Comments

  1. The YouTube Guy says

    “Where did the first philosophers get their degree?” – Matt D.

    Comment of the year.

  2. Chikoppi says

    Glad to see you joining the show Phil, I think you’re going to be a great addition and I hope you have a long tenure! I’m looking forward to your contributions and engagement with the callers. Welcome to crazy town!

  3. Joe E Dangerously says

    So first of all I need to be honest. Matt HAS referred to evolution as “a fact.” Numerous times, actually. He’s also said “Evolution is a theory and a fact.” I remember that exact quote and that it’s been said several times relatively recently because I’ve written emails to him asking him to be more precise in his language. Those emails went unanswered and probably unread but I did send them because that was a beef I had that I wanted cleared up. I specifically had a problem with that phrasing and that’s how I know that caller was right about that point. So I’m sorry Matt, but you did indeed say that and multiple times at that. I’m sure that caller will be sending you links to specific clips so I’m not going to take the time to scour the shows to find them. That would be too time consuming, beside.

    So that aside there was something relevant to me on this week’s show. I consider myself an antitheist. I do believe there is no God. I think I don’t need to prove that either. Just think it through. There’s every reason to believe this. We have a good sense of why people came up with deities as ideas and that’s all they are. Ideas. Not reality. I don’t need to prove there’s no God any more than I need to prove there are no werewolves or moons made of cheese. It’s a silly idea invented by ignorant people and popularized to such a degree that it had staying power. That’s it. I think we have every reason to believe that’s the case and it’s enough to make me very confident that’s the reality of the situation. Saying I have a burden of proof on that is the same as saying I have the burden of proof in claiming Peter Pan is not real in my opinion. Again, every reason to believe it’s not and no reason to believe it is. And to draw another parallel, the book claims it to be a true story. It was stated that Peter Pan was real and the events of the book actually took place. So if you take the Bible on face value I have to wonder why you don’t do the same for Peter Pan. If I asked you to prove Peter Pan was not real you’d laugh at me, right? Why is that? Well that’s why I laugh when people say I need to prove there is no God to justify that belief. Just think it through. Think like a rational adult. It’s not real. It’s just not.

    And of course I’d like to congratulate Phil Session on a very good first show and I hope to see more of him. I like Phil already. I can tell he’s going to be fun to watch in the coming months. I wonder how tall he is, too. Phil looks like a big guy. I wouldn’t fuck with him, I can tell you that much!

  4. John Phillips, FCD says

    I missed the first 15 minutes or so so I’ll catch that on the vieo when available but a big welcome Phil, always great to see a new face on the show. Though they really need to adjust the lighting on the left ‘cos it was poor last week as well. That aside, good show.

    And of course, yet another IDiot who doesn’t even seem to understand what they themselves are saying. ‘I believe the side with more evidence but…’. The caller from Little Georgia was either extremely confused about what he was trying to say or, as Matt surmised, a fake caller. If the latter, I suppose being a Sunday the plonker didn’t have anything better to do.

  5. Fiona Robertson says

    Your caller Ron from Chicago says he talks to biochemists and molecular biologists all the time. Yes, he does… and he ignores everything that they explain to him then calls them liars, ignorant, uninformed and unqualified to talk on the topic.

  6. Fiona Robertson says

    Forgot to say that the definitions are very important. So here they are in a nutshell, exactly as Matt described
    Evolution – a biological process which occurs in populations, the change in allele frequencies over time. It is observed and studied. It is a fact.
    Theory of evolution – the proposed mechanism by which the process of evolution comes about, natural selection acting upon genetic variation within a population. It is a theory. The hint is in the name.

  7. Monocle Smile says

    @Joe
    I don’t think the caller’s “point” was worth a shit. Lately I’ve been pretty bothered with both bloggers and callers making a big deal out of ultimately negligible technicalities.

    I mostly agree with your antitheist position, but that’s not exactly how I’d approach someone if my objective were to sway them off their current position and onto mine.

  8. Humberto Garcez says

    He said that evolution is a fact …. saying that he didn’t was a mistake, but…. evolution is a FACT

  9. Rick Pikul says

    @Joe E Dangerously:

    Describing evolution as both a fact and a theory is correct.

    Evolution the fact is how the distribution of inheritable traits in a population change over generations.
    Evolution the theory is about why that change occurs and what large scale impacts that change has.

  10. Nathan says

    The first caller sounds a lot like the youtuber TrueEmpiricism, I could be wrong but he has a very distinctive voice and talking style. He isn’t worth a minute of time.

  11. Monocle Smile says

    @Nathan
    First ArcanE LogoS, now TrueEmpiricism? Will we get a revisit from Parture or VenomFangX?
    None of those guys are worth a shit, FYI.

  12. Atheist in Georgia says

    The caller from Georgia was real I’ve lived here my entire life & I’m telling you he is real there is only one way of thinking & that would be his way. Don’t you know that Matt.

  13. Shellie says

    Phil you were awesome!!! So glad to see you on here 🙂
    Matt you were awesome as always!!

  14. Joe Cool says

    Episode #501. “Evolution is a FACT, it is a observation that is demonstrable”, Matt Dillahunty, 07/22/2007.
    HA! BUSTED!

  15. noexitlovenow says

    Just as there are fat skinny supermodels, I think the anti-evolution caller was a smart stupid person.

  16. louis cyfer says

    @atheist in georgie
    the caller jasper is pastor george and many other aliases, a troll. certainly a fake call. i just don’t know how matt doesn’t recognize him each time.

  17. louis cyfer says

    @joe e dangerously matt said evolution was a fact, he did not say the theory of evolution was a fact. he is correct on that. when he says evolution is both a fact and a theory he is incrementally wrong, mostly semantics. evolution is a fact, it has a theory. that is why the possessive is used. the theory is OF evolution, as in the explanation OF the fact. it’s a little sloppy, but nothing to really pick on. even the national academy of sciences made the same error. evolution is a fact and it has a theory would be a more precise way of putting it.

  18. louis cyfer says

    i meant matt’s way of putting it is a little sloppy, but nothing to really pick on.

  19. says

    >So first of all I need to be honest. Matt HAS referred to evolution as “a fact.” Numerous times, actually. He’s also said “Evolution is a theory and a fact.”

    Someone replied to this already, but I watched the show and there were two different points being made. A few times, the way Matt stated it was confusing, by using shorthand for a longhand context that was originally established.

    Evolution occurs. It’s demonstrated beyond refute. We have produced evolution ourselves using artificial selection. It’s a fact, as much as clouds in the sky are facts and can be observed. In this case, however, we can even produce evolution for anyone to witness and breeders have been doing it for…however long we’ve had domesticated stock.

    But this conversation began specifically with a claim that Matt had stated that Evolution via common descent was “fact.” And there, I think Matt is correct–he has specified fact from theory when it comes to natural selection and common descent.

    I don’t doubt that Matt has stated “evolution is a fact”–because it is. But “evolution [through common descent]” is a theory in the sense of that explanation–common descent and natural selection are put forward as the explanation of “the origin of species”–basically how the genetic diversity we see today came to exist. And nobody can “observe” that–it’s theoretical, which is not to say it’s not supported by a mountain of evidence, as well as being highly plausible in light of what we have seen and produced in artificial conditions and what we understand about genetic mechanisms.

    Matt started out saying that he never said common descent was a fact, and later did say that he never said “evolution was a fact” (and yes, you can get clips that show Matt saying evolution is a fact–but not in THIS context). So, I took Matt to be using “evolution” in that case as shorthand for “evolution via common descent”–which they’d already established as the context and which Matt had clarified as the theoretical construct he doesn’t call “fact.”

  20. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Ron’s call lasted long on a semantic. Okay, we get it. No one is putting the hosts on this show as authorities. Then he did the regular thing that they all do, “Scientists aren’t doing this” never mind that there is a shit ton of evidence that sufficiently kicks it into your head. Cherry pick, cherry pick. Just terrible.

    Ignored Jasper.

    On Sam’s call I only engage people that are interested in finding the truth with me, so them being “crushed” isn’t something that bothers me as then they’d be very much willing to grow after.

    Tai, I agree with the hosts, give them the tools to evaluate all of these claims and they’ll show you what a kid armed well with skepticism can become.

    Marcus is pretty much against the disingenuous extremes, which is a good thing. I already foresaw the “I’m against the “But look at those other religions” thing” am I a prophet?

    Phil(2’s) call was good.

    David’s call was okay.

    Welcome Phil! Nice to see a new face on the screen.

  21. says

    I loved seeing Phil Session on the Atheist Experience. He is a great addition to the show. His smile alone drew me in. I hope to see him again. Phil is very engaging in his approach to callers.

  22. Darth MArden says

    Great first session Phil. Glad to hear a new perspective and personality joining the show.

  23. Max says

    Phil, great job on your first show! I’m looking forward to seeing you pop up again in the rotation!

  24. Patrick67 says

    While this doesn’t pertain to this show, I thought I’d send a shout out for the Supreme Court’s striking down of the Texas anti abortion law today. Be vigilant Texas, I guarantee the legislature is already wracking their pea sized brains trying to find another angle to strike down abortion rights in your state. Hopefully the ruling will have an effect on my home state as well, but I suspect it will need a separate ruling. Indiana is currently fighting a law preventing women from aborting fetuses with genetic diseases and flaws. Under the law which is on hold for now,a woman would not be able to abort regardless of the severity of the defect or even if it was life threatening to the mother as I understand it.

  25. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    I love what Phil said regarding ID and how proving all of evolution false doesn’t mean ID becomes the default, and that It must stand on its own merits. That was a great point and not one I remember hearing before. Great job, Phil. I look forward to your next show.

  26. Monocle Smile says

    @OTEM
    This is a dead giveaway that creationism/ID is one big crock. They don’t spend any significant time proving their case. They spend all of their time trying to poke holes in evolution. If they had anything worth a shit, they’d be busy demonstrating in the peer-reviewed literature that they’ve generated a model that fits the current data better than evolutionary models.

  27. Devocate says

    “I love what Phil said regarding ID and how proving all of evolution false doesn’t mean ID becomes the default, and that It must stand on its own merits. That was a great point and not one I remember hearing before”

    If you want to frustrate a creationist, concede FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT that evolution has been disproven, now ask them to make their case for intelligent design. The sputtering can be amazing. Matt and Tracie did this a few years ago, and they should do it more often.

