Comments

  1. SamFromUK says

    I just wanted to say Matt is a really rude and arrogant individual who thinks is right on everything but has become lost in his own made up reality.

    If he had let me finish he would have found out that there is absolutely no way to know God unless God gives you that knowledge. As believers it comes down to trusting in God based on your own reasoning and rationality. The analogy is akin to whether everything is real or whether we’re in some kind of VR. We just don’t know BUT we have to start somewhere so we assume everything is real. In the same way when you read what is claimed to be holy scripture you have to start somewhere. You read what it says, you read the claims it makes and see if it’s reasonable and whether it could be true.

    I’m very disappointed in Matt’s behaviour. I’m pretty sure many atheists cringe at the way he treats some callers.

  2. Nathan says

    Sam has called before and basically had the same line of argument. Also he says “yeah” every five seconds. That’s how I can tell it is him.

  3. says

    Damni am driving out from New Orleans to check out the show. I was hoping to catch Matt. But I also enjoy Traci , so it’ll still be a fun time. See you next week guys!

  4. Nathan says

    Sam, you failed over and over to make a decent argument. He should have hung up on you way earlier.

  5. says

    This sounded like the character “Mark from Stone Church in Austin.” He’s an atheist that thinks there should be more theists on the show and calls in pretending to be a theist.

    If you’re not this guy, then no, there’s nothing reasonable or rational about telling people they need to get on their knees! If there’s a god worthy of the name, it could do better than “prayer and supplication” to provide its creation with a revelation of itself. After all, it makes the rules, right?

  6. Murat says

    Much as Matt avoids the subject, I did enjoy the talk with Kayvan.

    The issue of veganism and vegetarianism does connect to the coverage of the show through how we reach and define “morality”. And the questions from Matt forced Kayvan to make better points for his arguments as the exchange advanced.

    There were contradictions in Kayvan’s position though: If it would be okay to eat the meat of a dead animal, how come he brings up the idea that eating meat kills us? Obviously, with regards to the consumer, the meat of a slaughtered animal is way more healthier than what you’d get from a corpse.

    Also, I’d like to understand if Kayvan was kind of entertaining the thought of an “advanced morality” through atheism, as reinforced by a wider-range and secular version of “Thou shalt not kill”.

    The talk made me wonder if the higher percentage of vegans in the USA are people who identify themselves as non-religious.

  7. Murat says

    @Sam #1

    Sam, the main problem with your call was that you were advocating a circular argument. What Matt was questioning had nothing to do with how one book justified itself.

    You should have asserted your “external” reason for taking into consideration the idea that there IS a god and that this god had tried to communicate with people at certain times through scripture.

  8. RationalismRules says

    @SamFromUK

    As believers it comes down to trusting in God based on your own reasoning and rationality.

    Sorry, but based on your posting history, you should have absolutely no confidence in your own reasoning or rationality.
     
    [Note to other posters: If you’re thinking of engaging with SFUK, I suggest you have a quick look at this earlier thread. Just be aware that his super-power is ‘making shit up’]

  9. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    If he had let me finish he would have found out that there is absolutely no way to know God unless God gives you that knowledge

    If you actually believed this, then you’d shut up and fuck off. Instead, you’ve called in several times to advance ludicrous claims. So this is just another lie in a long string of lies.

    In the same way when you read what is claimed to be holy scripture you have to start somewhere. You read what it says, you read the claims it makes and see if it’s reasonable and whether it could be true.

    You assume people haven’t done this? If I recall correctly, you’re a Koran advocate. That book is full of laughably false and unreasonable claims, and this has been told to you before.

    Kayvan is indeed lying about meat. Vegan culture is dripping with nutritional woo, at least in the US.
    I’m not okay with eating sapient beings, but that’s the line I draw. I don’t draw the line at “it is alive.”

  10. Brett Strittmatter says

    Both sides have it wrong. We are first and foremost deeply connected to the universal mind. This has been proven through physics. We have access to all points in space and time. So there is no God in terms of a big guy in the sky judging us however there is deep connection to the universal mind field of vonsciousness. If we meditate and quiet our monkey mind’s, we can access this field- everyone can, no wrong or right way, no religiin, etc. Also, the backdrop to the show behind the hosts is a total Saturnian cult theme (started by the Romans).

  11. StonedRanger says

    Sam, we’ve been here before. You had almost 13 minutes to make your case and you kept going in circles. As an atheist I don’t think Matt is really rude or arrogant. He is a well studied and quite articulate in what he says. Does he tend to get short with people like you who cant or wont get to the point, hell yes he does, as would anyone who has to deal with shit heads like you for the last 10 or so years. He gave you a fair chance to make your case and you couldn’t do it. Sour grapes is all your post amounts to.

    Im going to be 63 years old in some few months from now, just how long do I have to wait for your god or any god to let me know they are existent? If I cant know god unless it lets me know, what kind of a dick move is that? Your god isn’t any smarter than you are apparently which really comes as no surprise.

  12. StonedRanger says

    My very first thought when I heard Terrance from Toronto was Mark from the Stone church is back, I wonder if Matt will get this guy? Well done Matt.

  13. bawdygeorge says

    “Terrance from Toronto” sounds suspiciously like “Mark from Stone Church”.

  14. babyblues says

    Sam – ABSOLUTELY. I was so turned off by his attitude last night.

    I am an atheist and I was excited to find this show. I have been watching for months. I shared with my other atheist friend. Now? I unsubscribed. HIs performance last night was the last straw for me.
    It was an AWFUL performance. HUGE turn-off. He was arrogant, self-important, on a power trip. He was thin-skinned about his weight. He went on way too long about it.
    He is obsessed with fallacies. It is ridiculous. What is this, the Matt Dillahunty debate show? Why is it that he now thinks it is about winning? It’s stupid.
    Is it because he is now spending time with Dawkins and Harris? Does he think because now he is rubbing elbows with big league guys and has a live studio audience he is free to “demolish” people? It is gross.
    If I were a theist I would NEVER call in. Arguing to this extent is NOT healthy and it is just a stroking of the ego. Really. He just cares about winning.
    Some of the atheist viewers like him to “shred” people. He is a hypocrite. He is all for freedom to believe whatever you want, but if you don’t know the different between this fallacy and that fallacy, you are basically fucked.
    There is no real discussion happening on this show anymore.
    He is an ungracious host that doesn’t know how to lean back and let his more subdued and polite co-host speak. John respects positions and he will only speak if there is an opening. Which is rare. Even when there is an opening, he is only given a chance to squeak out one sentence until Matt jumps back in. And says the caller’s name 3 or 4 times in a row? What is this, a brawl?
    He doesn’t care about listening to the other side. He has been doing this show too long. He is tired of the same arguments from theists. What good is discussion without compassion? Patience? It gets people no where. The interesting this is that he is blind to how he is actually preventing a discussion from going anywhere, not the other way around. If he was more gentle in his approach then perhaps the theist would see the error in logic and self-correct. His approach will always stunt progress from the other side.
    He just cares about winning. He is on the debate circuit, I believe? I don’t know. I could give a fuck.
    Either way, I unsubscribed. He can take his fallacies and shove it.
    Say thanks for calling and goodbye, Matt. Even if they are circular. Cut them a brake. They aren’t all as smart as you are. They are human. You are losing your humanity for the sake of mental masterbation. And it is gross. Stop.
    People like him are the reason why the stereotype of atheists being soulless assholes are out there. Someone takes the time to call in and contribute to the best of their ability to the discussion and this is how you treat them. Ego. Have to be right.

    No. Will not associate. Will not be influenced in a negative way.

    And please. NO ONE compare him to Christopher Hitchens. Christopher was a gentleman through and through. I think I will stick to watching him and the “don’t forget the love bit”.

    Signed,
    Former fan, now unsubscribed

  15. SamFromUK says

    I’ve just had a look at the video again and I have to admit I sound all over the place – so my apologies for that, I’m not used to speaking on the phone on a call in show. I know what Matt was trying to get to. He want’s me to describe how I determine there is God using scientific means. So that he can look at the evidence and determine himself whether there is God.

    Problem is you just cannot do that unless you understand the definition of God. You need a starting point otherwise the following arguments/premises just won’t make sense.

    Once you understand the definition of God then you’ll understand that there is absolutely no scientific experiments you can do which tests for God. All you can do is scientific tests to determine if the claims of God are true. If that’s not good enough for you and you actually need to see God for real then I’m afraid it’s just not going to happen. I’m not saying this, the Quran and Bible are saying this.

  16. SamFromUK says

    @StonedRanger,

    Sorry but that’s just what Quran and Bible says. It’s only God who can make you believe and guide you it’s his responsibility. As believer all we can do is pass on the message. It’s not our responsibility to make others believe.

    What can you do so that God can make you believe? Quran and Bible says stop being arrogant, search for the truth, open your heart and be compassionate and lowly, be humble. Once God makes you believe it doesn’t automatically mean you are saved or that you’ll stay being a great human being. After being convinced of God you may become arrogant, hard hearted, become greedy for this life, lie, cheat, etc. Which to me explains why we so much evil from the believers. Being a believer does not automatically make you saved regardless of what believers say. Ultimately it’s the best humans as defined by God who will be saved.

  17. SamFromUK says

    @MonocleS,

    You’re just a confused moron. I’ve only called in ONCE before and yesterday was my SECOND time.

  18. paxoll says

    @Sam No, he is not asking you to describe how you determine there is a god using scientific means. He is saying that your determination is NOT reasonable/rational. You use circular reasoning, the Quran is true because it says its true..Its true because God said so in the Quran. That is utterly ridiculous. Next you try to claim the Quran is true because it makes sense. Matt attempted to jump to the end of this argument by pointing out that regardless of if some of the Quran “makes sense” it doesn’t mean any supernatural claims in it are actually true. Pick up ANY book, how do you know if what is written is true? 1) if the claim is basic and conforms to reality as we know it, for instance, “the sky was overcast with dark grey clouds” we don’t KNOW its true, but its believable because it conforms to reality and it is irrelevant to us how the sky looked but if the book said “the sky was florescent green with wispy blood red clouds” well, I would assume NONE of us have seen a sky those colors and we should NOT believe it without some kind of other evidence such as a photo, or some scientific research showing how the sky could appear those colors. The bible/quran and every other religious book is FULL of things that do not conform to reality as we have experienced it. Those claims should require some form of extra evidence, OTHERWISE you would have no rational basis for accepting the Quran as true and not every other religious book. That is special pleading, and combined with your circular reasoning is the only arguments you were offering, and you continued to repeat them over and over regardless of how many time Matt showed those to be wrong.

  19. SamFromUK says

    @paxoll,

    I agree what I said on the call amounted to circular reasoning. What I was trying to get across is that there are claims made in the Quran and Bible which relate to our origins and purpose, history and other things we can observe in reality. When you take all of these things into account then I believe it reasonable and rational to believe in God.

    However if it was shown to Matt that all the claims in the Quran and Bible were true and other things that they state make sense in our lives then Matt still would not be convinced of God. The simple reason being that he has conditioned himself to wanting to see God himself. He want’s to see some being manifest himself, show him lots of miracles AND put something into Matt’s mind to make him believe without any doubts. In short forget about the evidences of God, Matt wants God to make him believe by putting something into his mind or show him the thing that will convince him. And that I believe is a reasonable request to make. When I was an atheist I first wanted to see just one bit of evidence of God and/or I wanted God to manifest himself in front of me just once in my life so I could believe.

    So I know exactly where Matt is coming from. I’ve been there myself. For me it never happened. Was I disappointed, of course of was. I felt I wasn’t asking for a lot and I felt quite a bit annoyed that according to other believers claims I could end up in hell because of this. Which I felt was a huge injustice because I was simply being honest and truthful.

    However I persisted in reading the Quran and Bible and eventually it all made sense. I no longer need to see God himself to believe. However my core beliefs are confirmed by science. For me it has to be science because as Matt and other atheists point out you simply cannot believe words in which are claimed to be divine. Simply because people lie. Even if they’re not lying they could be delusional or maybe it was just a story which people later claimed to be divine. You just can’t trust words blindly.

    Which is why I was trying to get to explaining why claims made in the Quran and Bible are important and why understanding the definition of God is important.

    As Matt rightly pointed just because some claims are proven to be true in our reality it doesn’t automatically mean God is real. You have to look at each claim and assess it’s importance or it’s value.

    For example if the Quran made the following claims:

    1. The sky is blue.
    2. 1 + 1 = 2.
    3. A rainbow is multicoloured.

    Then those claims are meaningless regardless of them being true.However if the Quran and Bible make claims like:

    1. All humans must die and cannot control death.
    2. Life can only be created by God.
    3. There is life after death.
    4. All life is sustained by God.
    5. The Gospel and Old Testament are revelations from God.
    etc.

    Then I believe you have something more substantial to investigate and use to believe in God. However I accept that some people still wouldn’t be convinced even if all the claims in the Quran and Bible could be reasonably true and it all made sense to them. The reason being they either still want to see God manifest himself and/or want something unique from God which will convince them.

    The problem I have with Matt and others of his ilk are that they are so arrogant and flippant. And on top of that even if one day they were convince of God then the most important question becomes are they going to accept God’s will, are they going to bow down and worship him? Going by what Matt has said in his past vids and posts he won’t accept the God of the Bible or Quran because he feels that God is not one which he likes or conforms to his desire. Matt wants a God which perfect morally according to his own wishes and desires.

    I understand what Matt is saying but I’m afraid the God of the Bible and Quran is what he is and when you believe in God you just have to accept it. Do I believe the God of the Bible and Quran is bad? No, that God is perfect and he’s amazing regardless of the evil that exists in the world and the millions of lives destroyed by God through floods, famines and other disasters.

    Does the above statement sound bizarre? – God is amazing yet he destroys millions of lives and lets evil exist? Of course it sounds bizarre which is why I think you have to take the belief in God step by step otherwise it’s not going to make sense. It took me over 10 years to get to where I am with my beliefs. It wasn’t easy either because there is so much misinformation from Christians and Muslims. However if you keep searching for the truth you will find it eventually.

  20. says

    Hi Sam

    No, Matt is not arrogant and flippant. I would say exasperated is a better description. I would also be exasperated with a call like yours and all of the other calls where the caller has no comprehension whatsoever that assertions do not equal proof.

    You made a claim that the Koran just made sense, and when asked why, said well because it’s the word of god. When asked what proof do you have that it’s the word of god, you said well because it makes sense. When asked to clarify this you just went round in circles for about six repetitions for far too long. Finally Matt cut you off when it was clear that was all you had and you weren’t going to go beyond that.

    It seems to me you are now calling him arrogant to get over your butthurt at being hung up on. I personally think that Matt went on far too long. If I was host you would have got away with that circle maybe twice.

    So rather than criticize Matt, why not look at your own failure to advance a coherent argument as the reason why you were hung up on?

    Oh and by the way, no I don’t nor does anybody else, just have to accept the god of the bible and the koran.

  21. Murat says

    @Sam #16

    I think you have a personal history and minority identity status that somehow leads you to stick with some set of beliefs. You were raised Hindu, then became atheist, and then muslim… Let me take a wild guess here: There were people of different faiths in or around your family, or you had emotional relaitons with girls from other faith groups at one or more points in your ife. Am I right?

  22. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    Sorry but your questions are going to lead down other paths which is not relevant for the topic of how to establish whether there is God. Plus my experiences are personal to me and may be pretty meaningless to someone who doesn’t understand them.
    By the way, in my family there were only Hindus, I had/have friends who were/are Muslims but I didn’t like their religion as it seemed to strict and they pretty much blindly believed in their religion (most still do) in the same why I blindly believed in Hinduism. Atheism made sense, it felt like a huge burden had been lifted from on top of me and I felt empowered believing that I had science (something real and testable) to back me up.

  23. Murat says

    @Sam #18
    What I’m trying to get at is, were you born into another religion, with your current pattern of approach, you could well have changed and left dogmas in a similar fashion and pace, and then come up with a justification of the status quo.
    I was raised muslim, had always had agnosticism inside of me, and it took quite a while to see that the fine qualities you can find inside any religion may not really be attached to the particular definition of “reality” on which it claims to be based.
    In terms of logic and philosophy, I would agree with you on that islam makes more sense than its predecessors, but basing your conviction solely on that is no different than believing what is narrated in Star Wars actually happened just because the series has integrity, continuity and makes sense.
    Also, given your investment in islam is based on such, I’d presume you know well enough to at least reject all hadith and other circumstantial rubbish and stick with the original thing.

  24. says

    @Sam #16

    The “problem” here is that your beliefs are arbitrary and not rational (not to mention circular). In one sense, who cares what random weird stuff you choose to believe? The problem comes in when you let external arbitrary sources tell you what is right and wrong and then you and those like you try and enforce those values on others through law or violence.

    You made the claim that Mat and “others of his ilk” are so arrogant. This is laughable in view of the arrogant abuse and oppression perpetrated in the name of religion around the world, historically as well as today. To say this is a case of the kettle calling the pot black is a serious understatement. This is similar to what happens with women today (as just one example). When a woman starts to assert her position in the public sphere in a similar way that a man might, she is attacked and a accused of being shrill or emotional or all manner of other insults. This is a common tactic from groups in power to try and maintain their power when it is challenged by a marginalized group within a society.

    If we discuss whether two people of the same gender should be allowed to marry, how will the discussion go? Will you join with others who get the answer from their books and fight for continued oppression and injustice? Do you think homosexuals should be killed? It says so in your book that is always right according to you.

    And yeah, if it is somehow someday proven to me that there is a god, and she really does want us to do all these horrible things that it says in the bible and quran, then not only would I not worship her, but I would tell her to go fuck herself.

  25. says

    @SamFromUK

    “Then those claims are meaningless regardless of them being true.However if the Quran and Bible make claims like:
    1. All humans must die and cannot control death.
    2. Life can only be created by God.
    3. There is life after death.
    4. All life is sustained by God.
    5. The Gospel and Old Testament are revelations from God.
    etc.
    Then I believe you have something more substantial to investigate and use to believe in God.”

    id argue that 1 is controlled all the time, its called the local emergency room and general medical science, hundreds of years ago things that would have brought about death are now controlled by humans. None of the rest of your argument can be validated unless youd like to expand on it ?

  26. says

    “Did you ever get on your knees and genuinely ask for revelation ?”
    what a nonsensical request, it would be like asking back to him did you *genuinely get on his knees and ask for revelation from the tooth fairy?” sure, he could attempt go through the process, but unless you presuppose the truth of the claim you cant genuinely do it.

  27. says

    @Sam 18

    “Sorry but your questions are going to lead down other paths which is not relevant for the topic of how to establish whether there is God.”

    But nothing you have said has anything to do with establishing whether or not there is a God. So what is your actually purpose/point with contacting an atheist show/website?

  28. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    It took me around 8 years to figure out how to treat the hadiths. When I finally realised that you don’t need to accept them it was great. I stick the Quran and Bible mostly. I’m not against hadiths if they back up the Quran and I can learn something from them but yes hadiths can be very misleading. Problem is that many many converts are most likely duped into believing them otherwise they would probably be deemed strange if not unbelievers by the majority.

    I disagree with the Star Wars analogy. Star Wars never claims to be a revelation from God. Any book which claims to be a revelation from God can be considered/investigated. However I feel you’ll find that there aren’t many books which claim to be revelations from God. Those that do aren’t consistent and logical or have much of history.

    I do hope one day that you will return to believing in God and come back much stronger. As you will have read, only God can guide you.

  29. SamFromUK says

    “So what is your actually purpose/point with contacting an atheist show/website?”

    I personally find that atheists have the best questions. Questions that really challenge you. Most muslims don’t know the holy books so you can’t ask the really challenging questions – they’ll simply say something like “Allah knows best” or to speak to a scholar.

    Plus atheists have many misconceptions about God and religion and I think it’s worth a try to dispel/challenge some of them.

  30. Yaddith says

    SamFromUK:

    I’m not sure you understood Matt’s central point, which was that just because an explanation makes sense, that has no bearing on whether or not it is actually true. As a lifelong atheist, the mindset of religious believers has always puzzled me. When confronted with something I don’t understand, my immediate reaction is “I don’t understand this,” not “Some magic man must be responsible.” No doubt the more fervently one searches for evidence of the existence of God, the more likely one is to find it, but why start searching in the first place? Why the presupposition that a god must exist?

  31. SamFromUK says

    @Steve,

    Sorry when I say control death I mean to say no can choose to live forever. Also they cannot bring a dead person back to life or make other people live forever.

    “2. Life can only be created by God.”

