Open Thread for Episode 20.42: Russell and Don


Russell encourages viewers to vote and Don talks about the “Failure of Time” on this auspicious 6020th anniversary of the creation of the universe.

Comments

  1. Nicholas Weil says

    How about a reminder about phone etiquette? Y’all are so patient with people who take 20-30 seconds (if we’re lucky) to even get to anything substantive, because of all the “can you hear me?” “Love the show,” and “Let me start with a little background about myself.”

    I wish you’d get a little pushier about telling callers to get on with it, and not be enslaved by callers who insist on getting in 2 or 3 questions.

  2. Mark Yoon says

    Zane calls in every week. It is really annoying, he says the same nonsense every time. He seems locked in his own head. I hope he does find truth, but how about taking a break for a week or so.

  3. Mark Yoon says

    Conscientiousness, Zane. When you die you lose your entire library of emotional and mental faculties. Even if your matter becomes matter, or anything else. It is not you, you are dead.

  4. Monocle Smile says

    Some people will probably object, but I’m glad Joe was cut off fairly early. Between the line quality (or perhaps speakerphone?) and Joe’s voice (not conducive to phone calls), that call was going nowhere regardless of content, which was nil anyway.

  5. Antti S says

    I’ve wondered for some time now that what is that thing on the table? The white tubeish thingy 😀

  6. thebookofdave says

    Zane appears to be attempting to maneuver our hosts into a strawman atheist position of moral nihilism, but came close to adopting it himself. Is this line of questioning typical of his previous calls? The whole “no cause to grieve the loss of life because we never really die” sounds suspiciously contrived. I wonder if he is willing to make the same argument if we used his god as the example.

  7. beetlenaut says

    I think I can explain the problem that Joe from Laredo had. He is understanding the logical statement wrong. He said the universe either “exists [forever]” OR “not exists [forever]”, but those two things are not necessarily opposites!

    The correct opposite is “[exists forever]” OR “not [exists forever]”. And “not [exists forever]” includes “exists for any finite length of time”. The fact that we exist doesn’t tell us which side of the actual opposite we are on.

  8. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    (posting from Adelaide, South Australia – it’s relevant)

    Regarding David (from Australia), I so cringe whenever TAE gets a caller from Queensland, Australia (I’m betting he’s from Queensland going by the accent). Queensland is sort of Australia’s ‘Deep South’ (although it’s up north) and they often have views to match.

    Interesting that David should bring up separation of church and state. Australia doesn’t have this as part of our constitution. There are a couple of sections of our constitution that almost say this, but there are also court rulings that clarify Australia does not have church state separation.

    On a function level Australia mostly has this separation although we’re still waiting for same-sex marriage, abortion isn’t legal in some states (although getting medical permission is very possible) and we do have government funded chaplains in some public schools. Oh and we have politicians that deny climate change on religious grounds.

    But even without the separation being enshrined in law we’re sufficiently Atheistic here that politicians can’t go too religious (for the most part). It’s interesting how culture can have a bigger influence than the law.

    – Simon

  9. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Zane needs to have a one on one with an atheist(or several) that has no problem going through the rounders with him on all these things as the show is much too limited in a single sitting for this, he also needs to get into the various sciences to confront all his flawed conclusions about the world. Getting into some logic 101 and a healthy dose of “Your god and religion remedies none of this!”

    @Antti S says:

    I’ve wondered for some time now that what is that thing on the table? The white tubeish thingy 😀

    Repent! Or be doomed to a bath in marinara sauce for all of eternity! His noodly lordship is ever merciful. 🙂

  10. X.E. Jellico says

    Languages can be traced back to before the date given for the Tower of Babel, that’s true, but what about those languages that have developed since then. Why doesn’t Answers in Genesis argue that evolution of languages is disproved by the Bible? If the Tower of Babel explains how languages came to be, what about the English language?

  11. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Cackling at MS’s evaluation of Joe. I was lost over his queries, made me think more on the tangy flavor of my orange.

    No David, no. “Religion should be chosen of your own volition,” but then you tell people that they either get eternity of whatever “goodness” heaven has or eternity of whatever “badness” hell has based on whether they join your club or not. That isn’t a valid proposal.

    Lori was kewl.

    Poor Martin.

    Poor Nile.