  28. Ethan Myerson says

    Great job, Phil. Congrats! I’m looking forward to hearing more from you in the coming weeks and months. Thank you for sharing your story in the early part of the show.

    That first call. Yeesh.

    Around 27:00:
    Matt & Phil: “ID needs to do more than try to poke holes in evolutionary theory. It has to actually make its own case as well, with adequate peer review.”
    Caller: “We don’t need peer review because we’re just poking holes in evolutionary theory.”

  29. louis cyfer says

    @onlytheevidencematters matt and tracie has made that point as well as jen dozens on times at least that i have heard. matt has said it in almost every call that has pertained to id/creationism.

  30. The YouTube Guy says

    If I remember correctly, when asked for evidence of ID, the first caller went in to the problems with Evolution. After viewing his possible YouTube channel, I’m not shocked by this. He seems to hold long conversations with scientists then finds ONE THING wrong with what they said. He then goes on a 15 minute rant how they got something wrong. The cherry-picking is strong with this one…

    “You said Evolution was a fact!”
    “I’ve got videos of it!!!”
    “You said it!!! YOU SAID IT!!!”

  31. jongalt says

    Regarding the guy whose girlfriend/exgirlfriend is Buddhist, there is an emerging form of Buddhism which is secular. It was referred to recently by a Buddhist I know as a “branch” (his branch) of Buddhism. Google “atheist buddhism”.

    Your atheism might not be as incompatible with Buddhism as you think. It might be worth looking into.

  32. Joe Cool says

    @heicart – Where have you learned to TAP DANCE like that?!? Austin School of Atheism?

  33. Devocate says

    @34:
    Do the same thing with Gravity.
    There are facts of gravity. Things fall to Earth; planets orbit stars.
    There is the theory of gravity. F(g) = GM(1)M(2)/R^2
    Not that hard, really.

  34. Argus says

    Just a weird thought….the opening title sequence for some reason reminds me of one of those End Times Prophecy Shows on CBN…like Jack Van Empyee (sp?)

  35. says

    @36 –

    Actually I “learned” to consider context in elementary school. I would hope everyone had that instruction, but maybe not?

    If you go back and listen, you will see the conversation begins with Matt differentiating common descent from observed evolution, and this actually continues to come up as a common thread throughout the discussion. You can’t remove sentences from context and use them outside that context if you honestly want to discern meaning.

    There is also a further possibility I did not even broach. In discussions on believe / nonbelief, I have, myself, used the wrong term as I was typing–so that I am trying to draw distinction, but in error use the wrong term where I meant to use the other. And this is in writing, where I believe most folks actually think *more* about what they’re saying as they put it to paper. Have you ever done that when speaking? I have.

    But I’m not going to jump to a conclusion that someone misspoke when there is a fact of observed evolution, and a broader theory also known as “Evolution by Natural Selection”–which involves theoretical components such as common descent.

    Just as #38 above notes, this is not unique to Evolutionary theory. I don’t see why you find this problematic–to simply consider context when trying to determine what someone means–especially on the fly during an organic dialog. Bear in mind this was not a prepared speech Matt was making. He was talking on the fly–and I would hope that he, as well as anyone, is allowed to use shorthand once context has been established, or god-forbid (pardon the vernacular), he might misspeak and use “evolution” when referencing the contextual point of common descent.

    Matt can speak to his own words and explain what he intended, but I see both of those as distinctly common possibilities with regard to this point. I don’t think Matt has forgotten that evolution is a fact, and he has stated this many times. I think it was clear in the discussion at the outset he was responding to the caller’s claim he had said common descent was a fact. The reality that later in the conversation he claimed that he’d never said evolution was a fact–I think was immediately glommed on to by people looking for a problem–by dismissing the context that had been established.

  36. says

    @Featherblack –

    I released your comment, although I normally request that criticism come in constructive forms. I think it’s fine to say you are put off by perceived arrogance of a host, but could you give an example of what type of behavior or statements put you off as arrogant in this program? Some folks write to say Matt is very patient with callers, but others feel similarly to you and have written to express similar perspectives; however it’s always helpful to hear specifically what gives a viewer a negative impression. Then the host can consider the feedback and whether they agree there might be room for improvement.

    Thank you for your feedback.

  37. philipelliott says

    Not sure if this is the right place to note this, but the audio podcast feed version of this weeks show is only 25 minutes or so, the first part of the show. Is the rest available?

  38. tonyinbatavia says

    Featherblack @34, Matt has years and years of credibility established. He has devoted countless hours to the TAE. He has taught thousands and thousands of people how to debate, apply logic, talk to theists. Basically, he has earned his credentials and demonstrated them over and over again, which helps to elevate atheists everywhere.

    You, meanwhile? You’re just some asshole schmoe coming to the TAE website to anonymously whine about Matt, as though he owes you something. Who the fuck are you? Why do you matter? Why should Matt care one iota about your asshattery?

    Talk about fucking arrogant.

  39. 42 says

    The key to children of mixed faith parents, I’ve found, is simply being honest with them.
    My kids were raised catholic. I didn’t object. When they were old enough to start wondering about stuff, the questions started coming. My daughter especially tried to hit me with gotchas based on her kids’ bible. Eventually they do clue in to the fact that, at the very least, there are alternative explanations out there for anything and everything in their bible/quran/dhammapada. And kids’ minds are flexible enough to ditch a religion even at age 6 … 8 … 10.
    Also, four massively powerful words when answering religions questions of (your) kids … “What do you think?”

  40. Quadrus Black says

    I been watching this show for about a year and it helped me move into full blown atheism (lol). Asd a Black gay man, I am so excited to see Phil as a co-host! Most people I know think atheism is a white thing and it’s great to see more of us out there! Keep up the good work guys!

  41. Monocle Smile says

    Heard recently that Matt’s going to be doing a third debate with Blake Giunta…on the resurrection of jesus!
    *grabs popcorn*

  42. walter says

    Well, I never miss a podcast, so ya’ll must be doing something right.
    Welcome Phil!
    @Heicart: I am one of those who wishes Matt was not so patient — but I also think by this time he knows what he is doing and has some purpose in mind. So I mention this not to get him to change because of me, but just to put some posts on the other side of ‘Matt is too high-handed’ .

  43. says

    I live in the town just south of the caller Jasper from Dawsonville, GA. I know Matt doesn’t believe him, but that is the mindset of MANY of my neighbors. They cannot grasp that anyone would willingly reject what they claim the Bible reveals. They truly do think that everyone knows that the Biblical (especially the New Testament) God is real and that we are distracted from that knowledge by Satan. Jasper, and his ilk, are alive and well – and they vote.

  44. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    Why doesn’t God prove himself using scientific proof?

    One doesn’t prove love or trust by naturalistic scientific proof. I believe God uses other forms of communication, evidence,and proof.

    Could God be placing emphasis on the spiritual and character area, not the physical?

    It”s a category mistake (and circular). God is super-natural. Naturalistic science in that view pre-supposes there isn’t a God and its methods are incompatible with finding one.

    Science isn’t a way of detecting agency. Another circular evasion.

    Why do some skeptics & atheists think that is the only valid form of proof for God to use? Why when they prove things to other people about themselves, their identity, actions, and affection using other means? (seems like a bit of cognitive dissonance and/or performative contradiction)

    All proof in this area is proof plus inference.

    The fact that you are here today + asking the question why and how given the chaotic origin of the world and the inability of science to get past abiogenesis is a science-based proof of the world.

    All knowledge is fact + inference. And in this case its comparative inference. I’m comparing one set of facts vs. another (i.e. the atheist version of origins).

    The world exhibits the appearance of order and design. We live because of universal constants. The reason we can do science in the first place is because of order and predictability. Assuming that all just happened…and it stayed that way for eternity is a leap in logic. Its an inference. So we are both making inferences. Its just a question of which one seems more reasonable and viable.

    There are other forms of proof. i.e. If someone says “why don’t the best restaurants in the world serve X, Y, or Z dish?…”

    Obvious Caveats:
    1) Knowledge of mechanism does not preclude agency–they aren’t mutually exclusive. Knowing the mechanism of chocolate drops (or evolution) doesn’t tell us anything about the agency (aka person in the case of confections or God in the case of the universe) who created them.
    2) Science doesn’t disprove God as a being.

  45. Adam Silva says

    Thank you for your work on this show. Listening over the years has provided me with a stronger understanding of my atheism.
    That said, I understand that down in the States, it’s more a battle for hearts and minds than here in Canada.
    Might I suggest then, since your Ramp program is to help people as a non-religious community group, that you simply change which day you do the work, in the months in which there is an over-riding, different event?
    Perhaps you should switch to the third Saturday in the case that the event is known beforehand, and if the build gets rained out, you could switch to Sunday, or the following Saturday.
    Even wiser would be to schedule earlier in the month, say the 2nd Saturday, and that way, even if you have to bump over a weekend (or two), you still help one family a month.
    Which, I believe, is one of the main points of the program.
    3 months is a looong time to wait for exit and access to your house.
    It doesn’t look or feel good that the athiests take off a month so they can party on a boat cruise… haha.
    All the best from Canada,
    Adam

  46. Monocle Smile says

    @FoD
    So much wrong here.

    One doesn’t prove love or trust by naturalistic scientific proof

    Oh, yes we do. We do informal science during most of our daily lives. If you’re going around trusting and loving people for no reason at all, then you’re an idiot.

    Could God be placing emphasis on the spiritual and character area, not the physical?

    This is meaningless. What are you even talking about? What does “spiritual” mean? Non-physical “spirits” don’t seem to exist, if that’s even a coherent concept.

    I believe God uses other forms of communication, evidence,and proof

    This is still a testable claim and thus subject to empirical inquiry.

    Why do some skeptics & atheists think that is the only valid form of proof for God to use? Why when they prove things to other people about themselves, their identity, actions, and affection using other means? (seems like a bit of cognitive dissonance and/or performative contradiction)

    Stop projecting. You are incorrect. I recommend taking logic 101 and epistemology 101 courses. You are also wrong about how we evaluate agency.

    The fact that you are here today + asking the question why and how given the chaotic origin of the world and the inability of science to get past abiogenesis is a science-based proof of the world

    Laughable. Your knowledge of science is at least fifty years out of date. Also, this tired “I exist, therefore god” drivel is about as kindergarten as it gets.

    The world exhibits the appearance of order and design. We live because of universal constants. The reason we can do science in the first place is because of order and predictability. Assuming that all just happened…and it stayed that way for eternity is a leap in logic. Its an inference. So we are both making inferences. Its just a question of which one seems more reasonable and viable.

