I am tempted to pull up and share the passage where Aryeh Kaplan explains it* and leave it at that, but doing so on public TV might violate some copyright terms.

    (in his commentary on Sefer Yetzira…If anyone’s interested, it’s in the section on “ten sefirot suspended on nothingness, ten and not nine, ten and not eleven”.)

    @Athywren I heard this week on twitter that it’s easier to understand the unique good qualities in a person from what they hate than from what they love…it seems you value nice two-way conversations. 😛

  32. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Chikoppi
    Well I don’t know what to say to you… I mean, it was in the handbook – right there, in big bold letters, on page six!

    @Jeremy
    I also value curiosity and kitty-cats*! :3
    So far, I do not hate you`, so there’s little to be learned from that. I did appreciate the conversaion you were having with Matt & Tracie, though, even though there wasn’t a great deal of progress made this time. I’d definitely approve of you calling in again. Not that I actually have any say over that – I’m just a random podcast listener/occasional ustream watcher/forum commenter.

    *This may seem contradictory, since curiosity has a reputation for cat-murder, but… um… I’m quite forgiving?
    `I don’t hate Edward/Peter/John/Whatever either but… hrrrrgh. I try to be patient…. It isn’t usually that difficult.

  33. adamah says

    Re: Peter’s seeming inability to engage in an honest and open discussion, I suspect many here don’t understand that’s the LAST thing a typical JW is encouraged to do!

    In the parlance of the world of sales, the typical JW is looking to ‘sell’ you THEIR religious views: they’re not looking to BUY (i.e. accept) your beliefs.

    Hence the ‘talking parrot’ analogy is quite fitting, since they have nothing to offer besides meaningless cliches, and hence they’re not very effective at gaining converts amongst critical thinkers (the irony being they consider themselves as critical thinkers, echoing Paul’s self-congratulatory words: “When I was a child, I used to think like a child; but now that I’m a man, I still cling to believing in imaginary Gods…..”)

    JWs typically gain recruits amongst the relatively unsophisticated, uneducated and emotionally-needy, i.e. those who allow their emotions and desires to control their actions.

    JWs even refer to themselves as ‘sheep’, in turn seeking to separate the sheep (docile) from the goats (stubborn). There’s nothing like an ancient shepherding analogy to point to the long-outdated way of thinking about the World and others….

    In a related topic, I dunno if any of you caught the special on CNN, “Why They Hate Us” (referring to Islamists’ hatred of all things Western)? As explained in that show, not having prior exposure to the principles of Islam found in the Quran ctually makes the potential target easier to convert to adopt a radicalized version , since they cannot begin to question what they simply don’t know.

  34. adamah says

    BillBo said:

    It wasn’t until I went off to a secular graduate school and met professors that did not believe but that I respected for their intellect and made friends with Indians and Chinese and Czechoslovakians that I seriously questioned why my beliefs were superior to anyone else’s and came to the obvious conclusion that they were not.

    Yeah, that’s exactly why the JWs are deathly afraid of their members getting a college education: learning how to think independently and questioning one’s beliefs is a threat to the JW business model.

    Instead, the JWs encourage their members to work in the trades (construction work), or in jobs that don’t require anything beyond a high school education (pool cleaners, janitorial workers, window washers, etc). And thanks to the prevalence of home-schooling, many parents will be able to avoid exposing their children to free-thinking teachers who might “contaminate” them by having them eg read books like Orwell’s ‘1984’. That level of thought control is a page right out of the JW playbook.

    I remember one elder cautioning me as a young unbaptized teen against getting too uppity and thinking I knew better than others, telling me that another brother he knew was so smart “he thought his way out of the Truth”! The elder was deadly serious about that, and there’s nothing you can respond to that level of encouraging ignorance, other than to disengage.

    And as you say, travel (and living abroad) is a good means to trigger questioning one’s own cultural norms, but only if the person is open to doing so, e.g. when I was stationed in Germany, I remember many guys who preferred staying in the barracks and watching American TV/eating Dominos pizza, rather than getting off the base and exploring their surroundings.

    As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink….

    In one sense, in me, the JWs created a monster of their own making, since the lesson I gleaned from them was to stand up to persecution and remain faithful to my beliefs, whether right or wrong: they just didn’t intend for me to actually seek “the Truth” outside of their sheltered enclaves….

  35. sharkjack says

    For those interested in early Christianity, Extra Credits just finished a series on it. Extra Credits: Early Christian Schisms
    It’s really accessible, and if you listen to the lies part at the end (where they talk about all the stuff they couldn’t fit into the narrative), it actually gives you a pretty in depth picture just what was going on and why.

    Peter@9:

    I have proof, you do not. There is only one truth, and you do not know it temporarily.

    Well then we’re done. Rationally speaking you are justified to believe (so long as you stay convinced by your ‘proof’ being actual proof) and so long as we don’t receive it, we are justified in not believing that, and you should agree that that is the most rational conclusion for us to arrive at, even though your personal evidence is good enough for you. Because that is how critical evaluation of beliefs based on evidence works.

  36. says

    Am I the only person who is absolutely sick of people doing the “telling you what you believe” garbage? I’ve seen a ton of that lately and it’s really indicative of someone who is a terrible dumpster fire of a person.

    And can we get a moratorium on people saying “I understand what you’re saying/I understand your point”? After about the third time it’s clear that they DON’T UNDERSTAND SHIT.

  37. PeterFromLondonUK says

    15,16,17

    Hi Matt.

    I think the reason why you cut me off was because i spoke of the fulfilled prophecy.

    As you said “the only way to win, is not to play”.

    It has been set up this way so that only those with the correct attitude are allowed to learn the truth, everyone else will learn the truth later but they will also learn how easy it was for them to be brainwashed via this Sataic system.

    It was nice to chat with you, i will call you again soon.

  38. PeterFromLondonUK says

    18. We have always considered it as spurious text. It was in small letters, but we never quoted from it nor read it.

  39. Monocle Smile says

    @Limey Fuck
    Matt has explained why prophecy is bunk to you specifically on the air at least three times. Yet you feel content to repeat yourself. There is no fucking increase in earthquakes. Tyre still stands. Your JW bullshit is annoying.

  40. Scott says

    The speed of light squared is no longer a speed.

    The units are also squared so you end up with meters squared per seconds squared.
    Also the quantity would be much more than the speed the caller listed even if there was not the unit problem.
    3.0 x 10^16 m^2 / sec^2

    The units are more important than the number – a really important

  41. PeterFromLondonUK says

    Energy becoming a human without intelligent manipulation is a belief with no proof. Do we all agree with that ?

  42. favog says

    @39, Multiple first names from UK –
    There are lots or reasons you’ve been cut off, and they’ve all been explained to you, multiple times.

    @26, Monocle Smile –
    There’s that saying “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. I think it’s better phrased that “Knowledge with no understanding is a dangerous thing”. Especially in a world where a lot of people think that knowledge is understanding, when they’re not the same thing. Knowledge can be gained by rote memorization, but understanding comes out of questioning and relating knowledge to other knowledge you possess and to the outside world.

  43. says

    I wonder why “consciousness” is the focus here? Why not ask “Can photosynthesis arise without an intelligent desinger?” Or “can digestion or urination or precipitation arise without an intelligent desinger?” Or “Can volcanic eruption arise without an intelligent designer?”

    Any of those questions have the same impact.

    But the main problem is that no intelligent designer has presented itself for examination. So, we can’t even study such a thing as a potential cause. Can we agree on that Peter, John, Edward, or whoever else you claim to be? We can study nature, because it presents itself to us for direct examination. Therefore nature as a cause can be examined. And asking if nature can cause any event or reality can be researched. And until an intelligent desinger reveals itself to us at least as evidently as nature reveals itself, we have no way to study it to try and determine if it’s even capable of having given rise to anything, let alone whether it did so.

    And regarding prophecy, I don’t even have to address all of the reasons it’s not even demonstrable from anything in the Bible, because as I said to you during the show, even if there were many highly specific, accurate, and demonstrably correct fulfilled prophecies in the Bible, that would be evidence only of fulfilled prophecy. There is no way to jump from “this book has demonstrable prophecies in it” to “therefore an intelligent desinger created humans/intelligence.”

    You ask if there is any proof that humans and intelligence arose without intelligence as a catalyst. To me, that question isn’t even relevant when the only possible cause available to us for consideration at this time is natural. Until something else is even available to examine, there is no point to even asking the question.

    If you want an intelligent desinger to be considered as even a POSSIBLE cause, you will need to get this intelligence to manifest in some direct way so it can be studied and understood. Until that happens, your question isn’t relevant or even coherent, since we don’t even know what it is we are talking about when we say “intelligent desinger.” What, in the real world, is this label pointing at? Where is it? In what way is it available to examine–in the same way we can examine nature? How do we test for X here?

    And frankly, I don’t see the point to continuing to take your calls, as you have demonstrated consistently you aren’t going to have a conversation. There is no dialoguing with you; you only monologue. No one should continue a conversation with you until you are made to restate their point in your own words to actually confirm you understand it. But I will surely ask the screeners NOT to put you through when I cohost ever again. Your unwillingness to listen to others is the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever encountered on the show, and makes productive conversation impossible.

    And for the record, I’ve never believed you were an honest caller. It’s not even a convincing Poe, for what it’s worth. I am fairly certain the only reason anyone engages you is to get particular points across for other viewers or forum readers–similar to what I just did, above in this post. But frankly, I would rather use honest Christian callers to do that, rather than give hoax callers airtime. And in the future that’s what I will be doing.

  44. says

    I think it’s hilarious that Seth Andrews’ show, The Thinking Atheist, often displays an ad for Mardel, the bible store. And the opening ad that displayed on this show was for Pureflix, apparently a Christian version of Netflix. Is that for real?

    Anyway, nice to see that good, moral, upstanding Christian businesses are supporting Satan’s front line. ?

  45. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @45
    I’ll use the whole question of “why does he bother with consciousness” as an excuse to raise some of my own questions…probably better in writing than on the air anyway, as this is not stuff that is likely to make a difference to people one way or the other, so it can be safely skimmed and ignored…

    It could be that he uses consciousness because it seems to make use of measurements of properties not relevant to the physical world ( i.e. “macro” properties rather than properties which directly influence physical interactions… i.e. not properties with any real physical existence…e.g. pain, not spin.)

    Because the measurement is used [by consciousness], there exists a world supporting the measurement. (This follows from the anthropic principle…doesn’t matter weak or strong.)

    Because the measurement is not physical, the world supporting it isn’t purely physical either. (Consider the difference between a bit of information and the material carrying the bit*. The material itself is not enough to support the actual bit…it only takes physical inputs and only provides physical outputs.)

    Though the world supporting THAT world might be totally physical with no room for anything else. (Consider the difference between recording a data set and recording the standard deviation of the same data set.)

    This isn’t a proof of intelligent design, though…it’s just a description of a world other than a physical one.

    And if that’s his argument, consciousness seems like an overly complicated example…just use computers or equations or words on a page; they point to similar worlds. What does consciousness add?
    (I have a feeling that consciousness adds something…at least, I read something to that effect the other day.)

    No clue where energy and speed and whatnot come into this though.

    @Peter
    seems like you’d be smart not to call again.

    Matt has a great video on testing prophecy… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiS4WP48fmY

    Most standards of evidence for prophecy are more useful for testing someone who claims to be a prophet in current times, and less useful for testing someone who has been hidden from the scene for centuries.
    (Though if a person claims to be receiving ongoing prophetic insight via a book, the same methods can be used.)

    Check Samuel 1:9 for an example of what good evidence of prophecy would look like.

    (“I lost my donkey. Where is my donkey?” “Let’s go to the prophet.” [goes on trek to non-local prophet] “Where can I find my donkey?” “Such-and-such mountain” “Thanks” [goes to the mountain, finds missing donkey] “Yay!” [bows head and says a prayer of thanksgiving to god] [sends thank-you note to prophet later].) (Similar tests should be repeated many times by different people.)

    *suppose for simplicity that the bit is not stored as some fundamental physical property

  46. Vivec says

    @39
    We’re all sick of your “you guys are wrong -puts fingers in ears- also i’ll call next show” shtick. Looking in retrospect, anything of value that could have been gleaned from your calls came and went the first time you called.

  47. Philllip Moore says

    @PeterFromLondonUK
    “Energy becoming a human without intelligent manipulation is a belief with no proof. Do we all agree with that ?”
    I don’t agree at all. It’s an almost nonsensical question. If you mean “abra-cadabra” Poof! Magic! There’s an intelligent being. Something did it, it may have been a “god”. But if you mean cosmology, physics, biology, and billions of years. Why would anyone agree?

  48. gshelley says

    The last caller was somewhat frustrating. It wasn’t really clear what he thought about god, and it seemed he didn’t know either. Once he said he had converted from reform Judaism to Orthodox, but had apparently also adopted a less strict view of the truth of Bible and what his god wanted, it would probably have been useful for Matt or Tracie to ask him how his current beliefs differed from his previous ones – what it was that he thought was “more true” about what he now believed compared to his former beliefs, but I think everyone got stuck on his use of the word “orthodox” not being consistent with what was expected and his own lack of awareness of it, and lack of understanding of what he meant by it.

  49. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    Energy becoming a human without intelligent manipulation is a belief with no proof. Do we all agree with that ?

    Oh hey, he changed his… argument? Whatever it is. I’d actually be willing to accept energy becoming a human without intelligent manipulation as a fairly trivial claim. We, as humans, like other animals, consume food, which we digest to release energy. We use this energy to, among other things, move around, breathe, create gametes, and engage in mutually and enthusiastically consenting sexual intercourse, sometimes leading to pregnancy. Barring complications, the pregnancy proceeds for roughly nine months, with the foetus siphoning energy from its mother so it can grow, then a large expenditure of energy on the mother’s part to give birth to her child, and bingo, one human, from energy, with no intelligent manipulation required.
    Ok, that’s obviously not what he has in mind, but that’s the problem with not bothering to understand what you’re arguing well enough to be able to express it clearly.

  50. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    ^For the record, I do realise that intelligent manipulation, from doctors, midwives, and fertility-wizards is often useful and sometimes necessary for successful conception and surviving birth, etc. but the basic mechanism doesn’t strictly need any of that.

  51. Devocate says

    @43:
    “Energy becoming a human without intelligent manipulation is a belief with no proof. Do we all agree with that ?”

    How many times do you need to be told, ‘NO.’?

    I have OBSERVED energy becoming human. I have fed a baby.

    Have you OBSERVED intelligent manipulation causing energy to become human?

  52. PeterFromLondonUK says

    45.

    Hello Tracy.
    My real name is Mark.

    Yes you are correct that i could of used something like 20 left handed amino acids turning into a 3D protein printer with irreducible complexity that prints another printer, but i chose to use the 2 furthest extremes that i could think of to make my point as we all agree that energy can become conscious.

    The intelligent designer has made it difficult for humanity to find the truth so that Satan has an opportunity to rule over mankind and brainwash them by using false religion (including Christendom) , commerce (illusion) and human government (subjective morality).

    God expects humans to study His creation and come to the unprovable (without fulfilled prophecy) conclusion that it was intelligent manipulation.

    Fulfilled prophecy gives the basis of proof, everything else in the Bible is then to be taken on trust.

    Thank you for admitting that your default belief is that no intelligence is required for energy to become conscious until proof for an intelligent designer is presented. The default should be that you do not know, because you have no proof that energy can become conscious without intelligent manipulation. You are presuming that it can.

    I think that accusing me of being a Poe is an excuse not to communicate with me. I would like you to learn the truth but i also realise that it is very difficult in this system, but that everyone will have to know the truth eventually.

    Everyone will be upset knowing that they can be and was brainwashed ,once the truth is revealed to them in the new system.

    Anyways…. I will only call when you are not on the show as i clearly upset you, and this is not my intention.

    Yes i agree that you have authority over the rules of your platform just as God has authority as to who is allowed on His platform. (planet Earth.).

  53. PeterFromLondonUK says

    46.

    I will not be bullied into not calling my fellow humans via their platform unless they ask me not to. (Tracy has asked me not to when she is co hosting, and i will abide by her subjective rules.).

    By your reactions (All of you) i can see that you are all upset to know i have highlighted your beliefs that energy can become conscious without any intelligent manipulation even though you have no proof for such false beliefs.Many people watching this will see your reaction to this truth.

    Anyways….. the light is getting brighter because the greatest friend of truth is time.

  54. PeterFromLondonUK says

    48. You are the one making the assertion that energy left alone for long enough will become conscious because it just will. LOL.

  55. Chikoppi says

    @Peter, Mark, whatever
    You are the one making the assertion that energy left alone for long enough will become conscious because it just will.

    Nope. The default belief is I don’t know. You’re the one claiming to have special knowledge. Do you have evidence? Does it amount to anything other than, “I can’t imagine how else this could have happened?” Because if that’s your argument it’s already been done to death and there’s no point wasting further time with it.

  56. Philllip Moore says

    PeterFromLondonUk,
    Go to school and try to learn something. Maybe math, science, physics would be a nice blend. You are still spouting off nonsense about Poof! God did this! Open sesame! Many organic beings have conscious. Convince me that there is something supernatural that has a conscious. Oh wait, by definition, supernatural doesn’t exist. I’m starting to think my hummingbird has more conscious than thou, great wise one.

  57. Kudluk says

    Two things so far. Concerning the whole nakedness in the Garden thing, if same-sex marriage denying Christians argue that Adam and Eve were married since the beginning then why would it be shameful for them to look at each other naked? Are you supposed to enjoy each other as a married couple?

    If they were only married after they sinned, wouldn’t that imply that marriage and reproduction wasn’t part of the original plan?

  58. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Mark(FromLondonUK)
    Your failure to respond to my comments can only be a sign of your dismay that I have highlighted your belief that the moon is a pizza.

  59. Kudluk says

    Also, doesn’t Laviticus 24:16 state that blasphemers are to be stoned to death as well? Now, if they could drag out a woman to stone her to death without Roman interference, why couldn’t they just drag out Jesus and do the same thing if he blasphemed by claiming to be God? That should have been easy, right?

  60. adamah says

    Peter/Paul/Mary/Edward/et al said:

    Energy becoming a human without intelligent manipulation is a belief with no proof. Do we all agree with that ?

    Nope, and you’re so off-the-mark that your gibberish is simply incoherent deepity that reflects your seemingly bottomless pit of ignorance….

    So let’s attempt to untangle that Gordian Knot in your brain that apparently passes for pseudo-logic, by breaking your statement down, step-by-step:

    1) first off, energy is a property of matter, but the two are completely different beasts.

    e.g. electricity is a form of energy, a force transmitted by the movements of electrons (parts of atoms which have mass, and are thus matter).

    Or think of sound waves, which transfer energy via the mass of air (and anyone who’s familiar with science knows that sound doesn’t
    travel in a vacuum).

    Outside of sci-fi (think Star Trek’s Mr. Spock), there is no such thing as “pure energy”. The closest we come to that is in the electromagnetic spectrum, e.g. photons display the properties of both massless waves and particles with mass.

    Yes, matter is converted into energy (eg in fusion reactions, which is where our sunlight comes from; or in combustion, where burning wood results in a loss of mass and releases heat), but the loss of mass is so small that for all purposes it can be considered as insignificant.

    Bottom line though, is that matter is a quite distinct entity from energy. But the opposite direction is unknown, since energy doesn’t convert to matter (thanks the Law of Conservation of Energy, a basic principle of physics).

    Again, we’re talking about the basics of physics, which you’d know if you took the least amount of effort to actually learn something about how the World actually operates (a methodology which relies on scientific observations, a nasty phrase to many JWs, I know…)

    Now, moving on to your claim of Jehovah being an ” intelligent designer”:

    Wouldn’t you agree that someone who claimed to be the designer of something should be able to explain the basic elements (and functions provided by such elements) of their design?

    E.g. if I claimed to be the designer of a watch, wouldn’t you expect me to be able to explain the role played by the wrist-band (to attach it), hands (to indicate the time), glass face (to protect the hands but allowing them to remain visible), etc?

    And if I failed to express the purpose of the functions provided by each of the parts, would you be reasonable in doubting my claims to be the designer?

    Well, that unfamiliarity with the material basic facts of God’s alleged creation is exactly the evidence provided in the Bible to make us dismiss your “intelligent designer” claim:

    1) Most modern humans know and accept that the heart is NOT the organ of cognition, but merely the organ that circulates blood.

    Genesis reflects otherwise, with God quoted as saying that He experienced regret “in His heart”.

    Jesus shared the same ignorance of basic human anatomy (which admittedly was somewhat unknown knowledge at the time and region in which the Bible was written).

    2) As reflected in various passages of the Bible, the kidneys are NOT the organs of decision-making, but are well-known now to filter the blood of waste products. In modern times, we even have dialysis machines which replicate the role provided by the kidneys, and those people are able to make decisions quite well without their kidneys.

    3) Despite Biblical references to it, there is no dome-like firmament covering the Earth. The Bible is flat-out wrong.

    4) As I explained in a previous discussion, most modern people accept Pasteur’s “germ theory of disease”, and most reject Jesus’ “Sin hypothesis of disease”.

    Sin is not correlated with disease….

    I’m just warming up here, but I suspect I’m wasting my time: I predict you’ll continue to parrot the “intelligent designer” meme, since you clearly care less about WHAT nonsense you believe, and care more about how your nonsensical beliefs make you feel….

  61. adamah says

    Kudluk asked:

    Also, doesn’t Laviticus 24:16 state that blasphemers are to be stoned to death as well? Now, if they could drag out a woman to stone her to death without Roman interference, why couldn’t they just drag out Jesus and do the same thing if he blasphemed by claiming to be God? That should have been easy, right?

    Actually, since Palestine was under Roman control in the 1st century AD, the Sanhedrin (the Jewish court of law) had been reduced to a toothless tiger, unable to carry out ANY capital punishment on any Jew for ‘religious’ crimes (like blasphemy).

    In that regard, the account of Jesus’ crucifixion is more akin to the true legal process in place at the time, since no executions could be carried out without the explicit permission and participation of their Roman overlords (which wasn’t possible for an offense like adultery).

    However, Jesus claiming to be God directly conflicted with the Roman emporers claim to be God in human form, and hence he was executed for sedition, as a challenger to the emporer’s authority.

    Yet another reason the account of John 7 doesn’t make any gobsmacking sense as an actual historical event, since it conflicts with what IS known.

  62. PeterFromLondonUK says

    59. God’s law / morality is subjective. Adam and Eve set their own standard’s of morality.

  63. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @whole bunch of people

    On the relationship between matter and energy, PBS spacetime has a very good video, but it’s not EASY…just accurate
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSKzgpt4HBU
    and it is definitely not intuitive.

    @Mark generally

    It seems to me that the word you are looking for is “relates to” rather than “becomes”…there is definitely some relationship between consciousness and physical phenomena, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to use the one to perceive the other…but it is not necessarily a relationship of “becoming”, any more than a data set “becomes” its median or “becomes” its standard deviation. (to continue using a good example)

    This is actually perfectly analagous to the mistake you seem to be making about energy “slowing down” to become mass…mass is an emergent property of contained energy (watch the video if that doesn’t make sense)…it’s not the energy itself.

    @comment 54 specifically
    Believe it or not, thosee last couple lines make me angry…I actually agree with you about time being a close “friend” of truth, but it’s something I worked long and hard to be able to actually understand…hearing it spouted in the context of other incompletely considered ideas, annoys me greatly and makes me wonder what other damage the JW’s are doing to the world.

    still reading the later comments, but wanted to get these thoughts out.

  64. Vivec says

    At this point, slamming your head into a wall would be a more productive conversation than engaging with Mark (also, what is with this show and attracting loons named Mark?)

    You’re literally not going to get anything but “You’re wrong because JW dogma/my batshit interpretation of science says so”, and he’s been proving that for like months now.

  65. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @67 I haven’t been watching the show for months…if I had, maybe I would reach my own conclusions, but as is, I’ve learned not to take people’s word on giving up on someone. Concern appreciated though

  66. PeterFromLondonUK says

    66. Yes we do upset many people, and they sometimes kill us as a result of their anger.

    The Jews attack us in Israel because we rightly use God’s name Jehovah which means He causes to become.

  67. PeterFromLondonUK says

    68. I was on show 945 at 35:00 ish mins in (John form London.)

    Also 20.12 at 1:24:00 ish (Peter from London) Subject was morality is subjective.

  68. Chikoppi says

    @Peter (Mark)

    You seem to think that all claims are equal and that a methodology to objectively investigate facts isn’t important. Ok.

    I don’t care what you believe, I only care about why you believe it. That is, the quality of evidence and rigor of examination that led you to the conclusion. Your continued intransigence and flippancy only serves to further weaken your credibility.

    I don’t care about the veracity of your claims any more than you do. Which is to say, apparently, not at all. The fact that you are bringing nothing of value to the table is sufficient justification to simply dismiss your claims as baseless without further consideration.

    Have a nice day.

  69. Vivec says

    I preferred the other Mark (the stone temple church guy). I’ll take a poe over a brick wall Jehovie any day.

  70. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @69 It’s clear to me you have some limited understanding of the consequences of that name…and yes, I also know what the name means 😛

    “he causes to become” is an accurate translation, but judging by your misuse of “become” it seems you’re not familiar with other names similar but distinct from that one.

    The name we don’t say out loud speaks to his relationship as a being above time, but others speak of establishing the distinctions, and heirarchies of information in our world [and all worlds], over time, over physical space, over other less obvious domains, and over the connections between those domains. Some also speak of his interactions within some of those domains as if he is not above them (e.g. “witness to everything”, “merciful and graceful”, “the king”, “king of kings of kings”. notably NOT “king of kings”)

    You have also demonstrated that you don’t understand why we don’t vowelize [and therefore don’t say] that name. There are many vowelizations of that name, and all have importance. To stick with one is analogous to using a broken clock to tell time. (in this case you’ll be wrong about 1079 times per hour.)

    And I hope you know that it’s “just” a name, not actually god.

  71. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    *1079 times out of 1080 per hour, in the one hour that you’d be right

  72. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @72 agreed. this is why I am now angry…it annoys me even more when someone is “right” for the wrong reasons, because as Matt says, differences in belief eventually lead to differences in action, even if not right away. But in the meanwhile some will be misled because they’ll see the true part and like it.

  73. Kudluk says

    #63 adamah
    When confronted be th Pharisees about stoning the woman caught in adultry, why didn’t Jesusmsimply say that they did not have any authority to carry out sentence then? Stoning was carried out by as much of the community as possible. If it were a simple matter of Jews addressing someone who had blasphemed then all they had to do was get Jesus to admit it in public and there would be enough people who were not his followers to carry out sentence, right?

    From what we know about Pilate, he was not the type to fight formJesus’ innocence and be troubled by his being found guilty. Also, if this had been a secret trial, who was around to witness it for recording in the Gospels? I think you have to take out all the drama of the story and just assume that any historical Jesus who caused a disturbance in the temple on Passover was just routinely executed.

  74. The YouTube Guy says

    The intelligent designer has made it difficult for humanity to find the truth so that Satan has an opportunity to rule over mankind and brainwash them

    I’m just going to leave a bottle of poison on the counter so that someone has the opportunity to poison themselves. I could remove the bottle of poison at any time but I choose not to because… eh… that would just make things boring. (I hope you see the absurdity in this)

    One of the hardest questions I often ask Christians is, “What is the purpose of God?” The best answer they give is that they don’t know and don’t understand God. This then leads me to question any thing they claim to be true about God if they didn’t even understand why the thing they worship wants them to worship them. So Peter…. Mark…. Luke… Matthew? Whatever your name is…

    What is the purpose of God? Why does God exist? What does God do?