    Current research and experimentation shows that humans cannot create life. In fact experimentation and research has shown that life is extremely complex. How life came into being is still a mystery. Yes, I’ve looked at all the research into abiogenesis and do understand it. I support all the research and believe that one day we will arrive to the point where we can say it’s not possible for us to make life from non-life. Will atheists accept this? Probably not because they will that in the future we may come across new technology and understanding which will enable us to do so. This position is fine to hold however it also means that it becomes hard for you to accept any evidence of God since you can defer any evidence as to something which could be explainable in the future.

  32. mavx4 says

    @Sam
    “However I feel you’ll find that there aren’t many books which claim to be revelations from God. Those that do aren’t consistent and logical or have much of history.”
    I agree. The Koran isn’t consistent or logical at all.

  33. SamFromUK says

    “Some magic man must be responsible.”

    This is one of the major misconceptions by atheists. God is responsible for everything, both the known and unknown. Just because we can explain certain phenomena as being “natural” it doesn’t mean God didn’t create that or phenomena or that it’s something which is not divine. When you understand the concept of God then absolutely everything is a creation or phenomena of God including your subjective reality. To find out what is the evidence of God you need God to tell you. Which kind of comes back circular reasoning. You can’t observe the universe and claim that certain phenomena you observe is divine and evidence of God. That just become your own claim. It is not a claim of God. For example, before humans could build flying devices, someone claimed that only God can create flying devices then today it would be proven to be wrong. Was God wrong? No it was the person making the claim but it’s God who gets discredited.

    “No doubt the more fervently one searches for evidence of the existence of God, the more likely one is to find it, but why start searching in the first place? Why the presupposition that a god must exist?”

    I personally want to know the truth. I want to make sense of the reality I live in. Not all people are interested and that’s fine for them – we all have different paths.

  34. Murat says

    @Sam #24

    I’m not against hadiths if they back up the Quran and I can learn something from them but yes hadiths can be very misleading.

    You seem to be underestimating how the hadith-making process (that’s what it actually is) contradicts with the very way you have taken to validate the Quran. The hadith culture was forced into actual islam 200 centuries after the death of Mohammed and it not only erased most of the actual merits within that religion, but also severely “reversed” them in a way to serve the lust, greed, amorality and perversions of the ruling class of certain tribes.
    Of course it’s up to you to decide which faith to take. But coming from what you have told so far, I just need to point out to you that, once you open that other, external box, you enter into a totally different religion that’s a mish-mash of arabic nationalism, paganism, shintoism, shamanism and barbarism.

    I disagree with the Star Wars analogy. Star Wars never claims to be a revelation from God. Any book which claims to be a revelation from God can be considered/investigated. However I feel you’ll find that there aren’t many books which claim to be revelations from God.

    You should see the very practical trick here: Once you insert into a book the claim that it IS “a revelation from God”, then suddenly, it creates a certain aura around it, which prevents you from seeing what it actually is or might be. The “claim” is also part of the book. There’s nothing amazing or miraculous that connects that claim to reality. For many years, when looking for some kind of evidence to back that claim up, I was provided those examples that match with some scientific facts, like the earth being a globe (as insinuated in the book with the allegory of an egg) etc.
    However, this kind of trivia was neither new, nor totally unknown at the time Quran was writtten and collected. Archimedes had figured that out many centuries ago, and wandering merchants were diffusing such info all around the world.
    I’m not blind to the values you find in the Quran, and I understand you pretty well when you mention the so-called muslims who stick only to dogma and tradition without actually studying the theological, philosophical and social circumstances that made islam shine back in its time. (I also think that there is some popular underestimation of it also in the skeptic / atheist communities, but that’s another issue.)
    Just like you have grown out of the “pseudo-religion” on your way to reaching your current position, you can also reason your way to a better and more accurate understanding of what the book can mean once you accept it may not be a “revelation fom God” but one important detour for certain people at a certain point in the history of this planet.
    I was trying to guess the circumstances of your personal history becase I think such things affect the way we imbue meaning on what we come across. You may be encountering many people who have a very narrow and degrading approach towards islam (as a result of the political atmosphere of the past few decades) and the urge to correct them may be carrying you out to an over-embellishment of what it actually is.
    The bottom line is, our perceptions and judgments are an outcome of the current mental, emotional and social positions we are in. The fact that you need to engage with people who hold different ideas on God suggests that, after all, you do have some unanswered questions in your mind. They may remain there for a good time, or you can find some practical answers. But for either to happen in a healthy way, you should check if the wording of the question and the answer you refuse are really not a match.
    Matt can be rude at times (as he consciously and sincerely admits) but I think he gave you enough of a chance to produce the “link” between our reality and the content & claim of the book you are currently sticking with.

  35. SamFromUK says

    @Murat

    At the moment I don’t really have questions about my beliefs in God. I feel I know quite a lot and there’s absolutely nothing that could surprise me in the future. I just find it intriguing how atheists explain their stance and their understanding of science and the reality we live in. Also I learn a lot from the ex-muslims. The more you talk to believers/non-believers the more patterns you see. I just find it all intriguing and quite fascinating and revealing at times.

    Have you read the Bible, if so do you see how it ties in with the Quran? I think the Bible helps to explain the Quran.

  36. Murat says

    @Sam #31

    Have you read the Bible, if so do you see how it ties in with the Quran? I think the Bible helps to explain the Quran.

    It’s not surprising that all these books have common elements and some sort of continuity to them. After all, they are outcomes of the same geography, and considering that progress was way more slow during those times, it would be much more amazing to see one totally and brutally detach from the others in tone, claim, language and premise.
    If you believe to have no doubts, then your current belief system may well be fit for today’s “you”. I wouldn’t care to challenge it. In the end, it’s all about the individual living a life of peace of quality.
    Sane, peaceful, compassionate, progressive and rational (as good as it gets) theists are as fitting into an acceptable world (something humanity still lacks, but persues) as anyone else does.
    If you don’t feel like stepping out out religion by any means, I’d at least suggest you to check the site of this theist friend of mine, whom I believe is one of the few people to try handling questions of islam in an honest and consistent way: http://19.org/books/quran-a-reformist-translation/

  37. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    ” it would be much more amazing to see one totally and brutally detach from the others in tone, claim, language and premise.”

    I guess the truth doesn’t really care about how we perceive it. It is what it is.

    “Sane, peaceful, compassionate, progressive and rational (as good as it gets) theists are as fitting into an acceptable world (something humanity still lacks, but persues) as anyone else does.”

    This is message I get from the Quran and Bible. We don’t have to force our beliefs on others, in the end we will all die and we will all see the truth. Can we differ with each other and have healthy debates? sure we can, this why God says he created different nations so we can discuss and learn rather than hate one another because of our differences.

    Problem is us not the books. Just as arrogant believers tarnish the good believers so do people like Matt who tarnish other atheists. Just because Matt accepts he is rude it does not in anyway excuse his behaviour. If he can’t use his manners then he shouldn’t be out there speaking publicly.

  38. einyb says

    @SamfromUK
    You seem to forget majority of atheists used to be theists.
    Additionally, research shows at least for Abrahamic religions atheists tend to know more about the bible then theists.

    You made the claim: “God is responsible for everything, both the known and unknown.” —This is something you can not provide evidence for. You admit you can’t prove god exists through the scientific method , then even when you can’t prove god exists you make a claim about what this being is supposedly responsible for. Again there is 0 reason to accept what your claim when you can’t even provide evidence for what you believe. Evidence MUST BE EXTERNAL to the source of the claim.

    I find it amazing that you suspend rational thought when it comes to needing evidence for a god. What we do have evidence for is that humans have a need to explain the world around them. We have evidence of hundreds , even thousands of gods that used to be worshiped but no longer are as humans gained knowledge of the word around them.

    We do have evidence of life from non-life, we are here. How it exactly occurred we do not know but there are hypothesis out there but we simply do not through our hands up in the air and say god did it. Why? You have to prove god exists before you can give it credit. All the building blocks to life are in comets an asteroids. We do know that. We do know under the right conditions life will form. Again we are here.

    “Current research and experimentation shows that humans cannot create life.”—- Actually doctors can combine a sperm and egg in a test tube to create a zygote / embryo.

    I love this gem: “To find out what is the evidence of God you need God to tell you”…This is the same typical crap Christians like to say why we can’t find evidence. I used to be a believer, i asked for evidence. I have never received. So that leaves ONLY 2 possibilities:
    1. There is no god.
    2. There is a god but doesn’t care whether I believe in it existence.

    So I might as well live my life with the prospect there is no god since there is 0 reason to believe one exists but there are a ton of reasons, Including the gods no longer worshiped as evidence that god is just a human invention to explain the world around.

    If a god existed and provided the evidence I needed , guess what? I would no longer be an atheist. It does not mean i would worship it but I certainly believe it existed. The fact there are so many religions, even denominations within religions, shows if god did exist it is anything but perfect. This being can’t even gets its message across where people no matter what century they were born in would understand what it truly wants and you can’t understand why atheists demand real evidence.

  39. Murat says

    @Sam #33

    Just as arrogant believers tarnish the good believers so do people like Matt who tarnish other atheists. Just because Matt accepts he is rude it does not in anyway excuse his behaviour. If he can’t use his manners then he shouldn’t be out there speaking publicly.

    As I said, I don’t think he was rude in your example. Nor do I think he was too impatient. After all, you should be familiar with the definition of “fitrat” and accept one’s before willingly engaging with them.
    The communication between you two was something like this:
    You’re in a warehouse full with many wooden crates and you’re trapped in one. You scream out to be set free, and when Matt asks you where you exactly are, you continuously say “I’m in the crate”. How can he find you if you can’t specify what part of the warehouse your particular crate is, or, how you ended up in that one? He tried to follow your voice, but you never gave directions that would be meaningful for someone who is “outside the box”.
    Anyway, maybe you can rephrase your question or come across another host some time later.

  40. Murat says

    @Yaddith #26

    No doubt the more fervently one searches for evidence of the existence of God, the more likely one is to find it, but why start searching in the first place? Why the presupposition that a god must exist?

    Social constructs?

  41. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    You may have only called in once before, but you’ve posted on multiple threads. In one of them, you set out to disprove evolution even though you don’t even know what an allele is.
    Given your posts in this thread, it seems you’ve learned absolutely nothing since you first called in. You make (the same) unsubstantiated claims, you spend half your time spinning off about irrelevant crap, and then you post thing that you yourself don’t actually believe. What are you hoping to accomplish here? And why do you think the people at this blog will listen to you when you don’t appear to listen in general?

  42. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    We don’t have to force our beliefs on others, in the end we will all die and we will all see the truth. Can we differ with each other and have healthy debates? sure we can, this why God says he created different nations so we can discuss and learn rather than hate one another because of our differences.

    That a Muslim says this to atheists with a presumably straight face breaks my brain. As in, total BSOD. Wow.

  43. Michae says

    @SamFromUK
    I wonder what do you think about the Book of Mormon? It’s also based on Abrahamic religions and it also claims it’s divine word, bah, it even gives the mechanism on how the word was passed from God to man (golden tablets). Do you consider it true? It’s at least as coherent as other books you’re talking about, Joseph Smith is an undisputed historical figuer and it’s claimed in the book that it came from God. The same God as in the Bible.

  44. Monocle Smile says

    Wow, Joel. Like a squirming lizard pinned under a waterfall.

    Lol Kayvan and his “species-ism.” Fuck that word. It’s just the world, dude. Only certain primates are sapient. Dolphins come close. This is not even remotely close to “African slavery.” Also, “unnecessarily killing an animal” is entirely relative (I’m glad Matt brought this up), and vegan farming is unsustainable. Matt had some really good questions that went unanswered.

  45. Monocle Smile says

    Terrance was trolling, but the “you weren’t sincere enough” argument has a good response.
    Next time a theist pulls this crap, pull out a $20 from your wallet. Tell them that if they ask sincerely enough, you’ll give them the bill. Then ask if they think there’s any chance at all that you’ll hand over the bill.

  46. Monocle Smile says

    Jen, that woman probably encountered people in the area from your congregation and you just didn’t notice. These people probably mentioned these things in passing; people with certain mental ailments can as a by-product be extremely perceptive and latch onto specific details.

  47. Nathan says

    Yeah Terrance is the same old troll, I’m surprised he’s back after getting called out last time.

  48. Michae says

    @SamFromUK
    I wonder what do yoy think about the Book of Mormon. It’s based on Abrahamic religions like Bible and Quran, it has claims of divine inspiration in it, it even gives the mechanism on how word of God was passed to men (via golden tablets). It’s prophet, Joseph Smith, is a historical figure that existed for sure. It’s at least as coherent as Bible and Quran. So what’s your opinion on it?

    BTW. I’m not a Mormon. =)

  49. Monocle Smile says

    @babyblues
    There’s lots in there to fisk, but I’ll stick to this:

    Someone takes the time to call in and contribute to the best of their ability to the discussion and this is how you treat them

    If you really think Sam called in to ‘contribute to the discussion to the best of his ability’ then I’m not sure what to tell you. Sam was dishonest right out of the gate and never stopped. Matt Dillahunty is perfectly capable of having a low-key, chill discussion with a theist, but not if they refuse to engage honestly and spout constant streams of bullshit.

    @Brett
    Lay off the shrooms, man.

  50. Murat says

    @MS

    I don’t think Sam was dishonest at any point. He was trapped in his circular reasoning and that reflected inevitably.

  51. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    Are you not familiar with Sam? Check out the thread RationalismRules linked above. Sam has yet to engage honestly. Avoiding questions isn’t honest. Repeating yourself instead of making a concerted effort to further the discussion isn’t honest. Some people may think I have a high standard for honesty, but I don’t care.

  52. Murat says

    @MS
    It’s not “having a high standard for honesty”.
    It seems like you can’t or just don’t tell insecurity, cognitive dissonance and fixation from dishonesty, even though the differences are huge.

  53. Murat says

    @Brett

    We are first and foremost deeply connected to the universal mind. This has been proven through physics.

    Do pysicists know about this?

  54. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat

    It seems like you can’t or just don’t tell insecurity, cognitive dissonance and fixation from dishonesty, even though the differences are huge.

    I don’t actually believe there’s a difference aside from direction. Dishonesty directed inward is a bit different from dishonesty directed outward, but it’s still dishonesty. Also, it’s one thing to merely suffer from insecurity or cognitive dissonance, but if someone is going to impugn me and tell me that I am wrong, then I’m not going to tolerate that shit regardless of the direction of their dishonesty.
    Did you read that thread? Do you disagree that Sam argues dishonestly?

  55. says

    @SamFromUK

    “This position is fine to hold however it also means that it becomes hard for you to accept any evidence of God since you can defer any evidence as to something which could be explainable in the future.”

    apart from evidence FOR the existence of god, which you still have not provided.

  56. Anne of Thieves says

    @SsamFUK:”Plus atheists have many misconceptions about God and religion and I think it’s worth a try to dispel/challenge some of them.”

    I’d love to know one assertion about gods and religion about which you think atheists have misconceptions that you can dispel.

    We’ll wait.

  57. Anne of Thieves says

    I recognize Matt’s “abrasiveness” for what it is and I’m grateful for it. He really makes the confused, ignorant and/or rambling theists toe the line and it’s part of what makes the show interesting — and occasionally VERY entertaining. The Muslim caller was a perfect example. His circular reasoning would make any rational person cranky.

  58. StonedRanger says

    By the way SamfromUK, if only god can create life, how did you come to be, or me? Our parents made life. Every living thing on this planet creates life. My parents created life four times. Ever eat a banana? That’s a man made life form.

  59. StonedRanger says

    From Sam #17 “Once God makes you believe it doesn’t automatically mean you are saved or that you’ll stay being a great human being. After being convinced of God you may become arrogant, hard hearted, become greedy for this life, lie, cheat, etc.”

    I can become those things without god, so whats the point in believing in one? So no matter what we do or how we live its god who gets to arbitrarily decide who gets an afterlife? Then again, whats the point? I understand that you don’t get to determine these things, you are just the messenger. Ive read the bible and that’s not the message I get at all, and your message is completely different than the one Im getting from the christians. They say all you need do is believe and everlasting life is yours. Who do I believe? You or them? I will tell you who I believe, none of you. When you all say you are speaking the word of god, and all using the same book to find out what gods word is, and yet every one of you has a different story to tell, with a different path to salvation, I can only assume you are all just wrong or youre all lying. Being the generous person I am I will graciously assume you are all just wrong. Because you cant all be right. Right?

  60. SamFromUK says

    @Michae

    I don’t accept Mormons because the fundamentals of the religion are different from the Abrahmic faiths. The below is clearly inconsistent with the the Quran and Bible (taken from wikipedia). When you understand the definition of God it’s pretty clear Mormonism is made up.

    “Nature of God[edit]
    Main article: God in Mormonism
    Like most other Christian groups, Mormonism teaches that there is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but unlike trinitarian faiths, the LDS Church teaches that they are separate and distinct beings with the Father and Son having perfected physical bodies and the Holy Ghost having only a body of spirit.[25] While the three beings are physically distinct, in Mormon theology they are one in thoughts, actions, and purpose and commonly referred to collectively as the “Godhead”.[26][27] Also, Mormonism teaches that God the Father is the literal father of the spirits of all men and women, which existed prior to their mortal existence.[28] The LDS Church also believes that a Heavenly Mother exists.[29][30] Further, it is believed that all humans as children of God can become exalted, inheriting all that God has, as joint-heirs with Christ, and becoming like him as a God.[31] Lorenzo Snow is quoted as saying “As man now is God once was: As God now is, man may be.” [32]”

  61. SamFromUK says

    For those who think humans can create life from non-life please recheck the current research. It’s just not possible. Even Matt accepts it in one of his vids.

  62. Skye Eldrich says

    @SamFromUK
    “When you understand the definition of God it’s pretty clear Mormonism is made up.”

    …Said entirely without irony. It’s clear when you understand the definition of gods, that ALL OF THEM are made up.

  63. Michae says

    @SamFromUK
    But how do I tell which definition of God is right? What is the definition of God and where do I find it? If it’s in the Bible or Quran then why should I trust them, but not the other religions holy books? Also isn’t Quran’s concept of God different from the Bible’s? Am I wrong when I think that according to Islam Jesus wasn’t son of God?

  64. says

    “For those who think humans can create life from non-life please recheck the current research. It’s just not possible. Even Matt accepts it in one of his vids.”

    who is saying it is possible ? and how is it relevant ? most atheists understand the facts that life started way before humans evolved.

  65. Murat says

    @Michae #61
    According to Quran, Jesus was one of the many (some claim the number to be around 200.000) “messenger prophets” God had sent to different tribes in different times, trying to reach out to humanity with a message and a warning. And Mohammed was the last of these “messengers” who was also a “prophet”.
    God, as described in the Quran, is a sexless eternal being that doesn’t disguise itself in mortal forms. Quran’s claim is that, as usual with past “messenger prophets”, Jesus was mistaken for God himself by his following.
    It’s a somewhat more abstract, less complicated and less convoluted approach to this whole story about the one God and its schemes to notify us of what the whole thing is about.

  66. Michae says

    @SamFromUK
    As for this creating life thing. It’s true that humans can’t create life from non living matter in a laboratory. It’s also true that we don’t know whether they will be able to do it in the future. 100 years ago it was impossible for humans to travel into outer space, let’s say 400 years ago it was impossible for humans to fly (I don’t remember when the first balloon flight happened but that’s irrelevant), 1000 years ago it was obvious that Earth was flat and that the Sun revolved around it. That’s the buty of science, we don’t know what’s possible. But the correct approach isn’t to say “thats definitely impossible”, because that would never get us to where we are. Instead scientist ask questions like “how?” or “why?” and try to find out how reality works. But in scientific method it’s essential not to jump in conclusions. You can’t just make up an answer and try to retroactively fit in the facts to suit it. You observe something unknown and try to find out what it is, how does it work. And the best thing? The guy or gal on the other side of the world, who doesn’t know that you exist can come to the same conclusions based on the same facts of reality. They don’t need a book to tell them how reality works.

  67. Michae says

    @Murat
    So I can safely assume that Bible’s God and Quran’s God are not compatibile with eachother? Also if people can make a mistake like that, then how are Muslims sure that they are right? I I am to trust the information you provided then it’s in their doctrine thad God can fail at conveying his message, right?

  68. Murat says

    @Michae @Sam
    By the way, “life” is not THAT big a deal if I get right what physicists and biologists say:
    Abiogenesis, the coming out of life from inanimate stuff, is not more complicated, more unthinkable or weirder than most other stuff science has been covering.
    There may be some inanimate happenings out there which we can not even begin to comprehend. Looking out for “life” is kind of like our way of trying to figure out if “intelligent life” like ours is unique to Earth in the universe or not.

