Comments

  1. Nathan says

    Ron is TrueEmpiricism from youtube, he can’t actually make an argument, he just tries to manipulate words, he’s a waste of time.

  2. johnjnesbit says

    I was thinking pretty much the same thing about Ron, without being aware of who is was on youtube. He was pointless.

  3. The Eh'theist says

    So if you accept the person’s claim that the water bottle is their god, and you accept the existence of the water bottle, doesn’t that nullify you qualifying for the definition of an atheist? You now believe in the existence of ‘a’ god, even though it isn’t a god to you. This one has always troubled me in terms of describing myself as an atheist, since I believe that some humans have worshiped physical objects that have existed. I’m very interested in your response.

  4. says

    I was a protester at the Genocide and Incest Park last Thursday. It was a well organized event and the Rally for Science and Reason that evening was great. I live in Lexington, Kentucky and there is so much that is fucked up about this state but the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter are particularly awful. The protest went well. There were surprisingly several passing by in their vehicles who hocked and gave thumbs up in support of us. Of course there were lots of dumbfounded looks and quick moving buses of people heading in the Ark direction. I loved holding my homemade bright neon green sign that said “More Moral Than God” on one side and “My Body My Way” on the other. The counter protesters were rather annoying but not unbearable. All in all, it was a great experience. I did’t tour the Ark because I didn’t want to waste my time and others were going and recording and photographing what they saw. That was good enough for me. And just an FYI, I’m a seminary-trained atheist. I went as a person of faith, earnestly seeking to “serve God” and graduated an agnostic. I was an atheist but couldn’t call myself that at that point. I’m happy to acknowledge my atheism and am an activist for the separation of church and state. Anyway, I look forward to more activist and atheist events and I’m so glad that we have the Tri-State Freethinkers in our area.

  5. Trevor Lunn says

    Regarding the Ark Encounter, isn’t it amusingly ironic that in the Bible, Noah cursed Ham!

  6. Ru from Canada says

    Just wanted to thank both Tracie and Matt for their stimulating conversations. As a disabled housebound Canadian I look for people who think and describe their thoughts in interesting ways that stimulate my thoughts. I play World of Warcraft but find the conversations are not terribly stimulating with the gamers. I look forward to your broadcasts and am going through your archives and applaud all your fellow hosts and crew for a job well done. I spent a few months in Oklahoma before my disability and find the differences between your culture and mine are startling. I said I did not believe and people I met there decided it was their job to “convert” me. I laughed. They did not understand my mirth nor my inability to see the need to “converted”. I guess I am a heathen. Funniest time was in Sherman, Texas in an IHOP at 2 AM when the Christians were 3 sheets to the wind and trying to “make me a god fearing christian” (I was sober). All it took from the whole situation was a memory that makes me smile and the memory of god fearing Texans yelling “HELL YEAH”. Rofl.

    I have many philosophical thoughts but like you I believe the need to look for reasons for life that have good evidence. Keep up the good work. And thank you again for making my brain work once a week. 😉

  7. johnjnesbit says

    It will be very interesting to see the video of Bill Nye’s visit and mini debate with “Ham”. From reading the article online, it appears that the invitation and subsequent “praying” by Ham was simply a subversive tactic to intimidate and unsettle Nye with ritualistic hocus pocus. All an attempt to raise more revenue to recoup some of the investment in staging such a hoax. Just a theme park and retail outlet for capital gain.

  8. johnjnesbit says

    Without deist callers, it does seem to lack a certain sense of substance and contention that we have grown to anticipate, for our weekly dose of atheistic engagement. When Tracy turns on the energy even just a little bit, a relatively dull session can be worth sitting through.

  9. Ru from Canada says

    Well Matt since I am about 35 miles from Vancouver I can tell you that it is not “terribly” cold normally in November. We have been warm and dry for the last several years and being in a semi drought situation. But bring a coat just in case as I know you Texans can’t handle the cold.

    I hope you enjoy your time in Canada and your time with Richard Dawkins. I believe you will be welcomed here warmly. I wish I was able to leave my house cause I would enjoy coming to see you talk.

  10. Nathan Redden says

    I also went to the Ark Encounters protest and toured the Ark with Eric Hovind. One comment on the caller who also toured the Ark. Tim, the tour guide (have forgotten his last name) is a Liberty university grad in apologetics and for all appearances was well versed in Biblical theology. He is the content manager of Ark Encounters responsible for all text placards on all displays and wrote most of them personally.

    Favorite sign inside: Fairy Tale Ark, A sign over a display of childrens’ books of “fake” ark stories.
    Favorite question to Tim: Will you simulate the smell? Answer: No

  11. Monocle Smile says

    TrueEmpiricism called again? Great. I’ll have to listen, though I may cut it early to save brain cells. Sometimes I wonder what these people who troll youtube for years on end hope to accomplish.

  12. Ron Slaton says

    Matt’s reply to the question, ” What would it take for you to believe in God”? was pure gold….”If you met your burden of proof”.

  13. Chikoppi says

    @Nathan

    Ron is TrueEmpiricism from youtube, he can’t actually make an argument, he just tries to manipulate words, he’s a waste of time.

    Heh. On a hunch I looked up his YouTube channel. He already has a video up of himself and a couple of others in a google hangout complaining about the show and insisting that they’d ‘totally destroy Dillahunty’ in an open forum. I gathered from the dialog that the individuals were frequent callers.

  14. Cousin Ricky says

    Matt, I was so disappointed when you put Ron on hold, rather than hanging up on his ass.

  15. Monocle Smile says

    @Chikoppi
    TrueEmpiricism is in the ArcanE LogoS crew of degenerates. These tools have spent far too much time in the echo chambers of their own empty heads. They are the next wave after the Parture, NephilimFree, and VenomFangX crowd. Some of them used to waste time on League of Reason, where I encountered them, but please do yourself a favor and don’t spend too much time on their material.

  16. b3njammin says

    It’s the first day I’ve caught you guys live! Thank you for all your efforts over the years I’ve been watching.
    Interesting show today; do you also find that more and more we see theists resorting to pedantic stipulations over linguistics instead of actually attempting to participate in discussion? The first caller was a clear example of this. It reminded me of the – “would you agree…yes or no?”
    “So what your saying is..*some arbitrary philosophical paradox” – tactic employed by Eric Hovind and that Sye guy when breaking from rhetoric to attempt debate.

  17. Chikoppi says

    @MS

    Some of them used to waste time on League of Reason, where I encountered them, but please do yourself a favor and don’t spend too much time on their material.

    Ha! No, I got the gist after scrubbing through the video for about 60 seconds.

  18. Wiggle Puppy says

    If there truly is a hell, I imagine it would be something akin to being stuck next to TrueEmpiricism at a dinner party for all eternity

  19. Cousin Ricky says

    For Sterling in Amsterdam:

    Matt said:

    But, one thing I’ve learned about Catholics is that they love the word “mystery,” and so they probably view it as a mystery.

    As an ex-Catholic, I can confirm that “mystery” is a favorite word of Catholics (along with “virgin”). And speaking for myself, Matt was dead on for how I simultaneously accepted both evolution and original sin.

    For me, the historical “how” of the fall was unimportant; it was enough to observe that none of us are morally perfect, by whatever means it happened during our evolutionary history.

  20. gshelley says

    The first caller was incredibly frustrating. He got so caught up in Matt having a different definition of theism to his that he decided to focus on that rather than what he had originally called in to say. Which may have been a shame. His statement about people only claiming to be an atheist could have been interesting to talk about, and his view on burden of proof – I suspected he might have been going to say that atheists do make a claim “the burden of proof hasn’t been met”, which is kind of ridiculous (and possibly presuppositionalist), but if so, could also have been more interesting than bickering about what a theist is for 10 minutes

  21. Monocle Smile says

    @gshelley
    Given the actual identity of that caller…it is highly unlikely an interesting discussion on any topic was even possible.

  22. Monocle Smile says

    Fuck. TrueEmpiricism did what he always does…invent a tiny technicality, then bitch and bitch and bitch and bitch about it for fuckin’ ever. He’s interested in monologue, not dialogue. And of course he starts screaming when he doesn’t get his way. The dude is like 40 but behaves like a toddler.

  23. Monocle Smile says

    Ram is straight-up lying. There are no confirmed cases of “reincarnation.” He’s describing a dude who literally built in sharpshooter fallacies into his study. I mean, he’s talking about corroborating birthmarks with the injuries of dead people. How someone can’t spot the glaring problems is beyond me.

  24. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    If reincarnating into a human body is rare, and birth marks reflect fatal injuries, shouldn’t everyone be covered in bites from their animal past-lives?

  25. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    My mom and I got a good laugh over Ram’s call, this episode was particularly fun as I managed to convince my very theistic mom to join me in watching.

    I have my foot in the door and I’m going to slowly inch myself in.

  26. PopeFrancis says

    Start a show with announcement of feast with baked slaughtered animals.

    Its funny to see theists get rekt, and hear the fascinating scientific data, but kind of hypocritical we still eat animals while talking about morals, not interfering with others lives, not having slaves, …

    Burden of proof is on us meat eaters (yes i am a hypocrite) and talking about at what point intelligence matters is nonsensical when we eat cows witch are clearly not a plant.

  27. Rithesh says

    Hey guys anyone know what video of proof of reincarnation ram was talking about, I’d like to debunk it.

  28. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @gshelley #15:

    The first caller was incredibly frustrating. He got so caught up in Matt having a different definition of theism to his that he decided to focus on that rather than what he had originally called in to say.

    You can skip to the end of this comment. There’s a lot of droning.
     
    Video: TrueEmpiricism’s post-call hangout
    (31:53):

    This notion that has been passed around on the internet where atheists just disbelieve, or just have a lack of belief in God or gods, or definitions like that, which Matt Dillahunty tries to use himself. It’s deceptive because when you’re coming into a room talking to somebody as if… because they’re telling you that they just disbelieve (and they don’t really just disbelieve) – It’s almost like putting them in a position of authority through a game of symantics. And we’re supposed to expect what they’re telling us about their position, they really mean that that description that definition of just disbelieving or have a lack of belief really means what they’re telling us.
     
    But I think the problem is that we all see on a regular basis that many atheists they don’t use those definitions accurately or the definitions that they use, they’re inconsistent with their position and how they conduct themselves. And that’s what’s actually important here.
     
    Matt Dillahunty is a perfect example of that. I would like for everybody to go watch the video that I put in the description. Because it shows he’s using a definition of atheism of just disbelieving or having a lack of belief in God or gods rather than using his REAL position: which he asserts or believes that there is no god. And I think that that’s actually important.