    This is the pot calling the silverware black. I don’t suffer from your shortcomings. Stop assuming that I do. Yes, we use the principle of uniformitarianism to do science. But we can test this principle, too. Also, do you think otherwise? Do you think you live in a world with zero order and predictability? Because if you say “yes,” then you’re just lying.

    There are other forms of proof. i.e. If someone says “why don’t the best restaurants in the world serve X, Y, or Z dish?…”

    This is still subject to empirical inquiry. You are bad at epistemology. Fix that.

  47. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    Monocle Smile

    “Laughable. Your knowledge of science is at least fifty years out of date”

    Would you care to elaborate on the origin of life and the latest scientific thinking?

  48. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    Fallacy of Decomposition

    You said “God in the case of the universe” Am I right in assuming you believe that God created the universe? If so. I have a hypothetical for you.

    Imagine a time where science has answered all the questions of origin and filled in any gaps in our knowledge. Would you still believe a God existed and if so why? And what evidence would you need to disprove the existence of a God?

  49. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    OTEM
    What if “Imagine a time science has answered all the questions of origin” involved “the existence of a God” in your hypothetical?

  50. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    I’ll even go first. I would be stunned since I’ve seen no reliably verifiable evidence to believe one exists. I would be thrilled I was wrong and I’d have numerous questions — questions they probably wouldn’t like very much. I wouldn’t worship or follow them willingly so not much would change for me except something I once thought to be untrue is in fact true.

  51. Monocle Smile says

    @FoD
    Why is it my job to give you a free course in the latest abiogenesis research?
    http://exploringorigins.org/ribozymes.html
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26876/
    You talk about this “inability” to “get past” abiogenesis. The RNA-world hypothesis continues to make a stronger and stronger case. You are wrong and it wouldn’t matter if you were right. I’m going to go in the opposite direction of OnlyTheEvidenceMatters. Imagine we lived a thousand years ago and didn’t know what caused lightning and wouldn’t know for another 750 years. Would you say we had an “inability” to understand lightning and thus should instantly believe that Thor was swinging his hammer?

    Also, why didn’t you address the rest of my post? You’re avoiding answering OTEM’s questions in good faith as well.

  52. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    Monocle,

    I think that’s dependent on a few factors: education, communal reinforcement and religious indoctrination. if I were in the intellectually ignorant camp wouldn’t overcoming that and thinking critically prove difficult? It would take a very special character type to break free of the communal and religious indoctrination. As much as I’d like to say, “Of course not, no one with any sense could believe that..” I don’t think I can honestly say I would have. I’ve just begin my critical thinking journey and it’s hard bloody work and I have resources; the resources then wouldn’t have been easily accessible.

  53. Monocle Smile says

    @OTEM
    That’s getting away from my point. I’m trying to illustrate that even though plenty of people did believe those things and we probably would have as well, we were never at any point rationally justified in doing so. FoD is citing ignorance as a reason to believe in deities. So for the sake of argument, I’m laying down a scenario where we don’t have any of the scientific knowledge we do today. It doesn’t change a thing as far as plausibility of god claims are concerned.

  54. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    Fair enough. I also realised you weren’t asking me. I misread and responded.

  55. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Monocle Smile covered some of this (and covered it well). Let me throw my bit in too.

    To Fallacy Of Decomposition

    One doesn’t prove love or trust by naturalistic scientific proof.

    Yes one does. For example, my ex girlfriend knew that I loved her, and I knew that she loved me, because of the way that we behaved around each other, because of what we said to each other, because of the things that we did for each other. Protip: Relationships in the real world are based on real, observable interactions, e.g. science!

    I believe God uses other forms of communication, evidence,and proof.

    There’s only one kind of communication, evidence, and proof, and that is the observable, which means that the trustworthiness and reliability of it is governed by empirical reasoning, e.g. science!

    It”s a category mistake (and circular). God is super-natural. Naturalistic science in that view pre-supposes there isn’t a God and its methods are incompatible with finding one.

    False. It is irrelevant whether you want to say gods are supernatural or not. Either they exist in the empirical, physical, material, scientific sense, or they don’t. For example, ghosts might exist. It seems highly, highly unlikely, but nothing is known for absolutely certain. Ghosts are intangible, but they are still empirical, physical, and material for my purposes here for defining the word “exists”. If ghosts exist, then they can be seen, and they can have effects on this material and observable reality. In other words, something that has absolutely no observable effect, direct or indirect – it’s existance is indistinguishable from its non-exsitence.

    Many people say that science is based on methodological naturalism. That’s simply false. Methodological naturalism is a conclusion of science, not a premise. We know that the supernatural doesn’t exist because of the amazing wealth of scientific evidence supporting that position. (It must be stressed that like all conclusions of science, it is always subject to review if you bring enough evidence to the contrary.)

    For example, consider any fictional story where magic exists, such as Harry Potter and Hogwarts. In those fictional stories, wizardry and the study of magic is almost always presented as something that is studied empirically, with wizards and their rooms fool of musty old tomes of learning. Magic is something that is learned and taught by reason and logic. In those fictional worlds, the study of magic is science. That’s because science is the one and only way to study the real world, e.g. the stuff that exists, whether it’s material or immaterial, natural or supernatural, physical or magic.

    For further reading, I suggest:
    > How not to attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical misconceptions about Methodological Naturalism
    >(final draft – to appear in Foundations of Science)
    > Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, Johan Braeckman
    https://sites.google.com/site/maartenboudry/teksten-1/methodological-naturalism

    PS:

    The world exhibits the appearance of order and design. We live because of universal constants. The reason we can do science in the first place is because of order and predictability. Assuming that all just happened…and it stayed that way for eternity is a leap in logic. Its an inference. So we are both making inferences. Its just a question of which one seems more reasonable and viable.

    The best that this argument can get you to is “some god”. It provides more or less absolutely zero help to showing that the Christian god is real. That’s because this evidence and reason is just as consistent with any other god hypothesis, including Zeus, Thor, and The Flying Spaghetti Monster. To show that the Christian god exists, you will need evidence specific to the Christian god and Christianity. In other words, it has one of the same flaws as Pascal’s Wager.

  56. Chikoppi says

    @FoD, et al

    The world exhibits the appearance of order and design. We live because of universal constants. The reason we can do science in the first place is because of order and predictability. Assuming that all just happened…and it stayed that way for eternity is a leap in logic. Its an inference. So we are both making inferences. Its just a question of which one seems more reasonable and viable.

    To say, “I don’t know, therefore God” is not an inference. Sometimes the correct answer to a question is simply “I don’t know.” Full stop.

    It’s fine to speculate that a heretofore unobserved cause exists based on a catalog of other observations. But you can’t call that knowledge. It would merely represent a vague direction in which to start looking for evidence.

    I don’t know what conditions are necessary for a universe like ours to exist. Neither do you. The claim that “someone must have made it” is not at all a reasonable or viable answer to that question.

  57. blue says

    Matt seems to talk over people more than he used to. I understand he’s frustrated with the caller, but we listen for the crazy.

    I would also love to see some hosts really read up on biology. It disappoints when you get a creationist callerand the argument is mived to philosophy. Same for cosmological argument, when math is never brought into it. You don’t need to understand the math, just know that to understand anything about that physics requires a whole ton of math.

    I’d love to know how you managed to get so many theist callers again! I had kind of stopped listening after you went internet only because there were so few theists (yes, I did try to drum up callers on Christian blogs and such), but listened to this to hear the new host (great job Phil), and was pleased to hear so many theists!

  58. Chikoppi says

    @blue

    If you “listen for the crazy” then I cannot recommend the “Be Reasonable” podcast highly enough. Mike Marshall, from the Merseyside Skeptics Society, conducts long interviews with a varied bevy of credulous individuals. His patience is near inhuman and I’ve yet to make it through an episode without shouting aloud to myself.

    http://www.merseysideskeptics.org.uk/podcasts/

  59. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    I don’t have the time to address the criticisms, questions, and comments

    Sorry for having shed blood in the shark tank and then leaving..

    Thank you Monocle for your kind words and all the work you did edumacating little ol’ me.

    As far as informal science goes…Gather some random people in a room. Ask them to raise their hands if they’ve experienced love. Most hands will go up. Repeat the experiment. Same result. Evidence that love exists – even though love lacks form or a universal definition. Then do the same for God.

    There are several competing theories why life exists. Popular hypotheses give credit to a primordial soup, a bolt of lightning, and a stroke of luck. My fav being England’s which says “that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy”.

    Favorite comment
    “It would seem that the same logic supporting the assertion that life occurs spontaneously as a result of the thermodynamic imperative of entropy would mean that at least some “living” things should be immortal. Or, put another way, what is the thermodynamic causation for death of the living things that successfully contribute to entropy?”

  60. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    As far as informal science goes…Gather some random people in a room. Ask them to raise their hands if they’ve experienced love. Most hands will go up. Repeat the experiment. Same result. Evidence that love exists – even though love lacks form or a universal definition. Then do the same for God.

    I can’t even.

  61. Monocle Smile says

    @FoD
    That’s one of the more pathetic flounce posts I’ve read. Do you pretend that your time is valuable on the internet often?

  62. says

    @66

    As far as informal science goes…Gather some random people in a room. Ask them to raise their hands if they’ve experienced love. Most hands will go up. Repeat the experiment. Same result. Evidence that love exists – even though love lacks form or a universal definition. Then do the same for God.

    This is a false equivalence.

    If you ask them whether they’ve experienced something they’d identify as God, it would be more appropriate, but would not do much towards demonstrating the existence of an entity.

    Love is an experience – a brain state, which can be self-reported. God is asserted to be an independent entity from the person.

  63. Daisy von Doodle says

    I’m in the same boat. I’ve been looking for resources, then devouring each one I find.

  64. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Well said Jasper.
    My take is simply: I respect a person’s reasons, not their beliefs. Someone can self report feeling the emotion of love, but I’m going to need more than their self report of interacting with an invisible friend. I’m going to need to examine their reasons and reasoning, and evidence, and see if it stands up to scrutiny, and it probably doubts. I generally don’t doubt that they feel like they’re hearing something from an imaginable friend, but that’s a wholly different proposition than the imaginary friend being real. Whereas, for love, feeling love is the same thing as love being real.

  65. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Teaches me to post without proofreading.