  69. Murat says

    @Michae
    Quran claims that the “real” scripture Jesus was delivering the message through was distorted. So, according to Quran, yes, Jesus was a real prophet with a real message, just like all previous ones (including the most notorious names like Abraham, Moses, etc.) but his story, function, persona and message were all distorted.
    Actually, Quran is sort of like a late sequel that fills in the blanks and puts into order some ambiguity with the previous, original work. I believe it was presented in such a way very cleverly and strategically.
    But yes, the obvious question (why God can’t manage to convey the one holy message throughout all history) remains unansweres.
    As Sam prefers to see it, “the books are okay, the problem is with humans, and that makes sense as people are the ones put to test”. That was how I used to rationalize it, back when I was in Sam’s shoes.
    I happen to think that, some Christians (like Matt Slick) could actually find Islam to be a more comfortable and fitting religion to their perceptions. Not that the ties with reality are stronger, but at least the abstraction is more clear and the background story has less flaws.

  70. says

    I’ve never understood the point of saying “Humans can’t do X” as some sort of evidence gods exist. One look at the history of human beings, and we immediately see people doing things that, previously, they weren’t able to do–such as go to the Moon. But before we reached the Moon, someone could correctly say “Humans can’t go to the Moon.” But so what? How is that meaningful? And did anything really change about the nature of Humans when we achieved that? There are loads of things humans can’t do. But I can see that it doesn’t take gods to do them. I can’t give up food and start feeding myself through photosynthesis–but I don’t think plants are gods? Therefore, however life started on Earth, why would that even be associated with a god or gods? Why should anyone think that if a god/gods existed, they’d care about creating life?

    Meanwhile another comment was made earlier about testing for the existence of gods by testing claims made by “Holy Books.” I don’t get it. I can test claims made by any book and see if they’re correct. But what on earth would that tell me about gods? Even if every claim made in every holy book turned out to be correct–how does that demonstrate a god exists? Since it was also said direct claims about god/s can’t be tested? So, if we’re just testing nongod claims, what does that tell me about gods? Nothing. If I pick up a physics book and test the claims it makes, and they’re all correct, does that mean a god wrote the book and made those claims? Just because some person/group says a book includes claims made by gods, why would we believe them, even if the claims are correct? I can stand around making correct claims all day long–does that mean I’m a god?

  71. SamFromUK says

    @einyb,

    Just because you’re a theist doesn’t mean you know God or you know the truth or even understand scripture. The majority of Muslims, Christians and Jews don’t have a clue. They blindly accept whatever they are taught. It’s rare to find those who understand scripture. Those that do are often considered non-believers and marginalized.

    I accept Matt knows more about the Bible than most Christians, hence his rants about slavery and homosexuals which incidentally show his complete lack of understanding about the nature of God.

    “You made the claim: “God is responsible for everything, both the known and unknown.” —This is something you can not provide evidence for. You admit you can’t prove god exists through the scientific method , then even when you can’t prove god exists you make a claim about what this being is supposedly responsible for. Again there is 0 reason to accept what your claim when you can’t even provide evidence for what you believe. Evidence MUST BE EXTERNAL to the source of the claim.
    I find it amazing that you suspend rational thought when it comes to needing evidence for a god. What we do have evidence for is that humans have a need to explain the world around them. We have evidence of hundreds , even thousands of gods that used to be worshiped but no longer are as humans gained knowledge of the word around them.”

    The dilemma I faced on the call was that I needed to explain the nature of God. Without that I felt it was difficult to explain what the evidence of God is. As I’m new to calling in I became confused and wasn’t able clearly articulate my points because Matt kept belligerently asking me about the evidence and what method I use to arrive to what is true.

    You’re doing the same. You already expect the evidence of God to be in a specific form. Anything else you’re not going to accept.

    I’ll try and explain the problem. We exist in this reality. We were all born into it. When we are born we don’t have any knowledge about it. Everything we know about it comes from our experience when we interact with our available senses. We use science and rationality to come to certain conclusions using our inherent ability to “understand” things. Now let’s say you have a being who claims to have created you and the entire universe both known and unknown. The claim is that everything about you has been created, your physical body, your subjective reality, the universe, absolutely everything. Everything you can imagine is a creation. There’s no such thing as something which isn’t a creation of this being which I shall God. Because of this you simply cannot do an external experiment to confirm this being God. The means which you using to do the experiment including the logic, the thought process, all the ideas is all creation. If you could do an external experiment then that means that being is no longer God. Which then comes down what is the definition of God. The definition of God is extremely important. If the definition is a being who created life in this universe but simple resides inside it like us and is bound by it’s physics then we have a big problem. This being can’t be relied upon to help us or answer all our questions or solve any issues. In the future maybe some other being could turn up and overpower this being. God has to all powerful and all knowing to be truly recognised as God. With a God who is all powerful and all knowledgable we have nothing to worry about, it’s all under their control.

    When you understand the concept of an all powerful all knowing God who has created absolutely everything including your brain, mind, thought process, etc then you realise that the only knowledge of this God you have is what it tells you. You simply cannot use science to determine what God is. All you can do is use your limited senses to observe and understand those things that this God let’s understand.

    I don’t know if I’ve done a good job in describing the dilemma but I think it’s one of the things that stops atheists in believing in God. Many atheists become stuck with searching for the scientific evidence of God. But there’s no experiment that can be done to distinguish something which God has created and something which God has not created. Everything is a creation of God (including the dreams you have the cars that are created). Now to confuse you more – you can only determine whether God exists if God tells you how to and this is via revelation.

    Apologies if the above hurts your head.

  72. Murat says

    @heicart
    It’s all about that “god of the gaps” perception, I suppose.
    The reason religions were constructed around god(s) was that people had so little information versus a lot of natural threats and mysteries. They just needed the “father figure” who would explain to them the unknown, just like actual parents have always to their offsprings throughout history.
    I think the crucial problem that arouse from within religions was that, in time, the more cunning among the population saw the possibility that, if they were speaking for god, they would be listened to. So, actual persons put on the suits of those supposed gods, and began to lead society in whichever way they desired. After that point, contradictions within religions and denominations began to galore. It was ike religion squared.

  73. Murat says

    @Sam

    Everything you can imagine is a creation. There’s no such thing as something which isn’t a creation of this being which I shall God. Because of this you simply cannot do an external experiment to confirm this being God.

    This contradicts with the miracles mentioned in the holy books. All of them, including the Quran, refer to such events, presenting them as evidence that have come out of human experience.

  74. says

    @SamFromUK

    “When you understand the concept of an all powerful all knowing God who has created absolutely everything including your brain, mind, thought process, etc then you realise that the only knowledge of this God you have is what it tells you. ”

    this is not a hard concept, the problem is, theres no good reason to believe its actually the case plus the silence of this God not telling us anything… its almost like hes not there at all…..

  75. Michae says

    @SamFromUK
    I still don’t get your definition of God and how you came to it. Care to use simpler terms? And maybe shorter definition? I’m just trying to understand what you mean. As for looking for scientific evidence for God, I’m not looking for it, because I don’t see a reason to even look for it, just as I don’t look for other supernatural things. I became an atheist when I realised that it’s possible for universe to work perfectly fine without any gods (it fits Ockham’s Razor, but I didn’t even hear about that then), that it doesn’t have to have a purpose, that it can exist solely because there was potential for it’s existence. It’s like with law of conservation of mass. Why add eternal creator to the mix when it could be that the universe is eternal, it just exists in it’s current form for a specific period of time. We can’t say what happened before the big bang, even if there is any sense in calling it “before”. Also if this religious debate was only about cosmology I woulsdn’t mind that people have diffrent views. Unfortunately it’s not the case.

  76. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    “This contradicts with the miracles mentioned in the holy books. All of them, including the Quran, refer to such events, presenting them as evidence that have come out of human experience.”

    I understand what you’re saying but you’ve slightly misunderstood what I’m saying. Yes the holy books refer to miracles. A miracle was/is something used by God to convince people. A miracle usually involved the defying the laws of physics or doing something which was deemed impossible such as raising the dead. When I say everything is a creation of God, yes I mean it is divinely created however it is not really used as a specific phenomena to convince people of God’s existence and that he is addressing them. When you use your hands to shape clay then all the processes used to shape the clay is a process which has been divinely created. You can only do what you have been designed to do. Your abilities and limitations are all divinely set. However we don’t refer to it as a miracle because they are things which seem normal to us and can’t be used to convince people that they are miracles.

  77. Murat says

    @Sam
    At this point, what you are arguing for is not the “existence of god”, but simply put, “the improbability of proving the absence of god”.

    I will leave it to you to see how wildly different these two are.

  78. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    “Quran claims that the “real” scripture Jesus was delivering the message through was distorted.”

    Sorry but the Quran never makes that claim. The nearest it comes to that is that it says the people of the book don’t use the words in the correct places. The Quran confirms that the Gospel, Psalms and other Old Testament books are fine to read and follow. The only books which shouldn’t be taken as divine are those written by Christians which don’t include the Gospels such as Acts.

  79. Murat says

    @Michae
    I think Sam is still perceiving the universe as a “symphony”, hence, attributing its existence to the presence of a “conductor”.

    But when you move on with the data in hand, it’s just random noises triggering and silencing each other with no pre-determined outcome.

  80. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    But there’s no experiment that can be done to distinguish something which God has created and something which God has not created

    Then your god is indistinguishable from that which does not exist. Your failure to grasp this very simple point is baffling. This is also in conflict with lots of other theologies, and despite your ranting about other religions, none of us have any reason to believe you over other people. This is yet another very simple point that religious people at large don’t seem to understand.

    Now to confuse you more – you can only determine whether God exists if God tells you how to and this is via revelation.

    Then shut up and fuck off. Like I just got done saying, if you actually believed this, then you wouldn’t say anything to anyone on this topic. But clearly you don’t.
    Your epistemology is bad and you should feel bad.

  81. Murat says

    @Sam
    It does make this claim as there are already at least four different versions of the bible to choose from, neither of which are mentioned to be “the one!” in the Quran.
    Were it not distorted, there would be no need for Mohammed already, right?
    I just don’t buy this “struggling god” concept. Too many contradictions on every single corner, making way to too many different attempts at apologetics, each of which end up even further distorting even the original flavor.

  82. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat

    I just don’t buy this “struggling god” concept

    Tell me about it. The recent calls on the topic of slavery have all involved theist callers who don’t describe an omni-god. They describe a weak, buffoonish god who came late to the party. “Well, god knew that slavery is just something we do naturally, so he just laid down some rules to help.” It’s like the god just showed up one day a few thousand years ago, saw humans in the Middle East enslaving each other, and thought “Welp, time to expend the absolute minimum amount of energy possible.”

  83. Michae says

    @Murat
    I don’t think he even want’s to talk with me. 😉 I wouldn’t say that universe is random, the phenomena that occur within the universe are a complicated web of relations and influences via gravity, magnetism, heat etc. To put it in the simplest terms the universe does what it does because it does what it does. Let’s say that we have a boulder that sits on the side of the mountain, the rain is constantly washing out the ground from benath it. When the boulder finally rolls down the mountain it’s not random, it’s the result of many that came to pass conditions. You could simulate with certain accuracy when the boulder falls. But it doesn’t mean it was planned, it just happened. And it’s the same thing I think about the universe, it just happened, no plan, just physics.

  84. Monocle Smile says

    @Michae

    To put it in the simplest terms the universe does what it does because it does what it does. Let’s say that we have a boulder that sits on the side of the mountain, the rain is constantly washing out the ground from benath it. When the boulder finally rolls down the mountain it’s not random, it’s the result of many that came to pass conditions. You could simulate with certain accuracy when the boulder falls. But it doesn’t mean it was planned, it just happened

    Precisely. This highlights a fundamental flaw in the thinking of many humans, not just religious ones. EnlightenmentLiberal has hinted at this before, but people tend to mistakenly look for prescriptive explanations when everything we learn through science involves descriptive explanations. The laws of physics aren’t their own embodied entities that dictate how the universe works, they are merely our descriptions of how the universe appears to work.

  85. Murat says

    @Michae
    Actually, if you put it this way, you may also fit in to certain perceptions of almost every religion on “how god affects the universe”. An omnipotent being is obviously able to calculate all the variants and start the process in a way to reach the exact conclusions it deems necessary.
    The question is, WHY it is necessary.
    The most sound answer to a hypothetical god feeling the need to go on and create existence is that it was just too lonely.
    Gepetto, Pinocchio…

  86. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    “It does make this claim as there are already at least four different versions of the bible to choose from, neither of which are mentioned to be “the one!” in the Quran.
    Were it not distorted, there would be no need for Mohammed already, right?”

    I assume are you are referring to the 4 gospels. All 4 gospels are fine. They contain the words of Jesus which is what the Quran is referring to. The books are called “The Gospel according to …” hence it means the authors wrote what Jesus taught ie the “Gospel”.

    Jesus was sent to the Jews/Children of Israel to show correct them and show that the religious zealots had become corrupted , he was also sent to confirm that he is the messiah and the’s going to return just before Judgement Day to confirm scripture in Daniel.

    Prophet Mohammed was sent to pagans to correct their beliefs and also to provide a message for the rest of mankind to follow. Jews and Christians can choose to follow it but they are perfectly fine to follow the Gospel or Torah if they wish. Each faith ie Muslim, Christian or Jew will be judged by the book they claim to follow.

  87. says

    This whole “humans can’t make life from non-life” argument is very strange and another case of using vague and misleading terminology. This seems to be a common problem with theists and I’ve seen many atheists get sucked into it. By using loosely defined terms that “appear” to have a common meaning and understanding, you end up down a meaningless rabbit hole.

    You would have to start by defining “life” and “non-life”, particularly “non-life” to have any chance of a discussion of this topic having any point at all.

    If you want to stay on the vague level of undefined terms being used so far, then this statement is already false. Craig Venter created an artificial organism from scratch seven years or so ago. That would satisfy most common definitions of creating life from non-life. If you want to move the bar (a common theist tactic, which is why they prefer the vague terminology which makes this easy) then strictly and clearly define life and non-life.

  88. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    “The question is, WHY it is necessary.
    The most sound answer to a hypothetical god feeling the need to go on and create existence is that it was just too lonely.
    Gepetto, Pinocchio…”

    Exactly! WHY?! That probably becomes the most important question once you know God exists. The Bible and Quran actually state why. It may not be what people want to hear but it’s there.

  89. Murat says

    @Sam

    Prophet Mohammed was sent to pagans to correct their beliefs and also to provide a message for the rest of mankind to follow. Jews and Christians can choose to follow it but they are perfectly fine to follow the Gospel or Torah if they wish. Each faith ie Muslim, Christian or Jew will be judged by the book they claim to follow.

    What kinda Polyannaesque interpretation is that???
    Are you aware that Jews following the Torah are making anyone other than themselves suffer?
    Or that you would be living in the UK as a “lesser being” had it been Christian sharia and not a man-made, secular law that reigned there?
    This perception is, like, saying that the gladiators were thrown into the arena, but each would be equally rewarded after an hour of live-or-die games.
    You’re very confused.

  90. SamFromUK says

    @Michae,

    “I still don’t get your definition of God and how you came to it. Care to use simpler terms? And maybe shorter definition?”

    I’ll try. Definition of God is:

    1. A being who is all powerful. When I say all powerful I mean there no other being or thing in existence which anywhere as powerful. Imagine our universe and multiply by a gazillion. God would be able to crush all those universes in a matter of nanoseconds into something the size of a pin head and then in the next nanosecond expand it out again. By that way I don’t advocate the Big Bang theory. Hence there can be no other god like this God.

    2. A being who has knowledge of absolutely everything. Imagine all the atoms in the universe. God would be able to tell you the entire life of those atoms in detail, each and everyone individually in an instant. This God would know all the thoughts and doings of every life created. There would no mystery at all for this God in the universe both in the known and unknown.

    3. This God is eternal. It has no beginning or end.

    4. This being created absolutely every thing that we know and don’t know. Everything we observe including ourselves is a creation. Including how we think, and dream.

  91. Michae says

    @Murat, Sam
    “Actually, if you put it this way, you may also fit in to certain perceptions of almost every religion on “how god affects the universe”. An omnipotent being is obviously able to calculate all the variants and start the process in a way to reach the exact conclusions it deems necessary.”
    Well, I said it before, Ockham’s Razor. What I said works without God and there’s no indication that he was involved. So why add him to the mix.
    @Sam
    “Exactly! WHY?! That probably becomes the most important question once you know God exists. The Bible and Quran actually state why. It may not be what people want to hear but it’s there.”
    The only “why” here is “Why should I listen what Quran says?”. How do you know God exists? How can I get to know it? Tell me, please.

  92. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    “What kinda Polyannaesque interpretation is that???
    Are you aware that Jews following the Torah are making anyone other than themselves suffer?
    Or that you would be living in the UK as a “lesser being” had it been Christian sharia and not a man-made, secular law that reigned there?
    This perception is, like, saying that the gladiators were thrown into the arena, but each would be equally rewarded after an hour of live-or-die games.
    You’re very confused.”

    Sorry but this is what the Quran clearly states. I can go through the Quran and show you. Where is the Christian Sharia in the bible? I’ve not come across it in the Gospels.

  93. Michae says

    @Sam
    “A being who is all powerful. When I say all powerful I mean there no other being or thing in existence which anywhere as powerful. Imagine our universe and multiply by a gazillion.”
    Ok, I can play this game too. Now imagine a Super God, let’s call him Frank, who is all powerful to the power of two. Imagine your God and multyply it by gazilion. Why should I bother with that definition? How is it different from wishful thinking?

  94. Michae says

    “This being created absolutely every thing that we know and don’t know. Everything we observe including ourselves is a creation. Including how we think, and dream.”
    So he made me an atheist? Tough luck, gues he doesn’t want me to be saved. Also, does that mean that destiny exists? Do I have any control over my life, or is it just planned from start to beginning?

  95. Murat says

    @Sam
    You’re getting it all wrong.
    Of course Quran tells you to not meddle into others’ faith as long as they aren’t attacking you, but this in no way means “they will be okay after death and welcome in Allah’s heaven if they obey THEIR book”.
    Nope, it doesn’t work that way: Quran claims to OVERRULE all previous revelations and says you’re responsible for it if and when the message (whatever it is) is conveyed to you.
    What you say, on the other hand, suggests something totally different. And honestly, this is the first time I’ve heard this uttered from WITHIN one faith.
    Christian sharia is both as vague and as clear as the Jewish and Muslim sharias. Read how slavery is sanctioned, what the punishments are for certain actions, and you can figure out what it would be like if it were in practice.

  96. SamFromUK says

    @Michae,

    “Ok, I can play this game too. Now imagine a Super God, let’s call him Frank, who is all powerful to the power of two. Imagine your God and multyply it by gazilion. Why should I bother with that definition? How is it different from wishful thinking?”

    Once you have God then you can’t logically have a Super God. A “Super God” would be illogical. It;s but like trying to find a number bigger than inifinity. The definition of God you arrive to has to be something which can’t be surpassed.

  97. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    “You’re getting it all wrong.
    Of course Quran tells you to not meddle into others’ faith as long as they aren’t attacking you, but this in no way means “they will be okay after death and welcome in Allah’s heaven if they obey THEIR book”.
    Nope, it doesn’t work that way: Quran claims to OVERRULE all previous revelations and says you’re responsible for it if and when the message (whatever it is) is conveyed to you.
    What you say, on the other hand, suggests something totally different. And honestly, this is the first time I’ve heard this uttered from WITHIN one faith.
    Christian sharia is both as vague and as clear as the Jewish and Muslim sharias. Read how slavery is sanctioned, what the punishments are for certain actions, and you can figure out what it would be like if it were in practice.”

    I can show you using the Quran and Bible that I’m correct. Sorry but like the majority you’ve not understood scripture even though it’s quite clear. If you want I can show you.

  98. Murat says

    @Sam
    That awesome quote about “rose-colored glasses” here… Just change “someone” with “a religion” and you’ll have my definitive answer to you:

  99. Michae says

    @Sam
    “Once you have God then you can’t logically have a Super God. A “Super God” would be illogical. It;s but like trying to find a number bigger than inifinity. The definition of God you arrive to has to be something which can’t be surpassed.”
    But my Super God is so powerful that he counted to infinity twice. It’s so obvious and logical. Again, why bother with any God? How is your God diffrent from universe without intent? And how imagining the most powerful super duper being gets me to Jesus or Muhammad? Leading back to my boulder example, if you have the explenation that it fell thanks to laws of physics at work is it reasonable to add to that “and the all powerful being wanted it to fall because it was it’s plan all along”?

  100. SamFromUK says

    @Michae,

    “So he made me an atheist? Tough luck, gues he doesn’t want me to be saved. Also, does that mean that destiny exists? Do I have any control over my life, or is it just planned from start to beginning?”