     
    (35:11):

    My issue is not the fact that he would use that definition: just the negation of god claims. It’s the issue of whether or not definitions that are used are congruent with – the meanings behind them – are actually sufficient for the positions that they’re using.
     
    If I believe in theistic gods, I’m gonna use a description that has to do with theistic gods. If I say that I believe in theistic gods or use a definition that’s talking about theistic gods, but I’m actually a deist, then that would actually be inconsistent, right? Because deism and theism, there’s a distinction between them.
     
    If I’m an atheist, likewise, and I use one definition (that I just disbelieve), but I don’t really just disbelieve, I’m refusing to believe… And that’s been shown by how I’m conducting myself. Then it doesn’t matter how I’m using that definition. That definition is inconsistent with my position.
     
    And that’s just the fundamental point. But we weren’t able to get into any of this – in the direction that I was trying to go with it. We weren’t able to go into it because he sort of derailed it and took it off-topic a little bit and I tried to make that statement towards the end- But hey, that’s what you expect when you call the show.

     
    Video: The clip mentioned in that description (length 2:27)
    Entitled “The atheist experience Matt Dillahunty exposed: Atheism lies default position 100% facts evidence”
    (1:18):

    We got to allow this double standard to where you guys can make your claims and refuse to back up your claims while we make uor claims and are constantly giving the evidence… while you deceive yourself thinking that because you play this symantical game that you just disbelieve while ignoring the other definitions of atheism: denial and doctrine that there is no god, a belief that there is no god.
     
    Hopefully this will allow you to be perceived in other individuals’ minds that you are in some position of authority evaluating what evidence is valid or invalid under your subjective terms, because you just disbelieve- which is total bull crap.
     
    Anybody who watches your behavior, especially now, you more so follow the definition of an atheist that denies or zealously refuses to acknowledge any evidence that might suggest that there is a god.

    He just called to say Matt’s a lying liar who’s really a staunch militant denialist, posing as an authority by rejecting claims in front of an audience.
     
     
    @Monocle Smile #16:

    Given the actual identity of that caller…it is highly unlikely an interesting discussion on any topic was even possible.

    THIS

  29. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Chikoppi #9:

    He already has a video up of himself and a couple of others in a google hangout complaining about the show

     
    GMan in that hangout:

    (8:08): They pretend like they wanna hear arguments for God’s existence when they already have answers for everything that we’re gonna say to them. It’s completely deceitful.
     
    (12:34): [Atheists in general] really need to stop being cowards and actually prove their points or they need to just shut up.
     
    (15:11): Go find one Christian apologist – just one, one Christian apologist on Christian radio – that does what Matt Dillahunty does and runs from a question. It doesn’t happen. That only happens with these so-called big know-it-all atheists here on G+.

    (38:24):

    They’re intentionally being dishonest. Listen this is their overall plan. The entire system that they have built up for this is to… One: for them to assert their claim, not back up anything with any evidence. And: to force you to doubt your faith. That is what the entire system is built to do. […] Everything is set up for them so they can be the judges, and be the ones that be right and we’re wrong and everything.

    If only there were a word for people who did doubt, and realized their own faith was poorly justified. And some medium to share those concerns… Maybe even to solicit better arguments for a god which haven’t been endlessly refuted already…
     
     
    (8:22):

    And the fact that they need us to call the show for the show to be successful, and then they’re treating us the way they’re treating us. Y’know if we all got together and just didn’t call the show, they’ll be done in a month.

    *sigh*
     
     
    (24:42):

    Should I call next week?
     
    [TrueEmpiricism says sure, but he won’t get to speak freely.]
     
    The only thing I’m gonna ask him is this: “Is evolution true, yes or no?” If he says yes, Imma ask him how does he know. Imma put the burden directly on him to answer that.
     
    Matt Dillahunty, if you’re watching this, you believe evolution is true. Why do you believe it’s true?
     
    If you don’t know any information or you can’t defend it in a conversation when TrueEmpiricism wants to talk about intelligent design, then you believe evolution on faith and not by actual scientific verification, or scientific method, or anything like that. You have a belief that evolution is true. You don’t have any scientific evidence to support that it’s true.

  30. gshelley says

    Is it worth checking out that video? From the transcript above it looks like it is just dishonest whining but perhaps there is something worthwhile.

  31. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @gshelley #23:

    Is it worth checking out that video?

    It’s really not. The whole thing’s like that. But if you do, click the gear to set it at 2x speed to minimize how much time you waste.

  32. says

    I think what really bugs people like Ron is that they aren’t able to put atheists on the spot for not accepting a burden of proof. I am a “hard atheist” in that I believe that there are no gods. Does that mean that I have adopted a burden of proof? No, because I am not attempting to convince others that my belief is correct, whereas many theists have adopted a burden of proof because they are desperately attempting to convince others that their belief in a god is correct.

  33. Wiggle Puppy says

    The whole evolution/original sin thing reminds me of something that happened when I was younger: I grew up in the Methodist church, which was more liberal and focused on helping the poor and such, but when I was in high school, I got invited by friends to a Southern Baptist summer camp, which was all about the fire and brimstone and making sure that you had achieved salvation and also told as many other people about it as you possibly could. The thing I remembered hearing over and over there was that Jesus’s sacrifice had allowed Him to achieve “victory over death” and that this was very important and triumphant. My natural question was why, if God had created the system and designed the course of history from the very beginning and had omnipotent control over it the whole time, He had needed to execute such a complicated and bloody plan to cheat death. Why not just design a better and more straightforward system in the first place? The only answer I got was that, even if it didn’t quite make sense to me, there was a plan in place and I just needed to trust that it made sense, because nothing God did could be incorrect, and I accepted this answer. Just like the evolution/original sin thing, it made no logical sense at all, but that didn’t matter, because any contradiction or non sequitur can be so easily papered over with a throwaway phrase or the insistence that it is ultimately coherent even if you can’t personally see how. It also kind of reminds me about the split brain patient that has two distinct personalities – one theist, one atheist, so are there two souls in this one person? – that caused no consternation at all to theologians, because facts don’t ultimately seem to matter to them at all, and anything that poses some kind of logical problem can just be ignored.

  34. The YouTube Guy says

    Yaddith,

    My comments on Ron’s latest video echo yours:

    Burden of proof is also an easy concept and can be shown to be on a theist.

    When you raise a child, you might bring them to church or read the Bible to them. You do this to convince them that a God exists. It is clear that in doing this you’re adopting some burden and making an effort. However, once a child has had their mind changed to believe there is a God, the burden of proof is now on the atheist if they wish to convince them.

    Now we have to switch and ask “What convinces you” to the atheist or theist. Since the atheist started out from the default position, they did not need convincing to become an atheist. You’re actually an atheist to all the Gods of other religions and I think you’d agree people of those religions have the burden of proof if they want to convince you. It is perplexing how any theist thinks they don’t have a burden of proof because if they don’t, all theists are assumed right and there are a lot of different theists.

    As shown, the atheist does not have a burden of proof because their position is merely a rejection of all the God claims people have given them over their life.

  35. ironchops says

    Ron-Really? If you are the True-empiricism guy. Nothing you said makes sense.
    Karlo-Tracie said “what is the point here, where are we going with this?” and your response “I don’t really know if there is a point.” LOL!! Matt was perfectly fine arguing about circles. Irony?
    Jordan-hit on one thing. There is no god definition or real description for the god in Torah/Bible/Quran. According to the bible, god showed up as Jesus and was rejected. I don’t think that has changed. How can I tell the difference between a/any god and a very advanced creature/being. If there is some being living outside of our universe and this being showed up how would I ever be convinced it came from another universe?
    Ram-Reincarnation seems pointless if one can’t remember what they did (rite or wrong) in the previously life to fix it in the current life.
    Sterling-Some Christians believe that evolution was the process used by god to create the various life on earth. God said “let the earth bring forth”. Did he create or simply allow the earth to make it up?

  36. rodney says

    What was weird is that at the beginning of the call, Ron said there were different definitions of atheist that differ from Matt’s, but then refused to accept that there are different definitions for theist, even when he’s staring at a dictionary listing two different definitions.

  37. mattssoscene says

    Matt and Tracey are by far my two favorite hosts. Absolutely loved this episode!

  38. Akira MacKenzie says

    I thought that Catholics and the more liberal varieties of Christian (e.g. Chris Hedges) redefined “Original Sin” as the capacity for humans to make mistakes.

  39. gshelley says

    I don’t know about Catholics, but some denominations have it so that the sin standards are so impossibly high that it is virtually impossible not to sin
    Read a Chick Tract for instance, they don’t talk about being contaminated with original sin, but how all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of god

  40. Monocle Smile says

    @gshelley
    Catholics are some of the worst in this regard…hence “Catholic guilt.” They do seem to take the “try not to sin” thing less seriously than more conservative Protestant denominations, but it’s really easy to sin in Catholicland.

    The two concepts you mention are intertwined in most christian theologies. We all sin because original sin gave us that capacity. It’s a load of horseshit; the idea of “bad blood” and inheriting the crimes of one’s ancestors is IMO the most significant driving force in the endless conflict in the Middle East. I would expect no less from Chick Tracts, which are often horrifically disturbing.

  41. says

    @15:

    >could also have been more interesting than bickering about what a theist is for 10 minutes

    I think the thing that weirded me out the most was that his own source showed both his and Matt’s definition. When I’ve argued with people in the past who have objected to the definition of “atheist” used on the show, they are irrationally adhering to sources that *only* list the hard atheist description. Their issue is that they *somehow* reject any source that doesn’t agree. Whereas this guy was actually rejecting HIS OWN SOURCE–which to me was super bizarre. Like, “Uh, it’s right there in the source you cited–the definition you used, AND the one Matt used…” Nope–only his definition was valid…for reasons. When you choose the source, and then still have to parse it to be “right”–ignoring information that is, literally, right in front of your face…I don’t have any explanation for that. It’s like standing next to someone watching the sky and there is the sun and some fluffy clouds and they claim to see the sun, but keep insisting there isn’t a cloud in the sky. There’s just no explanation.