    Keep on truckin’ Jean! 🙂

    Doug was amusing.

    Neat episode this week and thank you to everyone involved with the ins ‘n out.

  12. Keith Baker says

    Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says
    “Oh and we have politicians that deny climate change on religious grounds.”

    Yes: we also have at least one politician who, in addition to being a climate change denier, is also a Young Earth Creationist (Steve Fielding: Family First). Come to think of it, Family First is just made up of religious cranks.
    By the way, I live in an Adelaide suburb.

  13. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Russell (37:04):

    Oil, for instance, comes from a bunch of dead dinosaurs, but they ARE dead.

     
    Article: About.com – Does Oil Come From Dinosaurs?

    Way back in 1933, the Sinclair Oil Corporation sponsored a dinosaur exhibit at the World’s Fair in Chicago–on the premise that the world’s oil reserves were formed during the Mesozoic Era, when the dinosaurs lived. […] Even as late as 1964, when geologists and paleontologists were starting to know better, Sinclair repeated this trick at the much bigger New York World’s Fair, driving home the connection between dinosaurs and oil to an entire generation of impressionable baby boomers.
    […]
    You may be surprised to learn that – according to the best theories currently available – microscopic bacteria, and not house-sized dinosaurs, produced today’s oil reserves. Single-celled bacteria evolved in the earth’s oceans about three billion years ago, and were pretty much the only life form on the planet until about 600 million years ago.
    […]
    As the members of these massive colonies died off, by the trillions, they sunk to the bottom of the sea and were gradually covered by accumulating sediments. Over the ensuing millions of years, these layers of sediment grew heavier and heavier, until the dead bacteria trapped beneath were “cooked” by the pressure and temperature into a stew of liquid hydrocarbons.
    […]
    the carcass of an animal that has been compressed into oil, coal or natural gas wouldn’t leave any identifiable fossil; it would be entirely converted into fuel, skeleton and all.

     

    There is an asterisk here, though. It’s not inconceivable that some dinosaurs perished in conditions that lent themselves to the formation of fossil fuels–so, in fact, a tiny proportion of the world’s oil, coal and natural gas reserves can be attributed to rotting dinosaur carcasses.

  14. The YouTube Guy says

    The call with Zane went around in circles because he uses multiple meanings of life to talk about one thing. My cells being alive is different from me being alive. Plants being alive is different from a dog being alive. There is a difference and when the definition of life was given, Zane should’ve realized his error.

  15. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    Hi Keith

    My brother was/is an AOG (Assemblies of God) Pastor and a keen Family First supporter. Sad really.

    Nice to hear from a fellow Adelaidean. Look me up on FB if you do that sort of thing…

    https://www.facebook.com/simon.hosking.98

    As secular as Australia seems to be, I do find amazing how many fundamental Christians we do have. I’ve posted a few things on Facebook and been astonished how many friends and family members are in complete denial of reality. I’m also surprised by how many private messages of support by people who enjoy my posts, but don’t want to ‘like’ them for fear of alienating their family and friends.

    Russel Glasser is spot on (and he’s not alone with this) with his observations that the internet is one of the main drivers of the reduction in faith in the younger generations.

    – Simon

  16. HappyPerson says

    no offense to Zane, but the way he talks/thinks reminds me of a fifth grader trying to understand university level science courses. he seems very confused and unable to grasp the subject and what Russell and Don are saying.

  17. HenkB says

    What Zane seems to be not willing to understand is the difference between life and matter. Life is an entity built from living cells built from highly complex molecules built from atoms that are found across the whole universe. Life can be as simple as a single cell amoeba (which is already amazingly complex!) to a highly sophisticated form like an elephant. The atoms themselves do not make us who we are. We constantly replace the atoms! Not many of the atoms that formed you as a baby are still inside you. If we die the atoms get a new purpose. All that formed you as an individual person is gone and will never return.

  18. Russell Glasser says

    Help me out, listeners, because someone thinks I misunderstood where Zane was coming from, and I’m not sure whether I understood him properly.

    I heard Zane as a believer who was trying to stick atheists with an unappealing moral position.

    My friend thinks he was a person struggling with nonbelief, and looking for reassurance about death. If I had understood the Zane’s intent that way, I would have responded differently. It’s possible I missed something he said; the call screener definitely indicated he was a theist.