  75. frankgturner says

    @ The YouTube Guy # 78.
    I doubt that he knows what you are even asking. Based on his responses in this board, he seems to have a script in his head, an idea of what he thinks people are going to say. It is most likely based on what he has been taught by his religious dogma.
    .
    Too many on here seem to have caught him off guard and he is having to “think on his feet” and improvise. He does not seem good at it and wants to go back to one or the other script and can’t figure out which one will be more beneficial to his internal claims.
    .
    @everyone but highlighting adamah This is entertaining to watch play out but frankly, this dude (Matthew / Mark /Luke / John) is playing the “stick my fingers in my ears” game. It is getting too weird.
    .
    @Tracy (heircart) and Matt Dillahunty if he is reading
    I sent mail to the show regarding Ray Comfort coming to the Reason Rally. I commented that you should have people following Comforts crew with their mobile phones and that you should get them to post the unedited videos on line. I say that as Comfort would likely censor his own recordings to his liking and citizen reporting would do a lot of damage to that.

    I wanted to post on here with regard to that. Thanks.

  76. frankgturner says

    @ adamah #62
    (I highlight you as you have the most interesting stuff to say regarding this but job and his wackadoodle principles).
    Frankly I think this guy fails to comprehend some basic concepts of logic. “Energy becoming a human without intelligent manipulation” is a belief? I am like, uhhm seriously?
    .
    I would have to break that down into sub principles to get at the base claim, but in talking to Matthew / Mark / whatever I would be asking questions like what his definition of a “claim” or “belief” is first. The guy sounds as dense as a brick frankly.

  77. PeterFromLondonUK says

    78. God is love. God creates other energy beings, that are His creatures, out of love.

  78. frankgturner says

    @ Everyone
    Wow did I hit the target on that, the guys first response is a cliche. Now let’s hear the circular reasoning when challenged on it.

  79. The YouTube Guy says

    @frankgturner

    I sent mail to the show regarding Ray Comfort coming to the Reason Rally. I commented that you should have people following Comforts crew with their mobile phones and that you should get them to post the unedited videos on line.


    I’ve been meaning to call in for around a month and tell what’s been going on with me and Living Waters. I’ve called them around 3 times and emailed twice (Something I can actually check). The reason I’ve spoken to them is because Ray Comfort said on Twitter that he’d release the full videos if he was brought on TV and people made a convincing argument to him. I’m more than willing to do the leg work with my connections to get him on TV. Also, doesn’t The Atheist Experience count as TV? I want them to issue an invite to him.

    When I politely explained all this on the phone to them they told me he wasn’t interested in this and there was no way to contact him or anyone up the chain at Living Waters. They also said they’ve replied to my emails (Which I promise are polite). However, they have not replied to either of my emails.

    So here is my problem.

    1 – Lying is a sin. When they told me they had responded to my emails (Only two, each to separate people) I think they were either lying or trying to brush me off. Both of which seem to be the same sin as lying.
    2 – Bringing false witness is also a sin. The Bible says that you should bring your problems to the person first and Ray refuses to talk to people about this. It then says to bring it to the church which seems to be Living Waters (What I’ve tried to do) and then it says “let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” I don’t quite understand this… but this is the next step and Ray seems bent on bringing it to this step.

    Long story short, we need people there at the Reason Rally documenting Ray Comfort. One of my goals is to make a documentary about trying to get them to release the full interviews. Speak to the people like PZ and ask them if they think they were taken out of context. Speak to other people who have been in Ray’s films. Get the full story and release it to the public. Then wherever Living Waters goes and whenever they try to post these videos, people can point to the documentary exposing Living Waters.

    Thoughts?

  80. PeterFromLondonUK says

    74. Jesus is king of kings (co rulers in heaven (144,000)). Jehovah is King of king of kings.

    I hope that that makes sense.

    Jesus is not God (YHWH) as Christendom teaches. Jesus is the son of Jehovah. Col 1:15.

  81. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    All men are, or at least physically act as if they were, king of kings. To limit it to jesus is to insult yourself.

    “King” is a word that has fallen out of its proper use…I hope to define it later and go through each of the three levels of it to make sure we’re *actually* on the same page, but I have to go to work for now.

  82. The YouTube Guy says

    @Matthew

    God is love. God creates other energy beings, that are His creatures, out of love.


    So the purpose of God is to create other energy beings? What do energy beings do for God?

  83. Bruce Smith says

    @PeterFromLondonUK

    > Fulfilled prophecy gives the basis of proof, everything else in the Bible is then to be taken on trust.

    Why? Why would part of the bible being true automatically mean that nothing false could possibly have made it’s way into the bible? Is it not possible for someone to have slipped a false story in there or made a transcription or translation error that changes the meaning of a passage or to have simply been wrong? How would fulfilled prophesy have prevented such errors from occurring?

  84. Chikoppi says

    @ Peter (Mark)

    Do you think you are helping your case by posting platitudes? You are not.

    With each unsupported claim you are further convincing people that your beliefs are baseless and ill conceived. The less seriously you take an investigation of your claims the more like a joke they become.

  85. frankgturner says

    @ The YouTube Guy # 83
    Ray is a used car salesman selling religion. It’s honest Ray’s used religion. The whole being it to him and make a convincing argument is not going to work. Its a classic example of the “moving the goal post” methodology. The main way to get the whole interviews is to record it at an event where you have as much right to do reporting as he does. Try doing surveillance like you arethe Orwellian Big Brother and you look like the asshole. Release unedited videos, which could be aided by him releasing the edited ones for you to use as backdrop for the whole video to expose him as dishonest.
    .
    Comfort has been invited to and on The Atheist Experience before, Matt Dillahunty has spoken with him (if not in person at least audio). So you can already see the tactics invoked (Comfort trying to get coverage as exposure for Living Waters).
    .
    Documenting him honestly and putting it online seems like the best tactic. Its the Platonic Free Market of Ideas basically. Don’t be he’ll bent on taking him down though. And lying to you claiming that they responded is likely part of the tactic as well. Lyin for Jebus is part of the game they play.
    .
    Also, @Chikoppi # 91 and The You Tube Guy #90
    See what I mean? More platitudes, more cliches, more circular reasoning. I must be God given the way I prophesied this guy.
    .
    I wonder if I can get him to put his fingers through the wounds in my hands?

  86. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Vivec, 93
    Read on! He says he makes them out of love. He’s clearly referring to the gospel of Stevie Wonder.

  87. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Why haven’t the AXP people banned PeterFromLondonUK from the blog yet? He never engages honestly, and I’m pretty convinced that he’s just reading from a script. He’s done this in half a dozen threads at least.

  88. PeterFromLondonUK says

    90. They love God and are obedient to Him.

    Well… mostly, lots of them have disobeyed God, some have made human bodies out of mud and had relations with female humans and God sent the flood and killed their hybrid offspring, and they dematerialised back into energy and are still alive bur will be cast into the Abyss for 1000 years and then released before they’re killed.

    But the ones that obey God will live forever on the condition that they remain obedient to God. Jesus has been granted immortality and can never die.

  89. Chikoppi says

    Oh. Well, yeah, I guess everything makes sense then. Gosh, had I known about the mud bodies and the abyssal energy prison… I can see how this is all the result of a serious inquiry in pursuit of a well-informed and meaningful life.

    Stunning.

  90. davidk says

    @Mark / Peter from London

    If you put me in a room with a bunch of rocket scientists and asked us to develop a new rocket, I wouldnt add much value to the process. Why? Because whilst I have a graspe on most areas of science, I don’t understand enough about the basics of rocket science to make an effective contribution. In fact, I understand so little in comparison, I would probably just end up wasting the time of others on the team.

    Sadly, that is what you are doing here. And unfortunately, you seem blissfully unaware of it…

  91. Bruce Smith says

    I think this previously was stuck in moderation because I mistyped my email address.

    @PeterFromLondonUK

    > Fulfilled prophecy gives the basis of proof, everything else in the Bible is then to be taken on trust.

    Why? Why would part of the bible being true automatically mean that nothing false could possibly have made it’s way into the bible? Is it impossible for someone to have slipped a false story in there or made a transcription or translation error that changes the meaning of a passage or to have simply been wrong? How would fulfilled prophesy have prevented such errors from occurring elsewhere in the bible?

  92. Vivec says

    Well… mostly, lots of them have disobeyed God, some have made human bodies out of mud and had relations with female humans and God sent the flood and killed their hybrid offspring, and they dematerialised back into energy and are still alive bur will be cast into the Abyss for 1000 years and then released before they’re killed.

    Dear lord, you went from wacky Jehovie to full on sci-fi word salad.

  93. BillBo says

    I wish people would just stop engaging the ParrotFromLondonUK. It should be clear by now that his mind is closed to all reason. He just keeps repeating the same de-bunked nonsense over and over without thought. You are wasting your time engaging him like he is anything other than a Parrot. Notice how thrilled #86 was when he surprisingly taught the Parrot a new phrase.

    #99 @Bruce, he hasn’t even showed there was a single fulfilled prophecy in The Holy Fable yet.

  94. frankgturner says

    @ Vivec #93
    This guy sounds more like a Mormon or a Scientologist now. Frankly, the level of apologetic imagination they are willing to go to to keep their fantasy alive in their minds knows no limits. Using cliches from science fiction is no exception.
    .
    @ EnlightenmentLiberal # 95
    He would likely change nicks to troll here. Trying to ban him might be a useless venture, but using what he says might be a good idea. In the meantime he maybe be showing some of the fence sitters and doubters how ridiculous they can be or were. People like him may do a good job of showing some of the more stubbornly fanatical believers what they were like.
    .
    @ Chikoppi # 98 (anyone else can chime in here) with reference to # 96
    What did I say? More cliches, more circular reasoning? Am I a great prophet or what?
    .
    @ Bruce Smith #99
    What is correct in scripture still is not correct empirically speaking. Its not written like laboratory measures with exact dates, times, weights, etc. MatthewMarkLuke here is fanatical though. He has been taught the common “it must all be right or all wrong” bull and bought it. So if he sees even one word as factually correct then he sees it all as factually correct. He wants it to be that way to make things simple rather than deal with having to figure things out for himself.
    .
    I honestly think if this individual were placed in a time machine and sent back to the time and dates of when this occurred and was allowed to personally witness the events, his head would explode given what he would have to accept as fact and what he would have to accept as fiction. Frankly I am not sure that he could even comprehend what he was experiencing.

  95. frankgturner says

    @ Billbo # 101
    Notice that I have not addressed him. I have addressed you and the others. I talk about him, but not to him. It’s not really meant to be disrespectful, so much as it is an indication of the value of anything he has to say.
    .
    He is a human being though so I would not completely dehumanize him, I just don’t think much of him.

  96. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    He would likely change nicks to troll here.

    Worth a shot IMHO. Dunno.

  97. The YouTube Guy says

    Notice that I have not addressed him.


    @frankgturner

    When someone refuses to engage in rational debate this seems to be the best tactic. I’m walking away from Matt on YouTube because of his answers (or lack thereof) to me. I asked him for proof of a soul and he asked back “How old are you?” That was his only response to proof of a soul. His proof the world is 6,00 years old was one link. His proof God exists is that everything has to have a beginning. He didn’t even use the more advanced versions that correct for God.

    Matt D is right…. it’s just the same argument again and again. On Sunday I met a man who wanted to talk to me about God. I was leaving Kroger and he asked “Son, what church did you go to today?” when I told him I didn’t a conversation started. Here are two direct quotes:

    “You have to stop with all the what if’s”
    “Just look outside, do you think all that happened by chance”

    Yes….. just stop asking questions…. and look at the trees… same damn arguments!

  98. Bruce Smith says

    @PeterFromLondonUK

    > 99. Yes we have discussed spurious text

    I don’t understand how that answers my question.

  99. Vivec says

    The most telling thing about Peter is his insistence on calling the show. The hosts don’t engage him any more than he gets in the thread. If he was just looking for conversation as a good-faith exercise, his repeated calling would be pointless by this point.

    He’s just looking for a platform to proselytize and push is apologetics/sci-fi gobbledygook .

  100. frankgturner says

    @ Vivec #108
    Basically yes, just looking for a platform. When one’s religion just boils down to a desire to push your views on others, it is a pretty solid indication that one needs to engage in some introspection and examine if you really believe what you are saying. I would not be surprised if Peter-Paul-and-Mary’s only motivation to better himself comes from a need for personal validation through others. I mean, if your faith is enough to get you by, what good does it do for others? Maybe it comes from an inner sense of self doubt that he cannot come to terms with or face.
    .
    @ Bruce Smith # 107
    It doesn’t answer the question. It sounds more like evading it. Typical politicians tactic.
    .
    @ EnlightenmentLiberal # 105
    I am willing to bet that if his IP addressed were checked, some matching UPs would come up for other nicks on here, meaning that he probably already has done that a few times.
    .
    @ The You Tube Guy # 106
    Apologists do that, try the same argument over and over with different wording. Somehow it has become a common idea that if you change the wording but not the base idea, you are changing principles. Doesn’t work. To quote George Carlin, ” How about differently abled. I’ve heard them called that. Differently abled! You can’t even call these people handicapped anymore. They’ll say, “Were not handicapped. Were handicapable!” These poor people have been bullshitted by the system into believing that if you change the name of the condition, somehow you’ll change the condition. Well, hey cousin, ppsssspptttttt. Doesn’t happen. Doesn’t happen.”
    .
    What we seem to have here is someone desperate, desperate not to give up on his faith but seeing serious doubts within it. So by finding a platform to proselytize maybe he finds a way to keep deluding himself and finds some sort of validation in the process. Maybe if he can find one person who agrees with him he finds validation.

  101. frankgturner says

    @ The You Tube Guy # 106
    Finding solace and meaning in one’s life is a very personal, and many say, very important thing. We all have our own way of doing so and some of us are content with that way being ours, that way being out own recipe that works for us.
    .
    The difficulty I think, particularly for those who DO seem to need a platform to proselytize, is that they really have NOT found a method, a recipe that works for them. Peter-Paul-Mark here seems to have deluded himself into thinking that he has found meaning but on a deeper level has not, so he seeks it out via proselytizing and looking for validation. (That or the proselytyzation IS his method of solace and meaning, but that is pretty shifty to those of us annoyed by it). In effect, the proselytyzation helps him to maintain the charade, the delusion that cascades into reality.
    .
    It is actually pretty sad and I pity him. If his God is real and has chosen this way of life for him, it seems like a pretty shitty way to live to me. Maybe his heart is in the right place, metaphorically speaking.

  102. adamah says

    Hey Frank, welcome back!

    Mark said:

    “57. Hi. The proof is the fulfilled prophecy found in the Bible.”

    It’s amazing how someone could cite the emergence of consciousness as evidence to an “intelligent designer”, when Mark is seemingly so lacking in self-awareness as to not realize he’s repeating himself and coming off like a non- thinking robot.

    Anyway, his tactic is well-known around here: simply ignore the vast mountains of counter-evidence presented to him, and act as if it doesn’t exist by burying one’s head in the sand; then continue to dogmatically believe in something for which not a shred of evidence exists, even likely being proud of his display of “faith”.

    And with a hair-trigger persecution complex inculcated in JWs, Mark is likely to interpret any criticism as being suffered in the name of Jesus, thus making him feel like he’s won some brownie points with Jesus.

    Xianity is a rather bullet-proof and resilient belief system, an example of human sociological evolution in action, if there ever was one…

    And that, folks, is the topsy-turvy world in which believers live.

    Kudluk said:

    When confronted by the Pharisees about stoning the woman caught in adultry, why didn’t Jesus simply say that they did not have any authority to carry out the sentence then?

    Well, think about it: compared to the whole, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” line (which admittedly IS catchy), your having him remind the Pharisees of what they already knew wouldn’t make for a very-compelling line, now, would it?

    🙂

    Never-mind that Jesus’ expressed sentiment in the story contradicts what IS known from other contemporary sources; and such a scene also conflicts with other passages in the Gospels (such as Jesus’ own trial before Pilate), not to mention how the account even has Jesus undermining God’s 7th commandment!

    As Bart Ehrmann says, it’s obvious that many of the various Gospel authors likely weren’t aware of each other’s writings (the Jesus character became something of a minor best-selling genre at the time amongst Gentiles, where such stories sold like hot-cakes).

    Kudluk said:

    Stoning was carried out by as much of the community as possible. If it were a simple matter of Jews addressing someone who had blasphemed then all they had to do was get Jesus to admit it in public and there would be enough people who were not his followers to carry out sentence, right?

    The idea of capital punishment being carried out by Jews on other Jews after being declared guilty by the Sanhedrin is a long-standing Xian myth, since the Jews had lost their autonomy a few centuries before, having been under foreign control for the most of the previous 800 yrs (whether Banylonian, Persian, Greek, or Roman rule), and hence subject to their overlords’ laws. Capital punishment (and hence following the Law of Moses) simply wasn’t an option for them, as they were actually prohibited from doing so.

    There was a short period about 50 yrs before Jesus was born when the Jews lived as an independent self-ruling Nation (the Hasmonean dynasty), but that was the exception rather than the rule, and they had long-since become a vassal state of Rome in the time of Jesus.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasmonean_dynasty

    Hence the discussions amongst the Sadducees and Pharisees in the Sanhedrin for how to punish various sins had largely become a theological and rhetorical exercise, rather than as a practical matter; as I said above, when it came to capital punishment, the Sanhedrin had become toothless tigers.

    Also, if this had been a secret trial, who was around to witness it for recording in the Gospels?

    That’s an easy hurdle for most Xians to overcome: God Hisself was a witness to these secret meetings, and since “all scriptures are inspired by God”, He directed various Gospel authors to write from His all-seeing vantage point, a Gods-eye view.

    Ironic, since as I pointed out above, God doesn’t know what any modern kindergartner knows, since if you ask them to point to the part of their body where thinking occurs, they’d likely point to their head (brain) and NOT to their chest (heart).

    That’s usually the point in the discussion where Xians protest, saying “That’s just a figure of speech!” Well, sure, nowadays the idea has been relegated to a fact that’s so obvious as to become poetic, but that’s only thanks to those ancient physicians who discovered the true role of the brain and heart. That’s the retarding effect of believing in Gods.

    And it’s pretty amazing that an “intelligent designer” WOULDN’T know about the cognitive role played by the human brain, which is supposedly the crowning achievement of God’s human creation.

    Instead, God would inspire the author of the Genesis flood account to let Himself be depicted as believing exactly what ancient Egyptian physicians believed, making God appear to be ignorant of human anatomy.

    I think you have to take out all the drama of the story and just assume that any historical Jesus who caused a disturbance in the temple on Passover was just routinely executed.

    Yeah, the suppression of the Jewish populace was pretty cruel and downright brutal, and rabble-rousers weren’t tolerated out of concern for suppressing their free-speech rights: that’s modern thinking projected anachronistically and inappropriately onto Roman rulers and their underlings.

    As you say, disrupters were often crucified for relatively minor offenses, with their bodies left on full public display to discourage others from doing the same.

  103. adamah says

    PS sorry for the nested blockquote: I got a ‘preview error’ (likely due to my ad blocker app), and I wasn’t able to preview my post before submitting. So mods, feel free to delete my prior post.

    Hey Frank, welcome back!

    Mark said:

    “57. Hi. The proof is the fulfilled prophecy found in the Bible.”

    It’s amazing how someone could cite the emergence of consciousness as evidence to an “intelligent designer”, when Mark is seemingly so lacking in self-awareness as to not realize he’s repeating himself and coming off like a non- thinking robot.

    Anyway, his tactic is well-known around here: simply ignore the vast mountains of counter-evidence presented to him, and act as if it doesn’t exist by burying one’s head in the sand; then continue to dogmatically believe in something for which not a shred of evidence exists, even likely being proud of his display of “faith”.

    And with a hair-trigger persecution complex inculcated in JWs, Mark is likely to interpret any criticism as being suffered in the name of Jesus, thus making him feel like he’s won some brownie points with Jesus.

    Xianity is a rather bullet-proof and resilient belief system, an example of human sociological evolution in action, if there ever was one…

    And that, folks, is the topsy-turvy world in which believers live.

    Kudluk said:

    When confronted by the Pharisees about stoning the woman caught in adultry, why didn’t Jesus simply say that they did not have any authority to carry out the sentence then?

    Well, think about it: compared to the whole, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” line (which admittedly IS catchy), your having him remind the Pharisees of what they already knew wouldn’t make for a very-compelling line, now, would it?

    🙂

    Never-mind that Jesus’ expressed sentiment in the story contradicts what IS known from other contemporary sources; and such a scene also conflicts with other passages in the Gospels (such as Jesus’ own trial before Pilate), not to mention how the account even has Jesus undermining God’s 7th commandment!

    As Bart Ehrmann says, it’s obvious that many of the various Gospel authors likely weren’t aware of each other’s writings (the Jesus character became something of a minor best-selling genre at the time amongst Gentiles, where such stories sold like hot-cakes).

    Kudluk said:

    Stoning was carried out by as much of the community as possible. If it were a simple matter of Jews addressing someone who had blasphemed then all they had to do was get Jesus to admit it in public and there would be enough people who were not his followers to carry out sentence, right?

    The idea of capital punishment being carried out by Jews on other Jews after being declared guilty by the Sanhedrin is a long-standing Xian myth, since the Jews had lost their autonomy a few centuries before, having been under foreign control for the most of the previous 800 yrs (whether Banylonian, Persian, Greek, or Roman rule), and hence subject to their overlords’ laws. Capital punishment (and hence following the Law of Moses) simply wasn’t an option for them, as they were actually prohibited from doing so.

    There was a short period about 50 yrs before Jesus was born when the Jews lived as an independent self-ruling Nation (the Hasmonean dynasty), but that was the exception rather than the rule, and they had long-since become a vassal state of Rome in the time of Jesus.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasmonean_dynasty

    Hence the discussions amongst the Sadducees and Pharisees in the Sanhedrin for how to punish various sins had largely become a theological and rhetorical exercise, rather than as a practical matter; as I said above, when it came to capital punishment, the Sanhedrin had become toothless tigers.

    Also, if this had been a secret trial, who was around to witness it for recording in the Gospels?

    That’s an easy hurdle for most Xians to overcome: God Hisself was a witness to these secret meetings, and since “all scriptures are inspired by God”, He directed various Gospel authors to write from His all-seeing vantage point, a Gods-eye view.

    Ironic, since as I pointed out above, God doesn’t know what any modern kindergartner knows, since if you ask them to point to the part of their body where thinking occurs, they’d likely point to their head (brain) and NOT to their chest (heart).

    That’s usually the point in the discussion where Xians protest, saying “That’s just a figure of speech!” Well, sure, nowadays the idea has been relegated to a fact that’s so obvious as to become poetic, but that’s only thanks to those ancient physicians who discovered the true role of the brain and heart. That’s the retarding effect of believing in Gods.

    And it’s pretty amazing that an “intelligent designer” WOULDN’T know about the cognitive role played by the human brain, which is supposedly the crowning achievement of God’s human creation.

    Instead, God would inspire the author of the Genesis flood account to let Himself be depicted as believing exactly what ancient Egyptian physicians believed, making God appear to be ignorant of human anatomy.

    I think you have to take out all the drama of the story and just assume that any historical Jesus who caused a disturbance in the temple on Passover was just routinely executed.

    Yeah, the suppression of the Jewish populace was pretty cruel and downright brutal, and rabble-rousers weren’t tolerated out of concern for suppressing their free-speech rights: that’s modern thinking projected anachronistically and inappropriately onto Roman rulers and their underlings.

    As you say, disrupters were often killed by crucifixion for relatively minor offenses, with their bodies left on full public display to discourage others from doing the same.

  104. RationalismRules says

    @frankgturner #109
    For all his brilliance, George Carlin completely missed the point in that bit. The point of re-examining the labels we apply to disability is not to ‘change the condition’, it’s to change the way people regard ‘the condition’. Labels like ‘handicapped’ and ‘mentally retarded’ carry enormous negative baggage, and it is completely appropriate that a sophisticated society should seek to understand the effect language can have in marginalizing certain segments of the population.

    There are some language changes I would welcome from theists. Something that I’m finding particularly annoying at the moment is when they use naturalistic expressions to make their supernatural nonsense sound more concrete – “I walk with God” and “God spoke to me” are two common examples. To the outside eye these are clearly metaphor, but in my experience theists who use those phrases think they are describing a real phenomenon, until they are pinned down and forced to examine the term.

    Oh, and of course there’s those other two minor ones: labeling their beliefs as ‘knowledge’ and claiming unevidenced mythology as ‘truth’…

  105. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    To adamah…I was just reading 38 and realized yumou are speaking of JW with actual experience…better read back through this whole thread, but…that in itself fascinates me

    The “king” thing might serve more as a derailment from the real issues at hand than to help, but since I said I’d cover it I will…once I get home xD it’s 2 am, and I want to be home.

  106. PeterFromLondonUK says

    So…. We all agree that energy can turn into a human, but you all think that energy left for long enough becomes physical, then turns into 3D protein printers that make (prints) all life, without intelligent manipulation.

    If this is your belief, please provide proof that no intelligent manipulation is required. And no, we do not have lots of time to look at some energy turning into a human, and even if we did it would not be proof of your belief system.

  107. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says


    *headdesk*

    @Jeremy
    I haven’t really been engaging with you, but I just wanted to say thanks for your input in this thread. You’ve touched on a couple of things about which I was ignorant, and now I’m slightly less ignorant of those things, and have things to research. I appreciate that. 🙂

  108. John Phillips, FCD says

    Oh look,there’s a moron from my country shaming it with his idiocy. IgnorantFromLondonUK, like Matt and Tracie told you on the show, stop presuming what other people think and present your evidence for your intelligent manipulator. Otherwise, drop dead.

  109. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @Peter a question to clear some things up…(yes I’ll get to the king thing, just had a hard time settling down)

    Woud you classify the passage of time for some arbitrary observer as a kind of “intelligent manipulation”? If so, who is doing the manipulation, / the manipulation is based on whose intelligence? Nature, god, or the observer itself / nature’s, god’s, or the observer itself’s?

  110. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @Athywren thank you…that’s all anyone can hope for 😉

    Anything specific? I am sometimes good at giving long lists of citations for an idea, which might help with the research bit

  111. frankgturner says

    @ John Phillips, FCD #118
    It’s ok. Among the more well informed of us reading his crap we do not take his ignorance as a reflection upon you or your country. By my understanding, there are more “Nones” in your country than in the US and I have met a fair number of religiously well informed individuals from the UK, so I don’t take the present ignorant individual as representative of those of your country. I can’t speak for others, but the recognition of enough well informed Britons seems to be common among the agnostic / atheist crowd.
    .
    @ adamah # 111 and # 112
    Thanks, no need to welcome me. I pop in and out to read replies and every once in a while (like now) when something sparks my interest, I chime in. So I might always be lurking (not really though, just when I find things interesting). I mainly popped in to chime the bit about Ray Comfort at the Reason Rally and people doing some citizen reporting on him.
    .
    @ RationalismRules # 113
    I get what you are saying and was pretty aware despite the late George Carlin’s views that it had more to do with changing perception than the condition itself. It’s just a matter of IgnorantfromUKs misunderstanding from what seems to be a standpoint that if you change the words that you change the condition that I was addressing. That seems to come from a childlike perception that if you “believe hard enough” that you can literally make things happen via will alone. He does not seem to get that there are no recorded instances of a person willing extra fingers into existence on their hand, as an example.
    .
    The example I often use for individuals like him are those that do not seem to realize that in order for the story of the Tortoise and the Hare to have meaning, you don’t have to have witnessed an actual, unassisted, unrestricted, land based tortiforme on foot out running an actual lagomorph under the same conditions. Then again based on his whole “energy based” being arising from intelligent manipulation argument I don’t think he much comprehends logic.