    Well God didn’t make you an atheist but he made the concept of atheism and every other belief/non-belief. You have control over your soul not exactly your life and God knows exactly what you will and whether you will end up in heaven or hell. Yes I know it sounds paradoxical but it does make sense once you really understand the concept of God. This not something which you can grasp quickly. It can take a lot of time.

    Let me clarify life and soul. Your life is what events will happen in your life. What you will earn, whether you will be healthy or ill or disabled. Who your parents/siblings and friends will be,etc. Your soul is you, that voice that talks to itself. What happens in our lives is controlled by God. I say controlled and not completely dictated by God. Your soul is tested via the events that happen through life events. Such as new relationships, being rich, being poor, being smart, or strong/weak etc. You can change things in you life making the effort. For example you can avoid jail if don’t steal. You can become rich if you work hard. You can be liked if you take the effort to be kind and generous.

  101. Michae says

    @Sam
    But you said that how we think is a creation. So according to this my way of thinking was designed. Ergo I’m an atheist because I was designed to be one. Also, does God want me to be saved or not? Why make it a game like this and not just teach and save everyone. Did he plan to have his message misunderstood at least twice before the Quran? Is he perfect and all powerful or not? Does he want to get people to heaven or not? Did he plan for me to write that here or not?

  102. jonathanrydberg says

    I’m a reluctant vegan. I love to eat meat and miss cheese immensely. That doesn’t mean that I still don’t love to eat nor continue to find joy in my diet, but my view was very similar to Matt’s prior to actually making the switch, but there were two things that compelled me to do it:

    1. learning that eating a plant-based diet is one of the most impactful things a person can do in the way of reducing one’s effect on human-caused climate change. I was personally willing and able to do this. That being the case, I personally felt obligated to take action through my food choices.

    2. realizing that choosing some animals to be food and others not to be is specist (which to his credit, Matt recognizes). In fact, Matt recognizes that he may very well be in the wrong, and is open to reevaluation based on a compelling argument. I can’t say I can provide that, but for me, it was likening it to the following scenario: If extraterrestrial beings made their way to our planet using far advanced technology and communication and enslaved humans to be a food source, regardless of our inability to communicate with them, it wouldn’t change the fact that we would find it objectionable, and probably immoral. The fact that these beings could do such a thing as a result of their evolutionary biology wouldn’t make it moral, particularly if they didn’t have to (in fact, I think humans would find it abhorrent to find out that such beings largely didn’t have to use humans for food, but did because they liked how we taste).

    In corollary, animals’ inability to express their discontent, fear, pain through more than actions and noises that don’t reach our level of understanding doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to do so on a level afforded by their cognitive abilities, formed through the process of natural selection through no fault of their own. We can verify that they have central and peripheral nervous systems though, and since we cannot obtain their consent, morally, we have to err on the side of caution.

    I don’t think a lion killing a gazelle is immoral because the lion is operating in a consistent manner of the understanding that informs its moral virtues.

    In order to remain internally logically consistent, recognizing that we vote with our dollars, I was compelled – begrudgingly – to align my actions with my beliefs, and become a vegan. It’s been almost 50 days (had been a vegetarian prior to that).

    The reasons that compelled me might not be sufficient for others though.

    I don’t really bring it up unless someone notices and asks why, and even then I refrain from making it a big deal. My morals are mine, and my reasons are mine. I try to practice them through the veil of ignorance, extending that perspective to animals. The tricky thing is that diet choices are very personal, so even if someone asks me why I eat like I do, I have to be sensitive to the fact and assure them it’s not my intention to lecture/judge what they eat. I can only present what does or does not convince me.

  103. SamFromUK says

    @Michae,

    “But my Super God is so powerful that he counted to infinity twice.”

    How do you know that unless it tells you? And when it tells you that it can count to infinity twice then how do you test to confirm it can do that? It could be bluffing to impress you.

    “How is your God diffrent from universe without intent? And how imagining the most powerful super duper being gets me to Jesus or Muhammad? Leading back to my boulder example, if you have the explenation that it fell thanks to laws of physics at work is it reasonable to add to that “and the all powerful being wanted it to fall because it was it’s plan all along”?”

    What we know about God is what he tells us about himself. And then we have to basically trust him. Could this be a false god and the real God hasn’t made himself known? Yes that’s a possibility. But we have to start somewhere so assume that the true God has made himself known.

    According to the Quran and Bible God made everything in the universe. Everything such as matter, energy, light, laws of physics etc. All these things have properties and behaviour. When your boulder falls it’s due to the laws of physics that God created. God knew it would fall and when. Can we say he planned for it to fall? I don’t know, you’d have to ask him to confirm. If God didn’t know it would fall and when then that being is not God. God has to know everything. There can’t be no surprises or unknowns for God.

  104. SamFromUK says

    @Michae,

    “Ergo I’m an atheist because I was designed to be one. Also, does God want me to be saved or not? Why make it a game like this and not just teach and save everyone. Did he plan to have his message misunderstood at least twice before the Quran? Is he perfect and all powerful or not? Does he want to get people to heaven or not? Did he plan for me to write that here or not?”

    You have a choice. God didn’t make you into an atheist you made that choice based on your own understanding. Yes God could have saved everyone and made them all believers (it actually says this in the Quran). However God says he will only guide those he wants to, those people who have good souls. We have the choice to make our souls good or bad. If you take the effort to make it good then God will save you. If you blatently choose to rebel against God then you’re destined for hell just as the devil is. The devil knows about God has seen the angels, saw the creation of Adam is able to speak to God yet he chooses to rebel against God even though the devil knows he going to hell. Why? I have no idea why.

  105. Michae says

    @Sam
    “How do you know that unless it tells you? And when it tells you that it can count to infinity twice then how do you test to confirm it can do that? It could be bluffing to impress you.”
    I trust him of course. What we know about Super God is what he tells us about himself. And then we have to basically trust him. Could this be a false god and the real God hasn’t made himself known? Yes that’s a possibility. But we have to start somewhere so assume that the true Super God has made himself known. And that he counted to infinity twice.

    Can you see my problem with that now?

  106. SamFromUK says

    @Michae,

    In short, I would say search for the truth wherever it may lead you. Be honest, kind, caring, humble, open to believing. That way you’ve lived a great life and you can honestly say you are great person. Why be arrogant and beligerent or mocking? The same advice is given to believers by God. Just because you’re a believer does not mean you are saved. Plenty of believers going to hell.

  107. SamFromUK says

    @Michae,

    The term “Super God” would be nonsensical. You would have the true God and the previous god would have been a false god.

  108. Michae says

    @Sam
    “In short, I would say search for the truth wherever it may lead you. Be honest, kind, caring, humble, open to believing. That way you’ve lived a great life and you can honestly say you are great person.”
    I am honest, that’s why I don’t believe in God. I just don’t, I’m not convinced, I don’t think that a thinking agent is necessary for the universe to exist. Just because I can imagine something doesn’t make it true. I can do good regardless of some eternal prize, I do it because I want to, because seeing others happy makes me happy.
    “Why be arrogant and beligerent or mocking?”
    I’m not mocking you, I’m trying to get you to see my point. And you’ve kinda got it, you just don’t want to admit it. Anyone can make shit up. But you can’t make up the facts of reality. Speaking of which…
    “The term “Super God” would be nonsensical. You would have the true God and the previous god would have been a false god.”
    Ok, let’s just call him Frank then. And it’s just the same case as with holy books, you just got it wrong before. But Frang forgives you, he’s just that kind of guy.
    @Yet Another Blogging Atheist
    “There are different sized infinities. Maybe your god is only an aleph-naught god and Michae’s is aleph-one.”
    Thank you, that’s exactly the case. Also Frank can count to infinity twice because he can do everything, he’s all powerful to the power of two, remember?

  109. Monocle Smile says

    @jonathanrydberg
    I’m perfectly fine with your choices and I applaud your behavior and your post, but I’d like to offer a couple of things to your two points.
    1) I would argue all day that joining an organization that develops or lobbies hard for renewable energy or nuclear energy is orders of magnitude more impactful on climate change than merely choosing to not eat animal products.
    2) I believe that the sapience line is a reasonable one to draw, which negates your alien analogy. My reasons here also inform my stance that sapient androids like Data from Star Trek would be fully deserving of all the rights and freedoms of people.
    That all being said, I’m a big proponent of the cloned meat industry, with loads of caveats about the fidelity compared to wild meat (based on how the meat is grown). Of course, this creates some other problems, like what we do with all the cows and farms, so it may be a process.

  110. RationalismRules says

    Babyblues is a SFUK sock-puppet.

    You may ask what evidence I have for this claim – my evidence is that I believe it to be true, so it is true. I have used my reason and rationality to determine this. The only way you can know the true sock-puppetness of Babyblues is if Babyblues gives you that knowledge, which he has given me.

    In the fullness of time, once you stop being arrogant, you will all come to realize this.

  111. RationalismRules says

    @MS
    ‘Sapience’ is an interesting dividing line to choose.
    Definitionally sapience = wisdom = “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement”. Is that what you mean? Couldn’t all of those be attributed to pigs?
    Also, that would mean we’d be justified in eating SFUK. (sorry, I just couldn’t resist…)

    I was thinking maybe self-awareness, but that’s problematic too.

  112. jeffh123 says

    I was going to chime in on the SFUK discussion, but it is long and covers more and more ground. Now, Kayvan’s argument from morality skip around and lack justification. If a vegan wants to discuss the economics of feeding food to cattle for a 10 to 1 loss of calories, I’m open to that discussion. Also, one can make a health based argument, both directions. Humans are omnivores. It takes a lot of careful work to ensure that one gets their proper amino acids without meat. One must also take into account the genetic make up of the individual. During WWII U.S. POWs in Japan often starved, not because of cruelty, but because of dietary deficiencies. They received the same diet as the Japanese guard, but it was inadequate for them. Take an Eskimo (sorry if you don’t like that reference) and feed him the same diet as someone on the Serengeti and he will probably be hungry. Reverse that and the person from the Serengeti eating the diet of the Eskimo would probably have a heart attack within a week. (a little tongue in cheek, but not much) I get tired of moral vegans’ holier than thou attitude. (and here comes the bait) Sort of like early Prius drivers that first year. OK to throw rocks now!

  113. says

    @Sam

    Two things.

    1.Monocle Smile just made the key point. The way you describe your god, there is the same amount of evidence for him as a god that doesn’t exist. So… you need to provide evidence over and above the natural world (and of course the koran). What is that evidence? (In relation to the koran – it’s true because I believe it isn’t evidence by the way)

    2. This keeping on carping on about Matt being rude? I’m personally in the camp where I no longer believe that other people’s religious beliefs should automatically be above questioning,so stop being so precious. You went onto his show, talked a load of rubbish, he got sick of it after a long time and finally pulled the pin.. then it’s his fault? What is wrong with you?

  114. Michae says

    @jeffh123
    Sorry, first time I even got into a discussion like that with a theist so it’s kinda all over the place. My goal was less to jab at theism as it is and more to convey my way of thinking as an atheist since there were a lots of misconceptions.

  115. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Woo! This thread blew up.

    babyblues, unlike MS, I’d like to poke some more. The importance of fallacies is pointing out that something is wrong with our thinking, why won’t theist callers get that too? Yes, not everyone cares about fallacies but we all usually get a “something is wrong here” thought when we hear a fallacious statement. The names are just that, names, don’t get caught up in them. The problem is that people care more about the name than the message, which is “something is wrong here.” Pointing out that someone is processing a point of reality wrong is something we all do, only when we give it a name do people like you bang gongs through the streets. It’s not something to be alarmed by.

    Funny, you berate Matt when you’re the one painting him as above the theists in “smarts.” He for sure has more knowledge than some of them though, that sentiment is what I agree with. The problem is their lack of knowledge or outright disregard for it. Matt is pointing that out, is there something wrong there? Many people have said that his way helped them with leaving theism but he too acknowledges that his way isn’t universal, you’re preaching to the choir. Theists aren’t fools, they’re just coded in a way that keeps them that way. Matt is just using the static way of jolting them out of it.

    Matt has legit referred to himself as a,” fat redneck” on many previous shows, he knows what the perceptions about him are. Also don’t run around presuming innocence and good will from theist callers, religions instill apologetics and lies to defend the belief all the time. This time was one of those times.

    I agree about John, he’s a gem that I’d like to hear more from.

    Sam, bud, when you close down your browser and hit the mattress(or whatever you use) do you go over anything you’ve said and the replies given from your encounters here? You repeat the same things that have been addressed threads back, so I’m wondering.

    On veganism, I don’t particularly care about my discriminatory ways of choosing what animals I eat, I actively avoid eating from the factory driven torture chambers we call the food industry but that’s about it. I’ve neven been a big fan of the fried/baked/roasted meats so I’m not in a hurry to cut down on my current dietary regimen(at least meat wise.)

    I haven’t watched the last 2 episodes yet, so I will soon. A preemptive shoutout to the bts crew and the hosts!

  116. SamFromUK says

    @Michae,

    “I’m not mocking you, I’m trying to get you to see my point. And you’ve kinda got it, you just don’t want to admit it. Anyone can make shit up. But you can’t make up the facts of reality. Speaking of which…
    “The term “Super God” would be nonsensical. You would have the true God and the previous god would have been a false god.”
    Ok, let’s just call him Frank then. And it’s just the same case as with holy books, you just got it wrong before. But Frang forgives you, he’s just that kind of guy.”

    I don know what you’re trying to say. The first problem you have is that you don’t have any scripture. If you make up scripture and claim it’s from God then your scripture has to say something which is consistent with past scripture which claims to be from God and confirm it. For example the Gospels confirm the Old Testament. The Quran confirms the Gospel and Old testament. If it doesn’t and claims to be the true scripture from God then we should examine it and see what it says. It could be that previous scripture is fake and your new scripture is the true one. The Old Testament claims that miracles were done in front of thousands of people to confirm that it was from God. Since you have new scripture I would expect you to demonstrate miracles such as making water part, bringing the dead back to life, making food from nothing, etc. If you can’t demonstrate miracles then I think it’s fine for me not to believe.

    The prophet Mohammed performed no miracles. The Quran does not claim to be the only revelation of God hence no miracles were needed. The Quran confirms the Gospel and Old Testament in which miracles were reportedly done to confirm that they were from God.

    Book of Mormons is not consistent with the Quran and Bible. Ahmadi muslims are a separate sect in Islam but they have no new scripture. Sai Baba sect is a relatively new religion, they have no scripture.

    What I’m trying to get across to you is that it’s easy to make a claim that you have revelation from God. When it comes to explaining it and confirming it it’s not so easy.

    I challenge you to make up scripture and claim it is from God and spread it to the world. You can’t do it you will fail. If you think you can then please do I’d like to see it myself and challenge it.

  117. says

    @Sam

    Just more circular arguments! The koran is true because it confirms the old testament and the gospels? And the old testament is the word of god, therefore it is true? You keep making assertions about scripture with nothing to back these up.

    If you assert that the old testament is the word of god, prove it! (hint – because it says so isn’t proof) Otherwise, can you just bugger off please?

  118. SamFromUK says

    @StonedRanger,

    “I can become those things without god, so whats the point in believing in one? So no matter what we do or how we live its god who gets to arbitrarily decide who gets an afterlife? Then again, whats the point? I understand that you don’t get to determine these things, you are just the messenger. Ive read the bible and that’s not the message I get at all, and your message is completely different than the one Im getting from the christians. They say all you need do is believe and everlasting life is yours. Who do I believe? You or them? I will tell you who I believe, none of you. When you all say you are speaking the word of god, and all using the same book to find out what gods word is, and yet every one of you has a different story to tell, with a different path to salvation, I can only assume you are all just wrong or youre all lying. Being the generous person I am I will graciously assume you are all just wrong. Because you cant all be right. Right?”

    Can you be a good person without religion? Of course you can. We have all been designed to do good, we have all been deisgned with good morals. This is what the Quran and Bible tell you. So why do we need religion. First thing is it tells you things which you have no way of knowing. We haven’t been created with the knowledge of God – this we have to learn. Secondly we don’t know what will happen in the future – revelation tells us about the future and the hereafter. Thirdly it’s guidance to confirm that we should live good, honest, caring lives.

    God makes it clear in the Bible and Quran that those who choose to do good and avoid evil will get good in the afterlife. It’s your choice. No one will be able to blame God or other people for it. No injustice will be done to anyone. So you needn’t worry if believers condemn you or you’re unsure about God. Just carry on being good and maybe at least read scripture to see what it says. What majority of Christians and Muslims say can be different to what the Quran or Bible is saying. You have to read the scriptures yourself to know what God is saying rather than relying on others understanding which may be wrong.

    For example, majority of Christians believe in the Trinity. There is absolutely no mention of the Trinity by Jesus or even in the old Testament. The majority of Muslims believe that you need to accept “hadiths” – there is absolutely no mention of this in the Quran,

    Quran and Bible say only God can guide so trust in God rather than blindly following other people. So don’t believe me, don’t believe the Christians or Muslims or Jews or Hindus, etc read the scripture and trust in God and your own reasoning and rationality.

  119. says

    quite obviously, sam is a presuppositionalist.

    presuppositionalism is inherently circularly, therefore, inherently irrational.

    the end.

  120. Michae says

    @Sam
    What scripture proves Quran then? As for Frank I’m trying to show you how nonsensical your statement on definition of God is. Anyone can make up a powerful being. I don’t get how any of this connects to any scripture. I know the scriptures exist, what’s their connection to reality? How can we prove them true besides “they say they are true”.

    “Book of Mormons is not consistent with the Quran and Bible.”
    As so many people said above, Quran and the Bible are not consistent with eachother. And why should I care about that consistency? Maybe people misinterpreted word of God and they finally got it right in the Book of Mormon? How can we find out about that? I’m sure that the Book of Mormon claims it’s true, so which one should I believe and why?

    “The prophet Mohammed performed no miracles. The Quran does not claim to be the only revelation of God hence no miracles were needed. The Quran confirms the Gospel and Old Testament in which miracles were reportedly done to confirm that they were from God.”
    So can I say that this revelation about Frank doesn’t claim to be the only one revelation hence no miracles AND new scripture is needed? He just wanted to make it clear that he counted to infinity twice and this blog post is enough of a scripture to convey his message.

    Do you see the problem I have with this? I’m trying to convey what I think to you and to explain why you don’t convince me. Even if the Old and New Testament and Quran wer absolutely consistent to the letter and contained no contradictions, they still wouldn’t strike me as a proof of all powerful God. People can write consistent books. People can write about miracles, even more awesome ones than the ones in those books. You don’t need scripture to find out about facts of reality, you can experience that something exist through observation and experimentation. You can’t observe God and there is no consistency in views about God in seperated cultures, yet there is that consistency on facts of reality.

  121. Michae says

    @Sam
    One last question. According to what you believe can I go to paradise without believing in God, just by being a good person?

  122. says

    i realize that the question from “terrance from toronto slash mark from stone church” was likely posed without sincerity, but real theists repeat it, so i ask: why does anyone need to get down on one’s knees to prove one’s sincerity to god, when god already knows what’s in everyone’s hearts, and knew all the day he created the universe?

    for that matter, why pray?

    (my questions might or might not be posed with sincerity …)

  123. SamFromUK says

    @Michae,

    “How can we prove them true besides “they say they are true”.”

    Look at the claims made in the scripture.

    “Do you see the problem I have with this? I’m trying to convey what I think to you and to explain why you don’t convince me. Even if the Old and New Testament and Quran wer absolutely consistent to the letter and contained no contradictions, they still wouldn’t strike me as a proof of all powerful God. People can write consistent books. People can write about miracles, even more awesome ones than the ones in those books. You don’t need scripture to find out about facts of reality, you can experience that something exist through observation and experimentation. You can’t observe God and there is no consistency in views about God in seperated cultures, yet there is that consistency on facts of reality.”

    First thing I would advise for you to is to actually read the Quran and Bible. To understand them with your own reasoning and not others. Otherwise you’re going to have a ton of questions which are irrelevant and I’ll be explaining things which you won’t understand at all.

    I’ve challenged you to make up scripture and claim it is from God. Just try it. The point of this is that’s not easy. You claim it is easy without even trying it. Once you find it difficult then you won’t be making up your own god so we can get rid of that question from your mind.

    There is consistency about who God is in the Quran, the Gospel and Old testament. Maybe use that as a starting point and then you can compare with whatever other religion you want. The books are open to being challenged.

    “One last question. According to what you believe can I go to paradise without believing in God, just by being a good person?”

    Question is kind of irrelevant. All I can say is that God says he knows best who is good and who will end up in heaven.