    > I’m going to need to examine their reasons and reasoning, and evidence, and see if it stands up to scrutiny, and it probably doubts.

    should be

    > I’m going to need to examine their reasons and reasoning, and evidence, and see if it stands up to scrutiny, and it probably **doesn’t**.

  66. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    “I’m trying to illustrate that even though plenty of people did believe those things and we probably would have as well, we were never at any point rationally justified in doing so. FoD is citing ignorance as a reason to believe in deities. So for the sake of argument, I’m laying down a scenario where we don’t have any of the scientific knowledge we do today. It doesn’t change a thing as far as plausibility of god claims are concerned.”
    “Would you say we had an “inability” to understand lightning and thus should instantly believe that Thor was swinging his hammer?”

    People dismiss stories as being false and having no value. But as the saying has it, all stories are true–some even happened.)

    Would you say we should assume skepticism about everything until empirically/scientifically proven?

    “The Problem of Evil” is not sufficient to prove their is no God. Rather, it proves that we misinterpret God. It proves that we are wrong to assume that God doesn’t allow the possibility of evil. From my Christian perspective, for example, we have very little to go on about the nature of God. Anything we come up with about the nature of God may be made up based on what we would do if we were God.

    Yours, the pathetic flouncer off to build a house.

  67. Devocate says

    we are wrong to assume that God doesn’t allow the possibility of evil.

    Right, if the Christian god exists, he is either useless, or evil.

    One doesn’t prove love or trust by naturalistic scientific proof.

    If that were true, no one would ever say ‘If you loved me, you would…”

  68. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    People dismiss stories as being false and having no value. But as the saying has it, all stories are true–some even happened.)

    Sure, but you aren’t claiming that “god” is an allegory or metaphor. You’re claiming that it is a real thing with agency and particular properties.

    Would you say we should assume skepticism about everything until empirically/scientifically proven?

    A caller on the July 3rd show made this same error. We should use epistemology to establish and proportion belief in all things. The scientific method is one means of validating observations that has proven effective. Regardless of the method used, belief should be proportioned based on the quality of evidence compared to the likelihood of the claim being true. The more unprecedented the claim, the greater the evidence required.

    “The Problem of Evil” is not sufficient to prove their is no God. Rather, it proves that we misinterpret God. It proves that we are wrong to assume that God doesn’t allow the possibility of evil. From my Christian perspective, for example, we have very little to go on about the nature of God. Anything we come up with about the nature of God may be made up based on what we would do if we were God.

    We can make an extensive list of “things you cannot prove don’t exist.” It’s fairly easy to construct a non-falsifiable hypothesis. Let’s take the example of Thetans from Scientology (essentially, immortal space ghosts):

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

    Thetans are carefully defined in a way that makes the claim non-falsifiable. Do you believe they exist? No. Because there is not sufficient epistemological evidence to justify belief in the claim. This is the standard of belief you correctly apply to most claims that you encounter.

    You are claiming that a god exists. Your evidence is essentially that you can’t imagine how things can be as they are unless an invisible, non-observable, über-potent spirit created them for some inscrutable reason. The claim is extraordinary and your evidence is essentially a definition of the limits of your knowledge and imagination, or “you can’t conceive of any other explanation.” Not only that, but you attribute particular properties to this entity, which you admit cannot be observed or examined. Atheists simply don’t consider that a sufficient reason to justify belief.

    You can believe what you want, obviously. You can’t expect others to believe it unless you provide sufficient, objective reasons. Absent that evidence, it is far more likely that stories about gods are just that, fables constructed over time in an attempt to explain things that people did not fully understand.

  69. Daniela DePadova says

    The first caller kind of answered his own question, when he fleetingly mentioned some people’s ability to digest milk. Lactose intolerance is actually “normal,” and people who can digest milk as adults are proof that evolution is a fact. Milk wasn’t meant to be consumed by adult mammals, but we’ve been doing it for so long, that a lot of people have developed the ability,

  70. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    If God doesn’t exist, would evil not exist?
    If evil exists, would we be the reason?
    Can’t the finger be pointed the same direction if God does exist?

    Would 1+1=2 if you didn’t exist?
    Would 1+1=2 if mankind didn’t exist?
    Would 1+1=2 if the universe(s) didn’t exist?

  71. Monocle Smile says

    @FoD
    I don’t really care about those first three questions. They are not interesting nor relevant to the topic unless you happen to believe in a god that is rendered impossible by the problem of evil. Not all god concepts fall into this category.
    The answers to your last three questions are all “yes.” These are also irrelevant to the topic.

    Do you have a real point? This blog has had a recent round of extremely irritating trolls, so you’ll have to excuse the general impatience.

  72. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    Yeah, I don’t really understand why you think those questions are relevant.

  73. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    I think some people don’t want there to be a God because it would impose an unacceptable invasion of their privacy.
    Actions and even thoughts would be a constant subject of judgment and evaluation.
    These come down to the serious limitation of human autonomy posed by theism.

  74. Monocle Smile says

    @FoD
    You are correct. I am one of those people. Are you not? If not, what’s wrong with you?
    This is a non sequitur and still irrelevant. Desire does not impact the truth, so it matters not if someone wants a god to exist. If a god exists, why do you need to tap-dance and prattle on? Get to the point.

  75. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    I think some people don’t want there to be a God because it would impose an unacceptable invasion of their privacy.

    I think some people don’t want there to be warrantless wiretapping because it would impose an unacceptable invasion of their privacy. But what they may or may not want is irrelevant, because we have evidence that agencies have engaged in and, in some situations, continue to engage in warrantless wiretapping.

    What we want to exist (or not exist) is irrelevant to the question of what does exist (or does not exist).

    The counter-position to your statement is, “I think some people want for there to be a god because ‘reasons’ (fear of death, fear of uncertainty, desire for reward or punishment, solace, social conformity, etc).

    I think we can agree that personal preference is not sufficient cause to justify the adoption or rejection of a claim.

  76. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    Nothing is fundamentally separate or independent. Mathematics of the quantum theory deals primarily with the structure of the implicate pre-space and with how an explicate order of space and time emerges from it, rather than with movements of physical entities, such as particles and fields.

    The kind of proof you are looking for denies faith, and without faith, God doesn’t exist from our perspective. Therefore if God ever provided that kind of proof of his existence, You would cease to exist as you presently understand yourself.

  77. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    People are a series of waves so tightly packed that they are seen as solid with an ending. But there is only an ending to the tightly packed waves called wave packets. When the energy building of the wave packets “dies” the flow of the waves are no longer tightly packed, but free to vibrate in a faster reality which is always there.

    So…you can say spirit is incoherent. I am crazy. Prove it. Non-sequitur, Whatever… your negation built on empiricism, rationalism, humanism, etc does not add anything to my belief that God has the final say on what reality is or isn’t.

  78. Devocate says

    @81 & 82

    We have entered the word salad portion of our program. Psuedo-scientific mumbo jumbo will now be dispensed with no regard to providing actual evidence (still).

  79. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    God is real because a) if a god provided proof of its existence you would cease to exist (therefore no proof is proof) and b) quantum mechanics.

    Hey, if that works for you, you are welcome to it. But to me it’s nonsense, so please don’t try to tell us you know that a god exists and that you are capable of correctly assessing its properties or demands. I get that you ‘want’ it to exist, but as we established previously ‘want’ has nothing to do with what is real or not.

  80. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    “God is real because a) if a god provided proof of its existence you would cease to exist (therefore no proof is proof) and b) quantum mechanics.”

    ‘cease to exist as you presently understand yourself’, is what was said.

    I don’t expect you to understand the “sciencey part”. It was used to point out that there are possibilities .

    God, however, has a schedule for when he proves or will prove himself to those he is calling for specific duties related to his plan for humanity. Right now, he is only calling those who will help him teach the rest of humanity his ways in the next phase of his plan.

    If he hasn’t called you, don’t worry—he will contact you soon enough. If you don’t know, you’re not yet meant to know—so, ignore those who are always trying to “prove” God’s existence to you. They can’t.

    What’s more—good intentions as they may have—they’re not supposed to. If they’re trying to prove God to you, they haven’t been sent by God to do it. Not even Jesus tried to prove God’s existence—or that he was the son of God—to the masses, but rather deliberately hid full understanding of his mission and primary message from all except his disciples.

    These people are “religilantes”* working on their own recognizance, and not sent messengers of God. The commission of God’s church is not to “prove” his existence, but to publicly proclaim the gospel message and a warning to the descendant nations of ancient Israel—which it is doing.

    But neither Jesus nor the apostles ever instructed the disciples to prove God’s existence through debate with other individuals. Jesus himself said that “no man can come” unto him except the Father draws (or calls) him.

    Until a person is called and Christ himself “opens their understanding,” they remain spiritually blind. The things of God—including his very existence—are foolishness to him. In fact, he is hostile towards them.

    And, the way some of these misguided Christians are always in people’s faces (figuratively or literally), uninvited, trying to “prove” God to them, it’s often hard to blame them.

    God’s people know his plan. And knowing his plan, they know most people cannot—and will not—understand the things of God this side of the second resurrection—which, I know, is an esoteric term many readers have never heard of and most who have either don’t believe or don’t understand.

    “So, why mention them at all?” some may ask. At least two reasons: (1) God is still calling people to duty—so the truth has to be available to them, and (2) to convict those God will call in the resurrection, so that they may also repent and receive eternal life.

    Scripture says it is for “a witness” to them. When God establishes his rule on Earth, he will prove to humanity the proverbial “error of their ways.”

    After all, not everything that should prove God’s existence is deep or spiritual, but in plain sight—which is the universe itself and everything in it.

    And, no, I don’t intend to explain anymore why that is so. God says you should see it. I see it. And so do many others (though, compared to all who have ever lived, very few—practically, no one).

    With God, it’s first things first.

    If you don’t see “proof” God exists, don’t worry about it. If you think God is negligent for not appearing before you and saying “I am God”—wait—that would be absurd, because he would have to exist to be able to ignore you. So, again, no sweat, right?

    And, if somebody is up in your grill trying to prove to you God exists, show them this answer, or ask them to show you where God told them to prove his existence to you.

    * yes, this is a made up word.

  81. Monocle Smile says

    @FoD
    I have a hard time believing you’re serious. Or, at least I would if an even crazier version of you (the many-named crumpet crammer) hadn’t been trolling this blog for a while. Some of that sounds rather JW, but there are still things that tweak my “Poe” sensors.