  112. Chikoppi says

    @ Peter (Mark)

    Maybe before denying the fields of physics, cosmology, geology, and biology you should learn something about them? There are some very good books written to introduce the Everyman to these subjects that explain how we know what we know in each of these fields. You don’t have to agree with what’s in these books, but you should at least understand how and why these fields of research keep producing accurate, predictable results.

    If you want to dive in head first I’ll recommend Niel deGrasse Tysons’ Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution. I know, I know…you think it’s all a big lie. But at least by reading the book you’ll understand why the rest of us don’t.

    Anyone else have other suggestions?

  113. Tod says

    Hi Chikoppi!

    Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne is a great intro to evolution… but I think Peter/Mark/John might not be allowed to read that…

    Are those all his middle names by the way? If not, is he typing by committee maybe? with just the one guy actually calling in… (as his voice always sounds the same…) or if he is just being deceptive with his name, under his belief system isn’t satan the father of all lies? bit weird really, having “THE TROOTH” but telling falsehoods…

    Like the time a lady JW told me on my doorstep most scientists believe in god, but most surveys show the more education you have the less likely you are to in fact believe…

    Or the time another JW told me evolution was about to be disregarded by the scientific community… that was in 2001!.. still waiting, in fact since then the opposite seems to have happened…

    in fact it seems you don’t just have to believe in god, you have to also deny so much hard learned knowledge about our world and reality… seems so sad really…

  114. Bruce Smith says

    @PeterFromLondonUK

    > So…. We all agree that energy can turn into a human

    No. I don’t believe energy can turn into a human. It appears that energy can be converted to matter. After a whole lot more steps, some of that matter might be part of a human, but that’s not the same as saying the energy turned into a human.

    Now can you answer the question I asked? Why would fulfilled prophesy automatically make all other parts of the bible immune from error. You answered something about spurious text but I don’t understand what you meant.

  115. frankgturner says

    @ Chikoppi #122
    I actually kind of doubt it would work if he really is a JW. JW’s actually work pretty hard at keeping the followers dumb and uneducated, discouraging knowledge and education. They probably see even this internet, a huge free market of ideas, as an enormous threat. Getting this guy this far in terms of physics is likely his own inability to accept his own personal doubts.
    .
    Then again, I could be proven wrong. Maybe he could be inspired to learn from what you suggest.

  116. says

    @123 Tod

    Or the time another JW told me evolution was about to be disregarded by the scientific community… that was in 2001!.. still waiting, in fact since then the opposite seems to have happened…

    As an aside, I think it was Dembski who said evolution would be dead in 10 years… in 2005. Following blogs like Ed Brayton’s, there’s about half the population that seem to live in their own parallel universe where the narrative is the exact opposite of what’s happening in the real world.

    That woman may actually think that prediction has come true and the theory of evolution is now dead and buried.

  117. PeterFromLondonUK says

    123. I can identify as i wish. I could say that i am a black female lizard and no one could prove that i am not.

  118. PeterFromLondonUK says

    124. Energy can turn into a human. The number of steps that God uses does not mean that humans are not made out of slowed down energy which was turned into mud and then into humans.

    Text is an inferior method of communication and is set up this way so that Satan can brainwash humanity.

    Text is open to interpretation, hence Christendom exists. There is only one truth, but Satan has been allowed to challenge God and the Bible. Humans knowing the truth in this system is not as important as allowing Satan a real opportunity to prove his point.

    Only those with the correct attitude are allowed to learn the truth now, others can learn it later in the new system.

  119. Tod says

    Peter/Mark

    Sure you can, if those are all your name and middle names you can chop and choose sure… but if they are not your name and middle names and you are simply claiming they are, then you are lying, or at least deceiving… and sure, you can lie as much as you like, but for someone who professes to have “THE TROOTH” I wonder why you would need to?

    Under your belief system, who is the father of all lies?

    And should you claim that you are a black female lizard we can simply not accept that claim… we do not need to prove you are not… just like we can simply not accept your claim that you need a god for intelligence to arise… you see our position is quite consistent 🙂

    And not accepting that claim does not mean we believe you are a green male lizard… do you see how that works?

  120. Bruce Smith says

    > slowed down energy which was turned into mud and
    > then into humans

    So you’re saying it was mud that was turned into humans. Not energy. Right?

    > Text is an inferior method of communication
    > Text is open to interpretation

    Which are two reasons not to automatically accept everything else in the bible is true, just because you think one part of it is true. Right?

  121. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @the polynonymous one, 127

    You can identify as you wish. You absolutely can. We can probably prove that you’re not a lizard, but you can still identify as one if you choose to do so.

    As you may be able to tell, many of us also use identities here that are not necessarily those we use in daily offline life – Athywren is not actually the name on my birth certificate (that’s Dan -short for Daniel- which is much too easy for people to pronounce to be any fun), so maybe it seems a little hypocritical to criticise you for not using your real name, but it is a pseudonym that I’ve used consistently on this site, and many others, for about a decade now. This means that anyone who has communicated with me in the past, assuming they remember me, knows who they’re talking to, and, if they’ve previously dismissed me as a complete arsehole, which I willing to concede is true of me more often than I’d like, then they can decide to walk away and not waste any more of their precious time on me. Or, in those cases where I’ve impressed with my willingness to listen and ability to learn and understand issues, they can choose to spend more time talking to me than they otherwise might. If I don’t maintain a consistent identity, they can’t really do that, and I believe it’s important to allow people to make their own determiniations, based on past interactions, how much time and effort you’re worth, rather than trying to pretend to be a new person each time.

    I don’t personally care if Peter is your real name or not – I don’t actually care if your handle is a name at all – but would it kill you to pick a name and just stick with it? I get it, you want to get around the fact that nobody on the show wants to take your call a second time, but, trust me, they’d be willing to take your calls, without changing your name every time, if you just showed that you were willing or able to engage in dialogue and learn from the responses you get. Besides which, this forum isn’t the show – even if changing your name was the best method to get on the show again, that has no effect here, and it’s not like we’re not regular enough commenters here to recognise your writing style, or viewers of the show to recognise your voice, which is fairly distinct, if not quite unique. Repeatedly changing your name just makes it look like you’re trying to deceive us, and doing a poor job of it.

    @Jeremy
    I found the thing about the vowelisations of the name of God interesting… and there was another thing, I think, but I’ve spent all my freeish time shouting into the wind and have to run in a minute… I’ll have a look in an hour or two, when I have time to re-read.

  122. Chikoppi says

    @ Peter (Mark)

    You asked for evidence for why facts established by scientific methodology are more credible than what you espouse. I provided a means by which you can examine that evidence and methodology for yourself, at great length and in exhausting detail.

    If you don’t care enough to examine the evidence then neither do I. That’s the end of the conversation.

    For the record, I’m sorry you’ve committed yourself to a life wherein no learning or discovery is possible. I love discovering that I was wrong about something, or that there is an area of knowledge about which I was completely unaware. If you can’t admit that you might be wrong then you’ve pretty much guaranteed you are and will remain so.

    Have fun with your self-aggrandizing fantasy. You’re always welcome to come join us in the real world. But until you do, please don’t bother the rest of us further with your nonsense.

  123. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    > slowed down energy which was turned into mud and
    > then into humans
    So you’re saying it was mud that was turned into humans. Not energy. Right?

    I was thinking he was talking about Nephilim with the mud stuff?

  124. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    Never mind… I didn’t realise he’d said more.

  125. PeterFromLondonUK says

    131. Yes that is interesting. Some genders say that they are not that gender.

    Anyways… I accept the subjective rules of the show / platforms. They can simply ask me not to call as Tracy did and i will abide by it.

    I hereby ask Matt if i can call the show, and i will identify as i wish to.

    If Matt says no, then i will call when he is not on the show.

    This is the same procedure for when i knock on someone’s door.

  126. PeterFromLondonUK says

    Mud is made out of slowed down energy. Food is made out of mud. Physical is slowed down energy. Intelligent manipulation is required to slow down energy into physical elements that form mud, food, humans, stars, amino acids and other shapes.

  127. Scott E says

    Mark/Peter/Edward,

    Tracie also called you out for using multiple names and said you were dishonest. I would take that as an implied request to stick with one real name so she and the rest of us know who we’re talking to. When you call again, are you going to abide by that as well? She also said she wants callers to have actual conversations with the hosts, where each side responds to the points the other has made, and not just say “I understand” and proceed to repeat what you said before. When you call again, will you abide by that? Or will you weasel out of it by legalistically assuming you can repeat your dishonest and closed-minded tactics with each host until they individually request you to stop, just like Tracie did?

    I dare you to try this: email the show, and ask this: “Tracie asked me not to call again when she is co-hosting, and I agree to that. Do Matt and the other hosts feel the same way? I’d like to know before I call again.” And then wait for their response before you call in again. Do it. I dare you. Show that you can have respect for other human beings, as deceived as they may be. I doubt you will, because I think you’re a liar and a coward who sees other people as conversion projects unworthy of respectful treatment, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    And really, stop with the “slowed down energy” nonsense. You won’t find a single real physicist who would describe matter in those terms.

  128. PeterFromLondonUK says

    138. Morality is subjective and the rules can be set by the hosts etc just as God can set the rules on how humans live on His planet (Earth) that He made.

  129. frankgturner says

    Ok this guy has so little concept of logic it is embarassing. I really pity this guy. He has a long way to go to get any of this. I was never even this bad as a believer.

  130. PeterFromLondonUK says

    If a man says he is a women, is he lying ? Yet i change my name and the subjective morality of Tracy judges me ?

  131. frankgturner says

    @ Scott E # 138
    Well you correctly predicted that he would be a disrespectful coward and make an excuse.
    .
    @ EnlightenmentLiberal
    I stand corrected. They need to just get his IP address and ban him permanently. He is not adding anything that one could not get talking to another theist.

  132. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @Peter/Mark it would be extremely helpful to me, and might pay dividends, to attempt an answer my two questions in 119…up to you of course

  133. The YouTube Guy says

    @Peter

    1 – You can identify as you wish.
    2 – We can prove you’re not a lizard.
    3 – Gender is a societal construct (That’s why they’re transGENDER)
    4 – Sex is hard wired (That’s why a sex change makes you transSEXUAL)
    5 – Stop presuming what people think and just state what you believe.
    6 – I don’t want to hear you on the show again.
    7 – It seems others don’t but the show gets to decide.
    8 – I have my doubts you were an atheist but who knows.
    9 – If you call the show give the same fake name or your actual real name.
    10 – If you call again to “Identify” as something you’re just trying to troll or be offensive. The show should take no part in this. Don’t lie to the screener and say you’re going to prove or say something you’re not going to say.

    If you do want to reply to this. Explain to me why you were an atheist. What did you believe when you were an atheist and why?

  134. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    Bothering – why do I even? I wasted so much time on that comment – so much– and the only response is “some genders say that they are not that gender.” I mean… I guess a dim awareness of what it means to be transgender is good, but I don’t see how it relates.

    If a man says he is a women, is he lying ? Yet i change my name and the subjective morality of Tracy judges me ?

    It’s not worth going into what’s wrong with “a man says he is a woman” with you, but be aware that there is a lecture here that, between the lines, that you wouldn’t have read anyway. The problem is consistency, not change. Nobody cares (I am assuming here, if somebody does care, feel free to correct me) if the name you give is the one that was assigned to you at birth. Just don’t keep calling in with a new name every time.

    And really, stop with the “slowed down energy” nonsense. You won’t find a single real physicist who would describe matter in those terms.

    On the plus side, I’ve worked out, I think, why he keeps saying that physical is slowed down energy, as if physical were a thing – he seems to think that if a thing “becomes physical” it’s the same as when a lump of clay “becomes a pot” – that it is actually turning into a thing that we call physical, rather than gaining the property of being physical.

    And I am now officially done with the nameless wanderer… he’s not listening, and it makes me feel like a terrible person that I get so pissed off with him, and then it makes me feel bad that I feel bad, because I’m assuming things that are not necessarily true, even though they seem to be. Bah.

  135. PeterFromLondonUK says

    145. God is the intelligent designer but we cannot get that information by observing creation (energy slowed down into other stuff).

    God has made it very difficult to connect the dots and to learn the truth so that Satan can brainwash humanity and prove his challenge to God’s universal sovereignty.

    Anyways…. All of humanity will learn the truth (the dead will be brought back to life on Earth as themselves, and will be taught the truth. (Hell is just the common grave)) but the ones with the correct attitude will learn it first.

    Many who have been brought back to life and taught the truth will not obey God’s subjective rules of morality, and will be removed from this planet (killed (2nd death)).

    At the end of the 1000 year rule of God’s government, all of humanity will be perfect. then Satan is released and lots of perfect humans will follow Satan and be killed.

    I hope that that all makes sense my fellow humans.

    🙂

  136. Chikoppi says

    Yep. Troll.

    He’s been shown more than enough deference. It pains me to say it, but my vote would be to exclude him entirely and move on to others willing to have an honest conversation.

  137. PeterFromLondonUK says

    149. I am not a troll. I am declaring the truth to you. It is difficult to learn the truth because all of humanity has been brainwashed via this system nurturing them (False religion, commerce and human government).

  138. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @Peter and no one else (since this won’t make sense without lots of other introductions)

    Thank you for answering the question. I of course agree it’s god (using the tetragrammaton) but you are missing some important pieces…will get to that later.

    I will not address your views on Satan as you don’t seem to yet have a basis for a correct understanding of this idea…plus it is one I am still actively trying to understand.

    Your view on the role of death and resurrection also needs some refinement…realize that the “correct attitude” is itself a kind of death, though physical death can serve the same role if (and only if) absolutely necessary. Either way there is no escaping satan/death, only receiving its gift (i.e. not just learning, actually internalizing the truth…the preferred order is “internalize then learn” since “learn then internalize” is very very humiliating…and is what we call “gehinnom”.) –either with choice or with time.

  139. frankgturner says

    If I spoke to Peter I would be saying something like this.
    “The voice in your head is not God, that’s just your subconcoius mind. You are living in a delusion. If you became dangerous enough you would be put away to protect other members of society. ”
    .
    I think we have an individual whose sanity and alignment with the reality around him is seriously in question.
    .
    @ Athywren # 147
    Don’t feel bad. I doubt he is listening to himself much less those around him. At best he dips in and out, picking up a word here and there when It suits him to reply to like the comment about being a troll. It sounds like he is just trying to live in the “self aggrandizing fantasy” mentioned by Chikoppi.
    .
    This is apologetics at its worst. I mean quoting science fiction for crying out loud. If anyone else from the show who called in is reading at least they will see what they could be by putting all of their trust and energy into their faith. Yes but job here is an extreme example, but it serves as a great model of how NOT to be.

  140. The YouTube Guy says

    It’s more than obvious that Peter doesn’t have anything to say other than to preach. I was a Christian for 19 years. I know what the Bible says. He has admitted he believes because of “fulfilled prophecy”. We’ve answered why we find fault in fulfilled prophecy. Rather than addressing our concerns, he goes back to preaching. A week later we’ll get him back to fulfilled prophecy being the reason he believes everything he preaches. Wait… this reminds me of….

    EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED WHEN HE WAS ON THE SHOW!

    The Atheist Experience gets to decide who they put on but I hope all call screeners take note of this individual. In my opinion, they add nothing to the conversation and avoid answering questions at all costs. I don’t need another 10 minute conversation where they don’t understand burden of proof the whole time saying “Yes I understand” and then showing they don’t understand.

  141. Vivec says

    Yikes, from Jehovie bullcrap to Star Trek theism to weird pseudo transphobia too!

    Honestly, fuck off. The fact that you’re allowed to fester on this blog speaks wonders for the tolerance of the people running it.

    You’re like two or three steps away from Markuze levels of space wasting screed posting.

  142. frankgturner says

    @ The You Tube Guy # 153
    It has occurred to me that the prick might understand the concept of “burden of proof” (though behaves like he does not comprehend the principles behind it). However, a desperate attempt to try to shift the burden of proof might be what’s going on since he can’t provide empirical evidence but refuses to loose by defaulting to an “I don’t know” position. Essentially, an individual who can’t win by playing fair and refuses to do anything but win. I have spoken before about the “I must win at any and all costs” type of thinker, but he can’t even win by trying to cheat or lie as extensively as he appears to have.

  143. Devocate says

    @115:
    “Labels like ‘handicapped’ and ‘mentally retarded’ carry enormous negative baggage, and it is completely appropriate that a sophisticated society should seek to understand the effect language can have in marginalizing certain segments of the population.”

    So we create new words, and like someone buying new luggage, all the old baggage gets promptly moved over to the new. How is this helping? If we could instill kindness and compassion with word changes, why wouldn’t we have done that centuries ago?

    I note we are back to ‘Black’ (as in BlackLivesMatter) as opposed to the more recent ‘African-American’ and ‘Colored person’. Why is that?

  144. PeterFromLondonUK says

    152. Many have been nurtured into the belief that energy can become a conscious human without any intelligent manipulation.

    This nurturing has led to humanity’s brainwashing whereby sanity is based on corrupt morality.

  145. frankgturner says

    @ Decorate # 156
    I agree that sometimes we do need to change words due to their meaning changing. To quote Matt Dillahunty on this show, “words have meaning by consensus.” Language is not static, it is ever changing, and new understanding of how words are being used occurs every day.
    .
    Believe me I agree regarding the whole “Black” vs. “African American” concept. (However, I might be more prone to use the scientific term “Negroloid”).
    .
    The main issue with not moving the baggage over is that, to some degree, we have free will, and to some degree, we don’t. We decide what interpretation of a term is right for ourselves and when a conglomeration of people do so, a “big picture” of many of those interpretations comes about. Sometimes, to see the forest, you have to know each tree.
    .
    What is scary is when an individual like ignorantfromUK comes about who seems to think that their interpretation is right for himself, but BEHAVES like he isn’t. It seems like he wants to squash the doubts of others rather than coming to terms with his own.

  146. Marcel says

    From Peter/Paul/Mary:

    The intelligent designer has made it difficult for humanity to find the truth so that Satan has an opportunity to rule over mankind and brainwash them by using false religion (including Christendom) , commerce (illusion) and human government (subjective morality). God expects humans to study His creation and come to the unprovable (without fulfilled prophecy) conclusion that it was intelligent manipulation.

    That makes your god a monster, an asshole, and possibly the most immoral creature in the universe, and definitely not deserving of any respect, praise, or worship.

  147. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @Peter/Mark from my questions in 119 and your answers, I have derived the following…correct me if I’m wrong

    1. You classify the passage of time as inherently a sort of intelligent manipulation.
    2. You do not think of the laws of nature as an “intelligence” behind the actions of nature
    3. You do not think of an observer as an “intelligence” behind his own actions (unless that observer is god)

    1 is correct, and I could easily define time as “a phenomenon that becomes noticed when an intelligence applies itself onto a set of circumstances (circumstances/limitations/information…all three words mean basically the same thing) in order to create a new set of circumstances”…though it’s a deceptive definition and there are others I prefer.

    2 and 3 are very very wrong, and the reason why actually leads very nicely into the king concept.

  148. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    It frustrates me that I don’t have the time or energy to read all the comments…every time I’ve tried I’ve found something important that I missed while skimming…so sorry about that

    if you’re going to, please don’t ban mark just yet…I somehow doubt a private conversation would have the same fruits as this public one.

    also for the record, anything mark/peter said that I ignored, people can assume I disagree with it. I am trying to find some point of truth and go from there, since it seems no one else has managed to do so

  149. The YouTube Guy says

    @Jeremy

    Here is his argument as I can best present it – Energy can only become a conscious human from an intelligent manipulation.

    If we ask “How do you know this?” he will claim that we can’t prove intelligent manipulation is not needed. We will then go through the same burden of proof argument that Matt went through on the show. The fact remains that an intellectually honest person will say they don’t know whether an intelligence is needed or not and can not make a claim.

    I have a jar of marbles and there are marbles in the jar. Someone might claim the amount is even. Someone might claim the amount is odd. If someone does not have sufficient evidence to make a claim they can simply say “I don’t know and I do not accept either claim” The rejection of a claim is not a claim in and of itself. We keep trying to show him how he has not met the burden of proof and our rejection is not the strawman he is trying put us on (An intelligence is not needed).

    This is Apologetics 101. Get the person you’re talking to on the defensive by saying they’re making a claim. Please look directly to what he said in his last post.

    Many have been nurtured into the belief that energy can become a conscious human without any intelligent manipulation.

    The response is simply, “They’re wrong to believe this without evidence. What is the evidence for what you believe?” We ask him this and then he slithers away from answering which is Apologetics 102.

  150. PeterFromLondonUK says

    161.

    1. No.
    2. Animals are programmed by God and are robots. All other moving stuff in the universe was set in motion by God. All effects were programmed and created by God.
    3. God, energy creatures and humans are intelligent with freewill. Animals do not have freewill but can be considered intelligent to a degree because of their programming. Moving stuff also has no freewill / intelligence.

    I don’i mind being banned because the truth is like a lion, it can defend itself.

  151. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @164 that’s a shame…I don’t really know what to do in that case.

    anyhow, “king”: someone who uses his own mind to make room for the mind of another. The hebrew word for “king” also means “author” for this reason.

    “the king”= the all-inclusive “mind”
    “king of kings” = someone who wants to allow others around him to show empathy. The human physical form allows for this.
    “king of kings of kings” = the creator of mankind

  152. PeterFromLondonUK says

    163.

    Yes you are nearly there.

    There is a confirmation bias here that the only lens worth looking through is the one of ‘ it happened without intelligent manipulation’.

    My point was that ‘without intelligent manipulation’ is a belief with no proof.

    Anyways….. the truth is not dependent on you and others knowing about it. Everyone will know the truth eventually and this not knowing is temporary.

    Once humanity knows the truth, it will count for nothing because Satan knows the truth and God is going to kill him.

    I like talking to you all. Well done for trying to find the truth and keep seeking.

  153. The YouTube Guy says

    Animals are programmed by God and are robots.


    Ok this is either insanity or trolling.

  154. PeterFromLondonUK says

    154. Video clips :-

    Only 144,000 humans go to heaven in energy form.
    They are part of the kingdom government set up to judge all humans that are resurrected from hell. (God picked humans to judge rather than angels because they know what it is like to be imperfect.)

    Humans were not designed to go to heaven. They were designed to live forever on Earth.

    To make it all easier for humans to learn the truth, God is about to destroy all false religion via the corrupt UN.

  155. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    To make it all easier for humans to learn the truth, God is about to destroy all false religion via the corrupt UN.

    Got an approximate date for that?

  156. PeterFromLondonUK says

    160. Morality is subjective and you have no authority to enforce yours.

  157. PeterFromLondonUK says

    171. Soon. It is going to be a big event and has been foretold in the Bible. (Revelation).

    Satan was thrown down to the Earth (Energy form) in 1914.

    Christendom is the main religion that is most reprehensible for brainwashing people because they had the Bible and should of known better

    But the tool of false religion has worked well as per its design. (By Satan).

  158. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    This month? Six months? Next year? 2,000 years?

  159. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    >Only 144,000 humans go to heaven in energy form.

    OK you can ban him now xD I think I’m done.

    Even if you believe this, what is the point in saying it? It only makes you out as an elitist.

    >(God picked humans to judge rather than angels because they know what it is like to be imperfect.)
    It frustrates me even more that you keep saying things that I agree with, but when I push, it turns out you don’t understand them at all. I am done trying, but thanks for playing.

    >Humans were not designed to go to heaven. They were designed to live forever on Earth.
    On this I agree, it actually follows from my definitions above…but I do not want to discuss it any more, and not with you.

    >To make it all easier for humans to learn the truth, God is about to destroy all false religion via the corrupt UN.

    “it’s all corrupt, altogether spoiled, there is no doer of good, none, not even one.”
    “God looks from heaven for the one with intelligence, the one who seeks to know [the decision-making processes of the minds included in nature.]”
    — Psalm 14

    I think that the destruction of false religion is much further along than you think…A basic principle of self-development is that you don’t destroy something false/undesirable and just leave a vacuum. You make something/many somethings with truth, and the falsehood simply vanishes. e.g. I (not me personally) introduce vegetables to my diet, I don’t just stop eating lard.

    e.g. matt is “with intelligence”, many christians as well…muslims…in fact almost everyone I’ve met has demonstrated it to me. And the ones who haven’t, the fault is probably mine.

  160. Chikoppi says

    @ Peter (Mark)

    PeterFromLondonUK is Satan and everything he says is a lie. He will claim he is not, but he is. He may not even know it himself so complete is his falsehood. He is offering a false truth to attempt to lure humanity into the abyssal energy pit of the third death. Whatever he says, you should believe the opposite.

    I know this through revelation and reading of the true meaning of scripture that is revealed to all those who have the correct attitude. It will be revealed to you as well after the final mortgage on the third cosmic kingdom has been paid off.

    (Hey, this is a lot easier than learning by experimentation and having to justify those beliefs! You guys should try it!)

  161. PeterFromLondonUK says

    174. Our lifetime. We are living in the last days of this Satanically run system. 2Tim 3:1-5.

  162. PeterFromLondonUK says

    175. I am not going to heaven, i am not one of the 144,000. I want to go to paradise Earth.

  163. Tod says

    Peter/Mark

    So according to your belief system, god made heaven, but there was a war and satan and a 3rd of the angels were kicked out, so he had the idea of the garden of eden, but adam and eve made the wrong choice and so were kicked out, then the earth got really bad, so he chose one perfect family to save and sent the flood to kill every other living creature… but then the earth started to get bad again, so this time he picked a group of people to make “his people”, but that didn’t work out so he sent them into slavery in Egypt, then he led them out back to the promised land so things would all be ok from then on… but things were not ok, so he sent them into slavery in Babylon, he then freed them from there so things would be ok from then on, but things went bad again, so he had the Romans take over their lands, to make things right again, he sent jesus to die for our sins, that should make everything right… but it didn’t, so now we are living under satan’s influence…

    Now he says, that really soon, there will be an armageddon, after which some stuff will happen but that finally after that, things will be right…

    and after all his previous failed attempts… you believe him?

    As Matt once said, “spoiler alert, everything goes wrong for god, all throughout the bible”…

  164. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @176,179

    He’s laughing because it’s true 😉

    @178

    then work on empathy/kingship! That means getting into another person’s mind, which also means using their words instead of your own when you talk.

    You’re built for it, do it.

    @anyone who read the “for peter/mark only” thing..

    yeah yeah “heaven” “angel” “Satan” “gehinnom” all needs to be defined better, get over it. Comments 50 and 70 are good introductions, or at least the best I could come up with.

  165. PeterFromLondonUK says

    146. I explained to the screener what i was going to say.

    I was nurtured as an atheist via my parents and school.

    It took me many years to learn the truth and undo the brainwashing ‘we drew some missing links and pretended its real’ stuff.

  166. PeterFromLondonUK says

    182.

    All things written in the Bible were written for us now living in the last days,

  167. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    Trying to close my eyes for a few minutes to get a nap before work and it hit me AnyWren’s comment 147 is a better introduction than anything I said

    the hebrew words relevant here are “chomer” and “tzura”…”material” and “form”. The form of one thing can be the material of another. e.g. the clay is an expression of matter; the pot is an expression of clay. So the clay is respectively “form” with respect to the matter, “material” with respect to the pot.

  168. Vivec says

    Morality is subjective

    Doesn’t become true just because you assert it whenever someone criticizes you.

    But then, why am I bothering? You’re a batshit jehovie that smoked wayyy to much weed while watching an episode of Cosmos.