  42. Monocle Smile says

    @Ram
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Stevenson
    Have you read this? Because Stevenson’s studies have some pretty gaping holes in them, and the most gaping is that they rely entirely on the testimony of children around 2-4 years old. Also from the article:

    He came to believe that neither environment nor heredity could account for certain fears, illnesses and special abilities, and that some form of personality or memory transfer might provide a third type of explanation. He was never able to suggest how personality traits might survive death, much less be carried from one body to another, and was careful not to commit himself fully to the position that reincarnation occurs. He argued only that his case studies could not, in his view, be explained by environment or heredity, and that “reincarnation is the best – even though not the only – explanation for the stronger cases we have investigated

    How anyone who considers himself/herself a scientist could ever reject critical thinking so strongly is beyond me. I get that we’re just human, but this is rather shameful.

  43. Monocle Smile says

    @PopeFrancis

    Burden of proof is on us meat eaters (yes i am a hypocrite) and talking about at what point intelligence matters is nonsensical when we eat cows witch are clearly not a plant.

    That you think this bit is coherent is what’s nonsensical to me. Your post is rather ax-grindy.

  44. says

    @32

    (8:08): They pretend like they wanna hear arguments for God’s existence when they already have answers for everything that we’re gonna say to them. It’s completely deceitful.

    I legitimately get excited when I come across an actual new argument. It’s difficult to not memorize answers when it’s the same basic arguments over and over.

    In some annoying cases, one will be addressing a long article or book, and the person makes the same logical error repeatedly. So you’ll start in addressing “I simply cannot believe that XYZ happened by accident“. You explain the problems with that argument.

    This is then followed up by page after page of:
    I simply cannot believe that XYZ-2 happened by accident
    I simply cannot believe that XYZ-3 happened by accident
    I simply cannot believe that XYZ-4 happened by accident

    I simply cannot believe that XYZ-87 happened by accident

    It’s difficult to not be repetitive.

  45. Chikoppi says

    @heicart

    I think it’s likely that prior to calling the show he had constructed an argument that relied on a very specific, and very pedantic, premise. He needed an exceptionally narrow definition to support his planned rhetoric.

    This ilk of apologist have all but conceded. They have no recourse but to try and shift the burden of proof.

    A tactic that might be illuminating is to simply grant their premise: “For the sake of discussion, let’s assume atheists have no valid evidence whatsoever and all current scientific theories are unjustified. How would that demonstrate that supernatural claims are real?”

  46. Ethan Myerson says

    @Chikoppi @heicart

    I think it’s likely that prior to calling the show he had constructed an argument that relied on a very specific, and very pedantic, premise. He needed an exceptionally narrow definition to support his planned rhetoric.

    I was really hoping that for the sake of the argument the hosts would allow that exceptionally narrow definition. I wanted to see what the argument was going to be. Does anyone have any experience with this line of rhetoric? Anyone know where he was going?

  47. Devocate says

    “He needed an exceptionally narrow definition to support his planned rhetoric.”

    He needed his personal (imaginary) friend to be the creator of the Universe. His self-esteem is so pitiful, that it would take that to make him feel worthy. Sad indeed.

  48. says

    Regarding the question of what it’d take to demonstrate a god to me, other than a vague “hypothesis testing”, I can’t really define it. I’m then scolded for that.

    It’s like asking me “what would be a successful business plan?

    I have no idea – I can’t invent one off the top of my head… but that doesn’t mean i’m saying it’s impossible. I can, however, figure out when a proposed business plan is dumb… like selling ice cream in the antarctic.

    Maybe one day I’ll hear a proposal that’s decent.

  49. Chikoppi says

    @Ethan

    Does anyone have any experience with this line of rhetoric? Anyone know where he was going?

    You can search out his YouTube channel and view the hangout posted July 10. I don’t think you’ll find it too interesting. It’s a very pedantic argument premised on avoiding the burden of proof.

  50. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ Tracie #46: For me, the most annoying thing is that he seemed to not know the difference between a definition and a concept. I could, right at this moment, define “swizzlevitz” to be “the worry that digital technology is irrevocably eroding personal privacy,” and we could then have discussion about how valid a concern swizzlevitz is, how far we should go in ignoring swizzlevitz for the sake of security, how likely it is that swizzlevitz might lead to protest and other similar actions, etc, which are all discussions I would be happy to have. I would, however, not be at all interested if someone came to me and said “hey, I disagree with your definition of swizzlevitz, and I want to talk about whose definition is right.” It’s a waste of time that accomplishes nothing of substance. Terms like “theism” and “atheism” already have established usages, of course, and I didn’t just come up with them off the top of my head as I did for swizzlevitz, but the point Matt tried to make about four times was that parsing definitions is far less important than discussing the implications of the underlying ideas. This went totally over Ron’s head during the call (and apparently in his little hangout afterward as well). I was not surprised to find out that he was the same guy who called a couple weeks ago, irate that Matt had called natural selection a “fact” and wanting to argue about whether Matt had used that word or not: again, he was more concerned with words than ideas, which doesn’t accomplish anything. It kind of reminded me of Charlie Checkum’s vapid obsession with the word “marriage” a few years back, and it doesn’t seem to be worth engaging with.

  51. Robert Wilson says

    I find it especially funny that Ron got hung up on definitions and could not move forward and apparently said this in the text that was posted above by SkyCaptain

    “My issue is not the fact that he would use that definition: just the negation of god claims.”

    Clearly the issue to Ron was the definition. Just let go of it and move on to the actual point. Matt asked him to do that again and again and he failed to articulate anything in any way that wasn’t “this is my definition”. Sure, had he said the above on the show he might have dealt with similar objections, but at least it would have been progress.

  52. gshelley says

    @Heicart, 46
    It seems especially odd as from what others have posted about his response, he called to complain that Matt was in someway not being consistent to his (Matt’s) definition of atheist, so the “real” meaning of theist didn’t seem particularly relevant. If somehow his definition of theist was vital to his point, I could understand how he wasn’t able to adapt (I’ve heard this many times on the show before), but it didn’t seem to even matter. Matt could have accepted his definition and it wouldn’t have helped his argument at all

  53. says

    Jasper:

    >other than a vague “hypothesis testing”, I can’t really define it. I’m then scolded for that.

    I actually like that. “What function does your god serve/impact does your god have that is testable and could reasonably be attributed to that god?” If the answer is “nothing,” then they’ve got to take responsibility for eliminating the very possibility of evidence. When your hypothesis is untestable, evidence is unavailable. And what you’re claiming cannot be demonstrated.

    This goes back to Sagan’s Dragon.

  54. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    @Ram #15
    I’m currently watching the video and it’s the sort of thing that I used to find very convincing.

    At best it is evidence that ‘something’ is going on. It could be some form of telepathy, angels, demons or indeed reincarnation. It could also be a combination of fraud, false memories and confirmation bias.

    The best I can offer is that I’m not convinced.

    I found this article that you might find interesting. It’s doesn’t denigrate Ian Stevenson, but does point out many of the problems with his research.

    http://skepdic.com/stevenson.html

    Regards – Simon

  55. johnnie1963 says

    I am a Catholic and a hardcore theist who appreciates how atheists challenge my belief system and prompt me to think rationally and critically about my religious beliefs. I really love the discussions/ debates with theists. However, I wish that the theists who called the show would taken a more intellectually rigorous approach to their conversations. They largely seem to be intellectually low-hanging fruit that even a minimally competent debater can “pwn” rather easily. I would have loved to have seen theists debate the probable consequences of removing theism in general. Yes, theism is generally associated with sociopolitical power, especially in western culture. But we have observed in some communist cultures that removing theism does not necessarily enable a more rational, peaceful society. Instead of theism, people will most likely exercise, power, and control through some other mechanism. We most will likely continue to have “tribal” conflicts based on other identity markers, such as race, gender, and ethnicity. We most likely will continue to have these conflicts because physically we are the same species that invented notions of gods thousands of years ago. We as a species haven’t intellectually evolved past the need for theism, although many individuals question the concept. It is as if theism is a product of cognitive evolution. Although this product seems useless, like our appendix, we will most likely still engage in it until environmental conditions prompt another evolution in brain structure and human cognition.

    But such discussions may not seem as entertaining as easily “pwning” some easily refuted theists. Right?

  56. JD and Co. says

    @60 Johnnie1963
    I don’t know what your definition is of “pwning” but I’ve never seen the Atheist Experience respond to anyone who was polite and articulate with ridicule or contempt–even if it was a theist with an easily refuted belief. Some hosts may get more feisty than others when the caller is dishonest or evasive, and especially so if the caller is abusive like Ron at the start of this show (and I don’t find that entertaining, myself–I was very disappointed that the discussion never went beyond semantics).. If you’ve been watching the show, surely you’ve seen episodes where the call with a theist went well. I agree with you,however, that there are “intellectually low-hanging fruit” that often call in, and theists (ironically) frequently complain about that. So if you have a good reason for your belief, and are willing to be polite to the hosts, please call in!

  57. gshelley says

    @Jonnie63
    What the hosts always say is if you think the standard of the callers is too low, call in yourself and see if you can do better.
    They have some call screening, but it isn’t to screen out the people who have good arguments.

  58. Andreas says

    @johnnie1963
    This is interesting, and reflects my own thoughts (as an atheist). But I wonder what makes you a “hardcore theist” then. Is it “I choose to believe, to make the world a better place”?

    Even if god does not exist, there could still be denominations or things you can believe that will make you a better person on average.
    The theists that I know believe many things that I find irrational. But they use fewer substances than others, which removes a lot of the nonsense that other people might say or believe. They have a more regular lifestyle and get more children, and seem overall successful in family planning.
    This can clearly not be generalized to all Christians or all theists. But, again, there could be denominations or traditions that have an overall positive impact and teach a healthy social behavior.

    Even if this is the case, one has to ask: what would happen if everyone would follow this denomination? Would it turn into something more authoritarian? Would it inhibit freedom and creativity?

    For myself I came to the conclusion that even if there could be some positive aspects, any religion fills your head with silly ideas, and puts your mind in a prison. So I do not believe in a net positive impact.

    Maybe it is necessary to have a sufficient number of people believe various silly stuff, so that society overall can practice tolerant towards unconventional thinking.

    Also, trying to unify religous axioms with scientific findings, or with conflicting religious axioms, can lead to interesting thought experiments. But it usually gets boring after some time, because you either get nowhere or everywhere.

  59. Chikoppi says

    @johnnie

    But such discussions may not seem as entertaining as easily “pwning” some easily refuted theists. Right?

    I’m not so sure. Your premise seems to be that the presence of theism is irrelevant to the conduct of society. All things thus being equal, I think there is an argument to be made that resources invested in an unproven theistic pursuit could be better spent on other more tangibly beneficial goals.

