Open Thread for Episode 20.36: Matt and Don

Don critiques two recent articles about the canonization of Mother Teresa.


  1. says

    matt @ 1:04:54 to alex re the probability of the existence of a “god-like” being:

    no — i’m talking about can’t being able to demonstrate the probability of being able to violate the laws of space and time.

    i ran into someone like alex last year in the comments to a clip from axp #773, “Martian God and ET Jesus”, in a digression about “promising” reports of a possible new faster-than-light (ftl) space engine under development. my contribution to that thread can be summarized with this post:

    oy! once again you’ve conjured out of thin air superbeings that by your own definition already know how to achieve ftl travel — in order to prove that ftl travel is achievable. this is classic “begging the question”: putting the issue you’ve yet to prove into the premise of your argument. “how smart are these aliens?” “well, at least smart enough to solve ftl travel. ergo: ftl travel is solvable!”

    when you wrote “it just means we probably just don’t know”, you got that exactly right, full stop. but unless you know something about these aliens that the rest of us don’t, it’s not reasonable to recruit them to your cause. and as long as we just don’t know, ftl travel remains fantasy, by my earlier definition, “only imaginary”. i’m certainly not keeping anyone from working on the problem, and i hope ftl research bears fruit, but as they say, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, and claiming that we can cheat the known laws of physics is an extraordinary claim. we just don’t have the commensurate kind of evidence before us yet.

  2. Helicopter says

    Man, you guys kept going after Zayne as if he were trying to prove god to you but that’s not at all what he was calling to talk about.

  3. Monocle Smile says

    Then why did he state otherwise? He very clearly tied his supposed “powers” to a god belief and ended up quoting the dumbest and most infamous Psalm. Start at the 36:00 mark.
    If he merely called to be all “you’re being too skeptical,” then his call was a waste of time anyway. Unless you’re Zane, I think it’s safe to say he was perfectly fine with discussing god beliefs.

  4. Monocle Smile says

    tl;dr version of Alex: “Maybe I can craft a sentence just right and bend a spoon with it.”
    I still don’t understand why people think they can sit in a room full of people who don’t know anything about anything and somehow staring into their own navels can accomplish something.

  5. gnostic says

    Got an ad for some Christian BS before Youtube let me start watching the show today. I wonder how intentionally targeted that was.

  6. Murat says

    This was a good episode, had the perfect balance of information, fun and debunking.

    The facts about Mother Teresa are quite shocking. I wonder if a Hollywood movie covering those can ever be made despite the expected backlash. In popular culture, the name is a cliché used whenever someone is seen to be ready for extreme sacrifices: “Who are you, Mother Teresa?”… I think the actual person and her shadow on public opinion have as great a contrast as actual religions and their innocent perceptions have.

    I do not agree with Matt’s simpled out explanation to 9/11. Saying it was “because of religion” would be ignoring all the political tensions before the event. The religion in question was there in 1991, 1981, 1971, 1961, 1951 etc… What triggered the terror act are certain other elements like military interventions and past investments into characters like Bin Ladin with the goal of using them against the former USSR. Yes, there are people who carry the belief that they will go to heaven if they die killing people of other faiths. But no, 9/11 can not be explained by that. The belief was but a tool in performing a highly political mass killing. I’m sure that Don and Matt know this as well but them going into details would lead the show out of context.

    I didn’t quite catch if the guy citing Morgan Freeman as God was making a deliberate reference to the movie God Almighty, or if he had subconsciously grown this pairing. Just like Matt, I fail to understand the point of these questions about whether this or that would convince one to the existence of God, because neither this nor that have ever actually happened. Matt made a good point there. However, the hosts facing versions of this question at times has something to do with their previous answers to related stuff: Saying “I would first look for another explanation than God if I witnessed something supernatural” opens up a can of worms. Though I understand the need for a reserve, it does sound like a will to carry the goal post away. Matt’s statement that he himself “doesn’t know what would convince him, but if the God in question existed, then God should have known that” makes sense. But is also a distant cousin of that famous “shifting of the burden of proof” in a way, for this approach can also be read as escapism.