    If he hasn’t called you, don’t worry—he will contact you soon enough. If you don’t know, you’re not yet meant to know—so, ignore those who are always trying to “prove” God’s existence to you. They can’t

    Yet here you are, blabbering away on an atheist blog. Do you think we’re stupid? Or are you merely wearing your pants on your head?

  82. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    God is real because a) if a god provided proof of its existence you would cease to exist (therefore no proof is proof) and b) quantum mechanics.”
    ‘cease to exist as you presently understand yourself’, is what was said.

    The distinction is irrelevant. Your point is that this ‘god’ hides proof for a supposed purpose, and therefore, so you claim, the complete lack of any proof whatsoever is evidence that a god exists. Rubbish.

    You have invented these properties out of thin air without any justification whatsoever in an attempt to excuse your claim from critique. It is a blatant attempt to construct a non-falsifiable hypothesis, which, as we’ve previously established, is not sufficient to justify belief in any case. I could make the same claim about any other entity and you would have no choice but to accept that it is true.

    I don’t expect you to understand the “sciencey part”. It was used to point out that there are possibilities.

    First, imaginative speculation based on a half-baked understanding of quantum mechanics does not indicate that something is ‘possible.’ Second, even if a thing were theoretically possible that doesn’t mean that it exists.

    You’ve provided nothing to indicate this entity exists anywhere but in your imagination. Lots of people believe in Bigfoot and anal-probing aliens. That doesn’t mean they exist.

    And, no, I don’t intend to explain anymore why that is so. God says you should see it. I see it. And so do many others (though, compared to all who have ever lived, very few—practically, no one).

    Others believe in a different god or gods for exactly the same reasons you cite here. They believe you are deceived and quite possibly doomed as a result. How can I tell which of you, if any, has received true revelation and which of you are merely deceiving yourselves?

  83. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    Almost missed this part:

    God’s people know his plan. And knowing his plan, they know most people cannot—and will not—understand the things of God this side of the second resurrection—which, I know, is an esoteric term many readers have never heard of and most who have either don’t believe or don’t understand.

    Right. So the cosmic overlord of existence has decided that you are a special snowflake and the rest of us should be thankful for your beneficence. How can you breathe with your ego taking up so much space?

  84. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Fallacy Of Decomposition #84:

    People are a series of waves so tightly packed that they are seen as solid […] When the energy building of the wave packets “dies” the flow of the waves are no longer tightly packed, but free to vibrate in a faster reality

    Gosh. That all sounds very complicated.
     
    So… to create a solid human, energy would have to… slow down and become physical?

  85. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    Fallacy of Disposition,

    I see you never answered the questions I asked I’ll send them again in case you forgot.

    Imagine a time where science has answered all the questions of origin and filled in any gaps in our knowledge. Would you still believe a God existed and if so why? And what evidence would you need to disprove the existence of a God?

  86. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    Blabbering away, rubbish, feigning interest…you lack belief, I don’t. Should be end of story. right?
    Nope, the self appointed moderators need to circle jerk(not the one involving masturbation, unless that is your fancy).

  87. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    Is there any amount of evidence that could make you disbelieve in God? If not, why? What is your reason for believing, how did a God meet your evidentiary standards? I’m willing to believe if there is good and sufficient reason to do so, until then I will remain skeptical.

  88. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    Credulity is not a virtue.

    You came here to assert that you knew something to be true. When asked to demonstrate that knowledge you were unable to do so. You cannot now complain that you are the victim.

  89. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    1) I don’t know
    2) God called
    3) What Christianity explained was things like the meaning of life, how to find purpose for my life, the difference between good and evil and how I ought to live my life, how to find forgiveness for the sins that I have committed and to be free of my guilt, how to enter eternal life, and to know God. Those are the things that Christianity offers. I would say I have good reason to trust people like Jesus of Nazareth when it comes to teaching me about those truths. There is plenty of good evidence that Jesus was who he claimed to be, and that God raised him from the dead in vindication of those radical claims to be the absolute revelation of God. I see nothing irrational or inappropriate about believing the truths that Jesus taught. Oh and his indwelling spirit in me.

  90. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    I don’t know is a very valid answer. What do you mean when you say, “God called”?

  91. Monocle Smile says

    @FoD
    This forum is for discussion not self-satisfying verbal ejaculation.

    I would say I have good reason to trust people like Jesus of Nazareth when it comes to teaching me about those truths. There is plenty of good evidence that Jesus was who he claimed to be, and that God raised him from the dead in vindication of those radical claims to be the absolute revelation of God

    Please provide this rather than wax poetic about how it exists.
    You’ve been asked plenty of questions and you don’t seem to be interested in answering any of them either directly or in good faith.

  92. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    What Christianity explained was things like the meaning of life, how to find purpose for my life, the difference between good and evil and how I ought to live my life, how to find forgiveness for the sins that I have committed and to be free of my guilt, how to enter eternal life, and to know God.

    What you are making is an appeal to consequence. You insist that it is true because you find it personally satisfying or comforting.

    All religions make equivalent claims. Most religious people would claim that they believe in their professed faiths for exactly the same reasons. You believe the majority of them are wrong. Even an ISIS fundamentalist could express their faith using essentially the same words you have used here. I assume you don’t find their beliefs to be justified.

    There is plenty of good evidence that Jesus was who he claimed to be, and that God raised him from the dead…

    No. There really isn’t. Not by any standard of evidence that isn’t irrevocably tortured by motivated reasoning. It’s a good story, and there are some common sense parables to be found amongst the genocide, slavery, misogyny, and Hebraic mythology, but that’s about it.

    You are welcome to believe whatever you want. But if you claim to know something, if you claim that others should accept it as true, then you are going to have to demonstrate that knowledge.

  93. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    Discussion? This forum seems to be about establishing some “correct thinking society” mostly by way of accusation and mockery. One would think there would be better ways to get “your jollies”.

    God called. Matthew 13:18-23
    … “discussion” here is merely a set-up for some “gotcha”, so have at it.

    If you are truly interested in a demonstration of this knowledge, you are welcome to observe this christian in his habitat.

  94. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    Sorry if you’re feeling put-upon, but what did you expect? That you were going to come to an atheist forum, offer a few common platitudes and spark a mass conversion?

    Maybe you aren’t accustomed to discussions with people who don’t already believe the same things you do? And yes, most people who frequent here are very concerned with ‘thinking correctly.’ We often discuss the role of logic, philosophy, and epistemology in correctly apportioning confidence in our beliefs and knowledge.

    Lastly, it’s not a ‘gotcha’ question if the critique of the thoughts being presented is valid and true. Maybe the fact that so many of these questions feel like ‘gotcha’ moments to you should be cause to reflect on the quality of your reasoning.

  95. says

    @100

    This forum seems to be about establishing some “correct accurate thinking society”

    Fixed it for you.

    If a person cares about what’s actually true, then the process of figuring out what’s true matters. What we’ve been doing since you got here has been pointing out where your reasoning process has glaring flaws…. not just pointing them out, but providing examples.

    If your reasoning sucks, and you get something accurate out it… well, a broken clock is still right twice a day.

  96. Monocle Smile says

    @FoD

    If you are truly interested in a demonstration of this knowledge, you are welcome to observe this christian in his habitat.

    I don’t know what this is supposed to mean. Do you conjure things out of thin air on a daily basis? Raise the dead?

  97. Blixic says

    I, for one, would prefer that more christians be like FoD (or like he claims he should be), in that they don’t try to prove god’s existence to you and leave you alone about it. Smugly watching from afar, thinking that eventually we’ll all realize he was right all along, is totally fine with me.

    Then, if that ideology would transfer to politics and law, that would be stupendous!

  98. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    He said in Matthew 13:10-12
    “And the disciples came and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.”

    Do you think it’s wrong he intentionally used confusing language knowing (because of omniscience) what would happen as a result? His teachings say if you don’t worship me you won’t get into the kingdom of heaven, then purposefully confuses and therefore condemns those that don’t understand to an eternity in hell. I think that is downright evil and not someone I could never worship.

  99. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    “I don’t know what this is… ”

    Paul very clearly stated the responsibilities of the called: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:12-15).

  100. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    “Of the called” Only the ones that can decipher his cryptic messages, thereby condemning anyone that can’t decipher them to hell.

  101. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, ” Does that mean anyone that isn’t ‘elect’ are just left out in the cold? That whole passage you quoted only talks about followers. What about non-followers?

  102. Monocle Smile says

    @FoD
    You can’t be serious. Not only is it possible to display those traits absent belief, but you haven’t displayed any of them here. Care to get to an actual point? Or are you content to ramble for no good reason? I don’t care about this “god will call you” crap. If you actually believed that, you wouldn’t be here.

  103. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    “The action of Pity will live for ever: but the passion of Pity will not. The passion of pity, the pity we merely suffer, the ache that draws men to concede what should not be conceded and to flatter when they should speak truth, the pity that has cheated many a woman out of her virginity and many a statesman out of his honesty—that will die. It was used as a weapon by bad men against good ones: their weapon will be broken.”
    “And what is the other kind—the action?”
    “It’s a weapon on the other side. It leaps quicker than light from the highest place to the lowest to bring healing and joy, whatever the cost to itself. It changes darkness into light and evil into good. But it will not, at the cunning tears of Hell, impose on good the tyranny of evil.”
    The Great Divorce

  104. Monocle Smile says

    Why should anyone care about the ravings of CS Lewis?
    I’m having a very hard time believing that you’re real.

  105. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    A skeptic who mocks others is having a hard time believing? Shocking! Your point is?

  106. Chikoppi says

    This has devolved into nonsense.

    FoD finds the narrative framework of religion comforting or useful (and perhaps socially expedient?). I don’t think it matters to him/her whether or not those beliefs are actually justified or true. The perceived ‘ends’ presumedly offered by the religious narrative in this case necessarily excuse the ‘means.’

    FoD, you haven’t demonstrated knowledge. Belief without objective justification is indistinguishable from fantasy. If we seem dismissive of your continued assertions, that is the reason why. What you believe is of no interest until you can demonstrate that the why of those beliefs it is sufficiently critical to meet the necessary burden of proof. Credulity is not a virtue.

  107. Monocle Smile says

    @FoD
    My point is that you’re obviously here for a reason. I suspect that you’re butthurt about something and it’s causing you to be obnoxious and nonsensical. So how about you just get it out and tell us what’s got your panties in a wad?