  169. frankgturner says

    @ Vivec #189
    He has inadvertently given me a bit of perspective of what JW’s believe (if it is anything like him).
    .
    It makes him feel good I suppose.

  170. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Aside:

    I note we are back to ‘Black’ (as in BlackLivesMatter) as opposed to the more recent ‘African-American’ and ‘Colored person’. Why is that?

    Please correct me if I’m suffering under any misapprehensions.

    I never liked “African-American” instead of “black”. For someone whose family has lived in America for longer than my family, is it really fair to describe him as “African-American” instead of “American”, when I am simply “American”? Also, there are plenty of Africans, i.e. people who are born in Africa, live in Africa, and die in Africa, who are not black. As far as I’m aware, there’s no particular pejorative or negative meaning attached to “black”, unlike other words like the n word. As as a descriptive, “black” seems perfectly adequate and workable, just like “I am white” is perfectly sensible and adequate.

    Although, what I said might be less-good because of the ad hoc (and bullshit) one-drop rule, but given that’s how the current cultural classification scheme works, I guess I have to work within that paradigm for now.

  171. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    ♪I-I-I-I-I’m any Wre-en,
    It’s all in meeeeeeee
    Chirpy-chirp
    Che-cheep-cheep-chirpy!♬
    *boogie*

    Fun fact: although my name is not a reference to the bird with an implication of being the athiest little bird in town, a podcast that I occasionally write into pronounces my nym as “a thigh wren” which gives me adorable mental images of a teeny-tiny little bird with ENORMOUS legs! :3 Poor thing probably wouldn’t be able to fly too well….

    The lead singer of The Mounter Goats sounds a bit like David Rovics, who I adore, but whose music I can rarely listen to, for emotional reasons – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idKD47x0JaM

  172. The YouTube Guy says

    I don’t know if Peter/Paul/Crazy has been banned yet but if he wants to debate, I’ll do it on Skype with him and record it for everyone to see. It’ll probably be more fruitful than this.

  173. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    “Fruitful” xD

    The mountain goats song there means a lot to me…and you can see in his face it means a lot to him too. Not something to subject yourself to too often though xD

    <3 skyping strangers

  174. The YouTube Guy says

    I’ll probably repeat this somewhere else but, today I spoke to Eric Hovind. We had a pretty great 15 minute phone call. He is willing to do a debate with pretty much any debate at a university. I think I can travel and accommodations paid for both Eric and his debate opponent.

    Any suggestions on who he should debate?

    Also, if I call in next week and at the end of my call put out this announcement to the atheist heavy hitters (Thunderf00t, AronRa, Armoured Skeptic) do you think they’d want this sort of call to the big name atheists? I just want to point out that different people bring different debate styles and could be considered for different reasons. Put Armoured Skeptic and Eric Hovind on the stage together and you’ve got an average age around 32. For a college environment this might be quite interesting to see. It was mentioned that Kent might be interested. Maybe AronRa would be more appropriate there. I know age has NOTHING to do with someone’s ability to debate but I think the generational pairing might be interesting.

  175. Chikoppi says

    I don’t think there’s anything to gain by debating at a uni. All it would accomplish is to lend credibility to Hovind.

    Hovind, et al, is irrelevant. All of that ilk will trot out the same apologetics. He’ll report back to his constituents that he “won” the debate. The point is the audience; to expose the core audience first-hand to unadulterated skeptical thought. Matt has referred to this several times when discussing how he evaluates debate proposals.

    You could try David Smalley at Dogma Debate, but I’m pretty sure he’s sworn to never deal with Hovind again. That might be the best policy.

  176. Monocle Smile says

    @The YouTube Guy
    I agree with Chikoppi. Eric Hovind is a waste of everybody’s time.
    Pretty sure CrumpetStufferFromLondonUK is just a robot programmed by a JW.

  177. Vivec says

    @200
    I don’t think you need to go as far as robot.

    You could just make a program that randomly spits out “satan got you through text”, “i’ll call next week” and “morality is subjective”, and it would be impossible to tell the difference between it and BiblicalnameFromLimeytown.

  178. Vivec says

    Oh, don’t forget “I understand”, “you believe energy can turn into people without intelligence”, and “opinions count for nothing”

  179. RationalismRules says

    A question for the moderators – is there any way unapproved posts could get a number despite their ‘waiting’ status? That would mean that rejected posts would result in skipped numbers, but speaking for myself I would hardly even notice that, whereas trying to find multiple referred-to posts that have changed numbers can be a disincentive to following a conversation.
    (Apologies if this has already been done to death in previous threads)

  180. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Monocle Smile

    CrumpetStuffer

    Crumpet Stuffer? What kind of monster are you? You don’t stuff a crumpet! You slather it with delicious butter, and possibly jam, and then politely introduce it to the inside of your face.
    Bah! Some people….

    @The YouTube Guy
    Eric Hovind? Isn’t that kind of stacking the deck? I can’t imagine a university audience would be impressed by his… I hesitate to even call it a rhetorical trick. He’s easier to listen to than William Lane “AAHtheists” Craig, I’ll give him that, but has his argument progressed beyond “reason… therefore Jesus in particular”? Kind of feels like cheating to debate him.

  181. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    (Also, is Thunderf00t actually an atheist heavy hitter anymore? It seems like every time I see one of his videos recommended these days, it’s just something railing against Anita Sarkeesian….)

  182. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    OK AthyWren, you linked a video, time to watch it.

    (I’ve watched a bunch of his videos, despite which all I can seem to remember about ThunderFoot is that he did some wicked cool research on the group 1 metals’ interaction with water and how it leads to a coulombic explosion.

    …wicked cool. Like, oh-so-cool.)

  183. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    wow. thanks for sharing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKuoXbI0wfQ
    this song relates back to the dm2525 thing…

    I need to read back through this thread…I referenced a post where you are discussing the gender identity thing and I completely ignored that entire chain of the discussion

    but I am tired :/

  184. frankgturner says

    @ MonocleSmile #200
    Hey good to see you. Interesting principle given that multi-name thinks non-human animals are robots and here he is behaving like one. Thanks for the insight, had not thought of “it” being a robot too but that makes sense given some of the laco of response.
    .
    @ The You Tube Guy
    Are any of the Hovinds worth more than their lack of appropriately paid taxes? I mean it seems the main thing you are doing is exposing their undereducated constituency that has not taken advantage of the Free Market of Ideas. Some of them seem like robots too.

  185. frankgturner says

    @ Vivec # 202
    You know hearing it from you makes me think how much more ridiculous it sounded coming from him. I mean I realized it was strange this whole Star Trek-Creationist-Xtianity thing, but damn does it sound strange.

  186. RationalismRules says

    @Devocate #156

    So we create new words, and like someone buying new luggage, all the old baggage gets promptly moved over to the new.

    By ‘baggage’ I was referring to connotations/meanings that a word carries from other usage/etymology etc. These don’t transfer from one word to another. Historical labels for disability invariably carry connotations of ‘lesser’ or ‘inferior’. That is the ‘baggage’ that I referred to.

    I said:

    it is completely appropriate that a sophisticated society should seek to understand the effect language can have in marginalizing certain segments of the population

    As far as I can see, your counter-argument seems to be that changing the words will not solve the entire problem. Of course it won’t. Nobody ever suggested that it would.
    How does it therefore follow that we shouldn’t even consider whether it’s contributing to the problem, and if so, deal with it?

    What exactly is the great cost to society that the “political correctness gone mad” mouth-frothers are so enraged by? What does it cost anyone to think about the words they use?
    No, it won’t solve the whole problem, but if it’s contributing even a small amount, and it’s so fucking easy to fix, why would we not???

  187. adamah says

    Tod asked:

    So according to your belief system, god made heaven….

    Stop right there, as those 3 words alone raise so many questions about Mark’s “true” beliefs:

    Where did God exist or hang out BEFORE He created the Heavens?

    Sounds like God was homeless? (Of course, Jesus also was a vagabond, with “nowhere to rest his head”.)

    And since per other scriptures, God is “without a beginning or end”, and per yet other verses He’s described as omnipresent, why does God even need to build anywhere to congregate?

    Does anyone else smell the heavy whiff of anthromorphism going on here, with humans projecting their own physical needs (eg for shelter, or a palace to hold Divine Council meetings in) onto their Gods?

    We have the Greek Gods Zeus et al residing on top of Mt Olympus, and YHWH resides just a bit higher up, in the penthouse suite built atop the non-existent firmament.

    M’kay….

    Now he says, that really soon, there will be an armageddon, after which some stuff will happen but that finally after that, things will be right…

    and after all his previous failed attempts… you believe him?

    As I point out in the articles on my blog about Noah’s flood, JWs view the account as a proto-Armageddon.

    http://awgue.weebly.com/does-jehovahs-witnesses-blood-policy-reflect-they-understand-noahs-flood.html

    But if someone actually is able to manage to set aside their fears of being destroyed in Armageddon by God for only a nano-second, they’d be asking some questions about the Genesis account:

    1) as in the flood account, will God double flip-flop, first experiencing regret for making all life on Earth (and hence deciding to wipe all of it out), but then regretting THAT decision, so he made the rainbow as a visible covenant marker (a sign) as a reminder to God to never do it again?

    So many questions are raised there: why does an omniscient God need to be REMINDED of anything?

    How could a prescient God possibly experience regret over a prior decision He made, since He supposedly KNOWS the future (which is the basis of granting His prophets the gift of Divine prophecy), and would simply not make a decision which He’d later regret.

    Bottom line is you don’t even have to read beyond Genesis 9 to see holes in continuity and gaps in basic logic so gaping and massive, you’d have to intentionally suspend your disbelief to accept it as anything other than an ancient fairy tale.

    As Matt once said, “spoiler alert, everything goes wrong for god, all throughout the bible”…

    Yeah, the interesting thing is that as time went on and Jews were presented with much more reason to disbelieve (eg their Temple was destroyed and their elite were taken as slaves to Babylon, etc), their concept of the capabilities of YHWH paradoxically made Him out to be even stronger! Xianity took it up a notch, with God becoming a loving beneficent Father to all of humanity (rather than a bigot who played favorites, with His “chosen people”).

    In Genesis, YHWH wasn’t considered as the biggest baddest God on the block (eg He didn’t possess prescience, which explains His being depicted as “experiencing regret”: that later claim was added in the writings of the prophets).

    I like a good story as much as the next person, but thanks, I’ll stick to Tolkien: for one, single authorship makes for less greater the possibility of gaping continuity errors, and the LOTR contains orders of magnitude fewer, as a result.

  188. Devocate says

    @210:
    “By ‘baggage’ I was referring to connotations/meanings that a word carries from other usage/etymology etc. These don’t transfer from one word to another. Historical labels for disability invariably carry connotations of ‘lesser’ or ‘inferior’. That is the ‘baggage’ that I referred to. ”

    I understand exactly what you are referring to. Answer me this: Why is ‘handicapped’ on your baggage carrying list. It was a replacement, just as you recommend, for ‘cripppled’. So it didn’t work that time, why do you think it will work now?

    Fix the problem, don’t hide it behind a word change. Is there any evidence that it is fixing the problem even a little bit? But it does give self-righteous people the false impression that they are doing something. It is the ‘I’ll pray for you’ of atheists. Why not do something hard, rather than feel satisfied by doing something easy.

  189. adamah says

    So I’m probably wasting my keystrokes here (as I strongly suspect he’s a troll, esp with his “energy beings ” line: that’s not bog-standard JW terminology, AFAIK).

    But my suspicions set aside, Mark, here’s one simple question for you:

    What specific qualities of God makes you respect and/or love Him?

    (If it helps, think of the qualities of other humans you know whom you love.)

  190. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @adamah lots of great questions…believe it or not there are great answers, the trick is just to be persistent in asking…this is the “true” part of “true faith”, and it seems like most people get it wrong…if it’s true, I should be able to ask my questions!

    (Maybe not other people’s questions, but certainly the ones that I’ve already taken ownership of…”if I can ask and understand the question, I can hear the answer” is another application of the anthropic principle.)

    >>So according to your belief system, god made heaven….

    >Stop right there, as those 3 words alone raise so many questions about Mark’s “true” beliefs:
    >Where did God exist or hang out BEFORE He created the Heavens?

    I’ll defend that belief of mark’s, though I don’t know where he says it and I don’t know if he actually understands it.

    If I am in one place, that means I am not outside of that place. Thus, location is a form of information/restriction*…not even in the abstract sense that will is, but in a very clear way.

    Once you actually define heaven (I’m tired and won’t, sorry) it becomes difficult to understand how the concept of “place” applies there AT ALL. You are forced to find a new meaning of the word (“place”). But something does stay the same between the two meanings.

    This is why another name of god is “The Place”**, and it’s why Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan mentions in one of his pamphlets*** that references to god “dwelling” really refer to an increased visibility of his Presence or more obvious expressions of attention, even though his influence is actually immanent.

    *(note how the connection between these two words is built into the word itself…in-form-ation, i.e. the “limiting” of material into a form…we can even speak of “teaching” a wad of clay to be a pot, but it has to lose some of the freedom of its clay-ness in order to “learn”.)

    **The sages say “He is the place of the world, and the world is not his place.” The word in hebrew for “world” is actually an expression of concealment…If I turn left at an intersection, I don’t see what’s around the corner on the right i.e. once we limit perception to a world where some information (e.g. having turned left) is expected to be true, the rest of truth becomes concealed…usually.

    Here “the world” includes both heaven and earth”, as well as the upper waters, whatever those are…if I’ve convinced you it’s hard to understand how “location” applies at all in heaven, try understanding how “height” applies between two domains with seemingly totally different meanings of “location”…

    ***(I think it’s the “Understanding God” pamphlet…which should be available online somewhere)

  191. StonedRanger says

    @195 YouTubeGuy
    Why on earth would you want to debate this person? He wouldn’t know the first thing about debating, he has consistently shown over 3 or 4 threads now that he isn’t interested in even having a civil conversation. He is just interested in telling you what he thinks and he could not care less what you have to say. He has his script and you cant budge him off it. You don’t have enough money to make me interested in that. If I want to watch someone debate a knucklehead who doesn’t know how to debate, I will rewatch Matt D. “debate” Sye Ten.

  192. adamah says

    Jeremy said:

    @adamah lots of great questions…believe it or not there are great answers, the trick is just to be persistent in asking…this is the “true” part of “true faith”, and it seems like most people get it wrong…if it’s true, I should be able to ask my questions!

    Jeremy, perhaps you missed the fact that I’m an atheist, after having spent many decades investigating religious beliefs not only from on the inside-out (i.e. as a believer), but also from the outside-in (as a non-believer, examining the Bible with a skeptical eye and studying the psychological methods employed by believers to bolster group-think)?

    Fortunately I had a few secular teachers in junior high who allowed me the freedom to ask important questions and develop my rational free-thinking mind; and combined with the fact I was never baptized as a JW, I was able to transition to an adult without being mentally ham-strung and rendered as a talking parrot.

    (And Mark is perhaps more extreme than most, almost intentionally hyperbolic as if a parody. Fact is, in my experience most JW’s aren’t THAT obviously nutty or extreme, and you’d never suspect they were JWs since most can engage in small-talk, possessing a modicum of social skills so as not to be as obvious, or as if a caricature.)

    My standing would’ve been considerably worse if I had been baptized as a child, as JWs are required to shun any fellow member who rejects their beliefs (or in turn be shunned themselves), labelling them as “apostates” (and much like the Sanhedrin who lost the ability to deliver capital punishment for such religious offenses as apostasy, I have no doubt that modern “peace-loving” JWs would stone apostates, if not for secular laws prohibiting it).

    JWs don’t support Libertarian concepts like ‘freedom of speech’ (unless it’s their right to engage in the preaching work; then they’ll argue vehemently for THEIR freedom of speech, whilst strongly suppressing the voice of anyone who dares speak against their beliefs: oh, the irony).

    But back to you: Jeremy, do you actually believe that the Torah is a record of actual historical events (i.e. Did Noah’s Flood actually occur? Is God’s endorsement of the institution of slavery via “righteous” Noah’s “curse of Ham” seem to be the act of a superior moral source?

    If so, all I can say is WOW….

    I see you cite the kabbalistic writings of Rabbi Kaplan; in the words of one famous rabbi, kabbalistic beliefs are “nonsense” (although he immediately excuses it as “Jewish nonsense, and hence worthy of study, nonetheless”).

    As far as your “in-form-ation” thingie, you DO understand that discerning patterns in Greek words is as nutty a method for discerning truths as looking for patterns in tea leaves (or examining the entrails of a sacrificial animal, another long-standing tradition found in Judaism, or consulting the Urim and Thummin (the casting of lots, supposedly to let God decide))?

  193. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    🙂 thank you for speaking your concerns

    >personal experience of adamah coming from both sides, and direct study of psychological techniques that go against the “king” concept

    I caught on to that, but it is useful to hear the details and how you express them, so thank you.

    >My standing would’ve been considerably worse if I had been baptized as a child, as JWs are required to shun any fellow member who rejects their beliefs

    They do this without even any regard to the “why”? To me this is even WOW-er than what I imagine your WOW at anyone who takes the stories of tanakh at face value as history is meant to convey…

    >and much like the Sanhedrin who lost the ability to deliver capital punishment for such religious offenses as apostasy, I have no doubt that modern “peace-loving” JWs would stone apostates, if not for secular laws prohibiting it)

    Even more WOW. (See those darkmatter2525 clips for how awful this is).
    (Not in the mood to defend the Sanhedrin’s capital punishments…seems counterproductive, and just leads into more unknown waters.)

    >But back to you: Jeremy, do you actually believe that the Torah is a record of actual historical events (i.e. Did Noah’s Flood actually occur? Is God’s endorsement of the institution of slavery via “righteous” Noah’s “curse of Ham” seem to be the act of a superior moral source?

    Thanks for asking! My ego loves it. Really it does.

    The short answer is that I don’t care. The Gemara endorses a mode of thinking where we give people the benefit of the doubt, even to terrifying extremes.
    e.g.
    http://www.come-and-hear.com/shabbath/shabbath_127.html#PARTb

    (though with respect to precautions taken, we are allowed to assume the worst…just don’t use it to characterize the person. In this way we avoid selling another person short of their potential.)

    If this method of thinking (which is a part of the Oral Law) applies in the course of a single day, how much more so over all history…and we in fact find retellings of most of those events which cast everything in a VERY different light. By protecting both the telling and the retelling, we learn from the mistakes of the past without assuming they were actually made.

    If you want, call this method of thinking “honoring father and mother”…it is a close relative.

    >kabbalah as nonsense (but Jewish nonsense, and thus worthy of study)
    Is said rabbi still alive? I really like his attitude.

    Yes Rabbi Kaplan (of bright mention) was entrenched in kabbalah…but you wouldn’t know it from the pamphlets. At least, he avoids using jargon.

    >nonsense to derive meaning information from the structure of a word

    Agreed, but in this case it just happened to fit…I see nothing wrong with the use of an occasional mnemonic.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. Again, dis here ego luvs it

  194. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    “I don’t care”

    matt says somewhere this is the norm among believers…to care more about the lessons than the historicity

    I just happen to consciously take it as an actual principle…

  195. adamah says

    Jeremy said:

    “I don’t care”
    matt says somewhere this is the norm among believers…to care more about the lessons than the historicity

    I just happen to consciously take it as an actual principle…

    Hey: apathy as an approach to a well-lived life. How novel….

    I suspect you completely missed Matt’s point, if that’s your take-home message from it, since he doesn’t say that in a complementary fashion, as if it’s a desirable trait for anyone to possess.

    Instead, atheists (me, included) often charge believers with caring more about how their beliefs make them feel, and spending less effort in determining whether their beliefs are actually true or not.

    Matt has also said he’d prefer to believe as few false things as possible in order to not be wrong any longer than necessary.

    FWIW, I wasn’t agreeing that kaballaistic endeavors are worth wasting time on, as I’d disagree with the rabbi who admitted kaballah IS ‘nonsense’ (although he justified it by declaring it to be JEWISH nonsense, and hence worth studying).

    Sorry, but nonsense remains nonsense, whether it’s Jewish or Xian or whatever, contemporary or quite ancient. It’s still nonsense.

    Now sure, perhaps this boils down to individuals possessing different values, but some people actually DO care about minimizing the nonsense, and separating the fictional from the non-fictional, even placing it above concerns of group dynamics (social cohesion). I don’t agree with the strategy of ‘going along to get along’.

    In my book, admitting you don’t really care about what you believe is a show-stopper, since if you don’t care, then why should I?

  196. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    ??? When did I advocate apathy or imply that I don’t care about what I believe? I don’t have a perfect knowledge of history, be it 2000 years ago or 2000 seconds ago, which leads to a clear practical takeaway of “don’t under esteem people [nor god] but still learn for yourself from the mistakes they appear to have made”.

    Not at all apathy!

  197. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    Yeeaah… I don’t care about [x] – I care more about [tangent of x] is not equivalent to none of this interests me. Given that there’s probably no god, I’d have to agree that, whatever value there might be in the relevant scriptures, it’s concentrated more in the lessons than the question of whether any of it really happened. Personally, I’m not particularly convinced that there are many lessons, at least in the parts of the Torah that overlap with the Bible – not sure how much that is? – that are both valuable and unique to that text, but I’d have to agree that the lessons are the parts that matter.

  198. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    🙂 We have never claimed our lessons to be unique…just all-inclusive…in fact this implies they are not unique, except when taken as a whole.

    As far as the existence of god…despite myself I keep using that term “god” but of course I refer to the “unrestricted root of all possible worlds”/”domain of imagination”/”undelimited light”/”absolute,unchangeable truth”/whatever you want to call it

  199. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    A friend of mine teaches it as “everything is always everything” (omnes semper omnes sunt)…if it changes, it’s not everything.

  200. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    Don’t worry, I wasn’t saying that in response to any claim I thought you were making… it’s just one of the atheist bylaws – “never defend a theist, unless you also criticise theism.” That’s right, atheism has bylaws. True fact*.

    I would be hard pressed to disagree that everything is everything, though. Anyway, it’s 3 and I have to be up at 6.30, so I should probably try to get a couple of REM cycles in so I don’t start seeing spiders everywhere. Maybe I’ll dream up an occasion when everything is actually not everything, but just a tabby cat called Alfie?

    *Not a true fact.

  201. RationalismRules says

    @Devocate #212
    If you understood exactly what I was referring to, then you effectively claimed that alternate usage/etymology would transfer from one word to another. Seriously?

    Answer me this: Why is ‘handicapped’ on your baggage carrying list?

    Handicapped is a term that comes from competitive sport, and is specifically tied to assessment of superiority/inferiority of performance. That’s what I call baggage.

    So it didn’t work that time, why do you think it will work now?…
    Fix the problem, don’t hide it behind a word change….
    But it does give self-righteous people the false impression that they are doing something…
    Why not do something hard, rather than feel satisfied by doing something easy.

    Exactly the same argument as before – changing the words doesn’t fix the whole problem, so we shouldn’t do it. Except now you’re adding that not only will it not fix the entire problem, it will actually stop us from addressing the rest of the problem. Seems kind of like saying ‘you shouldn’t make a part payment on your mortgage because if you do you’ll stop paying off the rest’.

    “Is there any evidence that it is fixing the problem even a little bit?”

    I have no idea how one would measure that. Attitudes to disability have certainly changed over the past few decades, that’s measurable. I have no idea how one would isolate or quantify how much, if any, of that is a result of terminology change.
    I’m happy to play the evidence game with you, but it cuts both ways. Do you have any evidence for your position?

    I asked: what is the great cost to society? I asked: what does it cost anyone to think about the words they use? I asked: if it’s contributing even a little bit, and it’s so easy to fix, why would we not?
    As far as I can tell (you didn’t answer any of them directly) the ‘cost’ that you propose is:
    1. Addressing a small part of a problem somehow stops us from continuing to work on the bigger problem
    2. Self-righteous people get to feel they’ve done something
    The first is obvious nonsense. So this leaves us with #2.
    So when the disability community are saying that they feel marginalized by being labelled with words that equate to ‘inferior’, your response apparently is “Sorry, you’re just going to have to put up with it because we wouldn’t want self-righteous people to feel smug, and it’s just takes too much effort for the rest of us to change the words we use”.

  202. RationalismRules says

    @Jeremy #223

    “everything is always everything …if it changes, it’s not everything”

    This is meaningful how?
    A sandwich is always a sandwich …if it changes, it’s not a sandwich. True, perhaps, but not exactly words to live by. It doesn’t even qualify as a ‘deepity’, it’s just a truism.

    [Actually, it’s not even strictly true. Just as a sandwich can change and still be a sandwich, ‘everything’ changes constantly, as its component parts change.]

  203. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    Since that wasn’t clear, I’ll specify

    Everything is a word that can be misused to refer to subsets of “real” everything…these subsets can be recognized in that they are subject to change under some (not necesarily physical) influences…

    a better word than influence is function…like, math sense of function

    Math isn’t everything though

    At break at work almost done, still hoping to read this whole monster of a thread at some point

  204. RationalismRules says

    @Jeremy #227
    Still doesn’t work. If the subset changes, then by definition the full set, which contains the subset, must have also changed.

    If the tomato in my sandwich grows mould, the tomato has changed, but so has the sandwich.

  205. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    Just had almost 2 hours to agonize over that last comment and how imprecise it was…sorry. Will try again later if and only if you want

    The basic idea is that god relates to the world of mathematics as the identity function (this would be his “name” in that system)…at an even simpler level one of his names is “one”…the actual numeric constant, but relevant to what I was saying because with respect to multiplication it works as the identity function.

    Please don’t ask about addition…it gets simple, too simple to try to explain

  206. Monocle Smile says

    @Jeremy
    Why do you have this desire to wedge a bunch of hoopla into stuff we already understand?

  207. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    As far as “everything is always everything”…limiting to multiplication this idea is expressed as 1*1 = 1

    try applying the same thing to the question of the clay and the pot…applying identity on the clay pot doesn’t output “made of clay” and it also doesn’t output “pot”…it outputs “clay pot”.

  208. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @monocle smile

    for some reason I thought someone asked a relevant question

    and…well..because the hoopla is useful.

  209. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    By “hoopla” you mean the game?

    Because if so, you are mistaking “explaining how to play hoopla” for “hoopla”…

    if you’re not good at it, it’s nice to know the rules…namely, “close, no cigar” and “you can’t just pick up the cigar and walk away”

  210. Chikoppi says

    @Devocate, RationalismRumes

    In the marketing industry we use the term “brand,” which is a word with a lot of baggage itself. Most people associate brand with a name, logo, color scheme, and other superficial identifiers. That’s not quite accurate, but close enough.

    Sometimes a company will “re-brand,” maybe changing its name or logo, changing the decor of its stores, re-skinning its fleet vehicles, etc. There are good and bad reasons for re-branding. Generally, a re-brand is a signal that customers should expect a different experience from the company, products, and services. The worst re-branding failures occur when a company changes their brand without changing the customer experience.

    Changing words in a social context is also a signal, I think. It is a signal that recognizes attitudes in society have shifted. Ethnic epithets were used frequently when casual (and systemic) racism was common. As society became more pluralistic the rejection and stigmatizing of those epithets served as a signal to acknowledge a break from those attitudes. The stigmatizing of use of the word “cripple” serves to stigmatize the old and rather callous attitudes toward people with disabilities.

    The act of promoting new words, or of stigmatizing of old words, may have less to do with the words themselves. Rather, it is the fact that the language has changed that functions as the signal.

  211. Philllip Moore says

    Come on now guys. Leave it. My brother was born handicapped. He has spent his entire life stared at in pubic. He worked for a living and was able to retire for his tremendous efforts. Should we argue about the word “handicapped”?