    Just like one caller seemed to be inspired from God Almight, Zayne might have been influenced by Unbreakable: A dormant super power and a lack of the will to fully discover it… I think that, when people come up with these, what they mean to say is that, “Look, I am experiencing something supernatural, hence, the supernatural exists, hence, can God”… That’s a sound argument… Was almost exactly the line Emily Blunt said in the most recent WolfMan movie, after she saw the werewolf… If that can exist, why can’t God… The AXP guys (Jeff, mostly) oppose to this kind of argument strongly for they rightfully ask for a connection between “myth x” and God… But still, there’s a point there… What is missing, I think, is not a link connecting the idea of God to another myth, but the actual proof that this other myth has manifested itself in reality… If Zayne could actually prove he could dream the future precisely, then yes, I don’t have a problem with this making the idea of a God one step closer to reality than it now is.

    And, Haroon… Man, I really get disappointed when a Muslim gets carried away with Christianity-based apologetics to the point of getting fixated on evolution. Hundreds of years ago, there were Muslim researchers writing stuff about chimps and how they look like God’s sketches on the way to creating mankind. Stop the imitation game. No need to import futile dumbness from one religion’s apoogetics to the other; they all have enough of their own… And, for Haroon seems to have been raised there in Australia, I get shocked to see how he has not received the proper education regarding evolution. Ok, you can doubt or even refuse it, but not knowing what it actually is???

  7. Lillith says

    Right, Maroon’s “The earth came to form billions of years ago. How can someone observe that?” is as silly as the typical asinine christian question “were you there?”. It always amazes me how they just don’t see the obvious reply “no, but were you there when your god created the earth?” coming which completely ruins that approach.

  8. Murat says

    @Lillith #8
    Actually, the better response to that would be on a more scientific level. Like, stating that we can now observe in space other entities of gas etc that show us how a planet like the Earth can come into being step by step.

  9. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Murat

    The belief was but a tool in performing a highly political mass killing.

    Refering to this particular strain of religion as “a tool” is a tactic of minimization, quite clearly so. Why? IMO, good arguments can be made that the religion and the prior military conflicts are both relatively vital and indispensible to for the formation of terror attacks, ISIS, etc. I don’t get why you’re trying to minimize one and focus on another. It’s as though you’re trying to make excuses.

    I get that Islamaphobia is a real thing, and we should all work to counter ridiculous bigotry and racism and xenophobia. We can and should take in refugees, many more refugees, on humanitarian grounds. However, we can still do these things while criticizing this particular strain of Islam as playing a vital and relatively indispensible role in these problems in the world.

    I’m also dubious of how much weight you place on prior military conflicts. I’m sure that’s a big part of the question, but I’m pretty sure there were not any prior military conflicts that could explain the Barbary pirate attacks on US sailors and the enslavement of those sailors circa 1797 by several Islamic countries. Nor can it explain that actual diplomats of those countries were quoted as saying that the Koran gives them moral and legal authority to enslave those US sailors.

    As General William Eaton informed newly appointed Secretary of State John Marshall in 1800, “It is a maxim of the Barbary States, that ‘The Christians who would be on good terms with them must fight well or pay well.'”[5]

    Of course, I’m not saying that the only reason that Barbary allowed, condoned, and supported pirates and slavers was because they were Muslim. That position would be silly. However, neither do I understand how one can downplay the facts as much as you would do concerning the facts that they are Muslim, and cite the Koran and their Muslim faith in defense of these acts of piracy and enslavement of Christians. It is obvious that religion was performing a great deal of work in the cultural and political climate of Barbary in order to sustain and maintain the pirate attacks and enslavement of the spoils of war. Whether it’s a “tool” is irrelevant.