  60. Andreas says

    resources invested in an unproven theistic pursuit could be better spent on other more tangibly beneficial goals.

    A good example would be organic / vegan / animal-friendly food compared to halal food.
    I think it can be reasonably argued that the secular option wins here.

    Another example would be pilgrimage vs secular tourism vs staying at home. “hajj carbon footprint” is an interesting search terms combination.

    Or studying theology vs studying physics vs studying social work.

    What we have to consider in these comparisons is that the time spent on religious activity, and the brain capacity spent on religious ideas *could* be used for something “beneficial”, but this does not mean that it will be.

  61. Monocle Smile says

    @johnnie1963
    Not to start off on the wrong foot or anything, but the fact that you’re still a Catholic leaves me wondering if you’re actually thinking critically about your beliefs. But anyway…

    I would have loved to have seen theists debate the probable consequences of removing theism in general

    I find it baffling that you first talk about rational discourse rather that stupid arguments only to drop a blatantly obvious appeal to consequences fallacy. This has no bearing on the truth of any religion.

    But we have observed in some communist cultures that removing theism does not necessarily enable a more rational, peaceful society. Instead of theism, people will most likely exercise, power, and control through some other mechanism

    You have this backwards. “Removing theism” is merely a part of communism. Communism is not a result of removing theism. Furthermore, replacing gods with The State sure doesn’t sound like “removing theism.”

    We as a species haven’t intellectually evolved past the need for theism, although many individuals question the concept

    Given that the happiest and healthiest societies on the planet are also the least religious (and no, North Korea does not count as an irreligious nation state), I can’t possibly agree with this condescending nonsense. Also, this is not only unrelated to the truth of religion, but an extremely curious viewpoint given your Catholicism.

  62. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    >>>Thinks theistic callers to the show are “low-hanging fruit.”

    >>>Makes no mention of calling in to remedy that.

    Some critical thinking.

  63. johnnie1963 says

    @Monocle Smile
    You didn’t start off on a wrong foot at all. You rightfully challenged perceived logical and rhetorical flaws in my statements. You did so forcefully and passionately, but I would rather participate in passionate, well-reasoned conversations than to endure dull exchanges. I value such feedback because it improves my critical thinking skills. I converse with other people to grow emotionally and intellectually. Your feedback helps me to accomplish those goals. In addition, I frequently critique my theist position and my religion. I know Catholicism is a power-hunger, authoritative institution historically associated with global atrocities. I know that my subscription to theism and to a religion is illogical. I know that many people may consider me insane for accepting a stance that cannot be supported empirically. But as long as Catholicism and theism help me emotionally and psychologically, as long as they do not encourage me to hurt myself and others, as long as they encourage me to be responsible and charitable to others, I will accept theism and Catholicism.

    With that said, may I address one of your points? You claim a correlation among happiness, health, and religiosity in some countries. I wonder about the direction of that correlation. Are these happier and healthier because they are less religious or are they happy and healthy and therefore have less need for religion? I also wonder what mediating variables may account for these countries’ happiness and health. Are these relatively small, mono-cultural countries with excellent economies? Do these countries have national healthcare and low unemployment rates? These other (mediating) variables may more largely account for these countries apparent happiness and health. As such, religiosity may have a statistically significant correlation with, but may have relatively minor influence on the other variables.

  64. Monocle Smile says

    @johnnie

    But as long as Catholicism and theism help me emotionally and psychologically, as long as they do not encourage me to hurt myself and others, as long as they encourage me to be responsible and charitable to others, I will accept theism and Catholicism

    This is a variation of the exact same logical fallacy as before (protip: don’t claim to think critically when you dive into logical fallacies), but given the tenets of Catholicism and the workings and directives of the Catholic church throughout history, there is no possible way you can draw those conclusions as a Catholic. Catholicism encourages harm to others and does not encourage charity nor responsibility…unless “charity” includes giving money to the church and pulling in nonbelievers. I SO want to whip out a blowtorch right now.

    These other (mediating) variables may more largely account for these countries apparent happiness and health. As such, religiosity may have a statistically significant correlation with, but may have relatively minor influence on the other variables

    That’s exactly my point. This is what I mean by “we don’t need religion.” Nobody does. The fact remains that religion is good at keeping broken nations broken. This is still an argument from consequences fallacy regardless.
    Also, I was hoping the fact of this correlation would be uncontroversial to you. This is well known.
    http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.pdf

  65. johnnie1963 says

    @Monocle Smile

    I acknowledged “the tenets of Catholicism and the workings and directives of the Catholic church throughout history”. I still accept the religion because it does not encourage me to do harm to myself and to others and because it encourages charity and community service. I observe this charity and service in mine and other parishes everyday. I don’t claim that the Catholic Church does not make mistakes, and I acknowledge that the Catholic Church is a power-hunger institution historically associated with global atrocities. But you did not quote that part of my statement. When someone seems willing to simplify someone else’s position or omit contextualizing data, as you seem to have done, I tend to be skeptical about that person’s claims. In terms of rhetoric, I am skeptical of that person’s ethos (personality), which is just as important as that person’s logos (logic).

    You also seem to reduce critical thinking to avoidance of logical fallacies. Based on my teaching experience and research, I conclude that critical thinking also involves reflecting on one’s biases and how these biases may distort conclusions. I am a Catholic, and I am fully aware how my Catholicism may distort my views. I don’t embrace Catholicism uncritically, as I have demonstrated in my posts. You seem to abhor theism and religions in general, not without good reason. That seems to be your bias, and I accept that– if it is.

    Moreover, quick research seems to demonstrate that I do not commit those logical fallacies. I argue that eliminating theism from a country may not necessarily ensure more rationality and peace. I focused on theism, not religion.

    I read that study, and I am skeptical about its methodology. As a quantitative researcher, I look for several features, such correlation coefficients and p-values, which would indicate how much the results could have been reached by chance. I found neither. I am not overly skeptical because the researcher mentions: “it is not the purpose of this initial study to definitively demonstrate a causal link between religion and social conditions”. The researcher conducted an exploratory study that does not claim to demonstrate a definitive causal relationship between the studied variables.

    With all due respect to you and to others in this forum, I wish you would afford me the respect and open-mindedness that I have demonstrated in my posts. You seem to have this modus operandi: misrepresent my statements, and then cry logical fallacies to question my critical thinking skills. So be it. I cannot control your statements, but I can control how I respond to your statement and how I represent myself to this forum. I look forward to further exchanges with you. Despite my increasing skepticism, I see still value in these conversations. Thank you.

  66. Vivec says

    I still accept the religion because it does not encourage me to do harm to myself and to others

    It encourages unsafe sex that exacerbates both overpopulation and the spread of deadly STDs.

  67. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @johnnie1963 #71:

    the Catholic Church is a power-hunger institution historically associated with global atrocities.

    I still accept the religion

    Video: Trevor Moore – Pope Rap (3:36)

  68. Monocle Smile says

    @jonnie
    I’m trying here. I really am.

    I don’t claim that the Catholic Church does not make mistakes, and I acknowledge that the Catholic Church is a power-hunger institution historically associated with global atrocities. But you did not quote that part of my statement

    I only quoted the parts I took issue with, yes. This is called “integrity.”

    In terms of rhetoric, I am skeptical of that person’s ethos (personality), which is just as important as that person’s logos (logic).

    This is called an ad hominem fallacy.

    You also seem to reduce critical thinking to avoidance of logical fallacies

    This is step 1.

    I don’t embrace Catholicism uncritically, as I have demonstrated in my posts

    I see zero critical evaluation of Catholicism in your posts. When questioned, you have merely repeated yourself. Why are you a believer? Why are you specifically a Catholic? Your only reason thus far has been an appeal to consequences fallacy.

    I read that study, and I am skeptical about its methodology. As a quantitative researcher, I look for several features, such correlation coefficients and p-values, which would indicate how much the results could have been reached by chance. I found neither

    This is because massive sociological experiments are difficult to conduct unless one has a populated planet at their disposal and no regard for ethics. Because the experiments are always going to be imperfect, the conclusions are always going to be less solid than a physics experiment. I learned about p values and r^2 values in AP Stats; you don’t need to be a “quantitative researcher” to be familiar with these things. I also didn’t present this study in order to “demonstrate a causal link between religion and social conditions.” I presented it because it flies directly in the face of your earlier statement about how we “need” theism.

    You seem to have this modus operandi: misrepresent my statements, and then cry logical fallacies to question my critical thinking skills

    I misrepresented exactly nothing. “Admitting” that the Catholic church isn’t perfect doesn’t change your statements at all, so there was no need to include that. I can walk you through each logical fallacy if you wish, but that would come across as extremely condescending.

    I argue that eliminating theism from a country may not necessarily ensure more rationality and peace. I focused on theism, not religion

    This is not only a non sequitur from asking that theists demonstrate more “intellectual rigor” in their conversations (which is actually fine; I was merely confused as to why you juxtaposed them), but focusing on “theism” instead of religion is a bit of a red herring. One cannot reach any conclusion from “theism,” but I would also contend that you won’t find a person who accepts a theistic position without religious baggage attached.

  69. Chikoppi says

    @johnnie

    I still accept the religion because it does not encourage me to do harm to myself and to others and because it encourages charity and community service.

    That’s a head-scratcher of a statement.

    Lack of religion also does not “encourage one to do harm to oneself and to others,” so I think we can omit that as a possible virtue.

    “It encourages charity and community service.” Ok. But that’s hardly unique to Catholicism or even to religion in general.

    Do you believe Catholic dogma? Do you believe your salvation after death depends on continued belief? Do you judge actions based purely on ethical reasoning or do you submit to the Catholic interpretation of biblical morality? Is it possible that you would be a considerate person with or without religion and that you retain the association merely for the social ties?

  70. johnnie1963 says

    @Monocle Smile

    Yes, I am also really trying, and I am really learning from this conversation. Thank you. You seem to love passionate and rigorous conversations and I love participating in them. As for the study, the researcher did not conduct an experiment. The researcher used data from previous surveys. I assume that the researcher could have easily taken that survey data and crunched numbers in SPSS or some other statistical software. Because I am in an education doctoral program, I understand that the social scientists can almost never have perfect study conditions as those of physicists and other “pure” scientists.

    May we try for common ground for a moment? You seem to think that I argue that societies need theism. I don’t argue that. I suggest that the absence of theism may not necessarily translate to more rational and peaceful cultures. I don’t claim it never does or it never will. I make this claim based on my knowledge of human evolution and on some current secular societies. You seem to think I claim that a secular or atheistic society is necessarily “evil” or dysfunctional. That assertion would be an insult to secular governments and to atheists. It is not my intention to insult people or institutions.