  212. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    Didn’t we already have this argument and decide to move onto less loaded terms about fifteen or twenty years ago?
    Is this… is this evidence that time travel is real?

    @Jeremy
    The more you say, the more you sound like a deist or a pantheist. I have to say, that’s not what I was expecting from ortho[dox/prax] Judaism. Mind you, I have very little experience with Judaism on any level – I used to walk home from school with a friend who was Jewish, but that doesn’t really reveal a great deal about the theological details.

  213. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @Athy

    Tzvi Freeman explicitly identified as a monist pantheist in a recent article…it is what we (or some of us) believe

    yet you see it leading to a faithful (“unquestioning”? Lol, no) acceptance of authority…we are certainly NOT freethinkers 🙂 and that is what I was trying to discuss on the show

  214. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    Authority including a divine authority and personal ones. This with the other stuff is…dissonant, but from my lessons/readings seems to be the path we’ve followed for a long time.

    Like I said, frustrating to try to discuss.

  215. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    Despite the Wikipedia articles, the absence of a personal-ness to God is not implied by monism nor by pantheism…in fact I’d dare say it’s a contradiction…But heck, what do I know.

  216. adamah says

    Jeremy said (220):

    ??? When did I advocate apathy or imply that I don’t care about what I believe?

    Straw-man much? I didn’t suggest you didn’t care about WHAT you believe (presumably you do); I questioned whether you actually cared about whether your beliefs were TRUE (or at least, most likely to be true, supported by any available evidence).

    Obviously accepting the truthfulness of the Tanakh rests on believing in YHWH, since that’s a presuppositional belief upon which it rests.

    I didn’t straight-up ask you if you believed that actually YHWH exists (I’m guessing you’re hesitant to publicly state your answer to the question, instead preferring to play word games), but notice that I followed up by asking you a question of the MORALITY of an often-overlooked element found in the Flood account: “righteous” Noah’s creation of the fine institution of slavery, with God’s Divine support.

    You responded to both questions with a blanket, “I don’t know AND I don’t care”.

    Now if that’s not a textbook example of an ‘apathetic response’, and if THAT’S your actual position on the issues, then you’re as much of a lost cause as our tenacious resident JW parrot, Mark, who likely also cowers under the covers in fear of offending a mythical boogieman, mentally ham-strung to ask the very questions that would allow one to realize the quite-obvious answer.

    And if you accept the premise that our beliefs determine our actions, you apparently must not have been paying much attention to the news lately, as beliefs in God(s) result in some misguided humans to kill others, based only on the false hope of 70 virgins awaiting them in Heaven as a reward for their martyrdom.

    You also may have missed the toxicology report released by the Minnesota Medical Examiners office which stated that the baptized member of JWs (better known to the public as Prince) died from an self-administered overdose of the opioid Fentanyl, a highly-addictive substance which he used and likely hid from other JWs so as to avoid ‘bringing discredit upon YHWH’s organization’. He likely did so to avoid being disfellowshipped and shunned (the Hebrew word is ‘Karet’, lit. “cut off”, a cruel form of social ostracism wherein other members of the group are supposed to treat the person as if they are already dead; and if they don’t comply, they in turn risk being shunned themselves. The shunning practice likely started as a result of the loss of the ability to deliver capital punishment for religious offenses).

    JWs have stigmatized members with substance abuse problems as examples of their being “spiritually weak”, to the point where the individual is forced to go underground with their problem as a dirty dark secret, suffering in silence and pain until they die from an accidental overdose. Talk about burying heads in the sand!

    I don’t have a perfect knowledge of history, be it 2000 years ago or 2000 seconds ago, which leads to a clear practical takeaway of “don’t under esteem people [nor god] but still learn for yourself from the mistakes they appear to have made”.

    What a gutless statement, just a platitude as much as any other bit of deepity that you posted (PS the “everything is everything” nonsense is an example of “tautology”, and they aren’t proof of your wisdom, just as many paradoxical sayings aren’t. Jesus used the paradoxical device extensively, since it apparently passed as ‘wisdom’ in his day).

    You’re like an eternal wellspring of such mindless meaningless feel-good platitudes: I don’t suppose you write greeting cards for a living?

    🙂

    For one, you don’t have a “perfect knowledge of history”: no one does. But who ever said that was a requirement before concluding that the Tanakh is only an interesting written record of ancient legal codes (much like the Code of Hammurabi), but surrounded by supportive mythology designed to explain why the laws are needed, and providing a backstory explaining how Jews came to their then-present state?

    Certainly not me, since I accepted long ago that discerning reality from fantasy and historicity almost always deals in probabilities, and not absolute certainty.

    Many humans struggle with playing make-believe, losing the ability to discern reality from fantasy. It’s a damning indictment of the human mind that many will prefer accepting false promises of absolute certainty vs an honest assessment that requires accepting even the least bit of uncertainty.

    (Hence why we see a certain narcissistic huckster running for POTUS who’s game-plan seems to consist entirely of telling people what they want to hear, while being unable to provide any substantive details on how they’d accomplish their lofty promises.)

    Not at all apathy!

    Well, I stand corrected then, since I see you put an exclamation mark at the end of your emphatic statement…. That trumps everything!

    😉

  217. Monocle Smile says

    @Jeremy
    I hope it’s not just me, but about half of all your comments are word salad.

  218. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    *stares in shock*

    OK I’ll answer

    >Straw-man much? I didn’t suggest you didn’t care about WHAT you believe (presumably you do); I questioned whether you actually cared about whether your beliefs were TRUE (or at least, most likely to be true, supported by any available evidence).

    OK, to be even more blunt: There is a core difference between “probably” and “definite”. I do not choose to collapse that difference, even if you do…except temporarily in order to understand the implications of each possibility. I see no need to address just one version of things when it is possible to properly address many or all versions with one action.

    >Obviously accepting the truthfulness of the Tanakh rests on believing in YHWH, since that’s a presuppositional belief upon which it rests.

    It is very helpful to understand the question represented by that name, yes…I will just assume the best that that’s what you mean by “believe”. I don’t assume people *do* believe, but it is very helpful.

    >I didn’t straight-up ask you if you believed that actually YHWH exists (I’m guessing you’re hesitant to publicly state your answer to the question, instead preferring to play word games)

    The answer is just as the Rambam says in chapter 1 of yad chazaka…YHWH’s existence isn’t like the existence of other things. If you think what he does there are word games, then you are not familiar with his style of writing.

    > but notice that I followed up by asking you a question of the MORALITY of an often-overlooked element found in the Flood account: “righteous” Noah’s creation of the fine institution of slavery, with God’s Divine support.

    I am not going to try to defend slavery to you any more than I will defend capital punishment…If you want to find a role for such things, study the laws in detail, and if you still have questions, ask them. Just like any good person and especially any good rabbi [as a leader] would be expected to do.
    Don’t condone a plan you can’t condone wholeheartedly.

    >You responded to both questions with a blanket, “I don’t know AND I don’t care”.

    Both questions are basically the same. With respect to morality, you are asking about an action without knowing the details of the action or of the situation or of the actor’s view of the circumstance.

    And both have the same answer…I would rather act to properly address many or all possibilities (as they affect me right now) instead of limiting myself to one.

    >He likely did so to avoid being disfellowshipped and shunned (the Hebrew word is ‘Karet’, lit. “cut off”, a cruel form of social ostracism wherein other members of the group are supposed to treat the person as if they are already dead; and if they don’t comply, they in turn risk being shunned themselves. The shunning practice likely started as a result of the loss of the ability to deliver capital punishment for religious offenses).

    JW’s think that’s what karet is? Karet is not a human-inflicted punishment at all…you won’t find “oh we give this person karet, here’s how” in any book of jewish law, because it’s not for us to do. You are making me really glad to not be in that crowd, and Mark had already done a good job of it…

    Ostracism is considered much more severe than karet. And like slavery and capital punishment, I will not defend it.
    With the same caveats. I would miss details (I don’t know all the details) if I tried to explain, and the result would be an insult to humanity.

    >the “everything is everything” nonsense is an example of “tautology”, and they aren’t proof of your wisdom, just as many paradoxical sayings aren’t.

    It’s not even mine! I don’t know what you think I’m trying to pull…like I said to Athy, I’ll give sources for stuff if people want them.

    But if you’re going to reject the saying, don’t skip the word “always”. 1*1 = 1 is not tautology. Each number takes from the other using its own scale, but 1 takes from them as they actually are, and vice versa (they take from 1 as they actually are).
    It’s not a very useful fact on its own and I won’t claim it to be, but it’s a stepping-stone to other stuff.

    >You’re like an eternal wellspring of such mindless meaningless feel-good platitudes: I don’t suppose you write greeting cards for a living?

    That’s what cashiers are supposed to do, right? 😛
    I actually looked into the greeting card thing at one point, maybe this is an indication to look again…xD

    haven’t read past the smiley yet, might later…you’ve worn me out.

  219. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    (how “everything is always everything” relates to 1*1=1: time and scale are related concepts, at least in this context)

  220. Monocle Smile says

    @Jeremy
    Useful? What? There appears to be no utility whatsoever.
    I agree with everything adamah has said in response to you. And that makes me a bit irritated.

  221. Chikoppi says

    didn’t straight-up ask you if you believed that actually YHWH exists (I’m guessing you’re hesitant to publicly state your answer to the question, instead preferring to play word games)
    The answer is just as the Rambam says in chapter 1 of yad chazaka…YHWH’s existence isn’t like the existence of other things. If you think what he does there are word games, then you are not familiar with his style of writing.

    Exists = 1
    Does not exist = 0
    Which do you believe is true? Do you base other beliefs on this predicate?

  222. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    >Exists = 1
    >Does not exist = 0
    I believe in the bit itself 😛

  223. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    To be clear, I am not reading “exists” and “not exists” as “YHWH exists” and “YHWH” doesn’t exist…I’m just reading the question literally.

    And yes, of course I base beliefs on this…see Matt’s “fear and religion” video…the video itself explains this idea, as does my comment on it.

  224. Chikoppi says

    And yes, of course I base beliefs on this…see Matt’s “fear and religion” video…the video itself explains this idea, as does my comment on it.

    I’m not going on a snipe hunt to try to figure out your position. If you don’t care to explain yourself, I don’t care to know.

  225. Monocle Smile says

    @Jeremy

    The answer is just as the Rambam says in chapter 1 of yad chazaka…YHWH’s existence isn’t like the existence of other things

    I don’t find this to be coherent. “Existence” in the classical sense is fairly well-defined. This sounds like Matt Slick-type bullshit. That tool’s “style of writing” is blather. I’m with Chikoppi on this. You seem dedicated to not explaining yourself for the purposes of being annoying. It’s not cute.

  226. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Jeremy,

    Just a poke in the dark here… have you had much experience with the more [preachily] aggressive and fundamentalist Christian sects? I’m just thinking we might be used to very different approaches.
    I kind of agree with a lot of the criticisms being levelled at you, but I also think we’re talking past each other a lot, and having very different expectations of what this discussion is.

  227. PeterFromLondonUK says

    Opioid Fentanyl, is prescribed by doctors. We accept medical help.

    His doctor gave it to him.

  228. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    I am trying really freaking hard, have offered several what seem to me like perfectly understandable examples and images, and have offered sources that give more attention to stuff hard to handle in a chat like this…if the actual grammar or informational entropy of my comments is making me hard to understand, then maybe I should just apologize and stop trying? :/

    I think it would be helpful to make sure you realize that when I say “believe”…I never believe in facts, only

  229. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    (Sorry for the fragment at the bottom, forgot it was there, am typing from phone)

  230. Monocle Smile says

    @Jeremy
    I never xylophone in 23, only erkelsnatz.
    ^This is more coherent than what you just posted.
    Personally, I don’t think you understand what most of the key words you’re using actually mean. It’s a deepity (at best) to say you “believe in a question.” That doesn’t provide any useful information.

  231. Chikoppi says

    I never believe in facts, only questions.

    I assume you believe that if you put your hand on a hot stove it will cause painful if not debilitating damage. Surely you don’t walk around repeatedly searing your extremities because you only “believe in the question.”

    Beliefs are the premises we use to make decisions. Yes, all beliefs should be provisional, amended, adopted, or discarded as new information becomes available. Not knowing absolute truth doesn’t mean you don’t have beliefs…things you presently consider facts for practical purposes.

    Most (not all) atheist will say, “I don’t have reason to believe a god or gods exist.” This is not the same as, “I believe a god or gods do not exist.”

    So…YHWH:
    1) I have sufficient reason to believe it exists
    2) I have insufficient reason to believe it exists
    3) I have sufficient reason to believe it does not exist

    Is one, two, or three the premise that informs your decisions?

  232. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    MS…before you have an answer to a question, you have the choice to either let go of a question or hold onto it until you hear an answer. If that holding on isn’t called “believing” then I don’t know what it’s called.

    To be honest I am done trying to make sense to you…the above is all you’re gonna get.

  233. Monocle Smile says

    @Jeremy
    That’s little more than troll behavior. Posting a bunch of incoherent nonsense and then whining that you’re not being understood looks to me like you’re being deliberately inflammatory for your own amusement. Especially because earlier you said you didn’t believe in answers, which I think is absurdly dishonest.

  234. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    MS That’s fine. I am very angry at you now, but have no right to be…if it’s incoherent it’s incoherent. Just didn’t look that way when I wrote or re-read it.

  235. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    @Jeremy,
    For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s incoherent, I think people are just engaging in different conversations. I think I’m receiving what you’re sending to a certain extent. I can’t say it’s made a convert of me, but I also don’t think that’s what you’re aiming for.

  236. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @Athy Just hoping for a conversation.

    I can’t even go back and properly read the last few responses right now though. So angry…maybe it’s for the best.

  237. Monocle Smile says

    @Jeremy

    I never believe in facts, only questions.

    Baffling (and dishonest) statements like this don’t lend themselves well to conversation.

  238. adamah says

    Jeremy said:

    I never believe in facts, only questions…

    Hmmm, how ironic, since that appears to be a statement of fact (which if true, would mean Jeremy doesn’t actually believe it).

    Jeremy never seemingly tires of these silly meaningless word games, does he? Isn’t it hard to take him seriously?

    (Which he’s now forced to believe it as truth, since those were stated in the form of questions.)

    Don’t bogart all the weed, Jeremy: share and share alike!

  239. adamah says

    Mark said:

    Opioid Fentanyl, is prescribed by doctors. We accept medical help.

    His doctor gave it to him.

    Yeah, I smell a troll, since that’s just silly, claiming to know what is currently unknown and under investigation by the DEA and other authorities.

    Oh, wait: that’s right up Mark’s alley, since believers do that kind of thing ALL THE TIME, LOL!

    Anyway, here’s the latest only for those interested in knowing the truth:

    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-prince-drugs-investigation-20160603-snap-story.html

    As the article points out, unless Prince was being treated for end-stage cancer (which is one indication for fentanyl, unless some doctor was risking his medical license by prescribing narcotics for an ‘off-label indication’ like chronic hip pain), Prince was likely a filthy-rich junkie, a drug addict living in a gilded cage and forced to remain there since if he went to the elders to seek their help they’d likely disfellowship him in a heartbeat for misusing yes, even prescribed addictive drugs (their concern primarily being for “keeping the congregation clean”, per 1st Peter 1:14-16).

    Yes, it seems Prince sought out the help of a doctor who specializes in treating drug addiction, but that was risky for him to seek assistance, since he faced the threat of being disfellowshipped if found out (again, elders are more concerned about keeping the congregation clean, and avoiding bringing discredit upon “Jehovah’s organization” than on obtaining help for their members for what is a medical, not a moral or spiritual, problem).

  240. BillBo says

    Jeremy said:

    Just hoping for a conversation.

    @Jeremy, There are probably better forums for you to alleviate your loneliness if that is all you are looking for. After reading a lot of words you wrote above, I still cannot understand what your position is on pretty much anything. If you really wish to have a conversation the burden is upon you to use words as they are commonly defined in the dictionary and not just spout generalities. For example,

    you have the choice to either let go of a question or hold onto it until you hear an answer. If that holding on isn’t called “believing” then I don’t know what it’s called.

    Believing is holding something to be true, not seeking an answer to a question. What you call it is “curiosity”, caring to know the answer to a question. It is why most of us are here, I think, because we are interested in the question of whether a god exists and how people respond to that question. Why are you here?

  241. PeterFromLondonUK says

    264. Disfellowshipping depends on the individual’s attitude. If they’re repentant then they’re forgiven.

    Anyways…. It is nice to chat with you all.

    Your knowing the truth now is not the most important issue, you will learn it later, most learn it in the new system.

    Most humans live their entire life not knowing the truth, but well done for trying to find out.

  242. adamah says

    Peter said:

    Disfellowshipping depends on the individual’s attitude. If they’re repentant then they’re forgiven.

    Wow, whether intentionally or not, thanks for helping me to make my point.

    Repentance is predicated on never committing the same ‘sin’ again, which is an approach which goes completely against the current medical treatment protocols in use to successfully treat substance abusers (read on for an explanation).

    When I first heard rumors that Prince had been diagnosed with AIDS and was attempting to ‘cure himself with prayer’, I was suspicious: I knew JWs accepted most modern medical treatments, primary exception being just as long as the treatment don’t involve the use of blood.

    Since treatment for AIDS doesn’t involve blood, I was suspicious that he’d rely entirely on ‘faith healing’: after all, he’s not a Christian Scientist.

    But when rumors started surfacing that Prince had become addicted to the prescription opioid pain-killers that he had been prescribed for chronic hip pain, that explanation made sense: JWs view ALL substance abuse (even if the abuse of prescribed meds) to be a sign of “spiritual weakness”, which God (the so called “greatest physician”) treats with faith, prayer, maintaining good associations with others in the congregation, and above all, showing a spirit of sincere repentance after confessing of the sin of addiction before a body of elders who convene to decide the individual’s fate. The guilty sinner must “never sin again” (which Jesus warned the adulteress, after forgiving her of the sin).

    Therein lies the problem: no physician in their right mind treats opioid addiction using the “cold turkey” method: we have mountains of previous clinical studies that prove beyond any doubt that it is sometimes FATAL to do so.

    Instead, the physician will prescribe progressively weaker forms of opioid substances (where Fentanyl is 100x more potent than the typical street heroin shot up by junkies: it’s the ‘big daddy’ of opioids, the most potent form).

    That’s exactly why the son of the CA addiction physician was carrying a weaker form of opiates with him when he arrived, only to find Prince already dead of drug overdose (the authorities confiscated the med, seizing it as evidence of possible criminal wrong-doing: the son will have to explain why he was carrying a controlled substance across state lines, answering to where he obtained it: “my daddy gave it to me to give to Prince” doesn’t wash, since it’s a schedule 2 controlled substance, to be dispensed by a licensed pharmacist).

    But the idea of needing to grovel before a group of uneducated janitors, window washers and plumbers (all typical JW occupations held by elders) before seeking needed medical treatment is so laughable as to be absurd and/or in this case, fatal.

    Prince’s JW religious beliefs (which view drug abuse as a sign of spiritual weakness) likely triggered overwhelming shame and guilt as a hypocrit (Prince reportedly wouldn’t allow anyone in his touring entourage to use drugs on the road), and that viewpoint likely played a role in his delaying and accepting the medical treatment that arrived only a few hours too late.

    Of course, this is all excused as ‘protected activity’ in the name of the Constituonally-guaranteed ‘free exercise of religion’, so it falls on potential converts to perform their due diligence (caveat emptor, i.e. let the buyer beware).

    Of course, the ones most-likely to join the JWs are exactly the ones least-likely to do so….

    As had been said before ad nausaeum, our personal beliefs inform our decisions: God help you if you accept a few beliefs that may have quite-lethal consequences for you (as it did for Prince).

  243. adamah says

    Peter said:

    Anyways…. It is nice to chat with you all.

    “Chat with us”?

    Wow, what an odd conception you have of what the word ‘chat’ conveys, since you’ve refused to engage (ironically enough) in a “good faith” discussion.

    Your knowing the truth now is not the most important issue, you will learn it later, most learn it in the new system.

    Sigh: tell that to dearly-departed Prince, who might’ve benefitted from knowing the “actually-true truth”: he died largely as a result of allowing his emotional needs to form his beliefs.

    And it’s curious that you assume that anyone reading here WILL survive Armageddon?

    Don’t JWs still believe that just as in Noah’s day, 99.999999999% of the World’s inhabitants will be killed by Jehovah during the upcoming ‘Battle of Armageddon’, facing a ‘final death’ from God’s destructive wrath from which there isnt any hope of resurrection?

    That whole “become a JW right now, or die an eternal death during upcoming Armageddon” certainly is a hard-core sales tactic (an “appeal to fear”): it’s incredibly sad how many terrified fearful individuals there must be out there such that they actually fall for it.

    Most humans live their entire life not knowing the truth, but well done for trying to find out.

    Wow, what a condescending hubristic air of smugness and superiority you manage to convey in so few words….

    Truly you’re as fine an example of ‘the arrogance of ignorance’ as it gets.

  244. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @265 (the only response I have completely read, and the only one that seems to assume good will)

    Thanks for the feedback. It helps a lot more when someone says “this specific thing doesn’t make sense” than when they say “half of what you’re saying doesn’t make sense, go figure out which half and fix it”.

    I thought “know” was the word for holding something true, and this is actually the less reliable level than curiosity (the hebrew word for the concept is “yira”/”awe”)? Since if I see something that indicates a change in circumstance (e.g. someone touches the tove with an oven mitt, coming away unscathed) then the fact might change (or become more limited in its application) but the curiosity (“can I touch the pretty glowy stove?”) still holds.

    From a perspective other than its own, YKVK (“He causes to be”) can be understood as just the root of skepticism, i.e. the “What is all this stuff that’s so busy existing and not existing (Why are you here?

    I wanted to discuss my way of life, with all its abnormalities (kashrut, shabbat, all the stuff that could make a person crazy if they don’t have a good rabbi who says “always choose sanity over a higher level of observance”) and whether it is worth the payoff (command of lots of really neat ideas, new curiosities, connection to a history spanning millenia, free meals).

  245. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    The other, obvious cost being the loneliness (“why does nobody understand me? Aren’t these ideas everyone studies every day? What do you mean I don’t like you because I can’t eat your food?”) but that’s the price of life I suppose

  246. Monocle Smile says

    @Jeremy

    Since if I see something that indicates a change in circumstance (e.g. someone touches the tove with an oven mitt, coming away unscathed) then the fact might change (or become more limited in its application) but the curiosity (“can I touch the pretty glowy stove?”) still holds

    I think we’re really just using words in wildly different fashions. When we say “fact,” we mean stuff like “when the stove glows red, it is hot.” That fact doesn’t just change. In fact, every last bit of human knowledge is predicated on the inductive conclusion that tomorrow is going to be pretty much the same as today…that there are basic realities of how our world works. Do you dispute this?

    whether it is worth the payoff (command of lots of really neat ideas, new curiosities, connection to a history spanning millenia, free meals)

    Do you honestly think this “history” is accurate? I don’t ask that patronizingly.
    Also, this whole “really neat ideas” thing baffles me. What new knowledge have you acquired? Ground-breaking scientific discoveries? Stuff worthy of Nobel Prizes? Anything with a practical application? If not, then are these ideas really worth anything? Will they be worth anything?

    For the record, I don’t find “why am I here?” to be a question of any significance. I find it to be malformed with faulty assumptions (teleology).

  247. Monocle Smile says

    @Jeremy
    I’m still not sure why you became so angry earlier, but my last post does read rather harshly. I do seek to understand, but I typically lose patience if nothing concrete rears it head early on.

  248. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @MS Apology accepted…I didn’t read most of what you’ve said so far past calling my posts “more than troll behavior”, TBH

    As far as your inclination to the concrete…there is definitely nothing wrong with that, but it does make some finer points hard to share.

    I disagree about knowledge being based on a consistency in how time flows…it has for a long time to me seemed like more of a process of limiting the scope of our assumptions, e.g. overcoming my fear of fire and accepting that my hand will not burn if I wear the gloves.

    I know you said you won’t look, but Matt’s “fear and religion” video covers this all very well.

    Practical products of Orthodox Judaism…well, I said above that there is nothing we can claim unique credit for. But certainly Talmudic study has helped propagate that beautiful meme of “curiosity about everything” 🙂

    What is the opposite of fear? Curiosity, apparently…Ironic considering “yira” gets translated as “fear” so often…

  249. Monocle Smile says

    @Jeremy
    So if you woke up tomorrow morning and gravity was reversed and a glowing red stove did not burn your hand, these things would not surprise you? I recommend reading a bit on epistemology 101. The principle of uniformitarianism is the only way we can really do science.
    I don’t see how the “Religion and Fear” video applies to anything I have asked. I’ve seen it a couple of times.
    If “exploring neat ideas” leads to exactly nothing useful, then I don’t consider these ideas to be “neat” or even worth contemplating.

  250. says

    Of all the hypocrites unwilling to account for their behavior, some atheists put some Christians to shame. Your ease at blasting people who claim to be christian is equal only to your appetite to denounce his faithful followers, as well. The fact that you dwell on the obvious failures of certain people, ad infinitum, and those who live according to the words of Jesus, places you firmly among the vast multitudes of your average boob.

    It takes no critical thinking on your part to preach to your followers the same old nonsense even as they endlessly agree with you. Try foraging ahead on some real issues.

  251. Monocle Smile says

    @urtrolling
    Go ahead and demonstrate that your god exists. Challenge presented. I predict you won’t even try.

  252. says

    “Rarely will you get a look into the colossally bizarre fantasy world that is Christian fundamentalism than the kind of look you get during one of these Praise-a-Thons. And never will you get as clear a window into the reality that religion is nothing more or less than Big Business, with holy writings that are supposed to be inerrant and literally true (to the fundie mindset) freely distorted to aid the corporation’s bottom line. In keeping with the monetary motif, TBN’s pledge drives give a lot of weight to Voltaire’s famous quote, that while God may have made man in His image, man has surely paid Him back in His own coin.”
    a fundamental believer in the atheist creed

    Indeed! Rarely will these zealots seek real proof that God is not. Using the circus clowns of modern media evangel-entertainment to create disbelief in Jesus Christ, always backfires. Just as split-hoof delighted over the Crucifixion for three days, they will never understand how they promote faith in the long run. For they have no understanding of Christianity. They cannot see beyond their rather large and ever-growing noses to discover what Christianity really is. Their desperate and ineffectual pursuit to ruin Christ’s magnificent and benevolent influence throughout the world has become an increasingly embarrassing failure for them. Ms. Crouch, Lil Jimbo Bakker, The Roberts and a host of others who have enriched their bank accounts by playing religion, are so yesterday. Educated, thinking folks long ago refused to get their kicks from this kind of media over-exposure, this haughty hilarity over nothing of significance. But, this is the best the religion of atheism can do. Unfortunately, it is all proselytizing atheists have left to try to discredit the King of Kings.

  253. says

    “What is the purpose of God? Why does God exist? What does God do?” A Believer in there is no God.

    He’s an errand boy to satisfy your wondering desires. No? Let’s see. I AM THAT I AM. Ooops! Sorry. That’s likely to get me banned. Atheists hate it when their “humor” isn’t humorous, when it is all for naught and their insults bounce off their sworn enemies. They don’t debate. They preach, make demands and ban Christians when they sense they can’t win at their game of “Let’s Humiliate A Christian!” They do, however, love to chat among themselves, always agreeing wholeheartedly with their co-believers in sardonic quips of superiority.

  254. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @Monocle I really like the question you raise; I think it will bring out exactly the thing we disagree on.

    I WOULD be surprised…of course I would…it’s not every day you hear something new.
    (I’m using the word “hear” in the context of what I said earlier “If you’re capable of understanding a question, you’re capable of hearing its answer” — if the answer changes, then noticing that change is something I call “hearing,” because I don’t know a better word.