    To highlight this lack of intellectual honesty. Let me put it like this. When we have a sovereign citizen in the US who kills a bunch of people, and writes a letter that describes his reasoning and motivation in terms of his sovereign citizen nonsense, there are no people like you that later come alone and say “no no, he didn’t really believe what he says – he actually did it because he was Christian”. Rather, it only goes the other way. When we have people that say that they are doing evil things, and they are justified and ordered to do so because of their religion, it’s people like you that come along and look for any other possible explanation. I usually see this only from people were not serious about their religion, and were part of only moderate religious traditions. People like you do not understand that many religious people are serious about their religion, and they really do believe these crazy things. You need to know how your enemy things in order to defeat them, and I think your rhetoric very counterproductive to defeating ISIS and Muslim and Christian terrorism.

    Again, I need to emphasize that religion is not the only issue. There are plenty of nice and reasonable Muslims, but they are nice only to the extent that they do not take their religion seriously. I make the same statement of Christians generally.

    Just for another example, look up the Danish cartoons debacle. This has more or less absolutely nothing to do with colonialism or prior wrongs, and it has everything to do with religion, a particular religion, which is a particular – but quite widespread – version of Islam.

    I really don’t have answers though, beyond the obvious, like “don’t fuck around in other countries with our military unjustly”, and “don’t give excuses to other countries to hate us”.

    But how do we stop the next Danish cartoons debacle? Fuck if I know. I know that there was a purposeful campaign by several persons with the specific purpose to cause an incident, but the fact remains that no matter the size and scope of the campaign, the mere advertisement that some country blasphemed Christianity would not cause riots and attacks on embassies in any country on this planet at this time. For Muslim blasphemy, it’s comparatively easy to riots and attacks on embassies in some Muslims countries for some Muslim populations, and that should be concerning.


  10. Murat says

    @EnlightenmenLiberal #10

    The point I’m trying to make is that, major religions have been around for many hundreds of years. Even though their foremost points of references remain the same, sometimes they attack each other and sometimes they focus on other stuff (like internal conflicts). Hard-edged interpretations and percentages of extremists differ according to where the wind is blowing from. To say that the reson behind 9/11 was “religion, and only religion” raises the simple question why it didn’t happen any time before. Of course, the people involved in 9/11 attacks believed they were reaching martyrdom etc by doing this, but the same belief would have remained dormant in them had there not been various other elements than religion.

    Whereas, in the case of some certain atrocities like stoning women for adultery, bombing abortion clinics, sacrificing virgins to Baphometh etc, you can certainly say that religion is either the only (or, the “foremost” at least) factor.

  11. Murat says


    Same goes for the Crusades: Had there not been poverty and famine in many parts of Europe at that time, I don’t think people would take their swords and get on horseback to march so far away just because they believed God wanted them to… Politics, economy and religion have always been so terribly interwoven into each other, probably until very recent eras. Some truly secular countries where Scandinavians live are probably the very first examples to where the equation is differing. However, they don’t exist in a closed system, hence, even they lose balance and get carried into the complex nature of various chain reactions.

  12. gshelley says

    Matt’s usual reply to the “magic/miracles” question that it could be aliens (which to be fair, I would also say, along with not necessarily being able to rule out delusion), makes me wonder how you would confirm aliens. If an alien ship visited, how would we be sure it wasn’t just God pretending to play a trick on us.
    Are aliens so much more likely than God on prior probability that they are always a much more likely explanation?

  13. rodney says

    Zane seems like a nice guy, and I did feel a little sorry for him, but all Matt was trying to do was point out that being able to accurately predict the future isn’t a “lame power.” Zane was the one that brought up superheroes to begin with, so Matt was just using Aquaman as a way to get that point across, putting it in terms Zane was using. Still, Zane seems like a nice guy, hope he calls back in again.