  108. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    Christians respect the laws of logic, but we do not respect only the laws of logic. The basis of Christian belief isn’t grounded in logic, but in testimony, faith and experience. We know that God is there because he makes his presence known through the witness of his spirit, and we know that he is good and worthy of obedience and worship because of the history of our relationship with him.

    As we follow God’s commandments faithfully, we can see the results in our lives. We see that living the principles of the Gospel works, that it produces positive results, helping us to resolve or avoid problems in our lives. That increases our faith, making us better-able to trust in God, so that when we need to do something truly difficult, even if it seems to contradict what we think is logical, we can say, “God has never led me wrong before, so I can trust in him now.” Those who don’t understand this principle say that Christians live by “blind faith,” but that is far from the truth.

    As for how Christians convince others of their belief, we don’t. While it’s possible to convince another person that our viewpoint makes sense, actual faith, the kind I’m talking about in the previous paragraphs, comes from God, not from another person. What proselyting Christians attempt to do is convince others to open their hearts, to be willing to accept that the Gospel might be true, and to be willing to pray to God to seek their own testimony and establish their own relationship with him. Conversion is a highly personal matter between oneself and the Lord; anyone else’s involvement is secondary.

    We justify our beliefs based on a series of foundational beliefs that require faith, but then have logical outcomes and structures that follow. The book of Romans does an excellent job laying out these basics and their implications. As such, I have found that you can logically justify the Christian faith and its beliefs, as long as you have faith and believe (accept as factually true) the basic foundational beliefs. If you believe there is a God, and if you believe that the Bible is what it says it is then you can logically form (a VERY long) argument for all facets of the Christian faith.

    However, this would still just be head knowledge. Let’s forget labels for just one second as they tend confuse things. To be a follower of Christ, to be “saved” or within His elect, you must believe that Christ was real, historical, bodily resurrected and alive today, just not with us here on this earth. You also must love and trust Jesus to fulfill His promises and show you grace and mercy. This is the essence of being a Christian, and in a very real way I cannot justify or prove this to you anymore than I can “prove” why I love my spouse.

  109. Monocle Smile says

    @FoD
    There’s is so much wrong with that post.

    As we follow God’s commandments faithfully, we can see the results in our lives. We see that living the principles of the Gospel works, that it produces positive results, helping us to resolve or avoid problems in our lives

    Either you’re not familiar with the vast amounts of death and suffering caused by the supposed commandments of your god or you see all of those atrocities as good things. This statement is demonstrably false. The third option is that you cherry-pick the obvious stuff from the bible that doesn’t require a book to deduce and then ignore whatever you don’t like.

    While it’s possible to convince another person that our viewpoint makes sense, actual faith, the kind I’m talking about in the previous paragraphs, comes from God, not from another person

    I don’t give a fuck. You’ve been asked repeatedly to demonstrate the former. The latter is irrelevant. I don’t see how your viewpoint makes sense in any way, shape or form.

    If you believe there is a God, and if you believe that the Bible is what it says it is then you can logically form (a VERY long) argument for all facets of the Christian faith

    There’s this thing called the GIGO principle. I assume you’re unfamiliar; you might want to check it out. This is why we need both empiricism and rationalism.

    However, this would still just be head knowledge

    This is the only kind of knowledge. My heart does not thinking. It pumps blood.

    Let’s forget labels for just one second as they tend confuse things

    Are you joking? Labels only confuse people who don’t understand the point of a label. What are you even talking about? And you were corrected on the spouse thing before. You CAN demonstrate that you love your spouse. But apparently this is inconvenient and gets in the way of your preaching.

  110. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    And do you understand why we make the distinction between ‘belief’ and ‘knowledge’? That the things you cite, “testimony, faith, and experience,” can be used just as sincerely and effectively by others to justify beliefs that are entirely contradictory and exclusionary to your own?

  111. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    “and we know that he is good and worthy of obedience and worship”
    He condoned slavery, rape, sacrifice and slaughter, I hardly call those things good. My mom is also a believer. I asked her how she explained those things away, she uttered that it was, a test. I said, “Then your god is a monster!” Anyone who tests anyone like that is sick and not worthy of praise or respect or anything else.. I was disgusted by my mother when she said that. I also asked her why doesn’t your God have to answer for all the atrocities he’s committed and she didn’t want to talk about that anymore (her go to response when she’s uncomfortable). Tell me, why is it that your God gets special treatment, why is he above everyone else’s judgement? How do you reconcile all the atrocities he’s committed? Let me guess, oh that’s the old testament. How about him saying that he condones all the old testament? Now what? If anyone other than your God committed these heinous acts or condoned them, people would hunt him down, lynch him, lock him up and throw away the key. There’s NO reason that he shouldn’t have to answer for all this (if he were real) but you see him as this good and just person because you ignore what he’s done or make excuses for him. I wish you and your kind would stop making excuses for him. If he turned out to be real, I’d campaign to have him put on trial for his crimes.

  112. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    I presume most here call yourself a freethinker, an atheist, an agnostic, a rationalist, or a secularist, or maybe all are humanists.
    Will someone give me, in their opinion, a comprehensive explanation of what good and evil are, that most of the rest of you would agree upon? Monocle, you can ignore this if it is going to raise your blood pressure.

  113. Monocle Smile says

    @FoD
    Good and evil are labels we put on ideas and actions based on the values we hold. There’s nothing complicated about this; I don’t know why you expected something “comprehensive.”
    I can’t speak for anyone else, and neither can the others in this thread, but I’m guessing this is rather uncontroversial.

  114. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    What might those values be? I have heard well being/suffering, empathy/lack of…Do you believe they are completely individualistic?

  115. Monocle Smile says

    That’s a good start.
    These values are indeed subjective, but there’s lots of crossover because we’re all human. There’s even more crossover among people of similar cultures and/or education levels. At that point, we can objectively evaluate ideas and actions as good or bad.
    Is there a point? Matt Dillahunty in particular has done a ton of talks on this and the subject is constantly brought up on AXP.

  116. OnlyTheEvidenceMatters says

    For me it’s a spectrum of right and wrong. On the right end is being kind and helping others, and at the wrong end is causing intentional physical or psychological harm.

  117. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Fallacy Of Decomposition
    Let me jump in.

    Will someone give me, in their opinion, a comprehensive explanation of what good and evil are, that most of the rest of you would agree upon?

    I need to cover a lot of ground in order to answer your intended question and to give a clear answer. Here I go. I think I need to split it up to multiple posts to avoid the auto-moderation for more than 3 links in a single post.

    Words do not have intrinsic meaning. The meanings of word change over time. Ultimately, the only authority or basis for an argument about definition is appeal to consensus, whether it’s an appeal to the consensus of the general public, or an appeal to the consensus of a particular expert group for a particular technical word.

    The words “good” and “evil” are just words. They came about by happenstance. Other languages use other words to describe the same concepts. This is important. If you have an argument regarding “good” and “evil”, the arguments should be just as correct and valid if you systematically replace the words “good” and “evil” with “foo” and “bar”, and properly define “foo” and “bar”. See: http://lesswrong.com/lw/nu/taboo_your_words/

    “Epistemology” is a fancy word “the study or philosophy of belief and knowledge”. In particular, someone’s epistemology is their philosophy and standards on how they know things. The only proper epistemologies are foundationalist (aka axiomatic, aka “taken on faith”, aka presuppositionalist), often with a mixing of coherentism (aka circular reasoning) for the foundation only. This is true for the Christian. This is true for the atheist. This is true for everyone. Everyone has a core set of beliefs and values which they use, in conjunction with observations about the world, in order to derive most of their knowledge, and this core or basis cannot itself be justified except circularly. In particular, please see:
    > WHAT’S NOT WRONG WITH FOUNDATIONALISM
    > Michael Bergmann
    http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~bergmann/klein.htm

  118. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Science is a value system. Ignore what other people say, it is a value system. It is not value free. You cannot do science and use science without accepting certain values, and a core value is “I ought to conform my beliefs with the evidence and with proper empirical reasoning”. Another core value or presupposition is necessary to overcome the problem of induction. I cannot prove to you that science is a correct or useful or accurate way to discover truths if you do not already have some of the same presuppositional values that I do, but because you are a human being that has evolved in a certain way, and because you’re probably not clinically insane, it’s a pretty safe bet that we do have enough shared presuppositional values that we can both do science together.

    Once we have science, then we can talk about the is-ought distinction. There are statements that describe how the world is, e.g. descriptive statements, and there are statements about the actions that are “proper”, or “right”, or “obligatory”, or “moral”, etc, e.g. proscriptive statements. In other words, the is vs ought dichotomy. Science is a presuppositional value system at its core. It depends on holding certain presuppositional values. However, the bulk of science is not presuppositional. The bulk of science is the result of objective empirical reasoning, based on those values, and based on the available objective evidence. Thus, it only makes sense to talk about the is-ought distinction if both parties accept science. Science is based on values, but inside of the value framework that is science, we can talk about objective, non-value, descriptive not proscriptive, facts.

  119. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Tangent: In particular, “the supernatural does not exist” is not part of the presuppositional basis of science. It is a question that can be answered by evidence and reason, and it has been answered: To a very high degree of confidence, the supernatural does not exist. This is a conclusion of science, not a premise. For further reading, please see:
    > How not to attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical misconceptions about Methodological Naturalism
    > (final draft – to appear in Foundations of Science)
    > Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, Johan Braeckman
    https://sites.google.com/site/maartenboudry/teksten-1/methodological-naturalism
    End tangent.

    As a more general observation, statements can only be objectively true in the context of some presuppositional aka axiomatic framework. For example, if both parties consent to the value framework of science, then there can be objectively right and wrong answers in that value framework. However, if one party does not consent to science, then there is no rational argument that can be made. For example, let me quote the words of Kurt Wise, one of the most well educated Young Earth Creationists ever. PhB from Harvard in geology. He knows what he’s talking about regarding the evidence and science. Regarding this problem of the value framework of science, he said this:

    Although there are scientific reasons for accepting a young earth, I am a young age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.

    The English words “good”, “evil”, “morality”, “ethics”, are defined by consensus to refer to the concept of “correct” or “true” proscriptive statements, aka value statements. As I stated above, there cannot be objectively right or wrong answers about morality outside of a particular presuppositional framework. Some Christians use the moral framework “whatever god commands is morally obligatory”, and I use the moral framework which is approximated by humanism, and with more thought and reflection, I include the utilitarian evaluation criterion of Rawls’s veil of ignorance.