  124. Michae says

    @Sam
    Again you pointed to scripture as the proof of scripture. If I were a host of AE this would be the point when I hang up. And the challenge is ridiculous, people write consistent books all the time. Still can’t see what makes Quran and Bible special. And if only God knows who will end up in heaven and we can’t say what gets us there then it’s irrelevant to practice any religion. Bye.

  125. says

    Yeah, I’m done with Sam. He is as circular on the blog as he is on the show.

    Same message over and over. Scripture says it’s the word of god, therefore it’s the word of god. Mate, you’re not getting any traction here. Give it a rest.

    By the way. Lord of the Rings is far more internally consistent than any of your beloved scriptures..

  126. SamFromUK says

    @Michae,

    “And the challenge is ridiculous, people write consistent books all the time.”

    You’ve amde an assumption that anyone can write scripture and claim it’s from God. I’ve simply challenged you to do it or even point to one. You claim it’s easy to do yet when challenged to do it you refuse. Sorry but it’s you who makes a claim it simply out of laziness or naivety don’t want to. Every question you ask has been answered yet you carry on asking more and more because you don’t really understand the answers. When asked to read the scripture for yourself you refuse to do so. Maybe you just want someone to spoon feed you everything and don’t want to get of your ass and put some effort into it?

    Either way it’s your choice you can’t blame others for your own silly behaviour.

  127. SamFromUK says

    “Scripture says it’s the word of god, therefore it’s the word of god.”

    Exactly.

    Think about this very carefully before replying. Let’s just assume for arguments sake that there is an all knowing all powerful God who created you and everything you know of. You as a mere human being made from dust have 5 senses and a brain to interact with your reality. You know absolutely nothing about God. You only have science to determine what is true.

    Please explain to me by what method or methods you would want this God to let you know he exists? Think about this carefully now.

  128. says

    @Sam

    What the? Are you actually as dumb as you seem?

    Let me write this very slowly so that you understand, since you are asking me to think about it carefully. Explain what method or methods I would want god to let me know she exists? OK, how about direct revelation? Gee I didn’t have to think about that much did I? What about that then? Why can’t I have that? If it was good enough for Saul on the road to Damascus, why not me?

    @Sam
    ‘“Scripture says it’s the word of god, therefore it’s the word of god.”
    Exactly.’

    Exactly?

    Or alternatively, it could not be the word of god. It could be the word of some con man in a desert who wanted to manipulate and control the people around him, and he found that claiming something was the word of an all powerful invisible being was a great way to get unquestioning obedience.

    So… back atcha. Please explain to me by what method or methods you would want to use to determine that the scripture is actually the work of God and not of the aforementioned con man. Think about this carefully now.

    (For everyone else following the thread, I’ve done this before with young earth creationists. It’s like bouncing a rubber ball against a wall. It always comes back, no matter what. I don’t expect a man who can come back at me and say “Exactly” when his circular reasoning is pointed out to him to suddenly say, “Oh, I see your point”. )

  129. SamFromUK says

    @Shaun,

    “OK, how about direct revelation? Gee I didn’t have to think about that much did I? What about that then? Why can’t I have that? If it was good enough for Saul on the road to Damascus, why not me?”

    Good answer. Now you have received direct revelation, maybe in the same was as Saul. OK so how do you KNOW this direct revelation is from God and you’re not hallucinating, delusional, dreaming, etc.?

    Once you have answered that (and assume you’re not delusional) please let me know how you know the direct revelation is from a god who is all powerful and all knowing. Remember you only have science to confirm what is true.

    (For everyone else following the thread, I’ve done this before with other atheists. It’s fun. It always comes back to, I don’t know. Suddenly they may give up and throw a tantrum. )

  130. says

    @Sam

    I don’t know that the direct revelation is true. But then you don’t know that the scripture is true either. I notice you avoided completely my question.

    And no, atheists don’t chuck tantrums. They realise it’s pointless to continue debating the point with someone who has chosen to relinquish the use of reason and just stop.

    In my case, it will be if you don’t answer honestly and directly how you know that the scripture are the work of god and not of a manipulative priest class, I won’t be bothering to engage further. You can construe that as a temper tantrum if you want. It’s not. It’s a recognition that it’s pointless to further engage you.

  131. SamFromUK says

    For the atheists who were previously Christians or Muslim – The prophet Mohammed had no idea he was receiving revelation from God. He had to be convinced by God without any miracles. Moses had no idea initially that he was speaking to God but later on Moses had the privilege of doing and seeing many miracles. Probably the only prophet who knew God from the beginning was Jesus.

  132. says

    @Sam

    How would I know that it was divine revelation and not delusion? How would Mohammed know the exact same thing?

  133. SamFromUK says

    @Shaun,

    “I don’t know that the direct revelation is true. But then you don’t know that the scripture is true either.”

    Exactly my point. Inevitably you end up with circular reasoning since it’s ONLY God who can let you know he is God and he is real. Which is what I was trying to explain to Matt who kept on being belligerent.

    It comes down to saying “OK let’s assume this is scripture is from God and see what claims it makes and see if they are true and make sense”.

    I KNOW what atheists are saying. I can feel their anger and frustrations when I read their responses. I KNOW. I’ve been an atheist. So for all those who are frustrated with my replies, just chill out and don’t take it personal. We’re all in the same boat.

  134. SamFromUK says

    @Shaun,

    “How would I know that it was divine revelation and not delusion? How would Mohammed know the exact same thing?”

    Exactly. If you read the Quran it says Mohammed was scared and thought he was mad or possessed. I think the other historical sources say he thought he was possessed. It took a while for Mohammed to trust in what he was hearing. Could God have made it easier for him and performed many miracles in front of Mohammed and those he preached the message to. Yes he could have but God chose not this time.

  135. says

    @Sam

    ‘It comes down to saying “OK let’s assume this is scripture is from God and see what claims it makes and see if they are true and make sense”. ‘

    Actually no it doesn’t. Why assume in the first place? The assumption itself is what doesn’t make sense. At all. NOT. ONE. BIT.

  136. says

    PS, the frustration you feel from atheists is simply because you over and over make ridiculous assertions without any evidence to back them up. Yes, to a reasonable man this is frustrating.

    And.. I’m out.

  137. Kamikazeqvist says

    We’re all in the same boat.
    Except you’re saying the boat is sinking and since the ocean is coming in we might as well jump out, everyone else wants to find and fix the hole you say is letting the ocean in, and most notice that the boat is pretty dry inside.

  138. Murat says

    Sam is making the same mistake as many other people when failing at understanding how “scripture” worked in those times.

    TEXT was already something MAGICAL for anyone out of the elite.

    “There was this piece of paper with some SIGNS on it… The man with the long white beard looked at it and said things…. Then, I was told to deliver the paper to a merchant and… And he looked at it and said EXACTLY the same things! I swear that I never spoke a word with either of them… But the signs on that paper… They somehow REACHED OUT to these holy men THE SAME WAY! It must be something HOLY…”

    There was this German researcher who claimed that the Quran was the VERY FIRST of texts collected as a BOOK in Arabia. I suspect he might be right. The word “quran” already means COLLECTION. It’s not a well-edited collection, but probably the first one to be formatted the way it was among texts written in Arabic… The ORAL CULTURE was at its peak, poets and storytellers with amazing memory were boosting, etc… But TEXT, wow, it IS something GODLY by itself! Not everyone can practice it. First, you gotta have the TOOLS… A piece of PAPER, only God knows how much it costed! And then a QUILL and that weird thing they call the INK… A man to posess all these?… For us of the 21st century to have a grasp of what it feels like… Think of having a CLONING DEVICE and a TIME MACHINE in your backyard!

    Those crowds… People with nothing more than a piece of cloth to prevent the desert sun from burning their skin… Would they believe you if you said there was nothing holy or magical about that secret, complicated and mind-blowing processes called WRITING, READING and ARCHIVING?

    No… Then, why bother?

  139. paxoll says

    Sam, if there is no evidence in this reality for a god that you claim created the reality, how do you know a god created it?

    If the Quran, old testament, and gospels are the word of god, but are full of contradictory information, why would a god who created the universe with laws of logic and nature say things in those books that are contradictory to the universe that they created?

    The god of the the Quran, old testament, and gospels, says that through knowledge and belief everyone on earth can have personal connection to that god and be saved after death, but if god is beyond our reality, then god is beyond our understanding and we can have no knowledge, and if there is no evidence there is no way to believe. THUS the only way to have any knowledge or belief is through divine revelation, essentially that god knows everything about us and knows what it takes to convince us. Thus all it took to convince Muhammad, was some being claiming to be an angel, all it took to convince Moses was a talking burning bush. If god wants and is able to convince anyone and there is anyone who doesn’t, that means either the scriptures are wrong, or you concept of god is wrong. The only rational conclusion is all of it is wrong and no god exists.

  140. SamFromUK says

    @paxoll,

    “if there is no evidence in this reality for a god that you claim created the reality, how do you know a god created it?”

    There is evidence. Question is whether that evidence will convince you. Matt and most atheists want a type of evidence which is “external” to God. If you understand the definition of God then there is nothing external to God.

    “The god of the the Quran, old testament, and gospels, says that through knowledge and belief everyone on earth can have personal connection to that god and be saved after death”

    It doesn’t say that. If you think it does then show me. Belief on it’s own won’t save you.

    “essentially that god knows everything about us and knows what it takes to convince us”

    I agree. Which is why certain people are believers.

    “Thus all it took to convince Muhammad, was some being claiming to be an angel, all it took to convince Moses was a talking burning bush.”

    Not true. Took more than that.

    The only rational conclusion is that you just don’t know yet. You need more info and understanding.

  141. Murat says

    Some people just need a certain Nigerian prince to teach them the lesson of a lifetime.

  142. says

    From my point of view, I haven’t heard a single coherent argument ever that gives decent evidence for the existence of a god, any god.

    So until I do, muppets can yammer on all they want about their particular pet belief. It ain’t changing my thinking.

  143. says

    >And if only God knows who will end up in heaven and we can’t say what gets us there then it’s irrelevant to practice any religion. Bye.

    This puts me in mind of a conversation I had with a believer at a breakfast. I was actually curious, and not feeling at all contentious. But ultimately they became upset with me, and as soon as I saw I was causing them distress, I backed off, as that was not my intention. But I was just asking them about what they believed. And after a bit it became clear they were describing a structure wherein they didn’t judge, because who knows what god’s criteria might be?

    I pointed out that by attending church and participating in certain rites and actions–such as prayer–it made it appear as though they had some idea of what they believed this god wanted them to do. I was certainly open to other explanations–like “I just love the social aspects of church.” But I was genuinely curious: If you don’t know what god wants from you, if anything–why do anything related to god or worship?

    To me, that’s the first question when someone starts to say they’re unclear on what god wants from people or how god judges–then why curtail your behavior in any way for your god or religion?

  144. SamFromUK says

    @heicart,

    Which god?

    If you believe in a god you need scripture from that god or some other means of communication.

  145. Michae says

    @Sam
    I’ll just add that your whole argument is “I believe I am right and that’s sufficient for me being right”. It just doesn’t satisfy us. We need more substance than that. And if you are going to repeat that over and over again without adding anything more to that then it’s pointless to argue. You are not willing to even consider that you might be wrong, no matter how flimsy your reason to believe might be. I can grant you that if I had a revelation it’s possible for me to start believing. But I’m not gonna start believing just on the factor that i might get this revelation, I’ll believe only after it. Balief isn’t something you choose either, I can’t lie to myself, I’m just not convinced, and I cannot just convince myself, I have to have something or some do it. I have to have some evidence and I haven’t got any. I’m right because I’m right just won’t cut it. And on that note I wish you all a nice day, I’m going on a vacation. =)

  146. says

    Speaking of deep connections to a universal mind, harken, dear reader, to a true tale of my mother’s telepathic abilities:

    One night, my mother dreamt she was being attacked and was calling out my name. She woke from her restless dream with a gasp, to find me right beside her, hand on her arm, kissing her forehead.

    Later the next evening, like she’d been thinking about it all day, she came and hesitantly asked her skeptical child if I’d heard her calling to me in her mind, if I’d sensed it through some kind of psychic connection we had.

    I told Mom the simple truth: While asleep, she was crying out loud. Her muffled sounds of distress carried throughout our house. So I assumed she was having a nightmare, came to her side, and thought to gently awaken her.

  147. t90bb says

    SAM…..

    I have read through your posts and am amazed that you can say so much and yet say so little, your evidence for God remains confusing…..Basically…you read the Qran and you had a sense that it was true….it “made sense”. Yet you cannot seem to define or explain what it clarified specifically. Many people read books that offer them a positive, even a clarifying experience. Are they all from God??? When Christians say such nonsense (and they do) I like to ask…..Was it the stoning non virgins on their wedding night on their fathers doorstep that did it for you?? Was it the rules governing the purchase and beating slaves??? How about the instructions to gleefully smash infants against rocks???
    You make so many claims about the nature of God…the existence of the soul…heaven and hell……without even clearing the first hurdle of providing a cogent message of why you believe in a deity. Perhaps you just want to believe because it gives you hope and calms the fear of the unknown?? Perhaps you could provide the group with a very simple, succinct list of the reasons you believe a God exists….a simple 1, 2, 3. You like to jump past this point and the assert and lecture about about this deity….please give us reason to take you seriously. Matt tried at least 10 times to get you to state the basis of your belief…and all he got was “I read it and it made sense”. If this is one of the reasons you believe…please tell us specifically what it clarified for you in a way no other book could, Keep is short and simple. This probably wont be easy for you since between the show and the board its been asked of you dozens of times. Its possible that you avoid acknowledging the request because you know your reasons are weak????? Help us all clarify….And finally…do you believe the God of the Qran exists…or do you know it exists?? Thanks Sam

  148. SamFromUK says

    @Michae,

    “I can grant you that if I had a revelation it’s possible for me to start believing.”

    I think we have been here before.

    Please confirm what kind of revelation. I’ll assume you here a voice telling you that you are hearing revelation (just like the prophet Mohammed). This voice tells you it is revelation from God. Do you

    1. Think you’re going mad?
    2. Think you’re possessed?
    3. Think that you’re hallucinating due to maybe some drugs or something strange you ate?
    4. Accept that is revelation from God.

    If it’s option 4 then please tell me why and how you know it’s God?

  149. SamFromUK says

    I think I’m going around in circles. I shall dwell on the questions being asked and see if I can come up with a strategy to coherently explain what I mean.

    Please don’t hold your breath waiting for it.

  150. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    The Koran contains no miracles? So Mohammed riding a winged horse and splitting the moon are just everyday events then, huh?
    We ALREADY KNOW that loads of claims made in the Koran and Bible are appallingly false, and some of them were even known to be false at the time. What’s your excuse for that?

  151. SamFromUK says

    “The Koran contains no miracles? So Mohammed riding a winged horse and splitting the moon are just everyday events then, huh?”

    The winged horse is not in the Quran it’s in hadiths which are NOT divine revelation. The moon splitting is an event prophesied to happen near Judgment Day.

  152. Murat says

    @MS
    That Pegasus-inspired BS ain’t part of the Quran, just a popular fantasy of the hadith tradition which I had mentioned earlier, FYI.

    Quran-based Islam and the hadith-infused self-reproducing wild belief system are extremely different and separete religions, nothing even like the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism.

  153. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    That thing about the moon splitting isn’t even a technicality; it’s moving the goal posts.
    So how do you explain all the shit that both the bible and Koran get wrong?

  154. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    This is the ONE POINT of non-circularity that you’ve spouted thus far (look to see if the claims are true in the bible and koran), and yet you won’t engage whatsoever. Does that not bother you? I’m choosing (at this moment, anyway) to address the potentially reasonable part of your nonsense when it would be much easier to lambaste your presuppositionalism and all you can do is whine.
    The bible and koran make lots of claims about reality. Most of the significant claims are flatly wrong. How do you explain this?

  155. SamFromUK says

    @Michae,

    “I can’t lie to myself, I’m just not convinced, and I cannot just convince myself, I have to have something or some do it”

    **been there…felt that**

    What you need is the “Eurekha” moment. Something that will make it all click into place. I get you but before that you need to do some honest research before anything can make sense. Chances are that if you’re a theist you’ve probably been fed a load of nonsense. Might help to have a “detox” then dive in step by step. It will also help to have some basic knowledge of science. Science needs to be questioned as well.

  156. JiggleFresh says

    So, Sam is a troll. I know that many people say that folks like this really exist. Perhaps it’s naivete, but I find it hard to believe. To say that you believe that a book is true because the book says it’s true… maybe if you’re 5 years old. Idk, maybe I am too idealistic, but for now I’m going with ObviousTrollIsObvious.

  157. Michae says

    @Sam
    Science is questioned constantly. That is the basis of it’s progress. And I don’t have to specify what revelation would convince me, truth to be told I don’t know what that would be. And I don’t have reason to research Quran, I asked you for one but you didn’t give me any. Did you study all holy books there are or just the ones you like?

  158. SamFromUK says

    @Michae,

    “And I don’t have to specify what revelation would convince me, truth to be told I don’t know what that would be.”

    Why not? This is the point you guys are not getting. You keep asking for evidence then when you yourself are asked what would convince you you say you don’t know.

    Do you see the problem?

    Anyway let’s drop this for now. I think I have an idea for a strategy which may help. Might take a lot of work.

  159. paxoll says

    Sam “There is evidence. Question is whether that evidence will convince you. Matt and most atheists want a type of evidence which is “external” to God. If you understand the definition of God then there is nothing external to God.” Sorry but this is bullshit. You are claiming evidence and then not providing that that evidence is. You have repeatedly used this no true scotsman argument, only YOU have a true understanding of what what god is…

    “It doesn’t say that. If you think it does then show me. Belief on it’s own won’t save you. ”

    Isaiah 43:10King James Version (KJV)
    10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

    John 3:16King James Version (KJV)
    16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    Sura 2: verses 4 – 5
    4. And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee, and sent before thy time, and have the assurance of the Hereafter.
    5. They are on (true) guidance, from their Lord, and it is these who will prosper.”

    This is just one example from each of those books that indicate that belief is desired and provided by god.

    “Not true. Took more than that.” oh yea moses hand turned leprous and was healed…If muhammad required more please tell me what it was. This is a constant problem of you making claims and not giving any evidence or reasoning behind them, anything asserted without reason can be dismiss without reason.
    “The only rational conclusion is that you just don’t know yet. You need more info and understanding.” Back to the no true scotsman…why don’t you provide the information and see if I or anyone else can understand.

    Essentially you have claimed that god is undetectable, that we should not expect any evidence because anything involving god performing miracles could be something else like aliens (you know what would convince me, every dead person from the fighting caused by religion to come back to life), regardless if god did this multiple times in the past for thousands of people, god will only give divine revelation to random people. Next you claim that no one understands scripture but you, as if there is some possible other meaning for Exodus 21:7 “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do.” Please in your divine wisdom explain this to all us stupid atheists what a perfect god means in this passage. Explain why a perfect God 1) tells people they can sell other people as slaves/concubines/wives, and 2) tells men to go free but women are slaves for life?

    There is no reason for any rational person to believe in your religion, and SOO many reasons NOT to believe.

  160. Michae says

    @Sam
    Ok, if God showed up to all people, performed 5 miracles, and won suoerbowl by himseld and everybody would have the same consistent experience of it. That would convince me. So now what? Will it happen?

  161. rodney says

    Gee Sam, you can’t even articulate what convinced you, and you don’t seem to see the problem with that. I thought you were just trolling, then I get on here and find out you’re for real.

  162. Nathan says

    Sam, yeah, your evidence is crap, yeah, I don’t know why you keep going in circles, yeah, with this stupid logic yeah.

  163. SamFromUK says

    @Michae,

    “Ok, if God showed up to all people, performed 5 miracles, and won suoerbowl by himseld and everybody would have the same consistent experience of it. That would convince me. So now what? Will it happen?”

    Ahhh now we are making a bit of progress. Please explain what miracles. Feel free to think of the most compelling miracles you can imagine.

  164. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    My feelings are hurt here, Sam. You ignored me, bud. 🙁

    Sam is here to preach, get with it.

    Want proof? Ask.
    But wait, what’s proof? You could be hallucinating, or suffering side-effects so the only other option is believing to believe(which is false of course, when you can simply remain unconvinced and with disbelief.)

    Ultimately, Sam’s position is to believe because you’ll be unsure about the “proof,” instead of, you know, gawd getting to performing something that it knows will convince you.

    And like a lot of theists, he thinks that atheists being annoyed/getting frustrated with his boring and uninteresting diatribes of nonsense, he sees that as a “gotcha.” Not as a result of his failure to establish anything concrete. He gets off on blowing air, nothing more.