  14. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    #1 Bobby Duckett – the Australian caller (Haroon) was from Adelaide (as am I). Ken Ham is from Brisbane – that’s a 1250 mile drive (or about 2000 km for us).

    Besides, I think he fits in much better in your country. Mind you he’s welcome to try and sail back in his ark!

    – Simon

  15. Murat says

    @gshelley #14

    I think the main difference of probability between aliens and God is that, we do have traces in outer space of water, oxygen, etc that suggest us an existence similar to the one on our planet is likely, especially when thinking of the vast universe.

    Also, when people mention aliens, it’s more clear to understand what they mean. Whereas, when God is the subject matter, it takes time to understand what they mean by it. The origin of the universe? The controller of it and of time and fate? An ultimate observer? or, the Lord as the Bible suggests?

    Though depictions of aliens may differ a lot, God is more vague a label.

  16. neilmatrix says

    If people think that god is an alien with advanced technology, why then do they want to worship it/them?

  17. Vivec says

    Aliens are physical beings that do not contradict our understanding of reality in a meaningful way (though their technology could, I suppose.”

    God is (supposedly) a transcendant all-powerful being that can affect matters in the material universe without actually manifesting physically.

    We have no examples of either (though we have a few good hypotheses on life on other planets/moons), but the former contradicts nothing we know about the universe, while, as far as we can tell, pretty much everything that defines a god radically contradicts our experiences and knowledge.

  18. Devocate says

    @14 Gshelley:

    Are aliens so much more likely than God on prior probability that they are always a much more likely explanation?

    Yes. By many orders of magnitude. 1 alien species per galaxy would be a very conservative estimate. That’s 100 Billion alien species. Many theists claim only 1 god. That makes the prior of god 100 Million times less likely than aliens.

  19. GW says

    Let me provide a thorough preface for my following comments because I don’t want to come off as someone who thinks he can do a better job or even thinks there’s any need for change as you all do a great job and every host/co-host provides their own perspective and nuance which I really appreciate. Don is one of my favorite couple hosts/co-hosts for this show so I don’t even mean for this to be a criticism but more an observation after seeing many episodes with him.

    Don seems to laugh a lot, and it often comes across as laughing at the caller or situation rather than with them. I’m all for laughing at ridiculous beliefs/arguments if that’s what you want to do as it helps to bring some people back down to earth, but what I’ve noticed is that he laughs quite a bit, and also laughs at an argument before its logical conclusions have become apparent. Sure, much of the time the logic breaks down and the argument becomes absurd, but even Don himself tends sometimes to laugh out loud and then listen and then agree with what was just said because he didn’t give the comment enough thought first, kind like the laughing is just something he always does to fill awkward silences or some other reason. Just an observation, like I said, and it rarely adds any positive effects to the show.

  20. says

    Hi, Actually your last caller on this show was correct in saying a platypus is a mammal, reptile and bird. The genome was sequenced in 2008 and found it shares approximately 80% DNA with other mammals. It shared 2 genes with birds and also (although not an exact number given) with reptiles. Even though they do produce milk a platypus has no nipples so milk is excreted through the abdomen. Of course I am not sure what his point was, I doubt he did either but he was correct in his conclusion. Here is a link to wikipedia:

    I do not possess the original article in which this info was published.

  21. Mobius says

    Haroon’s question about how we know the Earth is 4.5 billion years old demonstrates a common logical fallacy, argument from ignorance. I don’t know how that could be figured out, therefore it couldn’t be figured out. Jeez.

    And the claim that a platypus is a bird, a reptile and a mammal all at once???

  22. Monocle Smile says

    Yeah, a guy that claims to have “done the research” and doesn’t instantly know that a platypus is a monotreme is very obviously lying. That’s probably the first thing a person learns when researching a platypus.