    “Observing” doesn’t fit because it’s not obvious enough that there is an instrument used to observe. “Measuring” could work but just feels wrong for some reason.)

    …erm, as I was saying

    I WOULD be surprised, but not afraid. The question would remain “great, what do I do about this” and of course I would wonder what had changed.

    This sort of stuff* happens all the time, though recently it’s usually in a more controlled environment like the LHC. ThunderF00t was fortunate enough to experience something like this, and I’ll provide a link below.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmlAYnFF_s8&list=PLQJW3WMsx1q3VRcPYRONDLBaAcMn3YNu3&index=42

    If you’d like, this is also addressed in the context of gender identity on one of the recently-shared “lost episodes” of The Atheist Experience…I can link the clip, but I won’t unless someone wants it.

    *violation of expectation…In english we use “nature” and “expectation” almost interchangeably, e.g. “It’s just not in his nature to clean up after himself” could apply to me. Thus “nature” in its usual context context not the same thing as the axiom on which science is based, i.e. the continuing usefulness of knowledge, i.e. that what works today will also work tomorrow and that if it doesn’t, then something has not been accounted for. Rather, it refers to the continuity we EXPECT, i.e. not the “if it doesn’t” part of the previous sentence.

  255. Chikoppi says

    @urkidding

    He’s an errand boy to satisfy your wondering desires. No? Let’s see. I AM THAT I AM. Ooops! Sorry. That’s likely to get me banned. Atheists hate it when their “humor” isn’t humorous, when it is all for naught and their insults bounce off their sworn enemies. They don’t debate. They preach, make demands and ban Christians when they sense they can’t win at their game of “Let’s Humiliate A Christian!” They do, however, love to chat among themselves, always agreeing wholeheartedly with their co-believers in sardonic quips of superiority.

    That you don’t see the irony and projection in this statement is stunning.

  256. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    (if there are more responses, I haven’t read them)

    The “wondering what changed” above is actually a direct consequence of that “1*1=1” thing: No matter what changes from our perspectives, there must be a perspective from which nothing has changed.

    This leads into the issue of time, but I don’t really want to discuss it right now

  257. says

    urkidding: I see no reason to “seek real proof that God is not,” just as I see no reason to seek real proof that pixies and unicorns are not. I don’t accept responsibility to disprove every bizarre concept someone comes up with. I do not believe it would ever have occurred to me to reject the idea that God exists if someone else had not postulated his existence.

  258. frankgturner says

    @ Chikoppi # 281 and Yaddith # 283 and Monoclesmile # 277
    I think you have it right that it is “urtrolling” Monocle Smile. The individual urkidding seems to be speaking just like he is the poly-nominous one, Matthew-Mark-Luke-John-Peter still trying to shift the burden of proof. The style gives it away.
    .
    I mean it is pretty simple, there is no proof that a god exists that we have been presented with, no hard evidence unless you want to define god in some sort of deistic way (that all of nature is God or something like that). Hard evidence that the Xtian God has not been presented. So in response to the question, “Does God exist?” our answer is “I don’t know,” because we presume that he is talking about the Xtian God given the context. In the absence of proof, we default to the conclusion that said God does not exist, but we don’t claim to know this as that would require evidence. I once was the other way around, I acknowledged that I had no proof for the existence of the Xtian God but I defaulted to believing that it did. Now I default the other way.
    .
    The poly-numinous one can’t accept that, he keeps demanding that we provide proof that a god does not exist, specifically his Xtian God. I am not claiming that the Xtian God does not exist, I don’t know. From what I have gotten from others on this board, they don’t know either.
    .
    I don’t claim to know that said God does not exist, so I don’t need to prove it. Matthew-Mark-Luke-and-John (now “urkidding”) does claim to know, so prove it. Just a little note, failing to disprove the existence of a god does not mean that it exists by default. By that logic, I can’t disprove Zeus’s or Odin’s existence either, and they still don’t exist by default.

  259. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    In comment 280 (the one beginning “@Monocle”) there is a typo: “context context” should be “context is”…sorry about that.

    A continuation of the introduction to time is to look again at the PBS Space Time video I linked above. It explains that to the physical world, both mass and time are emergent phenomena from restriction of movement, and that the fundamental particles don’t actually experience time.

  260. Devocate says

    There is a vast gulf between proving something exists, and proving it does not. Since we can never do either of those things, that middle ground in fact is the entirety of the discussion space. This is where we are required to investigate, find, and analyze *evidence*. Evidence, for example the fine-tuning of the universe for life, which increases the the hypothesis of no god existing, relative to the hypothesis of a god existing, moves our evaluation of the probabilities involved within that space.

  261. Chikoppi says

    @Jeremy

    The “wondering what changed” above is actually a direct consequence of that “1*1=1” thing: No matter what changes from our perspectives, there must be a perspective from which nothing has changed.

    That statement certainly looks like a belief or claim of knowledge.

  262. adamah says

    Frank said:

    I think you have it right that it is “urtrolling” Monocle Smile. The individual urkidding seems to be speaking just like he is the poly-nominous one, Matthew-Mark-Luke-John-Peter still trying to shift the burden of proof. The style gives it away.

    Talk about a pointless pursuit: trying to prove Peter (Mark) and urkidding are one in the same?

    The ‘style of the claim’ is exactly like what most ANY believer would employ (shifting of ‘burden of proof’ is prevalent, since most are completely unaware of a concept from the rules of forensic debate, but they use it, nonetheless), and with BILLIONS of believers out there who typically shift the burden, citing ‘simularity of style’ is meaningless.

    Frank, please don’t take us off-road for a grand tour of the weed-lands by making such pointless claims, where YOU now bear the burden of proof of demonstrating that the same person is behind both posts.

    On this:

    I mean it is pretty simple, there is no proof that a god exists that we have been presented with, no hard evidence unless you want to define god in some sort of deistic way (that all of nature is God or something like that). Hard evidence that the Xtian God has not been presented. So in response to the question, “Does God exist?” our answer is “I don’t know,” because we presume that he is talking about the Xtian God given the context. In the absence of proof, we default to the conclusion that said God does not exist, but we don’t claim to know this as that would require evidence.

    (Snip)

    The poly-numinous one can’t accept that, he keeps demanding that we provide proof that a god does not exist, specifically his Xtian God. I am not claiming that the Xtian God does not exist, I don’t know. From what I have gotten from others on this board, they don’t know either.

    Speak for yourself, Frank.

    In case you haven’t noticed, there are a few ‘hard atheists’ out there who DO make the stronger claim that the God depicted in the Bible (OT and NT) doesn’t exist, primarily relying on the Bible itself as incriminating evidence (eg the logical and moral inconsistencies and theological contradictions found throughout it). Such evidence indicates the complete absence of any “intelligent designer”; instead, there’s tons of evidence that the Bible is more likely the result of the works of fallible men.

    I once was the other way around, I acknowledged that I had no proof for the existence of the Xtian God but I defaulted to believing that it did. Now I default the other way.
    .

    I don’t claim to know that said God does not exist, so I don’t need to prove it. Matthew-Mark-Luke-and-John (now “urkidding”) does claim to know, so prove it. Just a little note, failing to disprove the existence of a god does not mean that it exists by default. By that logic, I can’t disprove Zeus’s or Odin’s existence either, and they still don’t exist by default.

    The problem with the ‘soft atheist’ position is it can only result in a stale-mate, at best, since we already know that theists cannot meet their burden of proof. Best-case scenario is that it leads to a dead-lock, a tie (aka logjam).

    If you’re content to settle for a tie, I suppose that approach is fine.

    However, I wouldn’t be content to give up that territory, when it’s relatively simple to disprove the existence of ‘Bible God’ by relying on circumstantial evidence presented in the Bible itself (at least for any listener who respects and has adopted the principles of rationalist thought, AKA reason).

  263. adamah says

    Urkidding bleated:

    He’s an errand boy to satisfy your wondering desires. No? Let’s see. I AM THAT I AM. Ooops! Sorry. That’s likely to get me banned. Atheists hate it when their “humor” isn’t humorous, when it is all for naught and their insults bounce off their sworn enemies. They don’t debate.They preach, make demands and ban Christian….(snip)

    Boo-hoo, you poor tormented and prosecuted Xians, suffering in the name of X….

    Isn’t that the entire point of it? Shouldn’t you be delighted to be the target of mocking? Isn’t that your ‘rai·son d’ê·tre’ (the ultimate reason you exist)? Shouldn’t you be thanking us for fulfilling the prophetic words of Jesus?

    But that point aside, I don’t suppose you care to cite ONE (1) example from this very thread to back up your claim that atheists aren’t debating in good faith (i.e. looking for supportive evidence that would change our minds).

    And if you think Mark/Peter is engaging in a debate (rather than merely proselytizing), then you may need to look up the basic definition of the word, ‘debate’.

  264. says

    Too funny. Why obsess over God? You can’t even define what you pretend you know doesn’t exist. Why haven’t you banned me yet? I’m making arguments you cannot defeat, so you make it personal? Better ban me now before you lose too much face. That’s how you get by. When confronted with ideas you hate, you ban and say you’re banning someone for some ridiculous reason. All brought to on the freethought website.

    Funny how you claim to know all about the one who isn’t, the one who didn’t say the things you know he never said. How ’bout that! Pray tell, share all you know about all the other fictitious characters who didn’t live 2,000 years ago. Quote them! Good luck.

  265. adamah says

    Chikoppi said:

    That statement certainly looks like a belief or claim of knowledge.

    And if Jeremy were logically-consistent, he wouldn’t believe it, since he previously said this:

    I never believe in facts, only questions…

    I kinda feel sorry for Jeremy, since searching for logical consistency in the steaming pile of illogical mish-mash of the Tanakh/Gemara/Midrash must indeed give him one massive migraine (and he likely blames himself for it, when the answer is quite obvious to the rest of us).

    Jeremy, if you’re not yet ready to admit the obvious, ou might look into what psychologists refer to as ‘compartmentalization’ , a strategy many Orthodox Jews are forced to use to separate what they believe during the work-week to keep it separate from what they accept in their personal life.

    I saw a video on YouTube a decade ago with a rabbi explaining how a prominent Orthodox Jewish cardiologist was able to employ a separate set of evidence-based beliefs during the week to engage in his profession, but then switched beliefs on the weekend to avoid the pain of cognitive dissonance.

    (I guess the video was removed, as I couldn’t find it….)

    Anyway, Google for “Orthodox Jew compartmentalization”.

  266. Chikoppi says

    @urkidding

    I’m making arguments you cannot defeat

    First, I think you’re a troll. That being said, I’ll entertain this boast.

    What is your claim and what evidence do you offer in support of it? Bear in mind, your evidence should be objective; factual statements about things that are observable. The conclusions you draw from this evidence must be logically sound. Unsupported proclamations will be ignored.

    As to why do we care? For a number of reasons. Too often religious majorities use a claim of “true knowledge” to impose their beliefs on others. You don’t have to look further than any number of constitutionally suspect laws the religious right is trying to pass in this country right now to see that. It encroaches upon education, commerce, justice, healthcare, and civil liberties. In some places, innocent people are murdered for belonging to a religious minority. We seek to demonstrate that religious beliefs do not confer a moral or social preeminence.

    Also, we care about making well informed decisions. When one holds a false premise that premise can lead to a rash of poor, even dangerous decisions that negatively impact society. If a person’s religious beliefs are offered as justification for their actions then those beliefs are open to scrutiny.

  267. adamah says

    Urkidding said:

    Too funny. Why obsess over God? You can’t even define what you pretend you know doesn’t exist.

    Again, you may need to review the concept of “burden of proof”: as the theist, YOU need to identify and describe what God you claim exists, NOT us, as a preamble to a debate.

    Why haven’t you banned me yet? I’m making arguments you cannot defeat, so you make it personal? Better ban me now before you lose too much face. That’s how you get by. When confronted with ideas you hate, you ban and say you’re banning someone for some ridiculous reason. All brought to on the freethought website.

    Wow, you seem to be more than a tad disappointed to be able to disprove your own assertion? You’re still able to post, no? That obviously means you haven’t gotten your wish….

    And wow, check out the ego on you!

    I don’t suppose you can see your posts as evidence of being a tad narcisstic, as if everyone else is alive to serve YOUR wants and needs, as if we’re here just to persecute you and don’t have an internal agenda of our own?

    Again, I’m still waiting for you to present ONE quote from this thread to prove your claim that atheists aren’t willing to debate (and there is evidence of it to be found: I just want you to present it all on your own, without my coaching you: ‘teach a man to fish’ etc).

  268. says

    “There is a vast gulf between proving something exists, and proving it does not. Since we can never do either of those things…” A follower of and believer in the Atheism faith.

    You have not, can not, and will never prove that statement.

    To everyone with eyes to read, don’t bother trying to bait me. It is futile, a total waste of your time. Expect me not to address you.

  269. says

    “Again, you may need to review the concept of “burden of proof”: as the theist, YOU need to identify and describe what God you claim exists, NOT us, as a preamble to a debate.” A devotee to the Atheistic faith

    Beloved, to insist Someone doesn’t exist when you don’t know Who he is, fails every time. Should be obvious.

  270. says

    “Boo-hoo, you poor tormented and prosecuted Xians, suffering in the name of X….
    Isn’t that the entire point of it? Shouldn’t you be delighted to be the target of mocking? Isn’t that your ‘rai·son d’ê·tre’ (the ultimate reason you exist)? Shouldn’t you be thanking us for fulfilling the prophetic words of Jesus?” A Believer in Atheism

    My, my, my. No boo-hooing on my part. I am thrilled to mock you all. It is a delight, and not very difficult, I might add.

  271. frankgturner says

    @ adamah # 288
    Actually the larger point of the post was to state something that I hypothesize (which actually has more to do with the timing of the posts) as though I knew it were fact to attempt to get urkidding to give it away should that be the case. I am aware that many believers try the shifting of the burden of proof but the timing does seem awfully convenient doesn’t it?
    .
    The bigger point I am trying to make to urkidding whom I suspect is Mark-Paul-Peter-Luke is that changing his handle doesn’t get us to view him any different. I still see him-her-it as the same individual regardless of what name is being used or if it is even a different person (it may actually be).
    .
    In actuality I personally think that scripture has enough of its own incriminating evidence to suggest that it’s own diety is non existent, or at least not what is being described. To me that does not qualify as proof that it does not exist though. If you go the “hard atheist” route, fine with me.

  272. Chikoppi says

    @urkidding

    There is a vast gulf between proving something exists, and proving it does not. Since we can never do either of those things…” A follower of and believer in the Atheism faith.
    You have not, can not, and will never prove that statement.
    To everyone with eyes to read, don’t bother trying to bait me. It is futile, a total waste of your time. Expect me not to address you.

    “God is all a big joke, we don’t really believe it. We just like to pretend we know things…” A follower of and believer in theistic faith.

    Since you can’t disprove the above unattributed quote, I win the argument. Right?

    Give me a break.

    I can’t prove leprechauns don’t exist. I certainly don’t believe that they do. Why? Because there is no reason, no sufficient evidence to warrant belief. If you think you have sufficient evidence for your claim then present it. If not, then simply admit there is no good reason to believe it is true.

    1) I have sufficient reason to believe it is true
    2) I have insufficient reason to believe it is true
    3) I have sufficient reason to believe it is false

    Your position is “1,” my position is “2.” I don’t know if there is any evidence you might offer that will be sufficient to move my position, but you are welcome to present it.

  273. Chikoppi says

    @urkidding

    Beloved, to insist Someone doesn’t exist when you don’t know Who he is, fails every time. Should be obvious.

    Zeus.

    You know who that is, right? That must mean he exists.

    Idiotic.

  274. adamah says

    Urkidding said:

    Beloved, to insist Someone doesn’t exist when you don’t know Who he is, fails every time. Should be obvious.

    That’s what I was getting at by saying you need to describe YOUR beliefs in God, since for all I know, you could pray to Zeus, Allah, etc.

    But from your obvious Xian persecution complex, I was assuming you meant, “Jehovah, the Almighty”, the star of the Xian OT/NT. But even with that info, there are differences in various Xian faiths for the claimed traits of God (e.g. Catholicism’s Doctine of Trinity being the most obvious example of a theological difference amongst various flavors of Xianity).

    So point-blank question: are you a JW?

    If not, then what flavor of Xianity are you?

    (I AM an ex-believer who’s quite familiar with the claims made of YHWH’s traits within the context of the JW belief-system, so your counter-argument that I’m unfamiliar with the various concepts of a Xian God fails.)

  275. Vivec says

    You have not, can not, and will never prove that statement.

    I assume, then, that you have solved the problem of induction?

  276. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    Oh get off it chikopi. We already established that I didn’t say what I meant there.

  277. says

    frankgturner #284: Theists present us with an unfalsifiable claim and then berate us if we make no attempt to falsify it. That’s a sucker’s game, and I won’t play.

    adamah #288: “Bible God” is tough to defend, which is why most of Matt Dillahunty’s debate opponents prefer to argue “Generic God” instead.

  278. Devocate says

    “don’t bother trying to bait me”

    I most emphatically wasn’t addressing YOU! You have shown you don’t understand what evidence even is.

  279. Chikoppi says

    @Jeremy

    Oh get off it chikopi. We already established that I didn’t say what I meant there.

    Gladly.

    So which of the following is true regarding your present beliefs about a god:

    1) I have sufficient reason to believe it exists
    2) I have insufficient reason to believe it exists
    3) I have sufficient reason to believe it does not exist

    I ask because a) your beliefs about this topic serve as a premise, b) if your answer is “1” I would like to know what reasons you find sufficient.

    I don’t think this is an unreasonable thing to ask in the context of this discussion.

  280. frankgturner says

    @ Yaddith # 303
    I may not play their sucker’s game but it certainly does not exclude me from pointing out that their unfalsifiable claim is pointless and provides us with no useful information. That’s why I don’t quite get the principle of why he “is thrilled to mock you all.” Mocking people for not playing his sucker’s game? Mocking people for not buying his bullshit? Seems like it is us mocking him for his trying to get us…
    .
    And of course the “Bible God” is what they won’t defend. Look how much Peter-Paul-Luke or urkidding or whatever he wants to be called at this moment has to go out of his way to avoid the topic.
    .
    @ Devocate # 304
    I admit that I WAS trying to bait him, no more so than he tried to bait others. It is not necessary, regardless of who he his, Peter-Paul-Mark or urkidding or whatever, a definitely lack of understanding of proof or evidence (that or a desperate attempt to avoid the topic) is wholly apparent. One need not bait this individual to see what he is lacking.
    .
    @ Chikoppi # 298
    I may not know any leprechauns but I have met some short Irish people. I even knew a 5 foot 1 inch talk red haired blue eyed Irishman who was a manager at a Spencer gifts who would dress as a leprechaun every March 17th. Not what you are getting at though. Reference to Zeus and Allah seem to be in line with my principle on the matter.

  281. says

    You fellas are too cute. None has a clue. You cannot define God, but you are certain He isn’t. Powerful debating tactics. When you get past your dreadful terror of the god who isn’t and fear of losing face, you’ll understand.

    I AM

  282. Vivec says

    but you are certain He isn’t.

    That’s certainly not the position I hold. He very well could exist (albeit not in the way many believers describe him, since many of his traits/actions are logically contradictory or provably false), but there is not sufficient justification to believe he exists.

    I do not believe he exists =/= I believe he doesn’t exist

  283. says

    “since many of his traits/actions are logically contradictory” atheist

    for example?

    what’s the difference between contradictory and logically contradictory?

  284. frankgturner says

    @ Vivec # 309
    “I do not believe he exists =/= I believe he doesn’t exist”
    For our resident theist by whatever name he wants to go by (urkidding, and I think he is kidding or just really dense, probably the latter), those two statements do seem to be one and the same for him. For him, you either are certain it does or certain it doesn’t and there does not seem to be anything else.
    .
    This is kind of like how the average person understands the word “atheism,” which many really equate with a certainty in the non existence of a god vs. an uncertainty in the existence of one. A typical individual who confuses “a-theism” (not theism) with “anti-theism” (against theism). It likely comes from an unwillingness to entertain other reasoning on the matter. I have met too many of these. Unfortunate how prominent these types of individuals are.

  285. Chikoppi says

    @urkidding

    “Contradictory” simply means “opposed” or “in opposition to.”

    “Logically contradictory” means two things are mutually exclusive. If one is true the other necessarily cannot be true. For instance, a thing cannot both exist and not exist.

  286. Vivec says

    @310
    What Chikoppi said. Contradictory has colloquial uses that are not necessarily the same as “logical contradiction”

    In terms of examples, classically-defined omnipotence, or the claims that god is simultaneously “perfectly just” and “perfectly merciful”

  287. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @chikopi Definitely 1, as I’ve effectively defined god into existence…to the extent that skepticism is a useful lens, YKVK is a useful direction to focus curiosity.

    If you are uncomfortable attributing personality to such a thing [which can’t even properly be called “being”], then that is GREAT and means we agree. Personality traits seemingly attributable to YKVK comes later/”lower”/”as a side effect” in the order of things, and takes some further introductions to properly understand.

    In my opinion this is the *boring* part, and if people are interested in discussing my theological beliefs then I would rather get on to the juicy stuff, but nobody seems interested.

    To be honest, I think my theological beliefs can stand on their own [and if they don’t, will readily tear them down and redefine them] and I was more interested in discussing practical questions, which won’t go away even if the beliefs do. [See my answer to BillBo’s “why are you here”.] But the two might be interlinked.

  288. Vivec says

    Also, this is all a tangent from my main point.

    On the whole, I do not see sufficient evidence to believe in the existence of god. There are specific conceptions of god that I believe are false due to being ascribed traits/actions that are contradictory or false, but I am not taking the stance that “no gods could possibly exist anywhere.”

    It could be possible that there is a god, but without sufficient evidence, one couldn’t have been rationally justified in believing in it.

  289. Monocle Smile says

    @Jeremy
    If your theological beliefs are not backed with reason and evidence, then you are correct that nobody is interested. This is not a forum for preaching.
    The next practical question you address will be the first.

  290. Chikoppi says

    @Jeremy

    chikopi Definitely 1, as I’ve effectively defined god into existence…

    That statement makes me, and I suspect most others here, queasy. There has been a long history of various attempts to do this. None of them to this day have held up under scrutiny.

    If this “definitionally necessary god” serves as a premise for your ability to discern what is true then you’d better start with that proof. Otherwise you will have entered presuppositionalist territory.

  291. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @MS
    Let’s put it this way: if my previous comments only halfway made sense, and nobody is able to tell me which half, then for our purposes you are right and my beliefs are not backed by reason and evidence…therefore I will deal with you accordingly.

    You are right, though, that the next practical question will be the first…I tend to just follow where conversations lead, which caused issues on the show and caused issues here. So thank you for that.

  292. says

    “‘Beloved, to insist Someone doesn’t exist when you don’t know Who he is, fails every time. Should be obvious.’

    ‘Zeus.
    You know who that is, right? That must mean he exists.
    Idiotic.'”
    Loyal Convert to Atheism

    You are rather far from the point, wouldn’t you say? Better luck next time. However, let me add, I will not waste time pointing out your inability to follow the essence of an argument. Not responding to you and others is not because I am rude. Just not interested in pursuing this particular topic with people way below my standards for engaging in thoughtful discussions.

    “Zeus.
    You know who that is, right? That must mean he exists.
    Idiotic.” Same old same old

    Didn’t you just identify Zeus as Zeus?

    Defining God, which you cannot do, is the point. You insist God isn’t but you are unable to define and identify this god you are certain is not.

  293. Vivec says

    You insist God isn’t

    For the like tenth time today, no one is claiming to have knowledge that no god exists. We’re claiming to lack sufficient evidence to believe in a god. If you can’t understand the difference, you’re not intellectually equipped for this discussion.

  294. says

    “For the like tenth time today, no one is claiming to have knowledge that no god exists. We’re claiming to lack sufficient evidence to believe in a god. If you can’t understand the difference, you’re not intellectually equipped for this discussion.” devout atheist

    You have the atheist’s updated definition, I see.

    Classically defined Atheism is quite different, but you know this.

    Ergo, you base your belief system on ignorance or you are an agnostic.

  295. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @Chikkopi had to wiki “presuppositionalism”…

    I am not saying my religion provides the basis for rational thought…I am saying the opposite, that the people who successfully expound the beliefs and practicalities of our religion [i.e. the expounders who are generally accepted…e.g rashi, tosafot, rambam] do so by making use of the basis for rational thought. The religion is shaped by the basis, not the other way around.

    And I’d say we’ve done a very good job, even if adamah disagrees…this leads to a challenge, because with the religious behaviors comes good sensible company, and comes also a knowledge of how the same moral and practical principles that (if you follow the expounders) lead to our rituals, also lead to other rational behaviors that aren’t easy for a normal person to learn.

    This is Tracie’s “shoe” and my question on it. Are the company and the mastery of principles worth the weirdness in the eyes of the world? And her answer was “if you’ve mastered the principles, just use them on their own, why should they be attached to your rituals”…well, the rituals continue to strengthen the principles, day by day…it’s not a complete answer.

    I need to be convinced there is something wrong with an action, whose bases are completely rooted (whether transplanted or originally planted) in rational thought and strengthen that rational thought when applied in others areas, but which makes no sense to the world.

  296. frankgturner says

    @Vivec # 321
    I don’t know about him not being intellectually equipped. I wonder if he does not care or is just trying to oversimplify the argument. As far as understanding the difference, I wonder if he has ever even thought deep enough to entertain the possibility of there being a difference.

  297. says

    They insist they lack the information which proves God exists, even though they cannot define “God.” Not exactly logical. They go on like this forever, too. What information do they seek that would substantiate his existence? There can be no such information because they don’t know who and what or where God is. Unable to formulate the concept of God in the first place necessitates that you forfeit, automatically. You cannot debate something you can’t describe.

  298. Chikoppi says

    @urkidding

    Defining God, which you cannot do, is the point. You insist God isn’t but you are unable to define and identify this god you are certain is not.

    Strawman.

    I have yet to encounter ANY definition of god or ANY evidence sufficient to justify belief in such a thing, however it is defined.

    If you think you know something, demonstrate it. Because if you can’t demonstrate it, then you don’t know it.

  299. Vivec says

    “classically-defined omnipotence,” atheist
    LOL

    Uh, yes? The way modern apologists and more classical apologists define the term differs. Hence going from “god is all-powerful” to “god has all powers that are not logically contradictory”

    Classically defined Atheism is quite different, but you know this.

    Which is irrelevant. You keep claiming that we all believe that there is no god, when we have repeatedly said this is not the case.

    You cannot debate something you can’t describe.

    If your god is immaterial, indescribable, and unfalsifiable, good for you, but there is no possible way to be rationally justified in believing in said god.

  300. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    >If you think you know something, demonstrate it. Because if you can’t demonstrate it, then you don’t know it.

    🙂 I love this. It is something I agree deeply on. (see my last comment to MS).

  301. Chikoppi says

    @Jeremy

    I need to be convinced there is something wrong with an action, whose bases are completely rooted (whether transplanted or originally planted) in rational thought and strengthen that rational thought when applied in others areas, but which makes no sense to the world.

    I’m not sure what to make of this. If the existence or non-existence of god is irrelevant then why insist upon it? It is completely superfluous. If it is not irrelevant, if it serves as a premise that necessitates or excludes other conclusions, then it is essential. Being wrong about it would lead to subsequent incorrect conclusions.

    If you’re saying your concept of god serves merely as a social convenience or rhetorical framework, well, OK. It would seem to serve more as a language barrier of sorts; one that makes it difficult for native speakers to converse with people not of the “in-group.”