    His gawd is incompetent and inept, unable to do what human contractors do each day.

    I see he’s also an ex-atheist, which sadly means(judging from his posts) that he wasn’t one for good reasons, nor is he a theist now for decent ones either. I guess the “can’t reason yourself out of what you never reasoned yourself into” saying applies.

  165. fubarbundy says

    @ Sam…
    The issue was that you weren’t answering the question but just going around in circles instead. You didn’t seem to understand the question and, after several attempts to get through to you, Matt had to hang up. You didn’t give him any choice really because it became a pointless conversation.

    @Matt..
    A bit surprised by the way you responded to Ganesh as I think he raised a really interesting set of questions which I felt you seemed to miss. It was as though you thought that his experience was equivalent to a Western person in the same position but I’m not so sure it is.
    I know from experience, that familial pressures faced by Indian people have, in general, a different set of issues to those of western families. Indian families are often terrified of having “shame” bought on them by family members who don’t live their lives in the traditionally accepted manner and this can have really bad consequences for somebody like Ganesh.
    Also his age doesn’t really make any difference to how his family will react as there doesn’t seem to be this idea of “well he is an adult so he can do what he likes”.
    I am part Indian but I am an atheist and was raised in a very Anglicized environment. My girlfriend of 7 years is a Sikh and was raised in the traditional Sikh way. She isn’t a practicing Sikh but she does keep to some of the cultural aspects.
    We kept our relationship secret for 5 years, (even though we were living together) but eventually, her family found out about us. Her father went mental and dis-owned her. He hasn’t spoken to her since. He cut her out of his will and she isn’t allowed to go in the family home any more.
    (Some Indian girls could face much, much worse than this btw!)
    I know that western families can do similar things but I’m not sure its for the same reasons and, from experience, at least in the UK, I think that Indian families are far more likely to react like this.
    Just wondering what are your thoughts here?

  166. SamFromUK says

    “I see he’s also an ex-atheist, which sadly means(judging from his posts) that he wasn’t one for good reasons”

    This made me laugh.

  167. Max says

    I really wish they’d stop taking calls about the ethics of meat consumption. Matt routinely makes one bad argument after another, and the callers are usually not smart enough to realize it. It’s incredibly frustrating to listen to and has zero to do with atheism.

  168. Monocle Smile says

    @Max
    So you express annoyance with a topic as if it’s come up repeatedly despite only coming up once in the past year at least, and then you throw in some smugness with no elaboration whatsoever.
    1/10 try harder.

  169. Murat says

    – I don’t believe in fairies.
    > Why not?
    – Cos there’s no supporting evidence.
    > In the past, did you believe in fairies?
    – Yes.
    > Did you use to believe in golden fairies or pink ones?
    – How is that relevant?
    > It’s just easier to handle the main question for me if I have some circumstantial stuff in hand for the argument.

  170. Murat says

    @Max

    I really wish they’d stop taking calls about the ethics of meat consumption. Matt routinely makes one bad argument after another, and the callers are usually not smart enough to realize it. It’s incredibly frustrating to listen to and has zero to do with atheism.

    I agree on a few of these points but I think the issues connects to some others that are frequently covered in the show. The question of morality (and its irrelevance to God) can be worked into such talks.
    I’d suggest just the opposite: An AXP special episode concentrating solely on this issue, maybe with an expert guest, and callers from each possible variation of the ethics / diets question.
    Why not? Positions and cases can be outlined better as the (tiny or not) tie to atheism is explored once and for all.

  171. paxoll says

    Sam, you avoid a lot of questions, just like on the show. If you continue to refuse to answer then why bother having a conversation? Why call the show?

  172. says

    @paxoll

    Yes Sam is indeed avoiding any question that is inconvenient to him.. such as the question about how do you determine that the scripture is divine revelation and not a con. Never answered.

    Why? Because he has already presupposed that the scriptures are divine revelation. You can’t argue with a presuppositionalist, so no point trying.

    Best then to treat him as a troll. He isn’t convincing anyone else with his lame argument. Everyone else here has already tried to point out the weakness of his position but he won’t listen.

    The fact that when pressed he can say that direct personal revelation could be delusional if it happened to you and I, but of course wasn’t when it happened to mohammed, shows the extent to which he we will use mental contortions to justify his own views. No point engaging such a muppet.

  173. Kevin in MO says

    I have always wanted to ask a Vegan, someone like Kayvan, what they think would happen to all the animals that are kept on farms if we stopped eating meat and using other animal products tomorrow. I grew up on a farm and I guarantee you that the farmer isn’t going to keep them around if they can’t make money off of them. Are they going to turn them loose to roam the wilds? No, the animals are going to be slaughtered. Livestock and pets are the most successful animals on the planet. There are more chickens than any other kind of bird in the world. There are more cattle than any other kind of bovine and so on. There are millions and millions of them because we use them.

    Horses are actually a great example of this. There used to be exponentially more horses in the world than there are now. We used them for all our transportation needs, from personal to cargo to moving heavy equipment. And pretty much everybody had a horse, because it was a necessity. Since the invention of the internal combustion engine (ie. Automobile), they have drastically been reduced in numbers. The reason… we are not dependent on them anymore. Only reason they still exist at all is because there are still many people who love horses and have kept them for recreational purposes. (Riding the trails, horse shows, etc) But they are really only kept by hobbyist these days. Even cowboys today mostly herd cattle by motorcycles and the like. Only a few cowboys still do the work from horseback.

    Beyond the above point, he doesn’t seem to realize that farming itself is deadly to insects (Matt touched on this). Farmers use Insecticides to keep their crops from being eaten up. Also, countless insects are killed when we turn over the soil to prepare it for planting. It’s basically how we destroyed the Locust problem here in America. We wiped them out through farming.

    So veganism isn’t this “all the animals will get to live and have a wonderful life” story that they try to make it out to be. Living a life without animal products is a choice they have made though. And I support anyone who makes that choice. Good for them. But it doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone. And it’s definitely not the right choice for the animals. Not if we want to still have the millions of goats, chickens, pigs, cattle, sheep, etc that we have in the world today.

  174. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    One question: Is it possible that you are wrong about this god you believe in?

  175. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Sam, I’m glad we both got amusement from each other’s posts. Laughter truly does make the world go round. 🙂

    Since I’m feeling like a masochist today, how did you become an atheist? (This is asked honestly, might I add.) No need for the full biography or how you believed again, just a summary of the things that you believe to have shifted you from theism to atheism.

  176. SamFromUK says

    I think one of the biggest problems with atheists is that religion does not make sense. They can accept the idea of there being a god but the religious rituals such as prayer and traditions and some beliefs they just find it difficult to understand as to why they are done.

    If the god was a god of science and rationality you guys would accept him immediately. You ask for scientific evidence of this god and you are given clear convincing scientific evidence. This god would say pray and I will answer your prayer. Each time you pray your prayer is answered, if not you are clearly explained to as to why your prayer wasn’t answered. You ask for explanation of a mystery and you are given clear scientific explanation of that mystery. Evil is committed by certain people and immediately justice is seen to be done.

    I know what you guys are looking for. I used to want the same things before I believed. I don’t think there is one thing or a few things that I could say which will convince you. It took time for me. A lot of years. It’s a bit like mastering a subject. You make mistakes you learn from them, you come up with tiny niggling questions for which the answers may take a long time to understand properly. Over time you build up knowledge and become confident in that subject then you can move on to mastering it.

    So for many of you I’d have to start from scratch to make sure we are all at the same page. It’s probably just like the way Dawkins describes evolution or explains things in his books suchsuch as the God Delusion. He does it in a fantastic which seems simple clear and compelling at the same time. I’m not gifted with that ability.

    Take @Murat for example. He’s an ex muslim. He’s correct about the hadith texts that they are not divine and in fact cause a lot of confusion and hate and killing. But there’s some other things which I can prove to him that is wrong. Same goes for the ex Christians. And same goes for those never had a faith.

    In short I can’t just simply list the “evidence” of God because you simply wouldn’t be able to accept them unless I go through the finer details or background behind them.

  177. SamFromUK says

    @Chancellor,

    I became an atheist because I simply could not see the evidence of God. I was confused by all the different religions, the evil in the world. Many times my calls to God went unanswered. Science was the only thing that made sense and I could rely on. I was a huge supporter of evolution.
    In fact I used to like watching the very early shows of Atheist Experience. Its funny how I used to think about the theist callers. Same way you guys think about me now.

  178. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    So ye can’t provide “evidence.”

    Can ye at least be specific as to exactly what ye read or was revealed that convinced ye?

  179. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    No I can’t be wrong. It’s the equivalent of asking if I am wrong that I exist. You won’t understand this.

  180. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    However I could be wrong about certain interpretations of the Quran and Bible. On that I am open to being corrected and admit I may be wrong in places.

  181. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    As mentioned before and on the call it was that certain claims are true on the Quran. It all started from there. What convinced me was many years of reading and questioning and putting things together so it all made sense.

    Hence I simply can’t point to the evidence and convince you guys via an internet forum.

  182. RationalismRules says

    No I can’t be wrong. It’s the equivalent of asking if I am wrong that I exist. You won’t understand this.

    So, in your world, everyone else can be wrong, but you can’t?

  183. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    I guess that’s the inherent problem. On the call and throughout this thread, and the other threads I’ve seen ye post to, ye seem to be jumping through alot of hoops to rationalize these things. It’s one of the reasons people were pointing out to ye earlier that just because something seems internally consistent doesn’t mean it’s true. I’m a comic creator and can weave universes that have rules and internal logic by which things operate that seem internally consistent but it doesn’t mean they exist as anything other than stories I’m telling.
    Going with an understanding of old and disconnected holy texts and pulling consistency out of them and then declaring that to be revealed truth just seems kinda irresponsible. Oddly enough in another conversation today I got to dust off this quote by the late, great Terry Pratchett that seems pertinent to this conversation:
    “He was determined to discover the underlying logic behind the universe.
    Which was going to be hard, because there wasn’t one.”

  184. says

    This is a great example of the idea that when asked about what god wants, the parts of the brain associated with self light up.

    Of course you can’t be wrong about your god if it’s in fact a part of your self. However you are indeed wrong when you make that claim that it is an entity external to you.

  185. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “I’m a comic creator and can weave universes that have rules and internal logic by which things operate that seem internally consistent but it doesn’t mean they exist as anything other than stories I’m telling.”

    Exactly! This is brilliant, maybe a comic creator will be able to relate to what I have been trying to say all this time (I’m being serious).

    You should ponder a lot on what you have written here. In fact if you understand what you have written then you’ve basically cracked it. You’ve done it ! This could be the thing that leads to your Eurekha moment.

    But alas, are you going to really think about it? Are you really going to question your reality, science, your existence?

    I’ll stop trying to be funny for a moment.

    Here it is @Evil, here’s your BIG question – “Do you exist? Does the world you observe exist?”. What is “existence”? What does it mean to “exist”?. You create a universe in your “comic world”. Is your “comic universe” infinitely large? Of course it is. But why and how? It’s because you wanted it that way. Whatever you want you get. Who in your “comic universe” is going to stop you? Who in your “comic universe” is going to disagree? Those characters you created? Who are they to argue? They are but a pigment of your imagination, all replaceable with one quick stroke of the pencil. Is there a part of the comic universe you created which you don’t know about? Is it logical to even suggest such a thing?

    Those rules and logic you created for your characters. Within the time it takes you to think of a thought you can change them as you please. Animals who could never talk suddenly begin to talk. Billions of characters who you decided to destroy on a planet suddenly re-appear in perfection? Do they remember where they went to when they were destroyed? Do they now know what will happen to them? They don’t. But who knows? You know, only you know and those who you wish to tell. You know everything about them and you will do what pleases you. After all can some made up comic characters do anything to you?

  186. paxoll says

    Sam, if you had “many years of reading and questioning and putting things together so it all made sense.” then by now it should be crystal clear and you should be able to explain it simply and succinctly. The fact you don’t is a clear sign of intellectual dishonesty. At this point, you have already poisoned your own well to essentially everyone here. You have done a great disservice to your religion and god.

  187. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam
    To be completely honest I occasionally enjoy a thought experiment with my various storylines, which have evolved quite a bit over the years as I’ve developed the stories. I wonder sometimes whether the lives of the characters are suddenly and sharply altered in ways they can’t even register, or if it’s ME who’s changing because I’m viewing an alternate reality and whenever I make changes to the story it’s me gaining a clearer image of the Universe I’m looking in on.
    But this kinda speaks to the rest of the problem here. While it’s fun to think about, is there any reason at all to think that it’s true and that these characters are real or that in some dimensional vibration all this stuff is actually happening? Not really. It’d be neat if it was, though admittedly if it WAS true then I’ve got ALOT of very powerful beings with every right to be very upset with me for what I’ve put them through, but at the end of the day there’s no reason to think it’s anything other than some interesting stuff I made up.
    Yer very committed to yer belief in God/Yahweh/Allah/whatever and over the course of this thread ye haven’t really offered much to justify it other than a belief that the things ye’ve read are consistent with eachother and it just explains so much. Again, neat, but is there any reason to believe that ye’ve actually seen behind the curtain or are indulging in a comfortable fiction? Even to the less inflammatory commenters here ye haven’t really made the case for anything approaching a demonstrable claim.
    I mean if we’re just pontificating about things sufficient to explain the Universe, have ye considered perhaps the Green Sun? It does a far better job of explaining the observable Universe than cherry picking details out of three disparate holy books. Even things like the problem of evil or the wonky way things occasionally seem to work in our Universe are easily explainable because Karkat didn’t really do a good job helping Kanaya breed the Genesis Frog that became our Universe, but then he was rather distracted making sure the rest of the Trolls didn’t kill eachother as was their nature. I mean granted ye need to possess the ability to do some 4th Dimensional Thinking to accommodate the Weird Plot Shit and Time Shenanigans that come with understanding how despite all Universes orbiting the Green Sun it didn’t exist till Doc Scratch tricked the Beta Kids from our Universe into setting off the tumor and creating it in the Furthest Ring in the first place…
    But I’m afraid I’m getting away from my point. Giving ye the benefit of the doubt, it looks alot like what yer doing is pointing to a fictional story and claiming it’s real. Yer reasons for believing so is that ye read the scriptures and it just makes sense. However, as Tracy once said, “things that haven’t been demonstrated to exist can’t be the reason for other things” and an all powerful wizard behind the curtain not only hasn’t been demonstrated, no justifiable reason has been given that its necessary for the observable universe to exist. It gets said alot that up to the plank time we’ve got no idea what was going on past that, and while its conceivably possible that a timeless entity with agency made a directed decision to set off the Big Bang, there’s no reason to think it was that any more than countless other crazy ideas. So when someone comes along and is like “it’s a spaceless, timeless, all powerful, all loving cosmic figure that made itself known through the person of Jesus Christ or Muhammed or David Koresh or Don Rickles or whatever” yer gonna have to provide some more compelling evidence than “well this old book said it’s the word of god and once ye read it all makes sense.” I could make just as compelling an argument that we’re here as a function of Sgrub and it carries the exact same weight.

  188. SamFromUK says

    “if you had “many years of reading and questioning and putting things together so it all made sense.” then by now it should be crystal clear and you should be able to explain it simply and succinctly”

    Sorry your analogy is incorrect. The correct analogy is like explaining to a 5 year old high school physics when they’ve just started to learn basic stuff at school. You have to build them up.

  189. paxoll says

    While I disagree with you that there is any basic stuff to learn with any philosophy or religion that can’t be quickly explained, I will agree with you for your sake. A PhD in physics understands physics well enough that they can explain it to a 5 year old so they understand. The 5 year old will not be able to do the complex math to make physics calculations but they can explain it so it can be understood. Its the 10 year old that doesn’t understand physics well enough to explain it to a 5 year old.

  190. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    Don’t be silly. Of course I can be wrong. I’ve been wrong many many times. It depends on what you’re asking.

    When it comes to you guys asking me if I am wrong about God existing then it’s just like asking me stop believing that 1 + 1= 2. (Incidentally 1+1=2 doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true in the real world but that is a different but related topic)

  191. SamFromUK says

    @paxoll,

    “The 5 year old will not be able to do the complex math to make physics calculations”

    That’s the key thing. The 5 year old needs learn the basics first. You need to be able to add, divide, subtract, multiply before you go on to working things out like area and volume.

  192. RationalismRules says

    Sam,
    In #188 you said:

    No I can’t be wrong. It’s the equivalent of asking if I am wrong that I exist.

    Now in #200 you are saying:

    Of course I can be wrong. I’ve been wrong many many times. It depends on what you’re asking.

    Please clarify as to which particular subject you consider yourself to be infallible on.

  193. SamFromUK says

    So as it stand my thoughts are that I’d have to slowly build you guys up to explain where I’m coming from. Could someone else do it more quickly and articulate it in a concise, easy to understand way? Of course they could but I humbly admit my short comings and accept that I’m not one of those gifted individuals.

  194. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    So, in your world, everyone else can be wrong about the existence of god, but you can’t?

  195. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    And returning to #188, where you said:

    No I can’t be wrong. It’s the equivalent of asking if I am wrong that I exist.

    So, why is it that for you it’s the equivalent of asking if you are wrong that you exist, yet you are apparently applying a different standard to everyone else?

  196. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “it looks alot like what yer doing is pointing to a fictional story and claiming it’s real.”

    I’m not sure if you quite understood what I was trying to say when I said you as a comic creator could relate to what I am trying to explain. It’s not that the stories could be real or become real. it is the experience of being a comic creator itself aka YOU being the god of your comic universe. You have experience of what it’s like being the creator of a comic universe of being it’s god. You can do as you please in your comic universe. In the same way God can do as he pleases in our real universe. Just imagine you could bring your comic universe to life and all it’s characters. Then one of the characters asks you if there is something that you don’t know about the universe.

  197. says

    See what happens when you engage a muppet? He keeps going on and. You’re no closer to getting any sense out of him, and yet so many more posts have been wasted on something that is going nowhere.

    He’s not convincing anybody here that he is anything other than delusional.

    And no one here is convincing him that he has no evidence for his belief. So.. kind of pointless really.

    “Trying to argue with someone who has renounced the use of reason is like trying to administer medicine to a dead person”

  198. paxoll says

    I agree Shaun. Sam has refused to answer basic questions about reason and evidence because he is “so far beyond everyone” that they could not understand. Makes completely unfounded claims and avoids giving any specifics. His is obtuse and intentionally dishonest in his conversation. I am done here.

  199. RationalismRules says

    @Shaun @Paxoll
    I’m happy to take up the baton for a while, since I’ve finished my popcorn. Although, at the moment it looks like he’s run away.

  200. RationalismRules says

    @Sam,
    Let’s stick to one issue at a time, shall we?

    You have claimed that you are infallible on the question of god’s existence, but that everyone else could possibly be wrong on the same question.

    The question on the table is, why, in relation to the existence of god, do you apply a different standard to yourself than you do to everyone else?

  201. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    Because the existence of God is the same as saying I exist. I have to have something I can use as a base a staring point to explain everything. Everything else I can be wrong on. But if I deny I exist then I can’t go any further.

  202. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    Think of it another way. What came first, you or the universe? God is not the universe but we are saying God created it and us. Therefore God comes first. This is what atheists can’t handle. They just simply can’t accept that God created them and the universe without “evidence”. Atheists are caught in their own circular reasoning and get upset when theists are perfectly comfortable with it.

    So basically what I’m saying is that at some point in your search for the truth you have to accept circular reasoning regardless of how ridiculous it may sound. You just have to know when to accept it.

  203. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    I’m not currently interested in your various claims about god. What I’m interested in is why you consider yourself to be infallible on this issue.

    So you’re claiming:

    Because the existence of God is the same as saying I exist.

    ..however, you have said that you used to be an atheist. Did you not exist when you were an atheist?

  204. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    Exactly. It doesn’t matter what I believe. Reality is reality. Question is how you view it if you begin to think about.

    Hence my question about evolution. Did evolution not exist before the word was used to describe it? It’s always been there. It’s just that we gave it a name. God has always been there, it’s just that we discover God and then use a means to refer to him. Question for atheists is how do they determine this is true given that people lie and our brains are limited. At some point you have to accept something before you can go further.

  205. Murat says

    If the god was a god of science and rationality you guys would accept him immediately.