  23. philhoenig says

    @Mobius, @Monocle Smile

    I think what’s happening here is that Haroon’s “research” consists of watching or reading some medium aimed at an audience that would find “The platypus is a monotreme, a type of mammal with primitive* features shared with reptiles and birds” to be over their head. In particular, I can see a young children’s science program sacrificing accuracy for comprehensibility and saying that a platypus is part mammal, part reptile and part bird.

    * That being said, from a monotreme’s point of view marsupials and placentals are the one with primitive features. Sure, we’ve got weird things like nipples and being vivaparous, but that just makes us freaks. If we were as advanced as the platypus or echidna, why do we still have teeth like our reptilian ancestors?

  24. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says


    While I doubt Haroon will be reading this post, I’d love to direct him to the South Australian Museum or perhaps the Adelaide Zoo both where he could find real experts that could explain the classification of the platypus and perhaps the evolution.

    Actually I just did a quick google and this was the second hit:

    It references Rebecca Young, a biologist at the University of Texas at Austin. Young gives some some great evolutionary linage details but then says – But why platypuses “stopped evolving and losing these components that make a mammal a mammal,”

    No, it’s not a mystery. If the Platypus is suited to it’s environment and not facing selection pressure there is no mechanism to force a change. Looks like Haroon might have been correct to phone Austin – just the wrong show!!

    – Simon

  25. Murat says

    This animal, the platypus, looks very much like that famous crocoduck, the non-existence of which creationists present as a proof against evolution.

    So, other than having a complicated lineage, it also has the unique feature of eing an example both for and against evolution, depending on where one has decided to lead the evidence to.

  26. HappyPerson says

    @monocle smile

    well, research ability is a skill. i bet Harun’s research was sloppy and biased, looking only at creationist websites.

  27. Lillith says

    @Murat #10
    The point is that you don’t even need to go to science to expose how ridiculous their way of thinking is. I wasn’t there when the universe began billions of years ago, but neither were they 6000-10000 years ago when their god supposedly created everything. So even dumbasses who despise science will get this point hammered home immediately.

  28. Joe E Dangerously says

    You know what I can’t stand? Blacks. I’m serious. They’re terrible. They’re just the worst. They’re lazy, they don’t want to work, they sit around doing nothing all day, and they have horrible attitudes. If someone asked me what pissed me off more than anything right now you know what I’d say? Blacks. All of them. Every single one. Seriously, Blacks Hardware is the worst hardware store on the planet. All the employees are lazy and worthless and their customer service is terrible. Especially that one white guy who works the register on swing shift. Just go to the Home Depot instead.
    (By the way, notice how I phrased it so the word “Blacks” was always at the beginning of the sentence so the capitalization didn’t give away the gag.)
    So you’re probably wondering what the point of that was. Well, to illustrate how appearances can be deceiving. It’s a funny way to make the point but this is important. I think atheists fall prey to this too. I think we all have. A couple of calls touched on this subject this week and I think we should all be careful not to let this get the best of us. I’m from Nevada. I currently live in Reno, NV but I lived in Vegas for a long time and since my family is in the casino business I get a lot of free tickets to a lot of free shows, including magic shows. I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe. I hope this is a good reminder not to let yourself get too sucked in to the way something appears to be before you investigate it and learn about the details. We definitely do this, don’t think we don’t.

  29. Devocate says

    Not to mention that he thinks male Platypuses have venomous FANGS, when they actually have venomous spurs on their hind legs.

  30. Devocate says

    I’ll concede that your proposed evidence would convince me of the existence of a god, if you concede that it’s lack is therefore evidence against the existence of a god. That is how evidence works.

  31. Yaro says

    Alex’s argument sounds like a certain “questions for atheists” document Matt Slick concocted basically designed to pervert the socratic method into making an atheist slip into speculating that a “godlike” being exists.

  32. says

    I googled “Platypus”. The first site up was Wikipedia. The first paragraph of the article was:

    “The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), also known as the duck-billed platypus, is a semiaquatic egg-laying mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth. The animal is the sole living representative of its family (Ornithorhynchidae) and genus (Ornithorhynchus), though a number of related species have been found in the fossil record.”