    Which was it?

  19. The YouTube Guy says

    Russell,

    I too thought he was trying to catch you guys on something the whole time but after the call ended I was left with the following assessment:

    1 – He was truly wondering about these things but couldn’t communicate his thoughts well.
    2 – He is not good at processing new information (When you defined biological life that should’ve helped)
    3 – Maybe he never got to his “Gotcha” point.

    My final thoughts are that he could be doing his best impression of a strawman atheist (Nothing matters…. life is meaningless…) or it could be that he is deconverting and actually going through those feelings. While the majority of atheists I’ve met sound nothing like that, there are people who say such things and feel that way.

    Nevertheless, if his intentions were true, it was still a well done call.

  20. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Josh:
    Maybe collaborate with someone from a Religious Studies department (the secular study of behavior, belief, and institutions != theology).
     
    Individuals in each generation, in each region, recycle characters and motifs for their own purposes, eventually becoming far removed from the context of ‘original’ tellings. Cultures drift and diverge. Religious subcultures do as well. Sometimes a meme finds purchase and becomes the new norm.
     
    Podcast: BackStory – Columbus in American Memory (52:02, soundcloud player has a download button)

    looking back on how earlier generations have understood America’s purported discoverer. When and why did Americans begin to revere the Italian explorer?

     

    BRIAN: If it was Columbus’s ambiguous origins that made him available for the taking, it was more than 300 years before somebody in America actually seized on that opportunity. That somebody was Washington Irving, better known today as the author of “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”.
    […]
    PETER: Rolena, we are terrible skeptics and cynics these days. It’s hard for us to read Washington Irving and believe that he believed what he was saying. Was he not aware of what seems like such blatant, romantic, over the top distortion?

     

    PETER: The Irish latched on to Columbus because, like them, he was a Catholic. The Italians focused more on his roots in their homeland. But both groups recognized in Columbus an opportunity to lay claim to America’s very first founding father. And in so doing, to overcome their status as second class citizens and prove that they too belonged in America.

     

    BRIAN: In 1874, [Bjorn] Anderson published a book called America Not Discovered By Columbus. […] Anderson set out to tell a new story about the beginning of America, a story that would appeal to East Coast elites threatened by the wave of Catholic immigration. Instead of beginning in 1492, Anderson’s story started with the Vikings in the late 900s.

     
    Article: Walt Disney’s World War II propaganda production

    The government looked to Walt Disney more than any other studio chief as a builder of public morale providing instruction and training the sailors and soldiers.
    […]
    As requested by the US Government, Walt Disney created a number of anti-German and anti-Japanese films for both the soldiers and the US public. He wanted to portray these countries and their leaders as manipulative without morals.
    […]
    In Commando Duck, Donald, by himself, destroys an entire Japanese airbase.

     
    Video: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – A History of the Religious Right, Part 1 (10:04)

    Paul Weyrich realized that churches were full of potential republicans.
    […]
    Randall Balmer: “Evangelical leaders, prodded by Weyrich, chose to interpret the IRS ruling against segregationist schools as an assault on the integrity and sanctity of the evangelical subculture, and that is what prompted them to action and to organize into a political movement.”
    […]
    “Once these evangelical leaders had mobilized a defense of Bob Jones University, they held a conference call to discuss the prospect of other political activities. Several people suggested possible issues. And finally, a voice on the end of one of the lines said, ‘How about abortion?'”

     
    Part two continues:

    My name is Frank Schaeffer, and one of the things that I did back in the day – when I was young – was help found, start, begin what became known as the pro-life movement. It is the single greatest regret of my life. We made a film series called “Whatever happened to the human race?”

  21. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Josh:
    Video: Vania Heymann – Watering Can (2:00, an art school project)
     
    “Belief” has become a nebulous term. Affinity for elements of a subculture, and even explicit affiliation, is not synonymous with assenting to specific claims.
     
    In crank circles, qualms, disagreements, contradictions, and factual errors are obscured to enable complacent ignorance or are willfully overlooked – to a point. Jettisoning an identity is the last resort. How someone converts or becomes a conspiracy theorist hasn’t gotten a lot of research.
     