    I’m having a hard time figuring out if Sam is using his perception of Islam just as a practical identity to match with his suppositions, or if he really is into the theology and the philosophy of the religion.
    Because this quote does not look like coming from a conscious muslim. Indeed, the Quran makes emphasis on how “nature” works, how the fields of sciences and the patterns of rationality can be used to see the ways of God. I don’t understand one’s particular reason to not give a chance to Christianity and jump directly from atheism to Islam if he DOES NOT invest in the idea of the “god of science and rationality”.
    Some of the answers he provides here suggest he can tell one religion apart from another, whereas some others point out to deep confusion.
    Mostly online, when I have the time, I do engage with theists, including muslims and so-called muslims. The latter group tend to buy anything presented to them simply out of the fear of “failing to believe a holy knowledge”. It takes just a few questions to see if these people are SANE but have been poisoned by the hadith-making culture which is a mish-mash of almost anything EXCLUDING genuine theology, or if they are simply DUMB.
    A conscious muslim, on the other hand, can provide some good arguments by relying mostly on facts like how often in the Quran humans are provoked into REASONING by the repetition of phrases like “do you not ever think on…” etc.
    Now, if one claims to believe in a god which is NOT the “god of science and rationality”, then I don’t know what his reasons for stopping his search at this particular point are. He can totally fall hook, line and sinker for a heavily distorted version of this or any other religion as well.
    As I pointed out in some very earlier posts of this thread, I think Sam has some totally personal or social reasons for his current stance. And when he tries to provide explanations without referring to them, the position he tries to defend becomes a very ambiguous one.

  206. Murat says

    Exactly. It doesn’t matter what I believe. Reality is reality. Question is how you view it if you begin to think about.

    Hence my question about evolution. Did evolution not exist before the word was used to describe it? It’s always been there. It’s just that we gave it a name. God has always been there, it’s just that we discover God and then use a means to refer to him. Question for atheists is how do they determine this is true given that people lie and our brains are limited. At some point you have to accept something before you can go further.

    Accepting you don’t KNOW something is also part of ACCEPTANCE.
    The very obvious fault in accepting one explanation OVER OTHERS without evidence is that, it simply leads you to where dogmas (that have taken centuries to build) rule.

  207. Murat says

    So basically what I’m saying is that at some point in your search for the truth you have to accept circular reasoning regardless of how ridiculous it may sound. You just have to know when to accept it.

    This is one way of saying that Vikings were very right in believing in Valhalla. Those who fought under the inspiration of Odin and died in combat are currently there, enjoying eternal comfort.
    Same goes for any other individual that just went on with a popular enough belief of his/her time.
    Nobody is wrong. Ever.

  208. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    Again, I’m not currently interested in your claims about god. My interest is why you consider yourself to be infallible on the existence of god, while you consider everyone else to be fallible on the same question.

    You have twice said that the existence of god is somehow equivalent to your own existence. Here is how you put it in #216:

    Because the existence of God is the same as saying I exist.

    Please answer my question: did you or did you not exist when you were an atheist?

  209. Murat says

    Because the existence of God is the same as saying I exist.

    It’s the SAME only if God is ME.

  210. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    “The latter group tend to buy anything presented to them simply out of the fear of “failing to believe a holy knowledge””

    I love this.

  211. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    So you existed without god, and god existed without you, so this:

    Because the existence of God is the same as saying I exist.

    doesn’t make any sense, does it?

  212. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    Correction – you existed WITHOUT THE BELIEF in a god. (I presume you were aware of the concept of god). But even with that correction, your statement still doesn’t make sense. How is the existence of a god the same as your awareness of your own existence? If they were the same, the god couldn’t have existed prior to you becoming self-aware.

  213. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    Yes my statement was wrong. I was just trying to get the point across that I can’t deny the existence of God.
    Now I know God has always existed.

  214. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    Good, I’m glad we cleared that up.

    That takes us back to the issue of your infallibility. Since you claim you cannot be wrong on the question of the existence of god, and you claim that everyone else could be wrong, what is it that sets you apart from everyone else on this issue?

  215. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    Everyone has experiences and understanding. What about yours makes you infallible?

  216. Murat says

    @Sam
    Are you a somehow self-taught theist who favors the scripture to some level, or, is it scripture that led you to your current understanding of God?

  217. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    It’s late here and I’m off to bed, so take your time answering that last question.

  218. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    Makes sense to me.

    How long do you keep on planning these kind of useless questions? It’s getting boring.

  219. t90bb says

    so we are 230 posts in and Sam STILL has not explained why he believes…..its like his call on the show is being played out here on the blog/////…

    After many of us has reeled Sam back..and asked him to stop making assertions about his magical genie until he explains why he believes….he acknowledges the request…..says something like its too hard to express (that its not in his skill set) and then goes about lecturing and making even more assertions.
    This is not benefiting anyone. Unless Sam immediately lays out his case as to WHY he believes I will be asking to moderator to have him banned. We are not making an unreasonable request of Sam. This is not forum for him to lecture and tell atheists “what they fail to understand” if he is unable to even explain why he believes. If he wants a forum to try to convince others that he is somehow enlightened I suggest he start his own web site. Its your move Sam….

  220. Murat says

    @Sam

    1) Would you hold the very same belifs if scripture was a bit different on some issues than it now is?

    2) Did you read any notorios “man made” books (Marx, Freud, Rousseau, Jibran etc.) with the same open minded search that you applied to “scripture”?

  221. SamFromUK says

    1) Yes, wouldn’t make a difference as long as it wasn’t changed by people.
    2) No I haven’t.

  222. Murat says

    Wow!
    No more questions, your honor!
    You just laid out flat how out of the blue and unsubstantiated your path to this current position you hold was.

  223. Monocle Smile says

    I’m with Shaun on the muppet thing.
    I’m rather insulted that Sam showed up here to convince us of something when he admit that nothing would change his own mind.

  224. t90bb says

    as previously stated I am contacting the moderator to have sam booted…..i recommend you do the same. sorry sam this is not a platform for your assertions without providing your basis…..please tell the moderator to boot sam as i am about to do

  225. Murat says

    Why would someone be booted just for not making sense? I don’t think Sam is in conflict with the requirements of the format. This space should not become an echo chamber. People of different positions AND those suffering contradiction or lack of logical integrity should also be welcome as long as they are not particularly vulgar.
    It’s not like anyone is obliged not to ignore Sam.

  226. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    I agree with Murat. Sam, whether he’s serious or not, has not said anything derogatory or anything. He may be obtuse, but isn’t part of the point of discussion forums like this to engage people with different points of view? Anywho:

    @Sam – 208

    I understood what ye were saying. When ye create a fictional universe ye can somewhat conceptualize what we might be to a God who’s making us up. I’m guessing yer sorta also saying that we can no more have actual knowledge of God than one of my characters can have actual knowledge of me, but whatever.
    The issue at hand is that while a neat idea there is no reason to believe that something like that is what’s actually going on. Ye, however, seem to believe that it is and people want to know why.
    On the show an exasperated Matt asked ye if ye care whether or not what ye believe is true and ye answered in the affirmative, but both on the show and here ye haven’t really demonstrated that. It seems that ye found an explanation for existence that ye liked and yer gonna run with it, avoiding at all costs critical examination of said explanation.
    The logic ye do display is demonstrably circular on this issue and then when called on it ye respond with various non sequiturs and projection. While ye haven’t really crossed the line into Sye Ten Bruggencate level Presuppositional Shutdown yer skating might close to it. I’d be surprised if anyone here legitimately had any hope of getting ye over yer speed bump in reasoning, but for me personally I’ve got this irritating need to understand the positions of people who think different from me and so fart ye haven’t gotten us anywhere close to understand how ye came to believe ye’ve got a bead on God.

  227. SamFromUK says

    “I’m guessing yer sorta also saying that we can no more have actual knowledge of God than one of my characters can have actual knowledge of me, but whatever.”

    I humbly request that you ponder on this some more. This is kind of what God is saying in the Quran and Bible except it’s way more serious. Try reading the Quran and Bible. When I say Bible I mean the Gospels and the Old Testament.

  228. Murat says

    @Evil God

    At this point, the most appropriate AXP episode to mention seems to be the one that had John Loftus as a guest. He had mentioned something like that, which I had found remarkably clear:

    “We can think of Superman’s powers, weaknesses, character etc. and conclude what Superman could or would do under various circumstances. We can reasonably write into the concept of Superman this and that. But the actual question to deal with remains separete from all that: Does Superman really exist?”

    I guess Loftus is kind of an anti-social person weary of discussions and may not be seen again on the show, so, maybe Sam should just find and watch that AXP appearance or have a look at his published work.

  229. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    I’ve pondered on this a lot over the course of my life. Also like alot of the posters here, I was a theist earlier in life. I took it very seriously at the time and am quite familiar with the Scriptures. In a large part the reason I’m a functional atheist now is because of said studies.

    My question remains, what makes ye think that this thought experiment with created characters maps to reality? Ye’ve said earlier ye can’t be wrong about it and I really want to know how ye came to that conclusion. Ye seem to imply that ye had an “oh yeah, doy! Of course the Quran is correct!” moment and ye’ve got an audience waiting with baited breath for ye to walk us through that thought process.

  230. SamFromUK says

    “My question remains, what makes ye think that this thought experiment with created characters maps to reality?”

    If you had read scripture did you not encounter this? Maybe you missed it?

  231. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    By all means, just for a moment assume I’m an idiot or obtuse then. People look at the same thing and come away with different observations all the time and maybe that’s what we’ve got going on here. Please answer the question.

  232. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    Created characters in works of fiction are not actual beings. They are not real. They do not exist. They are not sapient entities in a real universe. The analogy simply does not scale in accordance with your “point.”

    Care to address the things that the bible and quran get wrong? Or are you going to continue to conveniently ignore this glaring problem?

  233. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    When I read the Quran I was lead to believing things which were not true by other Muslims. They kind of pressure you. I think Christians go through the same thing hence many believe in the Trinity.

    Did you believe in the Trinity?

  234. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 255

    “Did you believe in the Trinity?”

    Hmmmm, interesting question. Short answer, “yes” with an “if”; long answer, “no,” with a “but”.

    But I feel we’re getting away from the point and this doesn’t actually answer my question. So I’ll frame it again for those listening at home:

    Again, the Quran says alot of stuff. What makes ye think yer understanding of God gleaned from it actually maps to reality?

  235. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    A good one is that some people won’t believe no matter what signs are shown to them.

  236. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam
    That’s lazy and unimpressive. It’s a wonder ye were convinced by that.

  237. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    No one can create life from scratch. That’s a good one.

    This is a terrible one. This was ground into fine dust and immolated in the last thread.
    Two hundred years ago, if someone said “no one can split atoms (except god),” would that have been reasonable? It doesn’t matter one shit that humans can’t do something today, and your epic failure to grasp this is one of your muppet qualities.

  238. SamFromUK says

    “some people won’t believe no matter what signs are shown to them.”

    This is quite a subtle but important statement in the Quran. Takes some more deeper understanding of humans and God to understand.

  239. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 262

    Is it a subtle but important statement? Because it seems an awful lot like a dodge against incredulous people that the reason they don’t “see” is because they’re insufficiently credulous.

    If there’s a cosmic super entity behind the curtain, I’d certainly like to know about it. Hell, I’d think it was really cool and interesting if someone could present a reason to believe one was there. Something convinced ye it was out there. Not just that it exists within a set of plausible explanations but that it is THE plausible explanation, and I still desperately would like to know what that was.

  240. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    I know what you’re saying. There are some very difficult questions/ For example:

    1. If God knows who will go to heaven and hell why create us?
    2. Why is there evil?
    3. Why can’t God just show himself to us?
    4. Why does God sanction slavery?
    5. Why are there disabled people?
    6. Why doesn’t god just make us all believers?
    7. Will someone who has done good all his life but doesn’t believe in God go to hell?

    etc. etc.

    You do eventually learn the answers to them, well most anyway but as I keep saying it took me a long time. I can’t tell you over a forum.

  241. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Can you have a “plausible” explanation for a fairyland kingdom or talking animals? Is it possible?

  242. Murat says

    I know what you’re saying. There are some very difficult questions/ For example
    blah
    blah
    blah
    You do eventually learn the answers to them…

    These aren’t “good questions”.
    These are the questions that EXPOSE the pokes in the system.
    *
    And you don’t LEARN answers unless you are a miserable prisoner of DOGMA.
    You FIND answers…
    *
    What you have been programmed to provide as replies to these answers has a title: APOLOGETICS.
    And it exists exactly because you can’t TEST any anwers you MAKE UP for these questions.
    *
    Jeez…

  243. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “If there’s a cosmic super entity behind the curtain, I’d certainly like to know about it.”

    My plan is to write something on the internet which may help answer all the questions I’ve been asked. There’s a lot of questions for which the answer may need lots of background information to convince the reader. If I get it up and running I’ll let you know.

  244. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 264
    Perhaps, if God actually exists, the answer to that series of questions is that he does those things for the same reason I have within my created Universe: Compelling drama.
    That doesn’t speak though as to whether or not there’s actually a God doing/allowing that rather than just things being the way they are.

    -265
    “Can you have a “plausible” explanation for a fairyland kingdom or talking animals? Is it possible?”

    What’s the context of this question? Am I just reading it in a story or observing it happening right in front of me? For the former the answer is quite easy, the plausible explanation is that’s what the author wanted to happen, so there we are.
    If I’m observing it happening in front of me then that opens up a different series of questions. Jumping past the standard “am I dreaming/hallucinating” path and assuming that my sense are relaying proper information to me and that I am, legitimately, conversing with an animal or wrestling with the actual logistics of my sexual attraction to Tinkerbell, then I have to admit that my understanding of the world around me has some sizable holes in it. The presence of things outside my understanding does not open the door to any and all supernatural claims though.

  245. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    If not already aware then you should realise that anything is possible in this reality. Anything. There are no rules which can’t be broken. We used to think such and such thing wasn’t possible then suddenly after some discovery it does become possible.

    You think talking animals is weird yet here you are a talking animal. It’s just that because you observe this all the time it’s “normal”. If suddenly pigs started talking at first it would be weird. If it happened for hundreds of years it would be “normal”. Humans and pigs would be accepted as the only 2 animal species who can talk.

    Take another example. If I were to say to you I will make dust walk and talk and give it intelligence you would think that it’s not possible. Yet here you are walking, talking dust with intelligence. If you don’t think you are made of dust then take a look in the nearest graveyard.

    …think deeply…

  246. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Anyway it’s been nice talking with you. Will be back some other day maybe if I feel I have something to share.

  247. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam
    See man, the problem here is that just because “anything is possible” doesn’t mean everything is equally likely.
    A talking animal would certainly be an interesting thing but barring parrots or dogs on Youtube who can bark “I love you” it’s not something to realistically expect. Hell, the way their mouths and vocal cords are set up human speech is downright impossible for alot of them.
    The existence of fairies like Pamila and Pfil would be exciting (in more ways than I can describe), but there’s never been any hint that a creature like that ever did or even could exist. Not saying somewhere out there it’s not possible, it’s just unlikely.
    And moving forward, the existence of a God would certainly be a show stopper, but other than wishful thinking, fever dreams, or misunderstandings of nature by thinking agents there’s no reason to think there’s actually one out there.

    Again, ye said on the show that ye care about truth. For ye it is true that God is out there. Somehow this was demonstrated to ye. Do ye have anything better for what convinced ye other than “hey it’s not IMpossible”?

  248. says

    I’m with t900bb to be honest. May as well ban Sam from the forum.

    Not because I disagree with him. I don’t have a problem with people holding differing views to me.

    More because he is not advancing an argument he is making a claim. He is not debating that claim. He is simply repeating that his claim is true over and over in varying ways, exactly as he did on the show.

    His claim is that scripture is the word of god and it is the only way god communicates with the world. When asked why he believes that he falls back to, well you just assume.

    If that’s the answer fine. It’s already been said. No need to carry on. On the show, Russell especially will end conversations when they hit a brick wall and won’t go beyond this assumption.

    Sam is not explaining what he believes and why. He is preaching that he believes something and his is the correct position(and now essentially gloating – I’m right, you’re wrong and that’s that). The show has never been a soapbox for such preaching. Why should the forum?

  249. Murat says

    @Shaun
    We can not always know how rapidly people are absorbing the other side’s arguments. We just see pieces of text and assume them to reflect the (absence of) change the poster is (not) going through.
    As Gregory House says, “Everybody lies”.
    One sticking to an argument does not necessaryly always mean one’s mind is actually not changing at all.
    You know, when you’re, like, a third grader or something, a girl may punch you out of the blue. You may think it’s a random act of violence or that she’s just crazy. But actions speak louder than words and such an action may indeed be the indicator of a romantic interest.
    In daily life, we read the data through a 3-dimensional experience. We don’t observe the “actions”. On here, it’s just pieces of text.
    I’m deliberately not being too clear, but I hope that was clear enough to make the point intended.

  250. Murat says

    correction:
    *
    In daily life, we read the data through a 3-dimensional experience. Whereas on here, it’s just pieces of text. We don’t observe the “actions”.
    *

  251. Monocle Smile says

    @Shaun, t900bb
    I’m with Murat. Sam’s obnoxious, but there’s no need to ban him unless he just starts blatant spamming or breaks the rules of moderation. Collectively ignoring him will have a similar effect.

  252. says

    @Murat

    I disagree with you, although I see your point.

    I personally don’t think Sam is for changing, although naturally I could be wrong and you could be right. There may indeed be something going on beneath surface but I really doubt it.

    The recent tone of Sam’s post has been gloating. He isn’t seeking to give evidence he is doing the old “oh you atheists just can’t see, and one day maybe you too will see” rubbish. That is not beneficial to anyone.

    I am not in favour of getting him booted because I disagree with him. I am in favour of getting him booted because he is repetitive and it just bogs down the forum with rubbish. If he was responding to questions honestly and the discussion was advancing it would be worth continuing. A discussion in which someone is so deluded he thinks he is scoring points when he isn’t is not worth continuing.

    Matt has had debates with many theists. Though he has a different point of view he respects most of them, with the exception of Sye Ten Bruggencate – a presuppositionalist. Sam is in the same category. He begins from an assumption that the koran is true. That’s pretty much the end of the debate. Can’t reason with people like that, so why give him a platform.

    As an aside he claims to have been an atheist. That is clearly not the case. Being brought up hindu then losing your faith is not actually what I would call atheist, more just someone drifting without any particular religious belief for a time. He makes the claim that he was an atheist so that he can say he saw the light and that he was so misguided before. Labelling himself a former atheist is simply a device he uses to say.. “See, I must be right.. I used to be like you but now I know the truth.”. It’s a cheap parlour trick.

  253. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Thanks for answering, Sam. 🙂

    I’m still on “he’s here to preach” but I still have an interest in watching, so I’m opposed to pulling the plug on him for now. Looks like he’s on a break anyway, so we don’t have to break bad(like it screeches) anyway.

  254. RationalismRules says

    I’ll add my voice to the opposition to a ban.

    Failing to make a good argument and doing so persistently and repetitively is not reason enough to ban someone. Nobody is being forced to engage with him against their will, and if nobody was responding to him he would go away. If you don’t want to talk to him, then don’t. If you don’t want others to talk to him, then persuade them to stop. Unless you can show that his presence is harmful to the blog, there is no good argument to ban him.

    @Shaun: Cutting off a caller to the show for those same reasons is entirely legit because of the limited time available and the limit of one caller at a time, which means that time wasted on Sam is time denied to other callers. But there are no such restrictions on the blog, so he is not stopping other conversations from taking place.

  255. creativself says

    I actually can’t believe that at ~49:14 Matt says that he doesn’t care about what any individual’s opinion is and then proceeds to ask if it’s “immoral to own people, just as a fact”. Has Matt always thought that there is an objective moral truth? I mean sure, most people consider killing as immoral, but what happens when you get into more ambiguous subjects. Is it moral to abort a baby 1 week before birth? 2 weeks? 1 month? Is it immoral to not give up your seat for a pregnant woman? Is it immoral to disrespect your parents? Is it immoral to steal to eat when you’re hungry? I think that morality is subjective, not objective. Even two people who agree on almost everything will disagree on something. It also depends on the culture and the time. If you use your current standards and barometer of morality for what happened many years in the past, then of course you will say it’s not moral (and I will agree with you). But if you asked me last week if it’s moral, maybe I would have a different answer. If you ask me 1 week from now, maybe my opinion will have changed again. I think it’s something that has to be constantly adjusted and questioned. The idea of objective morality doesn’t make sense (to me). That is kind of like what religion does.

  256. says

    @RR

    Of course.

    And naturally I am opposed to blogs that seek to erase dissenting views, as you see in many right wing blogs as an example.

    I did however find the slipperiness Sam’s of refusal to engage many questions that pointed to flaws in his position to be very disingenuous.

    Mind you, all theistic arguments are weak and yet without them the AXP would not be an entertaining show. Look at the trees, say you found a watch, the Kalam argument. We’ve all heard them countless times before.