    If I were committing fallacy of consequences, I would have argued that I am a Catholic because I am afraid of going to Hell if I do not join the “true” religion. I point out specifically why I am a Catholic: it helps me psychologically and emotionally. My acknowledgement of the atrocities that Catholicism has committed seems like a critique of that religion. I offer a more detailed critique. I am in a religion where we actually believe we drink the blood and eat the flesh of Christ (transubstantiation) . I know that is illogical and savage. That’s just one reason I will never complain about cannibalistic cultures or zombie movies. My religion excludes women from important positions in the clergy. My parish priest and the local archdiocese are tired of hearing my complaints. Catholicism’s almost homophobic stance on homosexuality and gay marriage is nothing to celebrate either. In a time when the Church struggles to gain new priests and, as a result, parishes are closing left and right, it should reform its traditions and practices to be more inclusive in regards to gender, marital status, and sexual orientation in the clergy. My Catholic colleagues and I have been very vocal about this lack of inclusion because it is literally jeopardizing the religion. People (and their money) can easily join more inclusive religions. This argument often falls on deaf ears.

    You are absolutely right, I cannot reach a conclusion based on category or a concept. I reach conclusions based on data. Thank you for pointing that out. If you wish to detail the logic fallacies, please feel free to do so. I will not feel insulted and you will help someone learn more about logical fallacies. This is a win-win situation, right? You are also right about the religious baggage. My baggage is guilt. I feel guilt because I think I am not doing enough to relieve the suffering of others in my local community and beyond. I feel guilt because I do not frequently protest social injustice. I feel tons of guilt, which is a Catholic stereotype. Mea culpa, mea culpa!

    This is an excellent conversation. You get to demonstrate intellectual rigorousness, and I get to learn from someone who appears to be a master. Next year, I have to defend my dissertation proposal, and a year after that I have to defend my dissertation. Your very rigorous conversations will prepare me very well for those events. In any case, this is a very enjoyable exchange. Thank you!

  71. Monocle Smile says

    @jonnie

    You seem to think that I argue that societies need theism. I don’t argue that. I suggest that the absence of theism may not necessarily translate to more rational and peaceful cultures

    That was not what I got from your first post and in fact it is not the only thing you said. If this is what you mean, then I find that statement to be trivial. Of course religion is not the only thing holding societies back, but so what? It’s a major hindrance.
    But you also stated that “we as a species need theism.” I reject this entirely.

    If I were committing fallacy of consequences, I would have argued that I am a Catholic because I am afraid of going to Hell if I do not join the “true” religion

    No. Appeals to consequences can be appeals to good or bad consequences. “I’m catholic because I think it makes me better” is also an appeal to consequences.

    My acknowledgement of the atrocities that Catholicism has committed seems like a critique of that religion

    I don’t care. EnlightenmentLiberal will probably (rightly) rip you for this, but given the continued horrendous actions by your church, merely saying “I don’t agree” isn’t nearly enough. If spreading AIDS and covering up a worldwide child molestation scandal isn’t enough to make you leave your church, what is?

    This argument often falls on deaf ears.

    Then do the moral thing and leave the church. Stop attending. Stop donating.
    Chikoppi’s questions are also relevant.

  72. johnnie1963 says

    @Chikoppi

    I think I need to clarify something for you and others. I grew up in a family that was atheist in every thing but name. There was not talk of a god in my house. I was not encouraged or coerced to read the Bible or any religious text. I only went to church once a year–at Easter–to apparently show off the family’s newest Easter clothes. And that annual church visit effectively ended when I was 14. I didn’t pray. I lived decades between the ages of 14 and 42 without much thought of theism, religion, or gods. I have never seen a god prevent me from doing stupid things. I have never heard a god give me advice.

    So why did I subscribe to theism and to Catholicism specifically? As you mentioned, I don’t have to be Catholic to serve my community or to be charitable. I can be an atheist and do all that, without the religious dogma or religious constraints. But I will not have the resources of a very large and powerful institution. Like most other humans, I find comfort, meaning, and safety within the context of a powerful group. In this context, I find it no less valid my being African American and joining the NAACP. Some people may find this rationale illogical or stupid. So be it. The beauty of living under the aegis of a secular government is that I choose to join religions organizations, and I can easily abandon them–along with their ideologies and dogma. I may be a theist, but I would never advocate for a theocracy.

    I think I should mention this: I am an out gay, African American male, and I have never been ostracized in my parish. As Matt suggested in the video, there are many varieties of Catholicism and other religions. I attend a more reformed and progressive Catholic church. One may reasonably argue that I could join an atheist organization that welcome me without the baggage of religion, but that atheist organization most likely would not conduct the rituals I need or give me the satisfaction of being part of a powerful institution.

    One last thing: I hope that people do not think I assume that religion and theism are superior to atheism. If I gave off that vibe, I apologize. I assume that many atheists and secular humanists accomplish more social justice and complete more charitable acts than many Catholics ever would. I try not to go the “holier than thou” route.

  73. johnnie1963 says

    @Monocle Smile

    You are so right. I should have written “it appears that we as a species haven’t evolved past a need for theism”. I understand why you reject my claim as originally written. Secular societies have made excellent progress without theism or religions. Mea culpa. I should have realized that error.

    You suggest that I do the moral thing and leave the Church. I could do that. I could leave the Church tomorrow and not think about it. You also suggest the Enlightenment liberal would rip apart my arguments and my reasons for being part of the Church. So be it. As I have demonstrated by simply participating in this community, I do not shy away from challenges. I do not retreat to safe zones. Otherwise, I would have never come to this forum or have conversed with anyone here. I welcome the challenges. I love the opportunity to leave my comfort zone in order to grow intellectually and emotionally. That is why I am a theist among atheists. I am not a special snowflake.

  74. Chikoppi says

    @johnnie

    Oof. That’s a lot to sort. You didn’t quite answer my questions.

    The social benefits of a church-based community are unrelated to questions of dogma. Do you believe the Catholic dogma is true? Would you be an adherent of the Catholic faith if there were no social or institutional benefits of being so?

    You’re fortunate if you’ve never encountered discrimination due to your sexuality. That sort of leniency is not typical of Catholic parishes. If you don’t mind my asking, are you single or are members of your parish aware of your partner? Please ignore my question if you consider it too forward.

    One other query; are you in a metropolitan or rural area? I ask only because I have some familiarity with Catholic parish communities.

  75. johnnie1963 says

    @Chikoppi

    Do I think the Catholic dogma is true, meaning that it can be empirically verified outside of its own discourse or rhetoric? For instance, do I literally conclude a virgin Jewish girl miraculously become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and gave birth to the son of God 2,000 years ago? No. Do I conclude that I am eating the flesh and drinking the blood of that progeny? No. But that is part of the belief system. I do not demand empirical data in order to accept it as a condition of being part of that organization. Would I be an adherent of the Catholic faith if there were no social or institutional benefits of being so? Most likely not. I spent many years living without those benefits. I can easily live without the Church again. I prefer not to.

    I am single, and I attend a suburban parish. I have attended liberal urban parishes. In fact, I was baptized in a Chicago parish which has a very visible LGBT community.

  76. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    johnnie1963 #77:

    I am in a religion where we actually believe we drink the blood and eat the flesh of Christ (transubstantiation). I know that is illogical and savage.

     
    #79:

    I grew up in a family that was atheist in every thing but name. […] I didn’t pray. I lived decades between the ages of 14 and 42 without much thought of theism, religion, or gods.

    I could join an atheist organization that welcome me without the baggage of religion, but that atheist organization most likely would not conduct the rituals I need

  77. Chikoppi says

    @johnnie

    I’m a bit divided about how to reply.

    You seem to be saying that you don’t believe the dogma, but rather are paying lip-service to gain access to the community. If that’s the case you’d be violating the Eucharistic sacrament with respect to the doctrine of transubstantiation (but also wouldn’t care, I suppose).

    No matter how liberal the parish, homosexual acts are considered a mortal sin. However, if others believe you are chaste it wouldn’t be an issue of contention.

    I suppose I’m most perplexed by your adoption of the Catholic church. There are many populous Christian sects in the Chicago area that fully embrace homosexuality. If you don’t believe the Catholic dogma and just want a community, why not choose a sect that doesn’t vilify sexual orientation?

    Lastly, I’m a bit surprised that you live in the Chicago area and feel the need to rely on religion for community. Not only is the region rich in neighborhood and social organizations, the city also has a very robust and active gay community. Of course, things may be different in your particular area.

    I don’t think merely going through the motions makes you a theist. Yet, if the price of belonging to a community is publicly proclaiming things you don’t believe are true (I assume the apostle’s creed is recited in your parish), I have to question if there aren’t far better avenues available.

  78. Monocle Smile says

    @jonnie
    I’m with Chikoppi. Of all the religious denominations to join, why Catholicism? I guess it’s just not sinking in that you’re supporting all sorts of bad shit around the world. Your church DOES send tribute to the Vatican, remember.
    Regardless, I would like to say that I enjoy having you post much, much more than the past few theists who have shown up.

  79. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    Johnnie
    In my experience, many nontheists here have an almost Asperger’s-like or OCD-like obsession with semantics. What you will find is a conversation not dissimilar to an NRA member talking about gun control.

  80. johnnie1963 says

    @Chikoppi and Monocle Smith

    After considering my options, I decided to stay with Catholicism, despite its atrocities. I liken my decision to sticking with Capitalism, which also has a history of human suffering and exploitation, and remaining in the United States, which has its own history of human rights violations, including slavery, racism, homophobia, and global policing. My point is that many institutions that many of us, atheists and theists, thrive in have committed numerous crimes against humanity. Even though Catholic dogma is not true in a empirically sense of that word, I think it has a metaphorical truth about the nature of life and death. In that metaphorical context, I believe in Catholic dogma.

    It is interesting that some atheists in this thread define religions as prisons for the mind, not considering that the mind, because it is informed by a specific brain structure and specific modes of thinking, is naturally constrained. For instance, Monocle Smith, seems to have a very limited definition of critical thinking. Your apparent fascination with logical fallacies demonstrates a certain intellectual constraint or prison. Some atheists here seem to fetishize Enlightenment era rationality, without sufficiently critiquing the validity of its assumptions and claims. How do we know that a knowledge system is valid, especially if we test validity only within that specific system? When I create a survey to measure a relationship between certain variables, I have to use an external statistical tool to test that instrument for validity and reliability. Using the survey itself to test its own validity and reliability seems absurd. It would be like a person guessing their own weight, without an external tool to corroborate that guess.