    Also watch out for false equivalence. You’re unlikely to find a satisfying instance of a studied atheist converting to theism. Whereas “abandoning seminary” tales are common. Apologists sometimes say they used to be atheists, before making the usual awful arguments. I remember one study of new religious movements that found their converts to be vulnerable populations in need of a new identity after ties to their previous life were disrupted by circumstance (new job, city, illness, etc); isolation and ingratiation first, doctrine later.
     
    You may be interested in Jon Ronson’s book/audiobook Them: Adventures with Extremists, in which the author immerses himself in fringe groups to see how euphamized racism and conspiracy theories almost seem plausible from inside.
     
    Article: Washington Post – The White Flight of Derek Black

    Caption: Derek Black, 27, was following in his [Stormfront-founder] father’s footsteps as a white nationalist leader [and radio host] until he began to question the movement’s ideology.

  22. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    There’s been an atheist conversion story recently, but the stated rationale was… disappointing.
     
    Podcast: Hope After Faith – 21 From Pastor to Atheist and Back (2:12:25)

    Catherine Dunphy, former Executive Director of The Clergy Project and author of From Apostle to Apostate: The Story of The Clergy Project, to discuss Teresa MacBain’s recent return to theism
     
    Catherine Dunphy (30:45): Based on what we can see from her Facebook page, she transitioned back to being a believer at some point during the summer. Which she has every right to do, and I do not hold that against her. But the issue is: if that was the case, and her knowing very intimately how important privacy and protecting Clergy Project members’ anonymity is… Why did she not go to the Clergy Project and say, “Listen, take me off your roster. I’ve gone back to the church. I’m a believer now and am no longer eligible.” She was a screener for new members, so she knew what the requirements are. So it feels like a very stinging betrayal for her to remain a member and not own up. And say, “Listen, I love you all and I care for you and I’m gonna step away because that’s the best thing I can do for me and for you.” Why was that step missed? Why was it a third party had to tell the Clergy Project that she left?
     
    Catherine Dunphy (39:25): There were some comments even mentioned on Facebook […] Teresa had had a lot of detailed conversations – gentleman’s name is Robert Parham. She said that they went to the same school, Stanford, and that she had just graduated before him. She told him all about the school and all about seminary. Basically she lied to his face. Because she attended Stanford but only for two months. She wasn’t a graduate, and he confirmed that with the university.
     
    Jerry DeWitt (58:20): The tragedy of this is that the original intentions of the Clergy Project experience gave ample opportunities for Teresa to be 1000 percent honest about her education. And when she was caught, the apology twisted the history of how it had all happened: made it look like after she’d already gotten involved in the movement and had become a celebrity that somebody just mentioned it one day, and she didn’t stop ’em, and it got out of hand. We have reason to believe that that’s not the case.
     
    Catherine Dunphy: She told me to my face that she had an MDiv, that she went to seminary. She told me that. She told that to everybody. That’s the only story I knew of Teresa. So when I saw that story in black and white saying she didn’t have a degree from Duke, I was shocked.
     
    Jerry DeWitt (1:25:25): It’s very very very disheartening when you see just how small the world is inside our convention halls. And there’s not enough money, there’s not enough people, there’s not enough giving, for every ex-minister to come out, make a splash, and make a living for their family. I think it’s important that we look at these stories. Let’s just cut to the chase. Let’s just say, “Jerry and Catherine are saying that Teresa may have been far more ambitious and self-serving than than anyone who’s defending her on the internet knows. That’s he-said, she-said. Take it for what you find its worth to be.”

     
     
    This was Teresa’s explanation…
     
    Video: Teresa MacBain – grace redefined, A Pastor’s Journey from Faith to Atheism and Back (29:19)

    (9:42): [A methodist pastor] I came out publicly as a non-believer. […] Hate mail, death threats against me and my family. People walking away, people I loved and cared for for years just abandoned me completely and shunned me. […] I lost my community probably 95 percent in just one stroke of a clock.
     
    (13:42): People assumed that I’d had a certain amount of education when I first came into the [atheist] movement. And when I realized it, I didn’t know how to deal with it. I didn’t know how to stop it. So I just did nothing. And as these things always do, there comes a point when you can no longer keep your mouth shut – and actually have to open your mouth and say the same things. And I did that. [… Felt awful about lying. Hit rock bottom. Therapy and meds didn’t help…] I pulled out those old songs that we used to sing and played them, worship songs. Chris Tomlin and Third Day, all these great pieces of music. And when I would listen to them, I would find peace. […] It’s an indescribable way that it’s connecting with me spiritually. [Methodist church welcomed her back.]
    […]
    [Quote on screen: “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”]

     
    Her website has the blurb: “After several years as a prominent atheist, she rediscovered God’s grace through music and the unconditional love of family and friends.”