    To be clear, I am not endorsing moral relativism. “Moral relativism” as a term of art defines the moral position something like “well, my values are just as good as the morals of some other culture, and I won’t impose my values on that other culture”. That is not my position. I endorse the use of some forms of violence, and I am personally willing to use some forms of violence, and I do sometimes use some forms of violence, in order to impose my morality on others in some cases, as circumscribed by my morality and my knowledge of the facts. For example, I would use physical violence to defend someone from being murdered or raped. For example, I vote (and voting is a form of violence, much abstracted, because those decisions are eventually made into law, which are enforced by police through violence).

    Now, if you are going to stand in my way of making the world into a better place for everyone, then you are my enemy, and there might not be much more to discuss. If you stand in my way of making the world into a better place, then I will fight you. I will fight you for myself, and on behalf of everyone else.

    Of course, I am very open to discussions about the best plan to make the world into a better place for everyone. At its core, it’s not a not a question about morality. It’s a question about facts. It’s a question of science, and assuming that you’re willing to accept the value framework of science, and assuming you’re willing to work with me to make the world into a better place for everyone, then there are objectively right and wrong answers as to which policies are good or bad. And of course, there is plenty of room for legitimate disagreement in many cases as to which plan is best, because our knowledge in these areas is limited, and because doing proper science is very, very hard in some of these areas.

  120. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS: I do want to throw out a shout-out to Sam Harris. While his recent work has been rather despicable, his earlier work contains a lot of good stuff (but also a bunch of despicable stuff like stealth advocating for preemptive nuclear war in something less than a purely abstract scenario).

    I really like Sam Harris’s basic tactics in terms of simple persuasion. In particular, imagine a hypothetical world where everyone suffers as much as physically possible, for as long as physically possible. This is bad. If anyone has any lingering doubts about whether or not this situation is an undesirable outcome, then I will immediately dismiss them. In other words, anyone who disagrees with this premise is clinically insane.

    With science, there are right and wrong answers about what plans and policies will cause us to end up in this hypothetical world of the worst possible suffering. Therefore, given the self-evident truth of the principles of science, and given the self-evident truth that the hypothetical world of the worst possible suffering is bad, it follows that there are objectively right and wrong answers to at least some moral questions.

    Once a conversational opponent accepts this position, IMHO it seems like it should be relatively easy to argue for the truth of general humanism (but often in practice it’s sadly not easy when dealing with divine command theorists) and to argue that there are objectively right and wrong answers to many moral questions, such as gun policy, government economics, voting systems, drug law, etc.

    Again, of course, as I mentioned above, the facts may be very hard to ascertain in practice because of the difficulty of doing proper science, but in practice there are objectively right and wrong answers to these questions. These are questions about human psychology, about the sociology of groups of humans, about the science of politics, etc., and they have objectively right and wrong answers.

  121. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ack: Last post. Sorry. Correction:

    > Again, of course, as I mentioned above, the facts may be very hard to ascertain in practice because of the difficulty of doing proper science, but in practice in principle there are objectively right and wrong answers to these questions.

    I proofread everything but the last post. Damnit, lol.

  122. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    This topic also came up near the end of comments on show 20.22 from about #304 onward. I’ll reiterate a comment I made in that thread:

    I want to live in a social environment that maximizes my well-being and the well-being of my fellow humans. This means I must abstain from behaviors that would create adverse social conditions. Stealing, violence, oppression, deception, these are things that create a dangerous environment of mistrust and uncertainty. I must also contribute to the social good in order to sustain and foster it. “Fairness” is an inherent concept.

    I don’t think things or actions are ‘intrinsically’ good or evil. Neither do I think ethical assessments are entirely subjective. The relative degree of harm that an action may cause can be assessed and qualified if not quantified. That degree of harm can be compared to other possible actions (or inaction) to determine which choices are more or less ethical. Well-intentioned people may disagree on the details, but that fact is also true with respect to theistic morality.

  123. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    Evil is an aberration, a form of pathology, as the psychopathic personality shows, which seems to emerge when we are broken off into disconnected fragments.

    For evil to be an aberration implies that there is a standard from which it diverges. In this, I agree with St. Augustine:

    ====
    [T]he good in created things can be diminished and augmented.
    For good to be diminished is evil; still, however much it is diminished,
    something must remain of its original nature as long as it exists
    at all. For no matter what kind or however insignificant a thing
    may be, the good which is its “nature” cannot be destroyed
    without the thing itself being destroyed. There is good reason,
    therefore, to praise an uncorrupted thing, and if it were indeed
    an incorruptible thing which could not be destroyed, it would doubtless
    be all the more worthy of praise. When, however, a thing is corrupted,
    its corruption is an evil because it is, by just so much, a privation.

    From this it follows that there is
    nothing to be called evil if there is nothing good. A good that
    wholly lacks an evil aspect is entirely good. Where there is some
    evil in a thing, its good is defective or defectible. Thus there
    can be no evil where there is no good. This leads us to a surprising
    conclusion: that, since every being, in so far as it is a being,
    is good, if we then say that a defective thing is bad, it would
    seem to mean that we are saying that what is evil is good, that
    only what is good is ever evil and that there is no evil apart from
    something good. This is because every actual entity is good. Nothing
    evil exists in itself, but only as an evil aspect of some actual
    entity. Therefore, there can be nothing evil except something good.

  124. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    This is because every actual entity is good. Nothing evil exists in itself, but only as an evil aspect of some actual entity. Therefore, there can be nothing evil except something good. (Augustine)

    Meh. The conclusion seems to be that nothing is inherently ‘evil’, which I agree with. The reasoning, however, I do not.

    Augustine stated that natural evil (evil present in the natural world such as natural disasters etc.) is caused by fallen angels, whereas moral evil (evil caused by the will of human beings) is as a result of man having become estranged from God and choosing to deviate from his chosen path. Augustine argued that God could not have created evil in the world, as it was created good, and that all notions of evil are simply a deviation or privation of goodness. Evil cannot be a separate and unique substance. (Wikipedia, Problem of Evil)

    This premise is essentially divine command theory (‘good’ is whatever God says it is) with some slight of hand to excuse culpability. God didn’t create evil, but merely created (with perfect foreknowledge) billions of entities with insufficient wisdom or understanding to abstain from it.

    As a premise, this serves as an apologetic while providing no practical basis to inform ethical choices. By definition, ‘man’ cannot know objective good. Therefore, we’re left to use reason to assess the potential consequences of the actions available to us and make choices based on net benefit and harm. This is essentially the secular humanist position.

  125. Monocle Smile says

    @FoD
    Who cares what Augustine said? That’s a massive deepity. It is utterly trivial to state that good and evil are contrasted such that one would not be recognizable without the other. Furthermore, nothing in that passage grants clarity into what “good” and “evil” actually constitute.

    Evil is an aberration, a form of pathology, as the psychopathic personality shows, which seems to emerge when we are broken off into disconnected fragments.

    I don’t recognize this as anything coherent.

  126. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    “…nothing in that passage grants clarity into what “good” and “evil” actually constitute.”

    Agreed! An underlying standard must exist, external to all men, that defines the continuum of morality. Only then can these terms have any coherence. The subject is in principle unobservable to science — not because it exists in another realm but because it is not part of the empirical world.

    We are persons, and personality is of our essence. The concept of the person is like the concept of a melody. It features in our way of perceiving and relating to each other, but it does not “carry over” into the science of what we are. The fact that the person does not carry over into science does not mean that there are no persons, but only that a scientific theory of persons will classify them with other things — for example, with apes or other mammals.

    ‘Evil is an aberration, a form of pathology, as the psychopathic personality shows, which seems to emerge when we are broken off into disconnected fragments.’

    “I don’t recognize this as anything coherent.”

    This does not surprise me. You don’t believe we were created to be in union with God.

  127. Monocle Smile says

    Your armchair wibbling does not impress me.

    Agreed! An underlying standard must exist, external to all men, that defines the continuum of morality. Only then can these terms have any coherence

    No. This is bullshit. Subjective and incoherent are not synonyms regardless of the screaming of “serious apologists.”

    We are persons, and personality is of our essence. The concept of the person is like the concept of a melody. It features in our way of perceiving and relating to each other, but it does not “carry over” into the science of what we are

    This is also bullshit. We understand sentience. We understand how the brain works. I don’t accept this “essence” garbage. You sound like a Catholic. I predict sheer boredom in the future.

    This does not surprise me. You don’t believe we were created to be in union with God.

    Of course not. Why should anyone believe such baffling nonsense?

  128. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Any chance our guest will engage with my posts? I wrote them for a reason. Chances are, my posts also happen to be a fair representation of the positions of the regulars here, including the show hosts too, esp Matt Dillahunty. IMHO.

  129. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Fallacy Of Decomposition
    But really, I suppose I could have saved all of my time and just asked this simple question: Consider a world where there is a creator god, similar in appearance to the Christian god, but who is evil and regularly performs evil actions on his human creations. Is that a logically consistent and concept?

    For me, clearly yes.

    If you answer “no”, then let me ask: Are you a divine command theorist? If you don’t know what that means, then just answer the following question: If god commanded you to kill your firstborn, like Isaac and Abraham, and similar to Jephthah and his daughter, is that a moral command, and would doing it be moral, and would you do it? (If you’re not a parent, insert some other generally innocent and good loved one.)

    If you say that it is moral to kill someone on the orders of your god, and the person has actually done no wrongs in terms of human laws and human ethics, such as the Jephthah example from the Christian Bible, then I believe there is nothing to discuss. If so, there’s simply not enough empathy, humanity, and goodness in you to find any common ground whatsoever between us, especially with this particular method of communication. If so, you are evil, and you are my enemy, and I will fight you and people like you, and there is probably nothing more to discuss.

  130. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    An underlying standard must exist, external to all men, that defines the continuum of morality. Only then can these terms have any coherence. The subject is in principle unobservable to science — not because it exists in another realm but because it is not part of the empirical world.

    No. That’s silly.

    First, if such a thing did exist but not as “part of the empirical world” it would be unobservable and entirely impotent. Either it has a measurable effect or it doesn’t. If it has a measurable effect it can be studied.

    Second, “morality” is very much about the observable benefit and harm caused by actions and the evolutionary advantages. If you are curious about evolutionary precursors for morality you can start with ‘theory of mind’ and ‘mirror neurons’.