  81. Monocle Smile says

    @jonnie
    Hoo boy.

    I liken my decision to sticking with Capitalism, which also has a history of human suffering and exploitation, and remaining in the United States, which has its own history of human rights violations, including slavery, racism, homophobia, and global policing

    Two big differences:
    1) I have much less of a choice to remain in the US than you do to remain a catholic.
    2) We have the power to make changes for the better in this country. You have literally zero influence over the catholic church unless you leave, which is the only thing they care about. You leaving = less money.

    My point is that many institutions that many of us, atheists and theists, thrive in have committed numerous crimes against humanity

    A tu quoque fallacy is not a defense.

    Even though Catholic dogma is not true in a empirically sense of that word, I think it has a metaphorical truth about the nature of life and death. In that metaphorical context, I believe in Catholic dogma

    What? You’re going to have to elaborate, because this reads like nonsense.

    Your apparent fascination with logical fallacies demonstrates a certain intellectual constraint or prison

    I really hate having to keep naming fallacies, but it’s shorter than typing huge paragraphs explaining them.
    Fallacy of composition…and maybe equivocation. Not all “constraints” are equal. We start with goals. My goals include believing true things, not believing false things, and promoting the welfare of living sentient beings. Thus, when making assessments, it is important that I follow the GIGO principle.
    Also, this statement is just ludicrous. Consider the alternative. If logical fallacies suddenly aren’t fallacies, then does anything mean anything? No.

    How do we know that a knowledge system is valid, especially if we test validity only within that specific system?

    I point to the scoreboard. We have this thing called “reality.” If we agree that we share some reality, then this question is answered easily. If you don’t agree that we share some reality, then I find you silly and I’m going to ridicule you and cease discussion. This may technically be an axiom, but those who don’t share this axiom tend to die off rather quickly. Given the insanely good track record of science and the abysmal failures of all other “knowledge systems,” it’s pretty clear that empirical rationalism has a huge leg up on everything else…if you share the first two goals I listed above.

    Some atheists here seem to fetishize Enlightenment era rationality, without sufficiently critiquing the validity of its assumptions and claims

    Sorry, no. The whole point of skepticism is that some things do stand up to scrutiny. Every last person I’ve encountered who has said something along these lines has been a religious apologist who wishes to substitute bald assertions and claims of “divine revelation” for science. Tell me, what knowledge have we as a species acquired from these “other knowledge systems?”

  82. says

    Tell me, what knowledge have we as a species acquired from these “other knowledge systems?”

    And I’d throw in – show that it comes FROM that knowledge system, and not merely by association. Scientific discoveries by people who have mustaches doesn’t make mustaches a source of knowledge – nor does Christianity if knowledge is discovered by people who happen to be Christians.

  83. Chikoppi says

    @johnnie

    Even though Catholic dogma is not true in a empirically sense of that word, I think it has a metaphorical truth about the nature of life and death. In that metaphorical context, I believe in Catholic dogma.

    If you had stopped with, “I’m lying about belief to have access to community resources,” I wouldn’t have respected the strategy, but I would have understood it.

    I don’t think you can claim to actually believe in Catholic dogma. The Catholic catechism requires a very literal interpretation, including original sin, incarnation, ascension, etc. As far as the church is concerned, literal and orthodox beliefs are required for participation in the sacraments (to “be Catholic”). You aren’t different from many Catholics in this regard, but it’s worth pointing out that to some extant you are already rejecting the “truth” of the church.

    With respect to the distinction between empirical/metaphorical truth, I think you should reconsider your position. It would be fine if you were to say that you found aspects Catholic dogma “poetic” or even “inspirational.” The problem is in labeling it “truth.”

    Things we believe are true form the premises that we use to make choices. Catholicism comes with some seriously dodgy premises, such as biblical morality, moral absolutes, intercessory prayer, damnation, life after death, thought crimes, carnal sins, etc. With these premises informing your choices, rather than empirical reason, you can be misled into making some very regrettable decisions.

    “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” ― Steven Weinberg

    That sort of flawed decision-making doesn’t require the actor to know they are causing harm. It just requires a false premise to lead a person to believe they are achieving a greater good.

  84. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    @johnnie1963
    Thanks for sharing with this thread. I am enjoying the conversations (thanks to everyone else too).

    I don’t wish to offend, but I will be honest (you’ve clearly got a thick skin or you wouldn’t have posted).

    To me it seems a bit selfish of you to be Catholic. You don’t appear to value the church’s history or many of its essential dogma. Instead you seem to be going along for the fellowship and simply not caring about all the harm the church does.

    People can of course be selfish theists or selfish atheists. I’m certainly not claiming all Catholics are selfish. I take a slightly different view to many of the atheists within the ACA. I’m not convinced that a world free of religion will be better, or that people will act more morally. I do however value the truth and I don’t see sufficient evidence to believe in god(s).

    As much as I’m enjoying this conversation, I’d really love to hear WHY you believe (and why we should believe).

    Again thanks for sharing

    Simon

  85. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    Why does this nonsense keep getting trotted out?

    “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” ― Steven Weinberg

    If religion is bad because some good people have used it for bad causes, then religion is all the more praiseworthy because a large part of people who do have religion do not use religion or their religious values to do bad things, but to rather do the opposite. But it seems that atheists don’t want to apply this standard, they only want to judge religion by the bad, and ignore the good.

  86. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    Simon

    “I do however value the truth and I don’t see sufficient evidence to believe in god(s).”

    The question is do you have an active disbelief, as opposed to a simple lack of belief (the latter seeming quite evasive to me)?

  87. Patrick67 says

    #92 & #93:

    Troll Alert!

    Everyone please go through the posts found on Episode 20.25 before taking the risk of replying to this troll. He has been well known to plagiarize whole articles from other sites. Feed at your own peril.

  88. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    Re-read the last three paragraphs of #90. Decisions based on false premises can lead to inadvertent harm despite good intention, especially when those premises are presented as inviolable absolutes.

  89. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    yep…and The Collatz conjecture states you must begin with any positive integer n: If it is an even number then halve it, or if it is an odd number then triple it and add 1. Do this recursively, and your result should always reach 1.

    http://philpapers.org/archive/VAVEDO.pdf

  90. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    I think you should re-read that paper.

    An inviolable absolute does not allow positive evidence for the contrary. To continue the analogy presented therein, I must reject the optometrist’s evidence if I believe the integrity of my color vision cannot be called into question.

    If your argument is that biblical morality is in fact not evidence of divine absolutes and, subject to assessment by reason and evidence, may be discovered to be incorrect and disregarded, then I agree with you. That position, however, is not typically a feature of religious dogma.

  91. The YouTube Guy says

    Even though Catholic dogma is not true in a empirically sense of that word, I think it has a metaphorical truth about the nature of life and death. In that metaphorical context, I believe in Catholic dogma.

    This truly sounds like something a friend who smokes too much pot might say… “It’s not actually true… but it’s metaphorically true dude.” I generally believe things because I have evidence they are true. If a religion makes statements about life and death that make sense, that doesn’t mean their claims about a God are correct.

    I do not understand why you’re a Catholic. Maybe you’re a Catholic to appease family members or a spouse. The only thing that seems evident in your post is that you don’t strongly believe the dogma surrounding the actual religion. It seems apparent you know that you can’t back claims of God or the divinity of Jesus and want to side-step and any of those discussions.

    If you really have all these doubts and are this “lukewarm”, it is time to rethink calling yourself a Catholic.

  92. Monocle Smile says

    @FoD
    Firstly, fuck off, troll.
    Secondly, screw you for this:

    But it seems that atheists don’t want to apply this standard, they only want to judge religion by the bad, and ignore the good.

    No, dipshit. We’re saying that the bad outweighs the good…and that this is somewhat irrelevant anyway in a discussion of fact and fiction. There’s nothing good about religion that’s also exclusive to religion.

    The question is do you have an active disbelief, as opposed to a simple lack of belief (the latter seeming quite evasive to me)?

    Yes, Frank Turek, we understand that you so desperately want to bootstrap other positions onto atheism so you can attack it, but go fuck yourself. Atheism is a single position on a single issue. The only way to argue against the entire set of atheists is to prove that a god exists.

  93. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    “…fact and fiction”
    You sound like Nathan Jessup.

    “…bad outweighs the good”
    cosmic moral scale?

    “….single position”
    evasive drivel

    “…god exists”
    Why, so you can cry special pleading? It is better to be wrongly accused of a logical fallacy then rightly accused of a logical absurdity

  94. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    “…divine absolutes and, subject to assessment by…”
    divine absolutes are subject to divine assessment IMO

    There can be a purely physical description of the neurophysiological processes that give rise to an experience, and also of the physical behavior that is typically associated with it, but such a description, however complete, will leave out the subjective essence of the experience – how it is from the point of view of its subject…

    This may be a quibble, but I think that the problem with the materialist types of explanations I have heard for morality, is not that it fails to describe “what it is like”, or the essence of a point of view, but rather, how there is such a thing as a point of view at all, leaving aside what it is like!

  95. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    I think we are all imprisoned. If you want to give the finger, complain about unfair treatment, find a legal loophole, …whatever, fine.
    Freedom lies elsewhere. Hope you find it!

  96. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    If divine absolutes can only be assessed by a divinity, then no person can know what is and is not true of those absolutes. A comparison of the divergent dogma of Christian sects is evidence of that fact.

    The only decision-making faculties at our disposal are our capacities for observation and reason. This is true with or without moral absolutism.

  97. Andreas says

    The only decision-making faculties at our disposal are our capacities for observation and reason.

    No.
    People make decisions based on a lot of things.
    Maybe decisions are smarter with observation and reason involved.

  98. Chikoppi says

    @Andreas

    Heh. Fair enough!

    How about, “the only decision-making capacity we have is limited to our mortal faculties.”

  99. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    Nagel makes two points…there are limits to human understanding and that we do not yet know exactly what those limits are. I agree. Science predicts the actions of objects sometimes quite well, but science does not always predict the actions of very complex objects like humans nearly as well. Thus Nagel’s mental states and subjective experience are mere observations, not reductions.

    When the actions of objects are reducible to their parts, science is very useful. When the actions of objects are recursively bound to sensation by feeling, the whole universe is involved and science is limited to observation.