  23. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Russell #21:

    Help me out, listeners, because someone thinks I misunderstood where Zane was coming from, and I’m not sure whether I understood him properly.
     
    I heard Zane as a believer who was trying to stick atheists with an unappealing moral position.
     
    My friend thinks he was a person struggling with nonbelief, and looking for reassurance about death. If I had understood the Zane’s intent that way, I would have responded differently. It’s possible I missed something he said; the call screener definitely indicated he was a theist.
     
    Which was it?

    Sorry about burying your question, Russell.
     
    I’d been drafting those for a while.

  24. Ad Brouwer says

    @Josh
    Maybe a topic to focus on might be Street Epistemology. It addresses something which is common in all believes, namely how do people get to knowledge of their belief. How do they know it is true. This might be a more contained topic.
    You can try to contact the Facebook group Street Epistemology.

  25. Murat says

    Hoping not to be hijacking this space for something that may not be too directly with the episode, I felt like sharing this link with the staff and audience of AXP: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1772250/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_6

    I came accross that movie on TV yesterday. It begins as a quite predictable horror / suspense but develops quite well. And in some of the further sequences, intentionally (or maybe not so intentionally) some of the major “spiritual experience” indications are handled in an awesome way.

    What is even more horrifying than the story of the movie is, looking back at some “reported spiritual incidents” in the light of that story and saying “oooh, shit!” while imagining what actual events may lie behind them.

    There’s one particular scene where I believe any AXP follower will crack hysterically.

  26. TxSkeptic says

    What drives me nuts about Zane, and the many other callers like him, is their misunderstanding of the conservation of mass and conservation of energy, much less the whole bit about where the “energy in your body” goes.

    May some noodly appendages save my sanity.

  27. says

    @25

    I pulled out those old songs that we used to sing and played them, worship songs. Chris Tomlin and Third Day, all these great pieces of music. And when I would listen to them, I would find peace. […] It’s an indescribable way that it’s connecting with me spiritually. [Methodist church welcomed her back.]

    Apparently I spiritually connect with my NES from time to time, though not enough to solve the blink problem.

  28. Monocle Smile says

    @TxSkeptic
    IMO, it comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of “energy.” It’s just the capacity to do work, not some mystical force that you see in movies.

  29. Bean says

    Zane is a very frustrating caller to listen to because what he says never seems to make any sense and he rarely seems to make sense out of what is being said to him. However, he did say something that I would have liked to have been addressed. Unless I misunderstood, he kept saying he doesn’t see how the “atheist” view of death would leave you sad the same way the “theist’ view of death would. I would have liked someone to ask him why the “theist” view of death would leave one sad in the first place. If your belief is that after death you spend eternity in heaven with god, you’d think you’d be happy when someone dies. I also think perhaps he meant the “scientific” view of death and not the “atheist” view of death? Generally though, I think we should give him a bit more credit for being a thoughtful person who understands that one simply grieves when a loved one is lost whatever their belief system. So I just think his question need to be parsed out. However, I think to really parse out his questions would take way too much time. So… maybe it’s time for a Zane break.

  30. KiwiDaveo says

    @ 21

    Russell

    Your first instinct is correct to what I’ve seen in this call with Zane and his previous calls which now extend to 4 shows?
    They way he reacted to a couple of things in the call are tells that he is not engaged in genuine attempt to explore his current beliefs.
    When you provided the pet example which ran counter to his issue about emotional distress around death of a loved one, he didn’t acknowledge this, but attempted to change the subject. Which is a pattern from previous calls.
    A person interested in new information and exploring their beliefs welcome things they haven’t thought about, he doesn’t seem to want to discuss new information. That means he has an agenda he is running, not a dialogue about updating his belief system. When you read out the biological definition of life, his reaction wasn’t one of interest was it?
    The nail in the coffin (pardon the pun) for me on this was when you provided info on the book “The minds I”. His reaction wasn’t “that sounds interesting I will look that up”, the reaction was to shut down the call.
    When I was struggling in moving from theism to atheism I welcomed new information and would have asked about the book tittle again and where I could find it. He doesn’t seem invested in challenging his own beliefs.
    I suspect Zane is setting himself up to be some sort of preacher and is running apologist arguments to see which one work best when talking to people well versed in atheist arguments. Its not a effort to explore ideas.