    There are, of course, links to more information

    At first I thought Haroon was just a seriously ill-educated theist, but on reflection I believed him to be dishonest, and now believe him to be a troll (and perhaps even a Christian troll). I really, really can’t see Matt ever asking the location of Jesus’ grave.

  33. Ethan Myerson says

    At one point in the episode, Matt touched on the No True Scotsman fallacy, and it reminded me of a conversation I had recently with a theist. I had mentioned on Facebook something about that Baptist childrens’ home in Oklahoma that repeatedly turned down donations from an atheist group, specifically because it was an atheist group. A theist friend of mine, while not calling the Baptists not “true Christians”, did basically say they were christianing wrong, and backed it up with the assertion that their actions were not biblically defensible.

    I don’t want to be in the business of defending these Baptists, but I felt my friend was wrong in saying that these guys were not really Christianing right. I argued that his standards for what makes someone a good Christian or a True Christian may not be (and demonstrably is NOT) everyone’s standard. These guys may be doofuses, but they have exactly as much right to claim the mantle of “Christian” as does my friend.

    That said, my question is this: Is there a corollary to the No True Scotsman? A sort of “Too Many True Scotsmen” fallacy? Could I have erroneously lumped in too many people into the group called “Christians”?

  34. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Ethan Myerson
    Remember: words do not have intrinsic meanings. They have usages. Words have meaning only by the virtue of their use.

    While not infinitely flexible, the current usage of the word “Christian” is quite flexible, which means it’s often impossible to IMHO fairly say that someone is being a bad Christian in disputes like this. The farthest that I’m IMHO personally willing to go is that to be a Christian according to current usage, one must believe that Jesus Christ was a real person (whether on Earth or entirely in heaven) who sacrificed himself in a particular blood magic ritual which achieved obtain everlasting eternal life for everyone else.

    There’s further complications as well, which I’ll largely skip for now. Ex: debates about efficacy of plans. Even two reasonable atheist scientists can disagree about for some important and real-world problems. Similarly, two Christians can both be Christianing equally well, but they can have simple factual disagreements about which plan will better achieve their ends.

  35. favog says

    Ethan, your question always reminds me of that guy in Norway who shot up all those little kids at the school and made such a big deal of what a Christian he was. One of my Christian friends was horrified, of course, and played the not-a-true-Christian-obviously card. Thing is, though, if the same guy had shown up the Sunday before at his church, our shooter would have been welcomed with open arms in True Christian Fellowship. They’d have never known. And if they can’t tell if one and other are True Christians, how are we? And if no one can tell, is it a distinction that actually means anything?

  36. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    I could not with the latter half of Zane’s call. I didn’t start laughing until the people in the background started cackling, at that point I just exploded. Good stuff. “Nononononono Fuckingno!” A lame power? This guy, man.

    Haroon was harpooned by a platypus, the bird/reptillian/mammal.

    Entertaining ep. Thank you to everyone that made this possible.

  37. Murat says

    In parts of the world where Islam is the dominant religion, people who find themselves in the position fo “accidental mediators” try to break up quarrels or fights saying, “hey, hey, we’re all muslims”, which often means nothing other than “you’re both good guys, why do you fight?” or something to that effect.

    Claiming one to be “not a true Christian” should simply be read as trying to say “I wouldn’t do what they did”. People just use these strings of words as phrases, unaware that under a true theocracy, the literal meaning would even go far as to threaten the lives of whom they’re talking about.

  38. Mobius says

    @25 Murat

    From what I have read, the first platypus that was displayed to scientists in England was though to be a hoax since it was so bizarre.