  302. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    I honestly don’t know why you are so caught up with trying to attach existence/non-existence to “He who causes existence [including negative existence]”…it baffles me.

    Take away all existences, including the negative existences and the non-physical (e.g. conceptual) existences, and what you are left with refers to the only always-true thing (thing not dependent on circumstance), and to the only god, and to something to which the concept of existence does not apply, and to the basis of skepticism. If you don’t see how all of those “ands” refer to one thing…think about it only if you care, and otherwise just stop bugging me about it please.

  303. Chikoppi says

    Take away all existences, including the negative existences and the non-physical (e.g. conceptual) existences, and what you are left with refers to the only always-true thing (thing not dependent on circumstance), and to the only god, and to something to which the concept of existence does not apply, and to the basis of skepticism.

    I’m trying to understand your position, which is why, I think, you posted here.

    If we eliminate all things that exist, then all that remains is (conceptual) nothing. Nothing can’t be a something. That would violate the law of exclusion. So I don’t think you see god as some sort of agent with intention that exists outside of space and time (which is a common definition).

    Are you using the concept of god as a metaphor for a question? As in, “all questions are an attempt to know god,” or something to that effect? If so, that doesn’t actually sit too unfortably with me (so long as a priori properties aren’t being assigned to this metaphorical figure).

  304. says

    “I have yet to encounter ANY definition of god or ANY evidence sufficient to justify belief in such a thing, however it is defined.” LOL

    Then why are you asking for proof? You can’t define him so obviously he cannot be, which is exactly what I said.

    Try a dictionary sometime. God is classically and colloquially defined!

  305. says

    “If your god is immaterial, indescribable, and unfalsifiable, good for you, but there is no possible way to be rationally justified in believing in said god.” devote believer

    You say if he is indescribable, immaterial and unfallsifiable there is no way to justify believing in such a god.

    “If” is a key word. I never said those things.

    So, your god is not those things. You still have been unable to define him.

    Do yourselves a favor and knock off the 5 second time limit to make my comments

  306. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    >I’m trying to understand your position, which is why, I think, you posted here.

    Yes, I posted because you are trying 🙂 hence the caveat “if you’re not trying, stop bugging me”

    >If we eliminate all things that exist, then all that remains is (conceptual) nothing. Nothing can’t be a something. That would violate the law of exclusion.

    Right. And if it’s not a something, how can it possibly exist or not exist? 😀

    >So I don’t think you see god as some sort of agent with intention that exists outside of space and time (which is a common definition).

    Haha…you are shifting from “god” to “how I see god” and this actually changes the whole situation. I only see things that start with intention, since seeing [and even conceptual seeing] requires some sort of action (even if it’s just the action of light, which acts without experiencing time…in fact I’d argue that action without experiencing time is the only real sort of action.)

    And action requires intention (Are you using the concept of god as a metaphor for a question? As in, “all questions are an attempt to know god,” or something to that effect?

    This is accurate and one application, but is definitely not the only way I use this concept 🙂

    >If so, that doesn’t actually sit too unfortably with me (so long as a priori properties aren’t being assigned to this metaphorical figure).
    I don’t know what “unfortably” means, but…no, we do not assign a priori properties to God. Read Rambam’s Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah Chapter 1 if you want examples of all the a priori qualities we refrain from assigning to God 🙂

    Here is part one of that chapter:

    “The connection between all connections and the basis of wisdom is to know that there is a name for a ‘prime finder’ who makes found all things which are found.” (here “thing” does not necessarily refer to a physical existence…it is what I referred to above as “measurement”…anything which would remove your conceptual nothingness.)

    It’s not a coincidence that his first four words (“The connection between all connections and the basis of wisdom”) are an acrostic for YKVK…no, I don’t attribute it to some special quality of acrostics made using Hebrew, but it is a mnemonic device that was placed intentionally.

  307. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    Something weird happened while I was copy pasting and the above post makes no sense. Sorry. Will fix momentarily

  308. Chikoppi says

    @urkidding

    Then why are you asking for proof? You can’t define him so obviously he cannot be, which is exactly what I said.
    Try a dictionary sometime. God is classically and colloquially defined!

    Ok. Here’s the definition from Webster’s:

    1 capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: as
    a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe
    b Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind
    2 : a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality
    3 : a person or thing of supreme value
    4 : a powerful ruler

    I don’t have any reason to believe the god of definitions 1 or 2 exists. If you are referring to definition 3 or 4, I don’t care, as neither of those things are consequential or deserving of worship.

    Since you haven’t offered a definition that differs from the above, nor evidence to substantiate a god as defined by the above descriptions, I reject your claim. You do not know what you claim to know.

  309. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    OK, from the third quotation

    >So I don’t think you see god as some sort of agent with intention that exists outside of space and time (which is a common definition).

    Haha…you are shifting from “god” to “how I see god” and this actually changes the whole situation. I only see things that start with intention, since seeing [and even conceptual seeing] requires some sort of action (even if it’s just the action of light, which acts without experiencing time…in fact I’d argue that action without experiencing time is the only real sort of action.)

    And action requires intention (even if it’s a very abstract sort of intention, rather than something personal…e.g. a wave “intends” to travel away from the point where it started.)

    >Are you using the concept of god as a metaphor for a question? As in, “all questions are an attempt to know god,” or something to that effect?

    This is accurate and one application, but is definitely not the only way I use this concept 🙂

    >If so, that doesn’t actually sit too unfortably with me (so long as a priori properties aren’t being assigned to this metaphorical figure).
    I don’t know what “unfortably” means, but…no, we do not assign a priori properties to God. Read Rambam’s Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah Chapter 1 if you want examples of all the a priori qualities we refrain from assigning to God 🙂

    Here is part one of that chapter:
    “The connection between all connections and the basis of wisdom is to know that there is a name for a ‘prime finder’ who makes found all things which are found.” (here “thing” does not necessarily refer to a physical existence…it is what I referred to above as “measurement”…anything which would remove your conceptual nothingness.)
    It’s not a coincidence that his first four words (“The connection between all connections and the basis of wisdom”) are an acrostic for YKVK…no, I don’t attribute it to some special quality of acrostics made using Hebrew, but it is a mnemonic device that was placed intentionally.

  310. Vivec says

    So, your god is not those things.

    I do not posit a god.

    However, every definition of a god I have seen so far has either had insufficient evidence to support believing in it, or has given sufficient reason to falsify it.

  311. Vivec says

    @338
    Sounds like some Aristotelian/Al-Farabian “god is the prime mover that forms the start of every causal chain” nonsense.

    Those arguments accept a priori that there must be a thing to start the causal chain and that infinite regress must necessarily be impossible.

  312. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    Thanks to aristotle et al, “prime mover” has become a popular mistranslation because of the illiterate people who assume that the Rambam didn’t think for himself but echoed the Greeks.

    But the truth is that this “prime finder” can’t even have cause/effect imposed on it…there is no quality to cause, so why should it need a cause?

  313. Chikoppi says

    @Jeremy

    The connection between all connections and the basis of wisdom is to know that there is a name for a ‘prime finder’ who makes found all things which are found

    “…a ‘prime finder’ who…” This is certainly a personification, ascribing identity to a thing that exists. Maybe it’s intended as a metaphor, but if so it seems like an unnecessary obfuscation of a concept.

    “…makes found…” This seems to imply willful agency, as in, “a thing is found because the ‘prime finder’ wants it to be and causes it to be found.”

    And action requires intention (even if it’s a very abstract sort of intention, rather than something personal…e.g. a wave “intends” to travel away from the point where it started.)

    I don’t think this is a useful application of the word “intends.” A wave propogates outward because that is how a field or other medium reacts to an energetic disturbance. A wave is not a thing with desires. It does not have agency.

    Perhaps this is simply a case of linguistic traditions confounding effective communication. There seems to be a bit of animism here, that things are the way the are because ‘something’ wants them to be that way. Sorry if I’m misunderstanding, but that’s how I’m reading what you wrote.

  314. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    to the first half (up to the second quote):

    The identity is the “name” part…that’s why it can exist, even though the thing it refers to can’t. “a name of a prime finder”. This is what I meant about the difference between how I see god, and god itself. The “name of the prime finder” represents that “curiosity about everything” or the “question with no assumptions” that has come up a few times already, but you are right that this concept is one that includes intention, and thus isn’t inherently “true” the way the thing it relies on [true conceptual nothingness] is.

    to the second half:

    Agreed that a wave isn’t a useful example. Use a photon instead. If you’re too knowledgeable in physics to use a photon, use the field through which the photon propagates…whatever you view as “fundamental”, that thing must have sufficient “intention” in order to decide a way of acting, even if it “decides not to decide” as we have recently seen.

  315. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    If you get this I will be overjoyed. If you don’t I will not be disappointed or angry xD

  316. Chikoppi says

    No, I think I get it. It just seems to encumber the conversation with a lot of unnecessary mysticism and linguistic flourish.

    There is the act of being curious and of investigating causation. There are the laws of physics and fundamental forces (which exist whether or not we are aware of them or understand them correctly).

    Does your premise require the acknowledgement of anything beyond these things?

  317. Monocle Smile says

    @Jeremy
    It’s clear that you don’t really understand particle physics.
    I fail to see how this has anything to do with gods and I disagree entirely that these “rituals” have anything to do with rational thought. You say you need to see a demonstration that they don’t do what you say they do, which is a shifting of the burden of proof.

    I honestly don’t know why you are so caught up with trying to attach existence/non-existence to “He who causes existence [including negative existence]”…it baffles me

    This is horrible epistemology with a side of word salad. Dude, I feel like you could benefit from a formal logic 101 class.

  318. BillBo says

    @Jeremy

    I thought “know” was the word for holding something true, and this is actually the less reliable level than curiosity

    From my perspective, nothing is absolutely certain. Everything is just a probability. When I say I “believe” something that means I have assigned it to be more probabilistically true than not. But when I “know” something I have seen / can produce consistent evidence for it that makes its probablility nearly 1. “Curiosity” is about whether I care to have knowledge of a thing, not that I do.

    From a perspective other than its own, YKVK (“He causes to be”) can be understood as just the root of skepticism, i.e. the “What is all this stuff that’s so busy existing and not existing (Why are you here?

    Skepticism is requiring to have (at least some) evidence for something before you believe it. I do not think you are using the word here in a way anyone else would agree with. And if there were a root cause for existence, how could that thing be a “He”? This implies that the root cause has a male sexual organ. How would that make any sense?

    I wanted to discuss my way of life, with all its abnormalities … and whether it is worth the payoff (command of lots of really neat ideas, new curiosities, connection to a history spanning millenia, free meals).

    So long as you are happy and content keep doing it. I believe you only get this one brief time of existence, so make the best of it. But if you find that your beliefs turn in contradiction to the way you live then find a new way. Neat ideas and curiosities can be found in many places.

  319. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    The continuation [read this only once you have some grasp of the “name of prime finder” vs. “referent of name of prime finder” distinction]…

    Even though the name isn’t inherently “true”…and in fact, my natural assumption would have been that no intention, much less existence, is capable of supporting that title of “name of the prime finder” with its meaning…unless that name leads to an action, there can be no action at all, in the same way that the only real actions are the actions that don’t care about time. (<I realize I haven't proven this out loud yet.)

  320. frankgturner says

    @ JeremyfromPittsburgh
    While like Monocle Smile I don’t agree with your interpretation, you have obviously given it thought. As he says you could benefit from a class in logic (or statistics, or both). However, I have to say you have given this an impressive amount more consideration that ur-“whatever he wants to call himself.” Keep at it.This is interesting and I think it actually adds something to the conversation.

  321. frankgturner says

    @Jeremy
    Also, theist or not, Xtian or not, you seem to be adding something meaningful and practical. So it is demonstrated that one does not have to be atheist or agnostic to add something meaningful.

  322. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @MS (346) I am trying to convince you of nothing. I am trying to convince myself to overcome the inertia of my life, even though to my eyes it is leading in precisely the direction I want it to lead. Of course this shifts the burden of proof, and it does so for selfish reasons…if you don’t want to engage, don’t. If you do, I appreciate it and it shows that you care about me. 😛

  323. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    >No, I think I get it. It just seems to encumber the conversation with a lot of unnecessary mysticism and linguistic flourish.
    Part of this is just the multiple-century gap…I think he did his best to be understandable, just as I think I am doing my best.

    >There is the act of being curious and of investigating causation. There are the laws of physics and fundamental forces (which exist whether or not we are aware of them or understand them correctly).
    Does your premise require the acknowledgement of anything beyond these things?

    From our perspective, there is the act of being curious and of investigation causation. From another perspective, there is nothing but the act of pure curiosity, and this is the only true [not dependent on circumstance] act. All other acts imply/require this latter act…it is the fundamental agent in a way that even fundamental physical agents are not.

    There is a close connection between these two acts.

  324. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @BillBo

    >So long as you are happy and content keep doing it. I believe you only get this one brief time of existence, so make the best of it. But if you find that your beliefs turn in contradiction to the way you live then find a new way. Neat ideas and curiosities can be found in many places.

    This is really good advice and I thank you for it.

    >[questions]
    some good questions xD

    I think that if you give it more thought, then the skepticism part will start to make more sense, even if you end up using different words for things than I did. I am afraid of saying more.

    the sex organs bit is silly and not worth discussing, but yes, eventually sex does start getting used as a metaphor for stuff, due to a lack of alternative metaphors with similar properties.

  325. says

    “I do not posit a god.
    However, every definition of a god I have seen so far has either had insufficient evidence to support believing in it, or has given sufficient reason to falsify it.” Atheist believer

    Your definition of god doesn’t fit anyone else’s definition of god. You have a very unique understanding of who your god is, since he cannot be found anywhere other than in your own personal conception of god. LOL

    Don’t try so hard to be special. You are already special, as is everyone. Your ego driven need to be different is not concealed.

  326. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @349/frankgturner

    It’s good to acknowledge that theists are also thinking beings capable of innovation 😛 even if this one is just trying to rephrase for a new audience what has already been said repeatedly, and even in English, by others.

    VERY glad if you find something practical from all this…that’s the goal, after all.

  327. says

    Why not just do this, urkidding: Explain…

    1. What you believe.
    2. Why you believe it.
    3. Why any of the rest of us should.

    Because this shifting-the-burden treadmill you’re on is contributing nothing meaningful.

  328. adamah says

    Adamah said:

    “since many of his traits/actions are logically contradictory”

    Urkidding asked:

    what’s the difference between contradictory and logically contradictory?

    While I essentially agree with the answers provided by Chikoppi and Vivec, I specifically added the word ‘logical’ to differentiate it from contradictions which stem from emotional causes, i.e. fallacious rationalizations, e.g. when a Xian repeats the mindless meme, “God is love” and I point out how God certainly has an odd way of showing His love to humans by drowning 99.999999% in the Flood!

    Invariably the believer will defend their God with emotionally-driven rationalizations, akin to how a victim of domestic violence will defend their abusive spouse who similarly claims to love them (although he beats her routinely). A friend who saw the bruises on the spouse would hopefully offer support to the victim so they could wake up and break their delusional excusiology before they are killed.

    At any rate, you asked for an example of a logical contradiction found in the Bible, so here’s the 1st one off the top of my head:

    Explain how a God who is claimed to possess Divine foreknowledge of future events (AKA prescience, a prerequisite to bestowing the gift of prophecy onto humans) can experience regret, in Genesis 6-9’s Flood account.

    In the account, God expresses His regret not just once (the 1st time, God regretted making humans AND animals AND plants so decided to kill them all with a Flood), but TWICE (after killing them, God regretted wiping almost all life off the face of the Earth, and hence why He made rainbows and also promised to attend an anger-management course).

    Psychologists refer to ‘regret’ as an example of a “surprise emotion”, an experience which is logically inconsistent with knowing the future since someone would simply not carry out the act they later regretted. Thus experiencing regret is a distinctly human emotion, only being experienced by us non-prescients.

    BTW, you didn’t answer my direct question as to what Xian religion you belong to?

  329. says

    “In the absence of proof, we default to the conclusion that said God does not exist, but we don’t claim to know this as that would require evidence. I once was the other way around, I acknowledged that I had no proof for the existence of the Xtian God but I defaulted to believing that it did. Now I default the other way.” Devout Atheist (Agnostic, truth be told.)

    You believe that there is “an absence of proof” which to you proves you cannot know if God is. When asked for the proof that would be acceptable to meet your conditions for God to exist, you can only offer up a default position, avoiding the question. Which, to be honest, is just another way of saying you are convinced there is no God. Since you in reality are firmly convinced there is no god, without being able to prove there is no god, you have in fact no logical reason to be an atheist.

  330. Vivec says

    Your definition of god doesn’t fit anyone else’s definition of god.

    Once again, I don’t posit a god. Any god that I have ever had defined to me is either trivial, not supported by evidence, or contradicted by evidence/logical contradictions.

    You have a very unique understanding of who your god is, since he cannot be found anywhere other than in your own personal conception of god.

    Congrats, that’s a very nice word salad you have there.

    There is not a single non-trivial “lol i just call the universe god” god-concept I’ve found to be rationally justifiable in believing.

    If you would like to defend a specific one, feel free to, but your repeatedly asserting that I have a god when I very clearly state that I do not believe in one is just getting old.

  331. Vivec says

    When asked for the proof that would be acceptable to meet your conditions for God to exist, you can only offer up a default position, avoiding the question.

    That is not dodging the question, that’s literally how epistemology works.

    The assertion that a god exists puts a burden of proof on the theist.

    For the billionth time this thread, we have not yet had sufficient evidence to rationally justify belief in a god. However, we do not believe for certain that no god exists, as there is also not sufficient evidence to rationally justify that claim either. I’m sorry that you have such a hard time with this idea, but it’s really not that complex.

  332. says

    I mean it is pretty simple, there is no proof that a god exists that we have been presented with, no hard evidence unless you want to define god in some sort of deistic way (that all of nature is God or something like that). Hard evidence that the Xtian God has not been presented. So in response to the question, “Does God exist?” our answer is “I don’t know,” because we presume that he is talking about the Xtian God given the context. In the absence of proof, we default to the conclusion that said God does not exist, but we don’t claim to know this as that would require evidence. I once was the other way around, I acknowledged that I had no proof for the existence of the Xtian God but I defaulted to believing that it did. Now I default the other way.

    “In the absence of proof, we default to the conclusion that said God does not exist, but we don’t claim to know this as that would require evidence. I once was the other way around, I acknowledged that I had no proof for the existence of the Xtian God but I defaulted to believing that it did. Now I default the other way.” Devout Atheist (Agnostic, truth be told.)

    You believe that there is “an absence of proof” which to you proves you cannot know if God is. When asked for the proof that would be acceptable to meet your conditions for God to exist, you can only offer up a default position, avoiding the question. Which, to be honest, is just another way of saying you are convinced there is no God. Since you in reality are firmly convinced there is no god, without being able to prove there is no god, you have in fact no logical reason to be an atheist.

    BTW, you didn’t answer my direct question as to what Xian religion you belong to?

    What difference does it make? BTW, I don’t belong to any Xian religion.

    At any rate, you asked for an example of a logical contradiction found in the Bible, so here’s the 1st one off the top of my head:

    No. I didn’t.

    “While I essentially agree with the answers provided by Chikoppi and Vivec, I specifically added the word ‘logical’ to differentiate it from contradictions which stem from emotional causes, i.e. fallacious rationalizations,”

    God cannot exist) 1. because some mindless people think he does ) 2. mindless people think God is loving and God kills.) 3. you think God is odd

    “e.g. when a Xian repeats the mindless meme, “God is love” and I point out how God certainly has an odd way of showing His love to humans by drowning 99.999999% in the Flood!”

    So, God cannot be because mindless people believe in him. and though he loves, he kills, too and he is odd.
    .

  333. Vivec says

    BTW, I don’t belong to any Xian religion.

    Oh, okay. Have fun with your atheism/non-xian religion then, but my tolerance for poorly formatted word salad and implicit insults has worn thin.

  334. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    Haaaah…if you accept the “pure curiosity” thing, I should ask, what is a name for a pure curiosity, one not dependent on what good or bad might come of it…well, it’s love ?

  335. says

    BTW, I don’t belong to any Xian religion.
    Oh, okay. Have fun with your atheism/non-xian religion then, but my tolerance for poorly formatted word salad and implicit insults has worn thin. LOL

  336. says

    One billion and one, “When asked for the proof that would be acceptable to meet your conditions for God to exist, you can only offer up a default position, avoiding the question.” But, you still insist you have no idea what god may be or is. Then don’t answer by saying you have no concept of what God is. If you have no concept, you cannot say he isn’t. You have absolutely no idea who and what god is.

    Golly, I’d hate to insult any of you. Troll

  337. Vivec says

    If you don’t know whether or not God exists, you are an agnostic, not an atheist.

    Most of us qualify as agnostic atheists. We neither believe in a god, nor claim to know that a god exists.

    But, you still insist you have no idea what god may be or is.

    Never said that, learn to read. I have been shown many definitions of gods, none of which I accept, because they’re either trivial, unsupported by evidence, or outright contradicted by evidence.

    Then don’t answer by saying you have no concept of what God is.

    Never said that, learn to read. There are many concepts of god, none of which I accept.

    If you have no concept, you cannot say he isn’t

    Never said that, learn to read. I have acknowledged many times that there could be a god, but I have yet to be presented with evidence to rationally justify believing in a god.

  338. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    #godsname_is_love #love_is_curiosity #curiosity_is_skepticism #skepticism_is_godsname

    …I should go to sleep. Apologies to all who read this.

  339. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    Probably better to stick with “skepticism is love” out of all that.

  340. adamah says

    Urkidding said (358):

    When asked for the proof that would be acceptable to meet your conditions for God to exist, you can only offer up a default position, avoiding the question. Which, to be honest, is just another way of saying you are convinced there is no God.

    You clearly haven’t watched much of the show, for as Matt has repeatedly pointed out, since an omniscient God should already KNOW whatever evidence every individual would require to satisfy their demand for proof.

    However, that concept is betrayed by the Xian’s claim that FAITH is the required for belief, where faith is defined as, “believing without any evidence or justification”.

    And given that per the Bible, faith is a “gift from God”, there’s no salvation unless God wants to give it to you.

    Of course, that message of salvation is a hard-sell to non-believers, since MOST people are not that emotionally-driven and/or gullible.

    Since you in reality are firmly convinced there is no god, without being able to prove there is no god, you in fact have no logical reason to be an atheist.

    Does that particular form of illogic apply to theists, too? i.e. can I say this?

    Since you in reality are firmly convinced there is a god, without being able to prove there is a god, you in fact have no logical reason to be a theist.

    Even if you don’t admit it to be true (I won’t hold my breath), the answer is given by realizing that’s exactly why FAITH is required for your belief system (whereas none is required for the atheist position).

    Atheists demand proof, AKA valid reasons to accept a belief before adopting it as ours ; in contrast, you are commanded by God to refuse to examine any counter-evidence that may indicate you are being fooled (deluded), even excused in the name of “protecting your faith”.

    In your own words, that’s not very logical, dude….

  341. says

    “Again, you may need to review the concept of “burden of proof”: as the theist, YOU need to identify and describe what God you claim exists, NOT us, as a preamble to a debate.” A devotee to the Atheistic faith

    Beloved, to insist Someone doesn’t exist when you don’t know Who he is, fails every time. Should be obvious.

    dense

  342. says

    Even if you don’t admit it to be true (I won’t hold my breath), the answer is given by realizing that’s exactly why FAITH is required for your belief system (whereas none is required for the atheist position).

    I have faith that electricity is real.

    Faith is not an absence of sound reasoning. Faith isn’t blind. Faith in the kind of faith to which you refer is useless.

  343. says

    “Atheists demand proof, AKA valid reasons to accept a belief before adopting it as ours ;”

    No you don’t. You cannot even speculate what it is you believe is necessary for your god to exist. Therefore, there is no proof sufficient for you.

    You do, however, place great faith in “not knowing;” it is the answer you’ve found regarding his existence.

  344. Vivec says

    to insist Someone doesn’t exist when you don’t know Who he is, fails every time.

    You keep asserting this is the claim we’re making no matter how many times we correct you. You’re either trolling or just failing to read.

    For the final time: we know of many different claims about gods – as of yet, they are either trivial, fail to have enough evidence to justify belief, or are outright contradicted by the evidence.

    If you misrepresent us as either A. Claiming that no gods exist or B. Being unable to define god, I’m done talking to you.

  345. says

    Atheists demand proof, AKA valid reasons to accept a belief before adopting it as ours ; in contrast, you are commanded by God to refuse to examine any counter-evidence that may indicate you are being fooled (deluded), even excused in the name of “protecting your faith”.

    I see. God demands we not look… Who? God? Try again honey

  346. Vivec says

    You cannot even speculate what it is you believe is necessary for your god to exist.

    Well, yeah, because none of us are positing a god.

    Why would we need to speculate on what is necessary for a god we aren’t trying to prove?

  347. says

    You keep asserting this is the claim we’re making no matter how many times we correct you. You’re either trolling or just failing to read.
    For the final time: we know of many different claims about gods – as of yet, they are either trivial, fail to have enough evidence to justify belief, or are outright contradicted by the evidence.
    If you misrepresent us as either A. Claiming that no gods exist or B. Being unable to define god, I’m done talking to you.

    See ya

  348. says

    You keep asserting this is the claim we’re making no matter how many times we correct you. You’re either trolling or just failing to read.
    For the final time: we know of many different claims about gods – as of yet, they are either trivial, fail to have enough evidence to justify belief, or are outright contradicted by the evidence.
    If you misrepresent us as either A. Claiming that no gods exist or B. Being unable to define god, I’m done talking to you.

    They cannot be trivial if you cannot define what you are comparing “trivial” to. There can be no lack of evidence if you cannot define what the evidence would have to reveal. I don’t wish to be rude, but I would ask someone with an advanced degree who is not a biased atheist to help you..

    I cannot say there is not enough evidence to prove heeouty exists if I cannot define what heeouty is in the first place. I cannot claim heeouty is too trivial unless I know what heeouty is.

  349. says

    Well, yeah, because none of us are positing a god.

    You claim a lack of evidence–which means you have a concept what your god needs to be to be proven real, or you are certain there is no god but are unable to prove there is no god.

  350. adamah says

    Adamah asked:

    BTW, you didn’t answer my direct question as to what Xian religion you belong to?

    Urkidding said:

    What difference does it make?BTW, I don’t belong to any Xian religion.

    “What difference does it make”?

    If you think all religions conceive of God with the same traits, then you really need to take an “intro to comparative religion” course at the nearest community college.

    Adamah said:

    At any rate, you asked for an example of a logical contradiction found in the Bible, so here’s the 1st one off the top of my head:

    Urkidding said:

    No. I didn’t.

    Like hell you didn’t: you asked for an example in your post 310 above, after quoting my claim:

    Adamah said:

    since many of his traits/actions are logically contradictory”

    Urkidding said:

    for example?

    So you’ve either got the short-term memory of a gnat, or you have proven yourself to be dishonest: either way, you’ve failed as a troll….

  351. says

    you have a concept what your god needs to be to be proven real, or you are certain there is no god but are unable to prove there is no god.

    You aren’t even assembling coherent English sentences anymore, urkidding. This has been going nowhere, and has been tiresome, for quite a while now.

    Either explain 1) what you believe, 2) why you believe it, and 3) why anyone else should believe it, or take a hike.

  352. Chikoppi says

    Beloved, to insist Someone doesn’t exist when you don’t know Who he is, fails every time. Should be obvious.

    You said to check the dictionary. I did that (see above). I don’t believe that the god defined by the dictionary is true. I think that is a fictional character.