  31. Devocate says

    “people I loved and cared for for years just abandoned me completely and shunned me”

    “After several years as a prominent atheist, she rediscovered God’s grace through music and the unconditional love of family and friends.”

    So, not so much unconditional love, as conditional love..

  32. Marcel says

    @21 Russell
    Both those scenarios occurred to me when listening to his portion of the call, and I’m not sure which it is.

    I’m leaning slightly towards your first position. As has been indicated by KiwiDaveo (@32), he seemed to evade and try to change topics every time you were about to close up an argument and deliver the finishing blow.

  33. RationalismRules says

    @Devocate #33 Like God’s unconditional love ….so long as you believe in him.
    It’s one of the miraculous effects of belief – it changes the meanings of words.

  34. Murat says

    @Russell #21
    Regardless of where he was coming from, I got the feeling that Zane had some suicidal thoughts based not on a desire to end a suffering but rather on the excitement of probably finding himself in another “state of existence”. It was like he was trying to feed himself with unfalsifiable assuptions or wishes that would lead him to “take a chance” or something.
    You made it clear that, even if his biological components somehow kept existing, HE as Zane would cease to exist.
    However, I doubt any strong logical argument can suffice to stop anyone from harming themselves. He needs to understand that, the kind of “transformation” he is after need not be one requiring him to end his current biologial composition, but one that would come along simply by changing his MINDSET.

  35. gshelley says

    I wasn’t sure what the first caller (Zane?) was trying to argue
    He seemed to be saying that he didn’t understand grief, or the idea of missing someone or something, because the molecules still exist, but I didn’t get why. At first I thought he was arguing that atheists shouldn’t understand these things as to them, people are just molecules, but the way he answered the questions was as if he didn’t understand himself

  36. rodney says

    Zane isn’t very good at expressing himself, so I’m not sure, but I’m wondering if he was trying to say that he was considering suicide.

  37. Gino says

    @Russell
    One of the callers mentioned the historian Yuval Harari who wrote an excellent book on the history of mankind called “Sapiens”. He also has a recent one that I have yet to read called “Homo Deus” about the future of mankind. Harari is the first to admit that he is not predicting the future, but pointing out possible paths we may go down. Anyway, I highly recommend you check him out.

  38. Murat says

    @Gino #39
    I think Harari’s approach to the future is like that of a “mentalist” than that of a “fortuneteller”. He observes the patterns in kind of a behaviouristic way and projects it. The problem is, you can’t expect too many paradigms to act in a certain, previously defined pattern. So, I don’t believe a planet’s future can be predicted based on past knowledge as reasonably as one individual’s can. But still, a worthy effort.

  39. says

    Regarding explaining the finality of death, everything that makes us as individuals is unique to each brain. Memories, emotions, decision making and behaviors are due to an electro-chemical process, and when that process ends, we simply end. The parts that made up us go on but that unique process will never come back. That said, there is kind of an immortality in passing on beliefs. It’s a comfort knowing that passing on scientific skepticism that leads to the same conclusions of the nature of reality means that there will be future generations that will think kinda like I did after I’m dead. We won’t share the exact experiences, but can share the same awe.

  40. says

    @Josh in Indiana: Feeling apparent truth is easy, but eking out actual truth can be difficult. That’s why theists (and grand conspiricists) reach different conclusions about reality, yet scientific skepticism leads (eventually) to common conclusions about reality. Feeling truth is a lousy epistemology. Even when there’s evidence to support what you feel is true, you can still be wrong due to confirmation bias.