  39. Monocle Smile says

    Mother Teresa was a piece of shit human being who intentionally made desperate, ill people suffer painfully because she thought it was “godly” for them to do so. She had more than sufficient resources to provide top-notch medical care and abstained in order to inflict the aforementioned suffering. Even a godbot cretin like you should know better than to defend the Bitch of Calcutta.

  40. cobbler says

    “”#1 Bobby Duckett – the Australian caller (Haroon) was from Adelaide (as am I). Ken Ham is from Brisbane – that’s a 1250 mile drive (or about 2000 km for us).”quote
    Actually Ken Ham comes from Toowoomba in Queensland which is about 121 kms west of Brisbane , but, just like Austin , Toowoomba does have some sensible people living there .

  41. steele says


    “Bitch of Calcutta”

    Really MS you kiss your mother with that mouth? Stop listening to the old drunk Hitchens, the guy never saw a bottle of scotch he didn’t love.

    While I disagree theologically with Mother Teresa, she was not this “Bitch” as you atheists regurgitate ad nauseam.

    Are you going to whine MS like some atheists on the interwebz that MT should have given morphine (despite not having medical training) to the ill in her care? If one of them had died because she tried to do this you would blame her for that too, damned if you do, damned if you don’t by the internet atheist cabal.

  42. Monocle Smile says

    I love it. Alcoholism somehow invalidates everything that someone has ever said, and it doesn’t matter how well-sourced their claims may be. Of course, I expect nothing less from a good little godbot whose sole talent is spamming bible verses.

    Listen, fuckface, it’s not like Hitchens was the only one to expose Mother Teresa as an unapologetic sadist.

    Chatterjee is a Calcutta native and the idea that the city was an open sewer is a truly deplorable and rather racist lie perpetuated in the US for terrible reasons. His book is far more scathing than Hitchens’.

    Also, at least three of the reasons given in that crappy-ass link are either non sequiturs or responses that are just as objectionable as the accusations. Number 4, for instance. Only someone suffering from severe Stockholm Syndrome could push that crap with a straight face.

    This woman was sitting on MILLIONS and pissed away those fortunes rather than providing actual medical care to desperate, sick people. Fuck you for defending this abomination.

  43. itsmejre says

    A million miles from the humanistic atheism of Marx, Darwin and others, today’s screechy anti-God squad is more interested in hectoring the religious – those stupid believers in anything they are told – than it is in creating an Enlightened culture that might give people something else, something more profound, to think about and contribute to. Darwin refused to partake in cheap Christianity-bashing, believing that ‘direct arguments against Christianity and theism produce hardly any effect on the public – and freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds which follows from the advance of science’. It seems, lacking any serious attachment to freedom of thought or any belief in their ability to illuminate men’s minds, gradually or otherwise, some not only spend their whole time directly attacking Christianity, but take aim at its crudest forms.

  44. Keith Baker says

    If the ACA has Haroon’s contact details they may like to inform him that Adelaide has a Natural History Museum sandwiched between the Art Gallery and the Library. It has a public information centre staffed by people who are competent enough to tell him about the Platypus.

  45. says

    The simplest answer I can give for “what would be proof or a supreme being or a creator?” (mind, not a specific one, but just the existence of one in general), the answer would have to be if we ever had an encounter with an alien (extra-terrestrial) species, and even REMOTELY resembled humans, or even something else which exists on this planet (say, a giant ant creature). Because the odds of not only life forming on another planet, but it managing to evolve with end results anywhere similar to our own are SO ludicrous, it might be less ludicrous than a creative hand behind it all.

    Honestly, if they look like 90% of the aliens in the Mass Effect series? Holy crap, there’s a god. Or if our first contact was with Vulcans? That would clearly indicate to me that someone has gone “I want to try this again, but this time with pointy ears and green blood!” (or vice versa–we might’ve come after them).

    Now, like Neil Degrasse Tyson, I think it’s statistically likely that there other lifeforms on other planets, but the idea that their evolution path would in any way come near ours would be difficult to reconcile without some sort of guide.

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