    Humans have a very large number of possible futures and while science would like to believe that it can predict all of those futures by some kind of reduction, science has its limits. The possibilities of what an object might become are just a complementary representation of those objects, but the sum total of all of these possibilities can overwhelm the reductive capacity of science.

    When this happens, tell individuals they have insane troll logic!

  100. says

    @Fod #108 There is insane troll logic, and then there are mentally masturbatory deepities. You seem to have sloshed your way from one to the other.

  101. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    Nagel makes two points…there are limits to human understanding and that we do not yet know exactly what those limits are.

    How does this possibly provide justification for belief in divinely decreed moral absolutes?

  102. says

    First of all, thanks for everything you do. I have followed you every single week since around 2003. I have a comment. In the earlier years on Public Access you had a 90 minute show and every co-host would have a presentation. Since the show time got reduced only Don kept doing that. In those years Tracie had two presentations that IMNSHO yielded the two best TAE shows ever, when she presented henotheism in the bible. Tracie, would you consider revisiting the subject?

    Kind regards,
    Rob

  103. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    “…divinely decreed moral absolutes?”

    Jesus came to magnify, or fill completely full, the meaning of God’s law. Jesus’ teaching that a man who lusts after a woman has already committed adultery in his mind represented Jesus’ magnification of all of the Ten Commandments. He explained the full meaning—the spiritual intent—of the commandments. He showed that He expects more than just a legalistic, letter-of-the-law approach; He also expects a submissive, yielded mind focused on love for God and love for our fellow man.

    Jesus further clarifies: “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven”

    ‘…divine assessment of divine absolutes.’ We have limits to our understanding of this and we do not yet know what those limits are. Furthermore, we don’t know if we can know what those limits are. By all means, apply observation and reason to present and future understanding, if you can.

    None of this matters to the unbeliever. Apparently, it falls under mentally masturbatory deepities, which is against the law according to the atheist’screed?
    Sorry, that is not possible being a single (un, non, dis, lack of) belief on a single issue and all.

  104. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    Got it. Yada, yada, yada…presupposition. That is a non-answer to the question posed in #110.

    Sure is odd how everything about the nature of God in theistic claims perfectly conforms to what we would expect to observe if none of them were true. Must be a quirky coincidence?

  105. Monocle Smile says

    @FoD
    Listen, dickhole. I have lots of beliefs. But that’s separate from atheism and you’ll have to address them as they come. My beliefs aren’t necessarily held by the others here. Atheism is something that we happen to agree upon. I’m fine with addressing whatever, but stop lumping it all into “atheism,” especially when this has been explained to you multiple times.

    None of this matters to the unbeliever.

    You’ve been asked for several threads why any of this should matter. Why should anyone give a shit what some old book says? All you do in response is plagiarize the posts of butthurt theists and rant about random shit. Shut the fuck up already.

  106. The YouTube Guy says

    @FoD

    Can you prove to me that Allah does not exist?
    Can you prove to me that your God exists?

    Please answer both these questions as fully and directly as possible. Give me your best evidence for Allah not existing then give me your best evidence for your God existing.

  107. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    TrueEmpiricism’s post-call hangout has been made private.
     
    There, he had had audio issues playing the AXP clip, which he blamed on the atheists deliberately reducing his volume, so the hosts can talk over him – because the devious screeners must’ve recognized his name from his previous call. He and the guests gave up on the clip after a few minutes and the rest was ranting for… about an hour, IIRC.
     
    He uploaded another (without GMan etc), alternately playing the AXP clip and monologuing. Nothing new (see below). Then abandoning the clip again due to choppiness and audio issues, for straight monologuing against Q&A from a chat room.
     
    Video: TrueEmpiricism – Calling the Atheist Experience (42:11)
     
    (20:05):

    Shortly after the discussion began, they decreased my audio, so that it was easier for them to overtalk what I was saying. That’s just the type of tactics they use. […] Last time I called him, my audio was pretty choppy because I called him through my phone. But this time when I called him I was using a high-powered microphone. I put the gain up specifically because of how bad the audio was last time. It was loud last time, but it was choppy, so it was difficult to hear what I was saying that time. […] I’m using a $200 microphone right now. […] I know that’s what we expect from the Atheist experience.

     
     
    (23:00):

    If somebody’s defending a position that’s not their own, they’re lying about their position. If they’re popping up trying to make themselves look like okay they /just/ disbelieve: they don’t have any position of their own. They don’t have their own views or beliefs of their own… then that’s dishonest.
     
    You cannot try to defend another position that’s not your own. That’s the important part here. It’s not about there being different definitions.
     
    You guys have heard me talk about this before in the past. I’m the one who brings up there’s multiple different definitions in different dictionaries. The doctrine that there is no god, the belief there is no god, the denial of the existence of god. I think that I actually have a video up in respose to AronRa about a year and a half ago maybe. So I’ve broken all this down already.
     
    If somebody uses a definition, we should take it into consideration. But that doesn’t mean that we should be fools and believe what they tell us… just because they use a definition that’s convenient for them.
     
    If how they conduct themselves and how they act is inconsistent with that position… Then no, it doesn’t matter how many times they use that definition, it’s dishonest. It’s called lying. That’s what it’s called. When you know what you’re saying is not true, and you say it anyways, that’s dishonest.
     
    When you’re defending another position, that you know it not your own. And you’re presenting it to other people when they’re coming and questioning you about belief or the burden of proof and all that other crap. And you’re defending the disbelief, rather than your own position, that’s dishonest. That’s just dodging. That’s what it is. It’s avoiding the difficult things to deal with of your own position.

     
     
    Then he plays part of a clip from BibleThumpingWingnut (ORIGINAL HERE).
     

    BTWN (30:26 / 0:40): They must deny the truth because Jesus Christ IS the truth. Jesus Christ said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the father but by me.” So atheists must reject the truth because they claim there is no god.

    Just… wow.
     

    BTWN: An argument against atheism is you became an atheist because you just want to sin. I’ve never made that claim, but many people do.
     
    Matt (31:00 / 1:13): So I’m wondering have they actually investigated Carrier’s claims, or is this just an attempt to smear someone? Is this just an attempt to poison the well with this common Christian attack of “Oh, you atheists! You just love your sin. God has given you over to reprobate minds. You just don’t want to live in a world governed by God. Y’all just love to sin.” Essentially the core claim here is that atheists, rather than honestly rejecting supernatural claims on the basis of insufficient evidence have instead merely looked for some reason to reject the god –
     
    *Pause*
     
    TE (31:41): […] He’s so dishonest, he’s gotta defend another position that’s not his own. […] as if he’s on some sort of position of authority that’s on neutral ground: “You convince me.” WHY? Because anything you say to him, he’ll just flush it down the toilet.
    […]
    Who cares if any atheist tells you if they just disbelieve or have a lack of belief. Take it into consideration and be respectful. But don’t approach the situation as if you’re trying to convince them of anything.
     
    *Resume*
     
    Matt (34:08 / 1:53): – that they don’t want to serve. We’re in love with our sin. The problem with this entire line of argument is that it essentially calls us liars. It’s essentially saying “Yes we hear you guys talk about evidence and the burden of proof, but you’re not /really/ an atheist because of that. You’re really just an atheist because you love to sin, and you did not want to live under the yolk of God or under the responsibility of obeying God’s positions. They don’t offer any evidence of this.”
     
    BTWN: I don’t think we need to provide any evidence for this. Because we’ll just let you do it.
     
    Matt: […] We’re quick to say “[…] We actually have reasoned arguments. We’ve thought about it. We’ve considered it. It’s not just that we want to sin.” Screw that! It’s okay to not believe if you just want to sin. It really is. And what I mean by that is religions tell people to divorce themselves from who they are, who you are as human beings.
     
    You can’t be gay. Screw you! If I’m gay, I’m gay. If you wanna call it sinning, and you don’t think that’s a good enough reason for me to stop believing in your god – who you think made me and now I’m this way – and nothing I can do about it – or you wanna call it a choice or whatever else. It doesn’t matter.
     
    *Pause*
     
    TE (35:44): It’s funny because he will not use that same approach towards any theist that’s going to call him on the show. We would rightfully call him out “Well, that’s not a good enough reason for you to believe,” and criticize him.
     
    This is an interesting inconsistency that I hope people will think about when you’re watching the show. You hear some callers call in with some bad justifications or reasons […] What I suspect is that they are fake callers […] just some of the things these people say when they call the show just seems to me to be ridiculous and way too far fetched.

     
    TrueEmpiricism says that some AXP callers are ridiculous and way too far-fetched to be real.
     

    *Resume*
     
    Matt (36:29 / 3:29): Now hopefully we come to better reasons and justify our positions later on but the number of people who actually do stop believing because they want to “sin” is probably pretty high. And they’re all right to do it.
     
    BTWN (36:50 / 3:44): I don’t have to say anything do I? He has a position, then he changes it.
     
    Consistency is not really the goal of atheism. A goal of atheism is one of two things (or both at the same time). To deny truth – and to suppress truth everywhere anybody makes a truth claim. That’s the goal of atheism. And in doing so, atheists as they engage with [believers], what they’re doing is… They are trying to crush your faith and validate their “lack of” faith.
     
    [The clip continues with the accusation that Matt was never a serious Christian, ignorant and not involved, not even studying to be a minister. He, characteristically of atheists, lets his real position slip when believers aren’t around. TE says “Pay very careful attention to what happens here.”]

     
    Then he concludes saying, yet again, that Matt / AXP is dishonest, inconsistent and evasive.
     
    Incidentally, despite his principled stance on using proper terminology, and repeatedly watching the clip with her name on screen, he only refers to Tracie as “the lady”.

  108. Chikoppi says

    It really is an impressive feat of special pleading. Name any myth other than something from the Christian tradition and these folks would hasten to say the don’t believe it, even though the haven’t proven it’s false, even though they may be hearing it for the first time, even though it may be un-falsifiable.

    I think the narrative is simply far too precious; the idea that everything that exists and everything that transpires is orchestrated specifically for them and leads inevitably to a glorious conclusion. That’s one hell of a psychological knot to be wound up in. What’s a little special pleading when the alternative is to abandon a premise so fundamental to one’s ego?

  109. Monocle Smile says

    This is precisely TrueEmpiricism’s essence. It’s similar to the other morons I’ve named. They don’t bother to talk about anything worth a shit. They fixate on what they perceive to be a huge issue that is in reality MAYBE (probably not) a technicality and they hammer away at it. They just don’t realize that even being correct about the things they belabor wouldn’t change a fucking thing. Their god still does not exist and they are on no better epistemological footing than when they started. But this is the only fight they can perhaps win, depending on the atheist, so this is inevitably where they turn.