  41. mond says

    Russell was bemoaning the begats in the bible at the very beginning of the show.
    Here is an entertaining take

  42. Tod says

    totally off topic, so i apologise…

    But for Matt who moderated the Price-Ehrman debate a few days ago, (and anyone else who likes this sort of thing!) here’s Richard Carrier’s response and evaluation (with scores hehe :))

    http://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/11435

    not sure if interested or not but i found quite a bit of info in there, good in case his peer-reviewed book is a bit much to wade through to get the relevant points to each part of the debate 🙂

  43. itsmejre says

    In physics, energy is a property of objects which can be transferred to other objects or converted into different forms.[1] The “ability of a system to perform work” is a common description, but it is misleading because energy is not necessarily available to do work.[2]
    https://books.google.com/books?id=1BG78utt6VUC&pg=PA12&dq=energy+%22capacity+to+perform+work%22#v=onepage&q=energy%20%22capacity%20to%20perform%20work%22&f=false

    The only logical position on a proposition for which there is a current lack of evidence is “we don’t know yet”. You could say it is your unjustified personal belief, but it is illogical to claim it is anything more than your hunch and you have no basis for asserting it or being critical of anyone else’s position

  44. StonedRanger says

    Ive been having these sharp pains in my gluteal region all day. Been wondering whats up. Came here and saw post #45 and figured it out.

  45. Devocate says

    “where the “energy in your body” goes”

    It isn’t as if that is some conundrum. The sustaining energy in your body dissipates as heat into the local environment. The rest is spread when the body is burned, rots, or is eaten. Not very complicated. If you asked the same question about the energy in a cucumber or pig, no one would have any trouble answering it.

  46. Jelmer says

    How to destroy the Kalam Cosmological Argument completely and also take on the fine-tuning argument, with a simple proposal.

    The KCA usually goes like this:
    A1: Everything that starts to exist has a cause
    A2: The universe started to exist
    A3: Therefor the universe has a cause
    A4: This cause must be uncaused, and therefor not bound to time or space or matter. It ‘transcendent’ it.
    A5: It must be personal (The universe could not have been brought into being by a mechanically operating set of necessary and sufficient conditions)

    All that is needed to destroy KCA is a NON-personal cause that has all the other attributes that religious people say god has:
    Let’s propose a simple non personal cause for the universe and call it C1:

    C1: for every consistent set of natural laws a universe is comes into existence.

    Now this meta-natural/meta-universal rule commits to all the demands that religious people find necessary for their uncaused causer. It is not bound to our or any other universe (it could cause other universes also). It is also not bound to time or space or matter. In WLC’s words it is a ‘transcendent’ cause. C1 is obviously not physical and…. C1 is at least true for one univers, namely ours

    Now C1 is not meant just as an alternative answer to Kalam, but as a simple and strong tool against the theistic logic on Kalam. Every theistic attack on R1 can instantly be redirected to their answer ‘god’, thus showing how fraudulent Kalam is to ‘proof’ that god exists.
    For instance: if asked what caused C1 a simple reply would be: what caused god? Because if theist find they can ask that question for C1, than atheists can ask that question for god. After all, C1 and god share the same characteristics. Not bound to the natural laws, not bound to our or any universe, not bound to time or space or matter.
    If theists say that the universe should have always existed since the cause of the universe had always existed (an argument that WLC actually gave during the Q&A) then this implies some timeframe or concept of time in which C1 would ‘always’ have existed. But C1 is, again just like ‘god’, not bound to any time. It is meta-natural/meta-universal ‘transcendent’ cause. If C1 causes a univers into existence it doesn’t do that within any kind of timeframe or concept of time, it just does it.
    If theists object that this is ‘logically impossible’ that objection can then immediately be thrown back again at them, since their god has exactly the same problem. How can a timeless consciousness make a decision to create something in the absence of any temporal sequence of thoughts. That also is loggicaly impossible.
    Any argument given by the theist to show the impossibility of C1 can be redirected into the same objection to ‘god’. If the theist askes what came first, C1 or the natural laws, one can ask what came first, gods desire to create the world, or the moment he did so. If the theists argues that it was his desire than this implies some timeframe, how can that be if god is timeless or outside of time? If they respond that he is eternal than he is not timeless, and all kind of other arguments the theist useally comes up with when the KCA is presented fall dead (for instance the impossibility of an actual infinity). If you know your opponent also advocates the fine tuning argument you can respond with what came first, the natural laws or god, because if he needs to fine-tune the cosmos, it seems the natural laws where already applicable in one or the other way.

    What do you think of this argument?