    Third, brain injury can completely erase or rearrange a persons ability to make moral decisions or function with empathy. The ability to make moral choices is very definitely a biological and cognitive function.

    Lastly, lest you forget, slavery and polygamy are condoned in the bible. Are those things moral or did the divine edict of morality change?

  131. Patrick67 says

    #134:
    Pretty much all of this post is plagiarized from the book Scientism: The New Orthodoxy
    edited by Richard N. Williams, Daniel N. Robinson.

    Richard N. Williams
    http://wheatley.byu.edu/about/administration/bios/index.cfm?id=1

    Daniel N. Robinson
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_N._Robinson

    I’m no expert on either this book or its editors. I’m sure there are many more on this thread that might have a deeper understanding of the issues discussed in this book than myself. I was able to look up a few example pages from the book and to my mind most of it is Mormon and other religious woo mixed together. It seems to be trying to make a case for science acting as a religion; therefore the term Scientism.

  132. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    “Is that a logically consistent and concept?”
    Don’t know

    “Are you a divine command theorist?”
    I am a modified Divine Motivation Theorist

    …such as the Jephthah example from the Christian Bible
    the phrase “he did with her according to his vow” is made to signify the exclusion of his daughter as a kind of Old Testament nun, surrendered to live a secluded life in the service of the Tabernacle &–;a vestal virgin.
    Abraham? maybe…Canaanites? most likely

    “We understand how the brain works.”
    Really? If thought is a part of the whole, can it contain the whole?

    …and now for the armchair “boring is as boring does”

    “…guest?”
    If I am unwelcome here I will gladly go.

  133. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Patrick67
    Goddamnit. Is it the same plagiarizing troll from previous threads?

    To Plagiarizing, Sock-Puppeting Troll:
    Fuck off.

  134. Patrick67 says

    #116:
    I’m not going to continue to track down all of DoD’s posts on this thread but I just had to point out one other major plagiarism. All of post #116 can be found here:

    http://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/3704/how-do-christians-justify-their-belief-and-how-do-they-convince-others-of-their

    If you follow the link you will arrive at a site called Christianity Stack Exchange. Scroll down till you find the words “4 answers.” There you will find two sets of answers. The first part is posted by a Mason Wheeler and it covers word for word the first three paragraphs of post #116.

    Scroll a little farther down and you will find an answer posted by blundin. The answer there is word for word the last two paragraphs of post #116. The only exception is the last word “fiancée” in the original is changed to “spouse” in 116.

  135. sharkjack says

    Even though its like two weeks late, I still want to congratulate Phil on a great first episode, I hope many more will follow.

    That moment he stumbled over his words and started over made me feel like I was personally on the show, because I do that that too from time to time and there was something special in seeing it happen on tv. The content has drifted from my memory too much to make direct comments on, but I remember being pretty impressed in general.

    Good luck on future shows.

  136. Vivec says

    Well at least FoD is getting rid of the pretense of making original content and just directly linking offsite rather than plagiarising.

  137. Monocle Smile says

    Wow, that Stan guy is one special snowflake. What the shit did I just read?

  138. Chikoppi says

    What a deperate assemblage of willful misconceptions.

    Pro tip: critiquing atheism does nothing substantiate claims of the supernatural.

  139. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    “Do you believe that the mind is material and is subject to the scientific rules of Cause and Effect (necessary for science to be done), and therefore that the mind’s product (thought) is totally determined by prior states of electrons in the brain’s composition, and prior states to that state, traceable clear back to the Big Bang?

    If you do, justify your reasons for believing that.
    If you don’t, justify your reasons for not believing that.”
    Stan

  140. Monocle Smile says

    Or I could tell Stan to fuck off and die, because that guy isn’t interested in answering the questions he asks.

  141. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    “Well, I gotta hand it to Stan; he called this one a long time back. When the atheist runs out of denials and ‘misunderstanding’ and evasion, they slide right back to their second-favorite tactic… insulting the speaker.”
    Steve

  142. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Hey hosts, just wondering, do you think this guy is the same troll from other threads, who is just sock-puppeting? That guy actually openly and explicitly and blatantly admitted to “trolling”, verbatim. My hunch says it’s the same guy. I think we’d all be happier and better off if you showed him the door, but I understand if that’s difficult because of the sock-puppetry.

  143. Chikoppi says

    Determinism? Sure. Though I think it’s assuming too much to claim that an initial state necessarily determines all future states. That may be true on a macro scale, but we can’t say so with certainty with respect to the quantum scale. Quantum level effects such as quantum tunneling suggest there may be a degree of randomness with respect to particle/wave interaction.

    On a macro level, I think I’m generally aware of the choices my brain makes, but most of the processing that produces those choices happens subconsciously. Time is also a factor. If I have time to consider a choice I may revise it. This might have to do with slow/fast cognitive processes, changes in hormone levels over time, etc. The brain is a complicated thing and difficult to study. We don’t have all the answers yet.

    Is this going to result in proof of the supernatural or is it a Ken Ham, “you can’t be sure about something so I’m going to try to claim a space ghost is necessary” gambit? Even if we were to be wrong about all the things we think are likely true, that wouldn’t make your position any more valid.

  144. Chikoppi says

    No. I retract that last post. Don’t bother replying to it.

    FoD is continuing to paste comments from other message boards here.

    If you can’t bother to actually engage in a conversation then I won’t be bothered to either. I have no way of determining if you even understand the content of what you are pasting from elsewhere and I’m not going to attempt to have a dialog when the author of the text I am responding to isn’t present.

  145. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Chikoppi
    The troll from the recent thread actually admitted to “trolling” us, verbatim., and this person is probably the same person (IMO). They’re posting stuff just to annoy us and waste our time. That’s their goal. There’s nothing deeper to it.

  146. Chikoppi says

    @EL

    On the plus side, any questioning theist will see this exchange and recognize that not only is a justification for belief completely absent, but that the defenders of that position are incompetent as well.

  147. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    “Even if we were to be wrong about all the things we think are likely true, that wouldn’t make your position any more valid.”

    round of applause

    “On the plus side, any questioning ‘atheist’ will see this exchange and recognize that not only is a justification for ‘lack of belief’ completely absent, but that the defenders of that position are incompetent as well.’

  148. Patrick67 says

    On the plus side, any questioning troll will see this exchange and recognize that not only is a justification of trolling completely absent, but that the defender of that position is incompetent as well.

  149. Chikoppi says

    “Justification for lack of belief.”

    [shakes head sorrowfully at demonstration of continued incompetence]

  150. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    quizzical look as to why atheists don’t hold themselves to the same standard

    “1. Refute the necessary and sufficient conditions for Theism using disciplined deductive logic.
    2. Refute the claims of tangible evidence at Lourdes, using empirical science in its fullest objective capacity.”
    “And Theists are free to reject your claim, based on its lack of material evidence and inability to refute the deductive positive case against Atheism, rendering Atheism an ideology without either logical or material objective support. In fact, Theists at least have logic on their side; Atheists have only unsupported rejection on their side.”
    Stan

  151. Chikoppi says

    Given mutually exclusive claims A and B:

    1) A is true, B is false
    2) A is false, B is true
    3) A and B are both false

    See? Critiquing atheism does nothing to substantiate your position. And no, the theistic position is not premised on logic. “Stan” is severely underwhelming.

    You really aren’t contributing anything of value here whatsoever.

  152. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    If dieties cannot be proven conclusively not to exist and cannot exist on the merits of atheist proofs alone, then atheism is not a proven position.

    1) A (atheism is a proven position) is true, B (atheism is not a proven position) is false
    2) A is false, B is true
    3) A and B are both false

    “The brain is a complicated thing and difficult to study. We don’t have all the answers yet.”

    I hear this “yet” frequently used for anticipated discoveries. Is there any reason to believe we will have all the answers ever?
    …and on what premise do you base this?

    “I have an idea of an implicate order and beyond that a super-implicate order, and so on – to orders that are more and more subtle. I say there are many more subtle levels. The word ‘subtle’ has a root sub-text meaning ‘finely woven’. You may think of nets of consciousness that are finer and finer, or we may think of capturing finer and finer aspects of the implicate order. This could go on indefinitely. Then it’s up to the individual. I think there is an intelligence that is implicit there. A kind of intelligence unfolds, the source of which is not necessarily in the brain. The ultimate source of intelligence is much more enfolded into the whole.

    “Now as regards the question whether you want to call that ‘God’, this depends on what you mean by the word, because taking it as a personal God might restrict it in some way. There is something like life and mind enfolded in everything. If you carry that to the ultimate then that might be what some religious people mean by the word ‘God’. But the word ‘God’ means many different things to different people, and it becomes hard to know exactly what is implied. The implicate order does not rule out God, nor does it say there is a God. But it would suggest that there is a creative intelligence underlying the whole, which might have as one of the essentials that which was meant by the word ‘God’.”
    David Bohm

  153. Patrick67 says

    I wonder if all the bloggers who have been copied and pasted from on this thread get paid by the word? They really should be. They’ve done all the real work. I guess an original thought just takes too much effort.

  154. Monocle Smile says

    If David Bohm shows up, I’ll reply only to remark that he’s quite skilled at vomiting word salad all over the gullible. Those passages are complete nonsense.

  155. Monocle Smile says

    Actually, if David Bohm shows up, I’ll have to ask him where he’s been the past 24 years, since he died in 1992.
    The guy made some pretty significant contributions to physics in his early years and did some good work in pushing the idea that we should tear down the divides between humans, but he seemed to lose it a bit in later years…he believed that Uri Geller was for real and bought into some terrible Deepak Chopra-like crap.

  156. Chikoppi says

    “If dieties cannot be proven conclusively not to exist and cannot exist on the merits of atheist proofs alone, then atheism is not a proven position.”

    I don’t want to miss the irony in this statement. Set aside the fact that atheism is not the definitive assertion that gods cannot exist.

    Is the inverse not a concession that theism is not a “provable position?”

    FWIW, here are the correct possible solutions:
    A) a god or gods can be demonstrated to exist
    B) a god or gods can be demonstrated to not exist
    C) neither can be demonstrated

  157. Paul Money says

    I enjoyed Phil Session joining the team and I am sure that he will become a very valuable addition to AE. However, can he be lit so that we can see his features? Black faces need a little more light than white ones. While you are at it, perhaps we can remove the little white dot from the top of Matt’s head? Enjoyed the prog as always, never miss one.