  110. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    o.0
    In a separate TrueEmpiricism hangout the day before (“Bring it evolutionists! # 6”), someone argues: a planet came out of a black hole, from another dimension, so models of planetary formation have been overturned, scientists haven’t caught up, and thus biological evolution lost its foundation and is kaput. Check mate atheists!
     
    The folks trying to explain chromosome fusion and geology to them had awe-inspiring patience. There was a presupper interrupting mid-sentence, to cause repeats, then he’d call it filibustering. And asking nit-picking questions with a built-in inaccuracy, to spawn a corrective response, then he’d call that an insultingly remedial lecture.
     
    On top of things like “You’re merely inferring about the past. You don’t KNOW. You can’t prove uniformitarianism without God!”.When asked how HE does, “I have revelation. Don’t turn it back on me! Make your case.”
     
    All of ’em insisting on comprehensive explanation of whole fields, at the smallest scale, in simple laymans’ terms AND with brevity. Despite requests for moderation, interruptions were never muted. Then TE gets bored and changes the subject.

  111. Vivec says

    FoD’s response @112 is copy-pasted from here

    Can the boring plagiarist troll be shown the door? He contributes zero original thoughts, just copy pastes them from other people’s blogs.

  112. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    Chikoppi
    Raise a group of people away from society and religion. Put them in a situation where there’s only enough food for one person to survive and see what happens. Morality depends on the person and the situation. Where there is no law, there can be no murder.

  113. Squat Thrust says

    Raise a group of people away from society

    “Group of people” and “away from society” are mutually exclusive.

    Humans, like literally every other social animal, have instincts that allow us to cooperate and live as groups. More likely, you’ll see rationing and cooperation to look for more food.

    Yes, unlawful killing can’t exist without law by definition. Congrats on your near-analytic statement.

  114. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    Raise a group of people away from society and religion. Put them in a situation where there’s only enough food for one person to survive and see what happens. Morality depends on the person and the situation. Where there is no law, there can be no murder.

    You do realize that even chimps punish members of their social group that act out violently against others? There was never a time when homo sapiens were mindless, feral beasts. Social cooperation and social bonding predates Judaism, agriculture, and even language. Moral behavior is a basic capacity of the human species, not a biblical invention.

  115. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    @Fallacy Of Decomposition (93)

    You asked if I have ‘active disbelief’ compared to simple ‘lack of belief’.

    I’m not sure I know the difference. I just don’t believe any of the god models that I’ve had presented to me. I’ve searched hard for a god. I was raised Christian and spent a decade or so in the New Age movement (I could see aura’s etc.).

    I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s almost certainly just our species tendency to make explanations for things we don’t know. Sort of an error in our thinking.

    I’m open to being proven wrong, but I doubt very much that will ever happen.

    Simon

  116. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    It becomes simply a case of stating your opinion which you have no basis for imposing on anyone else. An evolutionary explanation for morality merely tells us how our current behaviour developed, but gives no reason to suppose that these herd instincts constitute any sort of morality that should be imposed on another (it simply becomes an “is-ought fallacy”).

  117. Monocle Smile says

    @asshole

    Raise a group of people away from society and religion. Put them in a situation where there’s only enough food for one person to survive and see what happens

    Put any group of people in this situation. You will get the same results, religious or not. Only your trollish bigotry makes you think otherwise.

    An evolutionary explanation for morality merely tells us how our current behaviour developed, but gives no reason to suppose that these herd instincts constitute any sort of morality that should be imposed on another

    No fucking shit. Who argues this? Stop trolling at windmills. Your objections are not only flaccid, but aren’t solved by religion anyway. In fact, religion makes everything worse.

  118. Squat Thrust says

    It becomes simply a case of stating your opinion which you have no basis for imposing on anyone else

    So?
    If people want to act immorally and act against social cohesion and wellbeing, fine by them. That kind of person generally ends up dead, or imprisoned by the people that do care about that system of mortality.

    It’s like chess. If you want to move a pawn like a queen, fine by you. You’ll never win a game and get kicked out of the chess club if you persist, though, because the people that do care about the rules will rightly declare that movement illegal.

  119. Chikoppi says

    @FoD

    It becomes simply a case of stating your opinion which you have no basis for imposing on anyone else. An evolutionary explanation for morality merely tells us how our current behaviour developed, but gives no reason to suppose that these herd instincts constitute any sort of morality that should be imposed on another (it simply becomes an “is-ought fallacy”).

    No, degrees of harm are not merely subjective. We agree that yelling at someone is less harmful than physical assault (barring extreme extenuating circumstances). We can assess the relative degree of harm an action causes to the social order because we have the capacity to reason and consider the potential outcomes of our actions and the actions of others. We can (and do) debate the need to balance the rights of the individual against the common good.

    Laws and social order pre-date the bible. We have examples of Summarian legal codes dating back to 2000bce. We are a thinking, social species capable of moderating our own actions and establishing reasonable standards of behavior that limit harm and promote general welfare.

    No one had to deliver stone tablets in order for us to recognize that allowing wanton theft and murder would not be conducive to the welfare of the community.

    How do you feel about polygamy and slavery? Both biblically moral. Cool with that?

  120. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    It was sanctioned and supported heavily by the population during the last world war and in subsequent conflicts.

    There still are many proponents of strategic bombing that causes the indiscriminate killing of humans, some even advocated the strategic bombing of Ireland during the troubles. Note too the concept called M.A.D. is based on the premise of a sanctioned indiscriminate killing of a population.

    On a more technical issue, why exactly do you believe it is morally right for a person to able to kill another person when they feel threatened (aka Self Defence)? Surely subdueing them is sufficient? perhaps an incapacitation would be appropriate instead of death? also why should the defender get to live? these are all just subjective moral judgements made by the observer and by the society they live in.

    In relation to spying one just applies their own subjective morality that is relative to ones self (the observer) while at the same time recognising that other observers hold differing subjective morality on the same issue

    “Bigotry?..religion makes everything worse?”

    How do you live with your conscience or do you not have a free choice?

    Speaking of free will, I suppose it is merely an illusion?

    If it is an illusion, one is left with the question of to whom exactly it is an illusion.

    Absolutely all of science (and everything else we perceive) is contained within consciousness, and naturally not only can we not get outside of it, but it is, has been, and will for some time (if not forever) be utterly inaccessible to us in any but the most superficial and incontrovertibly subjective way.

    The fact that nearly every scientist that discusses this harbors the twin conceits that we can both eventually get to the bottom of consciousness and that we need not invoke a creator as we analyze a creation where matter and mind miraculously arise from nothing, always strikes me as odd.

    The only “naturalistic” conclusion that need be drawn is that we always know less than we think, and that wondering about how the mind truly came into being is like wondering whether an ant could come up with the Theory of General Relativity if he just tried hard enough.

    Yours is a solution in search of a problem.

  121. Chikoppi says

    That was a suspiciously rambling non-sequitur that appears to be addressing a non-existent comment. If this turns out to be another passage pasted from elsewhere I’m writing you off as incapable of discussion.

  122. Chikoppi says

    Yup. I’m done.

    That’s a fine example of theistic intellectual integrity to enter into the record.

  123. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    Like Babel, this site is subjective and waiting to speak.

    Sean Carroll is among the brightest scientists living and he just asserts things without falsifiability and is treated with kid gloves.

    Carroll is in good company with such an assertion. Bertrand Russell, the late British atheistic philosopher, argued the same thing in the famous 1948 BBC radio debate with Fr. Fredrick Copleston: “I should say that the universe is just there, and that’s all.”

    Notice neither Carroll nor Russell says the universe is self-explanatory in that its existence belongs to its nature, which would be the sort of explanation for God’s existence. Nor are they saying we don’t know what the explanation of the universe is. They are saying there is no explanation for why the universe exists rather than not.Oh yeah, YET!

  124. Vivec says

    Hm, okay. It’s the one where Roger goes to the ferrari dealer, but his attempts at haggling are really just quotes from a movie. You can probably search “Roger american dad ferrari” to find it.

    Also FoD’s post @133 is copy pasted from here

  125. Chikoppi says

    Your game is played out.

    ADMINS This poster is a non-existent entity that contributes nothing but spam.

  126. Fallacy Of Decomposition says

    Two things we can agree on
    1 Trump is an idiot
    2 atheists want the last word

  127. indianajones says

    Just wanna add my vote to the ‘Ban intellectually dishonest and plagiarizing wankers’ bandwagon.

  128. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I don’t care. EnlightenmentLiberal will probably (rightly) rip you for this, but given the continued horrendous actions by your church, merely saying “I don’t agree” isn’t nearly enough. If spreading AIDS and covering up a worldwide child molestation scandal isn’t enough to make you leave your church, what is?

    Heh. I have been summoned!

    This is just part of my general philosophy on how to live one’s life:

    All it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing.

    – Often attributed to Edmund Burke, but probably originates from John Stuart Mill.

    It’s in that sense that Catholics bear some moral responsibility for the child rapists of the church, and the AIDS condoms fiasco of Africa which might rightly be called “near genocide”. (They also bear some minor responsibility by voluntarily providing funding.)

    However, I generally won’t call someone out on this personally. Individual Catholics have a very, very, very small amount of moral responsibility for the child rapes by Catholic priests. The majority responsibility does lie at the rapists themselves, and at the people directly involved who have enabled it. However, individual Catholics still have some, very small, moral responsibility.

    I also believe that people who don’t speak out against police abuse against blacks bear this same kind of moral responsibility. Thus, Catholics don’t have any special moral burdens compared to most people in society who are not activists, who do not speak out.

    In general, I won’t bring this up unless the other person does first. Oftentimes, it’s brought up when in the context of “Why do you want to destroy religion?” or “Being a moderate Catholic / pretending to be a Catholic is harmless”. And then I’ll go full hog, especially if they start to disagree.

    The particular problem with religions is that there is no similar cultural norms against criticism of police, and there are no cultural norms against criticism of people who are police abuse apologists. Being “pro-police” is not a religion. Whereas, there are cultural norms against criticizing the Catholic church, and being a catholic. That is an important distinction to keep in mind.

    And at this point, I must cite one of the great people in the history of advancement of human culture: Martin Luther King Jr.
    In the letter known as Letter From A Birmingham Jail

    I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

    In short, it’s the same point as the John Stuart Mill quote above, but here MLK Jr makes the case much more strongly, forcefully, and compellingly.

    <3 MLK Jr.