    I believe there is a fictional character called God (as described in the Bible), but I’ve never seen evidence that character is anything other than fictional.

    Do you have reason to believe the god described in the Bible is anything other than a fictional character? Is this the god that you are referring to?

  353. Vivec says

    They cannot be trivial if you cannot define what you are comparing “trivial” to.

    Okay, so you don’t get what words mean. Gotcha.

    Trivial definitions of god are the hippy “well I define the universe as god” ones. Sure, you can call the universe god if you want to, but that’s just giving it a title, and thus trivial.

    You claim a lack of evidence–which means you have a concept what your god needs to be to be proven real

    I refuse to believe a human being can have this explained to them so many times and fail to grasp it. Here, I’ll go and get every time I’ve answered this objection.

    For the final time: we know of many different claims about gods – as of yet, they are either trivial, fail to have enough evidence to justify belief, or are outright contradicted by the evidence.

    Never said that, learn to read. I have been shown many definitions of gods, none of which I accept, because they’re either trivial, unsupported by evidence, or outright contradicted by evidence.

    Once again, I don’t posit a god. Any god that I have ever had defined to me is either trivial, not supported by evidence, or contradicted by evidence/logical contradictions.

    However, every definition of a god I have seen so far has either had insufficient evidence to support believing in it, or has given sufficient reason to falsify it.

    That’s certainly not the position I hold. He very well could exist (albeit not in the way many believers describe him, since many of his traits/actions are logically contradictory or provably false), but there is not sufficient justification to believe he exists.

    On the whole, I do not see sufficient evidence to believe in the existence of god. There are specific conceptions of god that I believe are false due to being ascribed traits/actions that are contradictory or false, but I am not taking the stance that “no gods could possibly exist anywhere.”

    You’re either dishonest or trolling. Either way, I don’t see what could possibly be gained from continuing to engage with you, seeing as you’ve out-and-out admitted to being a troll like twice now.

  354. Chikoppi says

    @urkidding

    You claim a lack of evidence–which means you have a concept what your god needs to be to be proven real, or you are certain there is no god but are unable to prove there is no god.

    Do you have evidence sufficient to justify belief in what you call God? What is that evidence?

  355. says

    None of these instances is likely to deflate the pretensions of a twentieth-century scientific mind, with its extraordinary blend of knowledge, dogmatic arrogance and infantile credulity, though one may note with a certain pleasure that even so ardent an upholder of men like gods as Dr Edmund Leach has lately been voicing a certain anxiety about the human take-over. ‘Unless,’ he writes, ‘we teach those of the next generation that they can afford to be atheists only if they assume the moral responsibilities of God, the prospects for the human race are decidedly bleak.’ Bleak indeed !

    Malcolm Muggeridge, a journalist who once fawned over Joe Stalin

  356. says

    One skeptic who thought Jesus was a myth was British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge. But on a television assignment to Israel, Muggeridge was faced with evidence about Jesus Christ that he didn’t know existed. As he checked out historical places—Jesus’ birthplace, Nazareth, the crucifixion site, and the empty tomb—a sense of Jesus’ reality began to emerge.

    Later he stated

    “It was while I was in the Holy Land for the purpose of making three B.B.C. television programmes on the New Testament that a … certainty seized me about Jesus’ birth, ministry and Crucifixion. … I became aware that there really had been a man, Jesus, who was also God.”

  357. says

    Some German higher-critical scholars in the 18th and 19th centuries had questioned Jesus’ existence, pointing out that such key figures as Pontius Pilate and the chief priest Joseph Caiaphas in the Gospel accounts had never been confirmed as real. No rebuttal was possible until the mid-20th century.

    Archaeologists in 1962 confirmed Pilate’s existence when they discovered his name included in an inscription on an excavated stone. Likewise, the existence of Caiaphas was uncertain until 1990, when an ossuary (bone box) was discovered bearing his inscription. Archaeologists have also discovered what they believe to be Simon Peter’s house and a cave where John the Baptist did his baptizing.

  358. Chikoppi says

    @urkidding

    Joseph Smith was a real person (1805-44). There are many historical accounts and records of him that corroborate his existence. He is buried in Nauvoo, IL. Many who have learned about him have converted to the Mormon faith. Do you believe everything he wrote and everything written about him is true? Why or why not? What standard of evidence do you apply?

  359. Chikoppi says

    @urkidding (continued)

    “According to a number of eye-witness accounts, Joseph Smith is credited with the miraculous healings of a large number of individuals.

    • Oliver B. Huntington reported that, in the spring of 1831, Smith healed the lame arm of the wife of John Johnson of Hiram, Ohio.[2] This account is corroborated by the account of a Protestant minister who was present. However, he did not attribute the miraculous healing to the power of God.[3]
    • Smith related an experience in which he said the Lord gave him the power to raise his father from his deathbed in October 1835.[4]
    • Smith related another experience, occurring in December 1835, in which he said the Lord gave him the power to immediately heal Angeline Works when she lay dying, so sick that she could not recognize her friends and family.[5]
    • In his personal journal, Wilford Woodruff recorded an event that occurred on July 22, 1839 in which he described Smith walking among a large number of Saints who had taken ill, immediately healing them all. Among those healed were Woodruff himself, Brigham Young, Elijah Fordham, and Joseph B. Noble. Woodruff also tells of how, just after these events occurred, a ferryman who was not a follower of Smith but who had heard of the miracles asked Smith to heal his children, who had come down with the same disease. Smith said that he did not have time to go to the ferryman’s house, but he charged Woodruff to go and heal them. Woodruff reports that he went and did as Smith had told him to do and that the children were healed.[6]
    • Smith related an experience in which, on July 23, 1839, he charged his brother Don Carlos and his cousin George A. Smith to go and heal about sixty people who were bedridden due to illness. According to his account, all of these people recovered.[7]
    • J. Shamp and Margaret Shamp attested to a miracle they saw performed at the behest of Smith by writing the following:
    [Dated 19 May 1841] Be it known that on or about the first of December last, we, J. Shamp and Margaret Shamp, of the town of Batavia, Gennesee county, N.Y., had a daughter that had been deaf and dumb four and a half years, and was restored to her hearing, the time aforesaid, by the laying on of the hands of the Elders (Nathan R. Knight and Charles Thompson) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called Mormons, through the power of Almighty God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as believed and practiced by them in these last days.”

    Source: Wikipedia, Miracles of Joseph Smith

    Is this sufficient evidence to believe the claims made about Joseph Smith? If so, do you believe his claims about the revelations he received from God? Why or why not?

  360. frankgturner says

    @ Anyone willing to listen
    I don’t entirely know why I am writing this as the intended audience won’t read or comprehend it, but I am giving it a try for anyone else. @Jeremy – I think you might get it.
    Ok I see that we have here someone who can’t comprehend that while “words have meaning by consensus” the consensus of a larger part of society may not agree with where a word’s etymology comes from. Since he cannot read and comprehend all that well, he seems blissfully unaware that the word “atheist” or “not-theist” is “not a believer in a God” based on its roots.
    .
    Agnostic is “a-Gnostic” meaning “without knowledge.” One can acknowledge that they do not have knowledge of a God (yes, perhaps because they cannot define it) and so they do not believe in something that they don’t have knowledge of, making them both “a-Gnostic” and “a-theist,” without knowledge and without belief. One can claim to not have knowledge but to believe despite this, an “a-Gnostic” “theist,” without knowledge but with belief in a God.
    .
    Many of whom you urkidding (I am addressing you directly) Are addressing on here do not insist upon a lack of a God. That would require knowledge potential for a God. One might say that was a Gnostic atheist, with knowledge and without belief in a God. One might also call that anti-theist (“against” the “belief in a God).
    .
    Whatever the case, you urkidding definitely need to study more about different religious beliefs of you are going to add anything practical to this. This is really getting old.

  361. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    staying out of it…waiting for my stats homework from you, since you said I need to review 😛

  362. frankgturner says

    @ Jeremy
    No need to get homework or anything, just something that you might be interested in studying for its philosophical foundation.
    .
    I pointed the examination directly at urkidding-Mark-Peter-Luke-whatever as he really seems committed to the definition of atheist where there is an insistence of there not being a God. That sort of sounds like those whom claim they were atheists because they were angry with God, which is foolish. If you were angry with God then you obviously believe that one existed to be angry with. It sounds typical of those who think they can just change the labels around and make it into the same belief like “we all have a need to worship something.” Atheism isn’t just a “pallete swap” with theism…..

  363. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    >palette swaps
    I refuse to discuss this symbol…but it is interesting that you bring it up.

    >anger at a thing implying belief in the thing, belief in the thing not implying the thing

    Agreed, and I do something close to this fallacy above…”awe of/curiosity about the Name” does not imply the Name. (Well, it does, but only to the extent that any action does, which is something I haven’t proven out loud.) I say that there is a close connection between the subjective curiosity we call skepticism and the thing pursued, the perspective of a True Agent, which is itself just an identity assigned to something far more foreign.

    Mur’s Time Principle makes for a great read, though his (and his translator’s) command of English is about as bizarre and out-of-touch as my own…the difference being, they have the excuse of it not being their native tongue.
    http://magicduel.wikia.com/wiki/Principles#Time_Principle
    Don’t worry too much about the gaming context..it is meant to be a statement of true principles, applicable to our world.

  364. RationalismRules says

    @Jeremy #363

    what is a name for a pure curiosity, one not dependent on what good or bad might come of it…well, it’s love

    Curiosity is the desire to learn something. How is that ever dependent on good or bad coming out of it?
    I can imagine how someone might have curiosity about something but choose not to pursue it because of fear of what they might learn, but that doesn’t make the curiosity itself conditional on anything – it’s just not pursued.

    I completely fail to see why you attempt to equate that to love. Love is affection, fondness, liking – none of these are the same thing as curiosity.

    Mashing together disparate concepts sometimes gives a superficial appearance of profoundness, but it falls apart on inspection. Ultimately, it’s just obfuscation.

  365. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    Actually, you make some really great points…can’t visit them yet today though

  366. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    Actually, you win the prize for refuting the “from another perspective” part of 352. (though apparently I never posted the comment saying I was waiting for someone to either accept or refute that bit, though I thought I did.)

    But don’t worry, a similar thing takes its place.

    Will be very impressive if someone (say Chikoppi) comes along and picks things up, but we’ll see.

  367. says

    Was Jesus an historical figure? Did he claim to be God? Start there and keep examining the evidence.

    Study the Book of Mormon. Don’t waste my time.

  368. says

    I believe there is a fictional character called God (as described in the Bible), but I’ve never seen evidence that character is anything other than fictional.

    Well, Pal, keep looking. Then, explain what is fictional about the God you found described in the Bible.

  369. Vivec says

    Then, explain what is fictional about the God you found described in the Bible.

    There is insufficient evidence of it to rationally justify believing that it exists outside of the bible. Easy, next question.

  370. says

    urkidding, explain:

    1) What you believe
    2) Why you believe it
    3) Why any of the rest of us should believe it (i.e.; present evidence for your god’s existence)

    Third and final warning. Refusal to comply gets you shown the door.

  371. Chikoppi says

    @urkidding

    Well, Pal, keep looking. Then, explain what is fictional about the God you found described in the Bible.

    It’s a character in a book. All of it is fictional until proven otherwise. Perhaps you have some evidence that doesn’t rely on the Bible narrative?

  372. says

    There is insufficient evidence of it to rationally justify believing that it exists outside of the bible. Easy, next question. LOL

    Good point. The Atheists couldn’t find enough evidence for salt if was labeled “God”.

  373. Vivec says

    The Atheists couldn’t find enough evidence for salt if was labeled “God”.

    That falls under the “trivial” definitions of god that I’ve pointed out over and over again. You really are disingenuous.

  374. says

    @urkidding
    Well, Pal, keep looking. Then, explain what is fictional about the God you found described in the Bible.
    It’s a character in a book. All of it is fictional until proven otherwise. Perhaps you have some evidence that doesn’t rely on the Bible narrative?

    All of it is true unless proven otherwise. There is no burden of proof on Jesus to show anything. Many have tried to prove he didn’t exist and that he couldn’t have been divine and everyone failed. Men and women of great intellect, not you clowns, dedicated every waking moment of their lives to stamp out Jesus and yet a billion people believe in him today. If you believe he was a fictional character, prove it. Bugs Bunny never claimed to be real. Neither did Giant Cheeseburger In The Sky. Ah, but this Jesus dude, quite a different story. But wait, I’ve got to go and obey your leader or she’ll toss me out on my can like a good FreeThoughtBlog dictator should! Right?!

    You guys are so pathetic. You are so afraid of truth and arguments with power and logic behind them. You blow off steam and ban your guests who push you a little too far into the realm of reality, which pisses you off. That’s why no one of merit stays long around here. No one takes you seriously except for the obedient mindless boobs who live here 24/7.

  375. says

    urkidding, explain:
    1) What you believe
    2) Why you believe it
    3) Why any of the rest of us should believe it (i.e.; present evidence for your god’s existence)
    Third and final warning. Refusal to comply gets you shown the door.

    Ban me

  376. Vivec says

    You are so afraid of truth and arguments with power and logic behind them.

    Says the person who is unable to grasp basic epistemology.

  377. Chikoppi says

    @urkidding

    It’s a character in a book. All of it is fictional until proven otherwise.

    All of it is true unless proven otherwise.

    Great. I guess that makes you a Mormon, or any one of any of the thousands of other religions and sects you haven’t meticulously disproven yet.

    People like you are why less of the population each year identifies as religious. Thanks for that. Keep up the good work!

  378. adamah says

    Another logical contradiction for ya’: an omnipotent God who seemingly is completely impotent to prove His existence to weak mortals.

    Either that, or such a proposed omnipotent God doesn’t exist….

    And with these words Urkidding shows themselves to be beyond hope:

    All of it is true unless proven otherwise.

    So per you, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox exist, unless we prove they don’t? M’kay, gotcha pal…. I’ll start with disproving Paul B and Babe: who wants to take on Sherlock Holmes? Anyone else want to volunteer to take on Dracula? We’d better get busy: there’s LOTS of work for us skeptics to do!

    Urkidding has proven themselves to be an illogical mindless troll, a lost cause, a hopeless case. It would be inhumane not to grant Urkidding their wishes to be banned, mercifully putting an end to their existentialist horror of encountering distasteful basic logic and reason that challenges their basic World view….

    PS I see Martin has already granted Urkidding their wish: Ur must be quite satisfied with themselves right now, prophesying that they’d be banned but then refusing to engage in a “good faith” discussion to ensure that their prophecy comes true….

    Forcing one’s prophecy to come true: what a novel concept! (Yawn: not really, it’s quite predictable, and only demonstrates an inability to follow the rules that apply equally to everyone….)

  379. says

    We actually ban very rarely around here. Still, it’s amusing how many unintelligent people think the “freethought” part of the blog network’s name requires unrestrained trolling and belligerent stupidity to be allowed to run roughshod over everything.

  380. Chikoppi says

    @Martin

    We actually ban very rarely around here. Still, it’s amusing how many unintelligent people think the “freethought” part of the blog network’s name requires unrestrained trolling and belligerent stupidity to be allowed to run roughshod over everything.

    So both those things are bad, but my belligerent stupidity by itself is still OK, right? I mean…I suppose I could tone it down to just “grumpy stupidity.”

  381. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    I am working on a synthesis right now of the cool (to my eyes) stuff from this thread…the bigger half is for personal reference, is WEIRD, and will make no sense to anybody, and then there’s another part I’ll post here maybe.

    @AthyWrenn I only just saw comment 133…I am surprised that the bit about vowelization even made any sense, much less made you less ignorant about something…unless you are referring to the surrounding pieces of information, about the identical problem with both murder and Christian heaven?

    Here’s a bit from the “for myself only” side of the synthesis about that:

    -JW’s think it’s already acceptable to pronounce the name out loud. Accordingly, they consider anyone who has not already received “the whole truth” (as they have come to know it) worthy of exclusion and abuse. These two mistakes connected.

    (Basically, the “incorrect” versions of the name represent steps toward truth, where the “correct” name represents the unlimited/timeless perspective that will eventually [I don’t claim to know when or that it will actually happen, only to know that this is part of the goal] be shared by all.)

    I also saw that I mis-assumed your gender…hooray 🙂

    Anyhow, back to reading.

  382. RationalismRules says

    @adamah #415

    “who wants to take on Sherlock Holmes?”

    NOOOoooooo! I beg you, do not disprove the deer-stalkered one. He’s the closest thing we rationalists have to a mythology of our own, and I for one wish to keep believing in him.

    @Martin Wagner #416

    Still, it’s amusing how many unintelligent people think the “freethought” part of the blog network’s name requires unrestrained trolling and belligerent stupidity to be allowed to run roughshod over everything.

    Yes, they fail to understand that “thought” is a necessary part of “freethought”.

    I note that the banned troll has popped up under a new alias, which someone prophesized earlier in the thread. Whoever did is now a fulfilled prophet, and IHaveManyNamesfromLondonUK is required to believe everything they say.

  383. adamah says

    RR said:

    NOOOoooooo! I beg you, do not disprove the deer-stalkered one. He’s the closest thing we rationalists have to a mythology of our own, and I for one wish to keep believing in him.

    Sorry, RR, but no can do: fair is fair, and if we ask theists to give up their mythology since some of them have difficulty discerning between non-fictional and fictional characters, then consider it as the sacrifice us rationalists must make to save the human race and deliver us from certain destruction due to religious sectarian strife.

    Still not convinced? Then insert your own favorite ‘slippery slope’ argument here…. But above all, remember, it’s for the sake of the children!

    Now, can I get an “amen”?

    🙂

    Martin said:

    We actually ban very rarely around here. Still, it’s amusing how many unintelligent people think the “freethought” part of the blog network’s name requires unrestrained trolling and belligerent stupidity to be allowed to run roughshod over everything.

    Yeah, I’ve noticed. 🙂

    You guys must have the patience of Job to deal with those who throw temper tantrums when their beliefs are put under the pressure of cross-examination of rational thought.

    I’m reminded of the passage in Matt 7 where Jesus ironically warns his disciples not to be like the foolish builder who builds his house upon sand, but instead to wisely choose to build upon the firm foundation of FAITH in Jesus (he refers to himself as “the Rock”).

    Eh, Jesus, just because you label yourself to be a solid foundation doesn’t simply make it true. It only establishes the foundation that the average person is a sucker for narcissistic hucksters who promise the Moon but offer nothing in exchange (whether it be the character in ‘The Music Man’ (“River City, you’ve got trouble with a capital T!”), a certain current POTUS candidate, or Jesus. All are fear-mongering kindred spirits, cut from the same cloth).

    It’s also as if some here think the name of the network must be “the free-association blog”, as if it serves as their personal outlet for creative (or not-so-creative) writing? I believe Deepak Chopra already has a corner on that market.

    The first rule of writing 101 is to “know your intended audience”. Someone seemingly missed that bit of important advice, since why would you expect a warm reception on a blog devoted to rationalist thought, as if this group is going to be impressed with quasi-spiritual syntheses of kabbalistic principles?

    Whatever floats Jeremy’s boat, I guess, and there obviously exists a spectrum of opinions of what people find interesting, amusing, or comforting…

    But in Jeremy’s defense, at least he’s not like Triumph the Insult Dog (AKA Urkidding, or whatever persona the person is continuing to troll with: it’s like playing whack-a-mole).

    Anyway, with over 400 posts to the thread (!), downloading it to my iPhone in its entirety every time I try to post must be eating up my data allotment at an alarming rate, so with that, I’m out!

  384. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    @adamah 🙂 call them what you will, my spoutings fit the dictionary definition of freethinking, and I was/am looking for freethinking reactions. It is a pity sometimes that communication can be such a challenge and that it seemed like free association.

    Didn’t expect a warm reception…nor did I expect when I tried to present my thoughts to be accused of trolling, of choosing a life of fear, and of choosing a double-sided life with no way of integrating the two sides.

    Sorry the stuff here didn’t make sense…you have helped me to make more sense in the future though.

    @whoever corrected “belief” to “curiosity”
    Big big thank you; you have basically cured my loneliness and removed my main excuse for using loaded religious words in most normal conversations 😛

    Better yet, when someone mentions god, I know how to steal away the need for that word. 🙂 Even if it doesn’t sound like much, this is a very desirable thing.

  385. says

    Those unfair Christian laws they force down our throats really do get oppressive. If atheists were running the show, we’d happily grant everyone all kinds of freedoms and rights. Isn’t it obvious by our liberal editing policy right here on freethoughtblog? This is where we encourage all to speak right up. Express yourselves people. Don’t worry about some fanatical god-fearing boob banning you. We here at atheism central believe strongly in free speech as long as you agree with everything we say and don’t screw around trying to be cute. No sir! We welcome everyone. We have cast off the stultifying restrictions of the Tooth Ferry god from up in the sky. We believe in individuals’ freedom of expression, if you say exactly what we allow. In this way we show how different we are, how deeply we cherish everyone’s right to share her thoughts, always safeguarding the little guys’ freedom to be who he really is.That’s us, baby!. No more laws that take away your constitutionally guaranteed right to choose the toilet of your heart’s desire. That’s why we fight the horrible christian space zomby. We are committed above all to ordain and to protect your right to agree with everything we believe. Free toilets for all. Hip hip hurray! Can I get an Amen? I said, CAN I GET AN AMEN! .

  386. Vivec says

    We here at atheism central believe strongly in free speech as long as you agree with everything we say and don’t screw around trying to be cute.

    Those aren’t at odds. Free Speech has no jurisdiction in private forums.

    We welcome everyone.

    This is demonstrably true, given your continued ability to post here.

    We believe in individuals’ freedom of expression, if you say exactly what we allow.

    Freedom of Expression has no jurisdiction in private forums.

    No more laws that take away your constitutionally guaranteed right to choose the toilet of your heart’s desire.

    That feel when someone tries to be sarcastic but actually is correct.

    We are committed above all to ordain and to protect your right to agree with everything we believe.

    Supporting the first amendment doesn’t preclude banning someone on a private forum. If you think those contradict, you have no idea how the first amendment works.

  387. adamah says

    @Jeremy, let’s kill 2 birds with 1 stone here, since Rukidding seemingly doesn’t understand what the term ‘freethinker’ means, either:

    Here’s the definition found in the Oxford English Dictionary:

    noun: free-thinker
    a person who rejects accepted opinions, especially those concerning religious belief.

    If it makes it easier to understand, think of the ‘free’ part in the context of ‘free from religious dogma’, which is often based only on a fallacious ‘appeal to tradition’ (i.e. “Xianity was good enough for my pappy and his pappy, too, so it’s good enough for me”).

    So when you say this above:

    adamah 🙂 call them what you will, my spoutings fit the dictionary definition of freethinking, and I was/am looking for freethinking reactions.

    Would you agree that your words above now look utterly absurd, since your quasi-kabbalistic musings are the very antithesis of free-thinking, esp. when coming from someone who initially claimed to be an Orthodox Jew, arguably one of the oldest religious traditions on the Planet (obviously even older than Xianity)?

    I know you may WANT to be able to think of yourself as a ‘free-thinker’, but as Jesus correctly said, “You cannot serve two masters” (or to use a secular slogan, e.g. you can’t have your cake and eat it, too”). Religious dogma is the antithesis of free-thinking.

    On this:

    It is a pity sometimes that communication can be such a challenge and that it seemed like free association.

    Well, look in the mirror, since the meaningsof words used in languages are CONVENTIONS, a presuppositional social contract to use them properly (i.e. using their agreed-upon definitions) to convey the intended message.

    However, I suspect that your problem is much more fundamental than that: I get the distinct impression you really don’t know WHAT you believe (i.e. what you accept as true), and thus are desperately trying to harmonize gobbledygook concepts to avoid the splitting headaches from cognitive dissonance.

    As Matt says, the question of God’s non-existence is as simple as they get: it’s a no-brainer. So being a free-thinker doesn’t require an excessive amount of logic or rational thought, but rather, much COURAGE to stand up against the crowd for what is true, and not just “go with the flow” or “go along to get along”.

    I suppose it wasn’t accidental that as a child, one of the stories I most vividly remember reading was “the King’s New Clothes”, a simple yet powerful parable of the group dynamics of mass delusion.

    I don’t know why the story resonated so strongly with me vs. my other siblings, and perhaps I’m experiencing a false memory of its significance (i.e. it may be a case of selective memory, subconsciously engaging in a bit of revisionist history of my personal narrative in response to events that occurred later in life). But it’s interesting that we all were exposed to the same story, yet I’m the only one to take the story to heart (they’re all JWs).

  388. RationalismRules says

    @adamah #46

    as a child, one of the stories I most vividly remember reading was “the King’s New Clothes”….I don’t know why the story resonated so strongly with me

    Freud would probably have something to say about that.

  389. Jeremy from Pittsburgh says

    I will answer your question, your mind-reading, and your suspicion.

    >Would you agree that your words above now look utterly absurd

    I would agree that they look absurd, but not that they actually are. I wouldn’t argue against Orthodox Judaism being a religion, but I might argue with the existence of accepted opinions (the thing a freethinker rejects) within it. Yes that sounds weird.

    But since you bring it up, your definition also is not how I was understanding freethinking… I had used wikipedia. (Yes, I know I said dictionary. I misspoke.)

    “Freethought — or free thought — is a philosophical viewpoint which holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, revelation, or other dogma”

    >I know you may WANT to be able to think of yourself as a ‘free-thinker’
    This is incorrect. I try to use free-thought here because of the site name, and I think I have in large part succeeded, even if it didn’t make sense to you.

    I believe that there is a very important role in forming positions regarding truth for authority, tradition, revelation, and even dogma in finding truth. It just happens to be a role that is easy to abuse….as you and your family (and people in just about any branch of life) have experienced.

    I have not discussed this role at all here, and won’t. Because it is a free-thought site! I believe that, done right, even acceptance of authority won’t lead to the enslavement you are so afraid of/disgusted by.

    >However, I suspect that your problem is much more fundamental than that: I get the distinct impression you really don’t know WHAT you believe (i.e. what you accept as true)

    Regarding religion, this impression is incorrect. I know exactly what I hold important, and I try to share it in every way I know how, here and elsewhere.
    Two big ways are by staying optimistic about others and by paying close attention to relationships, especially with people…it’s hard in text, especially with strangers, but I do try.

    Regarding action, this impression is correct…In the ways that I must live out but that don’t know how to use to share what I hold important, I become a mess of dissonant actions, habits, and words…almost as bad as the higgs field, assuming all values at once [except in this case, not literally at once]. It gives me a headache, and I withdraw…usually.

    >are desperately trying to harmonize gobbledygook concepts to avoid the splitting headaches from cognitive dissonance.

    If by “concepts” you mean “habits” yes…but I am quite sure this is not what you mean. So…again, incorrect.

    Usually [this week anyhow] the concepts fit together *too* well, and the challenge is just prying them apart again so I can make sense in conversation.

    Regarding the handsome skin-toned unitard:

    Concern for brainwashing much appreciated, but I challenge you to define any sort of “flow” that I am going with…I don’t have a community, my family doesn’t know nuthin’ about this stuff, and I am not even reliable in reading the texts I keep referencing. I don’t work with orthodox jews.

    And the ones I talk online with seem to be on every side of every fence, and specifically seem to prefer whichever side I’m not on…though that might just be projection, since I like doing that (the side-switching) to people, just to break their opinions…in fact it’s part of what derailed the conversation with Matt.

    You will find a flow, but it will have little to do with my main beliefs.

  390. PeterFromLondonUK says

    426. As a former atheist and now a JW i would agree with you.

    The greatest friend of truth is time.

    Truth is not dependent on you knowing about it.