    So I guess I would just say that the people like Sam, annoying though he is, are what make the AXP. I just wish that getting a straight answer from him wasn’t like nailing jelly to a wall.

    As for the call, I found it one of the least entertaining theistic calls I have heard. At least with that guy who has been calling in lately (I think he calls himself Andrew, but he sounds suspiciously like Kabane the Christian) there is a progression of the conversation.

    Even the vegan call was a progression of ideas. By contrast, Sam’s call was like a record getting stuck.

  257. paxoll says

    The vegan caller should watch some Aron Ra about the classification of life. There is really no hard distinction between life, his position is arbitrary. If he wants to draw some moral line somewhere he needs a good rationalization for why to place it there. Everything that is living has developed responses in order to continue living, so he needs to define suffering and give his rationalization for that definition that differentiates the what his food experiences and what Matts does.

  258. Robin says

    I hate the whole Vegan morality stance.

    Vegan food is the cause of slash and burn practices and the reduction of forests, agricultural slavery, water wastage, the killing of pests/insects through organic pesticides. The over use of fertilization that causes harmful algae blooms that reduces water quality. The privileged position that people can sustain a Healthy Vegan diet dependent on the resources available.

    Morality and food just don’t mix.

  259. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    I see you haven’t responded to my question despite the long break, so I’ll ask it again:
    You claimed that your experiences and understanding make you infallible on the question of the existence of god, whereas everyone else remains fallible on that issue. Everyone has experiences and understanding – what is it about yours that makes you infallible, and why doesn’t everyone else get the same effect?
     
    You asked:

    How long do you keep on planning these kind of useless questions? It’s getting boring.

    I’m surprised you find my questions useless and boring. You said earlier that the reason you come to this blog is because “atheists have the best questions”, which I took to mean that you value being challenged on your beliefs. Perhaps not so much, after all?
    To answer your question, I intend to keep probing this particular claim until either you actually give a reasonable explanation of why you claim to be infallible on this issue, or you acknowledge that the claim was hubris, and that you are in fact just as fallible as every other human being.

  260. Murat says

    @paxoll

    There is really no hard distinction between life, his position is arbitrary. If he wants to draw some moral line somewhere he needs a good rationalization for why to place it there.

    I guess this was what Kayvan was getting at when asking why it was immoral to have slaves back when it was a norm for society whereas it may always remain “moral” to eat other creatures. I believe a very consistent case is possible to bring up regarding why a certain diet would fall under the category of “moral obligations” and not “moral virtues”.
    Whether having slaves would be “moral” for someone if it was practiced in the distant past bears different scenarios: If we, along with our current understanding and consciousness, travelled in time to 2000 B.C., of course we would be expected to refuse partecipating in the economy as “slaveowners”. But in the case of the guy who was born as an heir into a slavemaster’s family, during a time when there is even no “discussion” on the issue, how do we apply “morality”? Through whose eyes? Leonardo DiCaprio of Django Unchained DOES have access to the bulk of knowledge and discussion on slavery, he’s even travelled to countries where it’s abolished, so, he is definitely “amoral” -plus, an asshole- okay, but is the slaveowner from 2000 B.C. in the exact same position as him?
    In today’s world, unlike what was going on centuries ago, people DO have access to knowledge on whether a plant-based diet would be sustainable or not.
    I am not saying that today’s “highly carnivarous” folks will look just like Leonardo DiCaprio of Django Unchained to the people of the next century, but I don’t see why a parallel can’t be drawn between these two issues with regards to their “moral status”.
    If we go with the definition of an “eternally stable” moral code, then, right now we might well be perpetrating uncountable acts of immorality without acknowledging any; and our grand grand grand children will probably be disgusted to remember us… Well, maybe that’s always been the case among generations…
    Drawing the moral line… It just has to depend on one’s current state of consciousness and knowledge.

  261. Murat says

    @creativself
    Matt’s articulation of his take on morality was somewhat sloppy in this episode, where applicable.

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

    If the guy from Canada who had never encountered an atheist who had got down on their knees and sincerely asked God to reveal himself is reading? +1 here.

    Spoiler alert, but… he never showed.

  263. Tony S says

    99% sure that was “Mark” the supposed atheist posing as a theist. Hard to believe the hosts didn’t pick up on that. I hope this isn’t becoming a scripted reality show.

  264. Murat says

    Earlier religions involved goddesses of the earth / soil. (Beginning of agriculture). I wonder if any people of such faiths used to worship doing a handstand. Would make perfect sense as it was deep inside what they were trying to contact.

  265. Dan Heuser says

    In addition to what jonathanrydberg said about veganism, a simple version of the moral argument that I’ve heard is:
    1. Humans can be perfectly healthy eating a vegan diet.
    2. It is preferable to avoid the unnecessary suffering or death of animals.
    So if you agree with those two points, then it’s preferable to eat a diet that doesn’t contain meat/eggs/dairy, since it’s causing unnecessary death and suffering.

    The key word being “unnecessary”. Some people can’t be vegan, and you can’t avoid causing death and suffering completely.
    But by not growing feed for livestock, and then raising/slaughtering the resulting livestock, you’re reducing death and suffering substantially (especially with how factory farms operate).

    I’m by no means a strict vegan, and my main motives are personal health and the environment, but I find the moral argument a nice bonus for eating vegan.

  266. paxoll says

    Dan, why is it preferable to avoid the death of animals? A cat kills thousands of other animals in its environment, is it preferable to kill the cat or allow the cat to kill the animals? Is it preferable to kill an animal or let it suffer? Why is it preferable to avoid the death of an animal and not a plant?

  267. says

    @Murat

    I recall seeing a discussion about veganism where someone said they fed their cat vegetarian kibble, and it was then up to the cat to make the moral choice as to whether or not they ate meat.

    At this point the absurdity of the vegan position became apparent. Other animals do not have morals about food. They eat what they eat. Millions of animals worldwide are eaten alive by predators every single day.

    For species that have been domesticated, their deal with man has be very advantageous to them as a species. And when the are killed, it is (or should be) as quickly and humanely as possible.

    We are by our biology omnivores. There are certain nutrients we can’t get purely on a plant based diet. To agonize over eating meat is not something I shall be doing.

  268. Murat says

    @Shaun

    Okay.
    But the question remains.
    “Morality” is not just a virtue or just a concept or just a luxury. It’s also quite a “burden” in certain cases.
    We may simply find ourselves in positions that force us to do things we find immoral. It happens. That’s the sour reality of life.
    The way we have evolved has put us in a position where animals can be our “pets” but we can’t be theirs. A toddler can slap me in the face with his full power, but I (morally) can not do the same to him. We are not in symmetrical relationships with every other being around us. If it is mankind that carries the virtue and the burden of the concept of morality, then it is human individuals to make judgment calls on certain issues.
    I understand it when one says “Killing and eating animals may be immoral but we just have to do this to survive.”
    What I have a problem with is the claim that “Killing and eating animals is not a question of morality.”
    The two are very different statements to start with.
    I don’t know if you are familiar with the introduction of Galactus to Marvel Universe, where his sentinel, the Silver Surfer (who has taken that role out of a moral responsibility to protect his own planet) falls in deep inner conflict for he is finding for Galactus other planets to devour. And Galactus isn’t evil either, he just devours planets to keep existing.
    If some sort of superior and intelligent alien life shows up someday, and has some kind of a conflict of interests with mankind, will it not be their “morality” that we would appeal to for mercy and/or negotiation?
    I can’t expect my pets to have moral obligations towards me, just like I don’t expect them to provide me clean water and shelter. It just doesn’t work that way. We have different roles in our co-existence.
    I am not vegan, nor a true vegetarian (I just try to become less dependant on meat) but I don’t have a problem with defining the issue as a “moral” one.
    And I suspect that, one subconscious reason for some people to push this out of the grounds of morality may simply be that they want to keep their slates clean.

  269. Robin says

    The whole idea that vegan diet is the most healthiest diet in the world is stupid.

    A well balanced diet is all you need. Most thing can be toxic as long as you eat plenty of it. It ties into any health scare that a compound/chemical is dangerous thus you need to avoid it completely no matter what the concentration is.

    And then you have those supposed super foods like cranberries that help with bladder infections. They are healthy… well healthy if you eat 40.000 calories of it per day, other wise the active ingredient does nothing.

    There is so much unknowns when it comes to food, To just go vegan and be swayed like this will lead to unhealthy lifestyles like anorexia.

    You don’t die from bacon if you eat it once in a while

  270. says

    @Murat

    I don’t agree at all that killing animals is immoral. However, I see the it does raise the question of where morality in some cases can be relative, hence why Kayvan considered it a relevant thing to ask Matt

    When it comes to morality with people, it is simple. We have moral obligations to not harm others.

    When it comes to animals, we have a moral obligation to treat them humanely as long as they are under our stewardship. However an acceptance that we are a predator animal and in fact the ultimate predator, means that the moral obligation does not extend to not using them as a food source. (in my view of course).

    I accept that others may not share that view, which is fine – provided they do not expect me to acquiesce to their view.

  271. Aila says

    So many plants and vegetable had to die so that you guys could be vegans. Have a heart. Eat rocks.

  272. Drew Waymire says

    Ethical veganism

    I listened to an episode of your show recently. It’s the only one I’ve listened to, so I’ll try to keep my assumptions about your reasoning to a minimum. I will make a few though.

    First, to tidy up, an issue of definitions. You misunderstand what “speciesism” is, and it’s because of an issue that only arises with speciesism and not racism or sexism. In fact, you may not be speciesist within your own set of beliefs, and you should certainly be embarrassed to be called speciesist when you understand the definition as I understand it.

    Speciesism, as used by thoughtful ethical vegans, isn’t “treating beings differently based only on their species” or even “treating humans as superior to other animals.” Speciesism, involves treating beings differently in a way that is not logically or morally justifiable.”

    I admit you won’t find this exact definition said by others, but if you read discussions of the term, this is what arises.

    I wouldn’t accuse you of being speciesist for refusing cats the right to vote while granting it to humans; this is reasonable based on cognitive ability. I would, however, accuse you of being speciesist if, for example, you argued that only humans have sentience, or that suffering doesn’t matter if it involves animals. (I know I touched close to a nerve there— don’t worry! Only in this context, friend.)

    This issue isn’t immediately clear simply because it rarely comes up with sexism or racism. But it’s not racist to say, for example, that while people should use a higher SPF sunscreen, is it? It is only racist to make a distinction between whites and blacks that is not supported by biology. It just so happens that we are almost always making unfounded distinctions when we separate the races or the genders.

    So it follows that if you can prove there is no reason to worry about the killing of nonhuman beings, then you would not be speciesist to continue eating them. Where your views are speciesist, you are inherently acknowledging that your division is not based on reason, and is not a position a rational humanist should therefore hold.

    Moving on.

    I’d next like to make my one assumption. Now I admit I was only partially listening at this point, but I heard you make a case that you derive the concept that murder is wrong because you don’t want to be murdered and think society is better off without murder in it.

    I hope that I’m mistaken, and maybe you were describing someone else’s thoughts. If not, I’d like to address what is a major flaw in how you approach morality. Reciprocity breaks down very quickly when examined carefully.

    Suppose I posit a situation where you know for a fact that your action will not have an impact beyond you and your victim. If it helps, imagine you are on a submarine with a person you despise, with the power cut and no way to communicate, seconds before a volcano erupts from the ocean floor which will destroy both of you. Is it still wrong to punch that person in the nose, even knowing that your action will have no impact on the functioning of society, and will have no further reverberations?

    Moreover, this view takes on a bit of a metaphysical component, doesn’t it? Your actions as an individual don’t “shape” the behavior of society. It’s certainly noble to live according to the same pattern you prescribe others should live by, but it’s not necessarily logical. Just because society is better off without murders doesn’t rationally dictate that you should not kill at a time where the harm to society is miniscule but the benefit to you is great.

    If you’re not familiar with it, consider looking into Kohlberg’s “stages of moral development.” I admit this does not prove you right or wrong, and at best is an argument from authority if used as an attempt to prove a point. However, I feel certain you’ll benefit from it. Kohlberg divides development of moral theory into three levels. At stage 1, you are “pre-conventional”— driven by avoidance of punishment or self-interest/reward. At stage 2, social approval and obeying authority come into play. At level 3, you are driven by internal moral principles and consideration of the rights of others.

    Having a system of morality based on reciprocity puts you at stage 1/2.

    I’m going to argue that morality is relative. But what’s key here is that being relative doesn’t mean it’s *arbitrary.* Arbitrary morality would be justifying something because it benefits you. Relative morality would be arguing that a poor person working 3 jobs doesn’t necessarily have an obligation to worry about the environment, while a wealthy person should. Or that in a peaceful, stable society, we should worry about income inequality, while in a collapsing or war-besieged society, we can morally ignore it while focusing on survival.

    At some point, we make a leap. There is no scientifically discoverable set of morals. Reciprocity fails. Religion is a non-starter. And there is no support for some kind of internal and objective, or externally sourced, reinforcement of morality.

    This is hard to accept, of course, but rationally it’s obvious. Our morals arise of a combination of biological/genetic inclination and environmental/familial/societal influence.

    So why is it wrong to eat animals?

    It’s not always. Here’s the actual argument: It’s wrong to choose to harm animals without a justifiable reason. And yes, killing something is a form of harm, even if it is not painful or stressful, and even if it comes about without anticipation.

    I cannot demonstrate this “from the ground up”— and in fact don’t believe I can do this with any moral claim, including “it is wrong to kill humans.”

    However, now we get back to “morality may be relative, but it’s not *arbitrary.*” I think we can agree that if we have general rules that we apply, we should avoid making arbitrary exceptions when it serves us. If theft is wrong, it’s not okay because we want a stereo. However, it may be okay if we are starving and need to steal bread from a vendor.

    So my intent here— and this is difficult without talking to you in person— is to take the morals you already hold, and insist that you stop making arbitrary, self-serving exceptions.

    SO let me assume the following: you likely believe it is morally wrong to arbitrarily kill animals. In fact, I’d argue you consider this a moral imperative, not a moral virtue. If someone walked through a forest shooting a gun at various animals, killing them all instantly— with no suffering— would you regard this as a moral wrong? Would you shrug your shoulders and say “eh?”

    So let’s start there. Why is that wrong? What is the problem?

    Keep your answer in the back of your mind. I’ll tie these together later.

    How about this: what about pets? Suppose I get a hankering to see what it is like when a dog’s body twitches after death? Shall I go to the shelter, buy a dog, take it home, and kill it— again, painlessly and without suffering— just to watch it die? Why not?

    For both of these scenarios, my next question is: does it matter who knows? You argued on your show that the reason it’s wrong to kill a mentally retarded child is that people care about it. Well I can promise you, if people find out that you’ve done either of these things, you won’t be able to go have a nice dinner after your show. People will be at your doorstep, calling you nonstop— they care deeply.

    In fact, that entire claim you made is weak. You evaluate the worth of an individual by its value to society, apparently. But not even its value— by how much individuals care. I think that is an inherently wrong way of looking at value. As mentioned above, that would mean your morality changes depending on who you tell. Infanticide is fine if only the mother knows, and she doesn’t want the child, but wrong if the father cares. And frankly, the same is true of killing a 12-year-old child, presuming that child doesn’t have social bonds with anyone else but the mother.

    If you could press a button and cause a man born alone on a distant planet to suddenly and painlessly die, would it be wrong? He doesn’t see it coming. He doesn’t care.

    I used to torture myself with this question. And by your argument— my old position— no, it’s not wrong… except the complication arises that here we are discussing it, so in effect we “know” about it, and have to denounce it as wrong… but if we weren’t discussing it, and it were just you, it would be okay?

    This can all be thrown in the dustbin if we simply allow a moral leap that you and I have already made to be explicitly acknowledged: the truth is, we find it wrong to press that button because there is an inherent worth to that human’s life.

    Why? Here it gets arbitrary— because now I’m simply explaining why something exists. The important thing is that it does— we both know that life has value. But why is interesting. I’d say it’s identifying with that being in some way. Evolution is a process whereby genes best at replicating themselves come to dominate. When humans developed social brains, rather than having to have pure genetic determination decide how we work with and recognize others with the same genes, we got a sort of sandbox, a laboratory. We can now try different patterns within the same organism. I’d argue humans have a faculty where they recognize others with similar genes, and help them succeed. That faculty has taken a life of its own, as we’ve started to see similarities not just in families, but then clans, then towns, then cities, then nations. Eventually we recognized our “selves” in beings of different races and languages and cultures.

    And here’s what’s happening now: as society progresses, and we invite animals into our homes, and see them on our television sets, that same phenomenon is occurring. Maybe not with you, but with more and more people. We’re recognizing that those other beings have some traits that we regard as important— probably because they’re traits that we regard as important in ourselves.

    Why is it wrong to arbitrarily kill deer? Why is it wrong to arbitrarily kill a dog? You can give weak rationalizations about waste and ecosystems, etc, and I could simply change the scenario to eliminate them. In the end, I suspect you’d still denounce it as wrong, for the simple reason that you *do* see a value in the life of a deer.

    Consciousness is a rare and unique trait. The ability to experience joy and fear, suffering and pleasure, to bond with others in a social way— that is a trait that has inherent value. And that value is destroyed when we kill the animal.

    So when you do kill an animal, it should always be done for a reason that exceeds the value of that life, and the harm done by killing it. There’s some finagling here on putting an actual level on it, but c’mon, do you seriously think the flavor of bacon on your salad exceeds that level?

    If we apply your own bar— “people care deeply”— then your bar is fading with each generation. More and more people care about cattle and pigs, care about the life itself. It causes many people great strife and grief to know what we’re doing to them. You’re harming others. And frankly, I’d like to create a society where the vast majority is hurt by what you’re doing, that cries out against it, because then by your conventional/stage 2 morality, you’d be forced to admit that your actions are now harming society. But we can do better. You can simply acknowledge the value of sentient life.

    There’s a lot more to delve into, and I’m sure you’ve raised many spurious objections of your own that I need to swat down by this point. We need to get into species differences, grey areas, your objections about “but we can’t be perfect so… [ie what about animals harmed in farming? what about your cell phone? If people die to make your phone, isn’t murdering humans— I’m sorry, I mean isn’t eating meat— therefore okay? etc].

    I’d love to talk about this, but I’m terrible on the phone. I don’t know where you are, but I’d be happy to travel and talk in person, maybe for an episode of the show.

  273. Drew Waymire says

    ” we both know that life has value.”

    I open myself up here. I should say “we both know that the life in this example has value.” Later I move on to be more specific, to talk about sentience/etc.

  274. Drew Waymire says

    also, that last line was written when I thought I was going to email this to you. kind of an embarrassing level of hubris in retrospect, I see no reason why you’d be interested in talking to me on the show. I’m just saying I think I’d do a lot better job than the callers you have on, and I see a lot of logical flaws with your arguments, but I’m really bad on the phone. But if I’d realized this forum allowed interaction with the authors directly, as opposed to sending a big email to an inbox with thousands of unread messages, I’d have left that line off. 😛

  275. Drew Waymire says

    I meant to insert one more thing.

    After the arbitrary shooting of animals and killing of the dog, I meant to go in another direction.

    I would argue that it’s incumbent on you to find a reason to separate humans from animals, not on me. I use sentience and the ability to experience qualia and emotions as my line. It’s not a perfect line, but I will update it as information improves.

    What is your line, exactly? What divides humans from animals? You mentioned “communication” but of course many humans can’t tell you what they like and don’t like. From the other direction, we certainly can surmise many desires that animals have. You mention “people would care” which is of course a weak argument, prone to arbitrary situational changes. I assert (maybe you disagree) that your decision ought to include consideration of factors inherent to the being being killed, not just relative to others standing around or reading the newspaper or whatever.

    So I challenge you: if I find a human who cannot communicate, cannot read, and has very limited ability to form social bonds, and tell you that no one is socially bonded to him, and he can be killed without upsetting any living humans and without pain, stress, or suffering…. and then I find a dog who is beloved by his family, who has been trained to respond to 500 verbal cues, who can count, and that thousands of people who are fans of his on YouTube will be devastated when you kill him

    Then what is your moral, rational, humanist argument for why it is worse to kill the human than the dog?

  276. Drew Waymire says

    One last comment before bed.

    There are a truckload of bad defenses of omnivorism. I heard several on your show. I’m sure I’ll hear more.

    I’ll cut to the chase. There is exactly one debatable defense of omnivorism that I’ve ever heard a thoughtful omnivore make: isn’t letting them live a short, happy life better than letting them live no life at all?

    If you care to be self-critical, you’ll find every other question you ask– “what about sharks? What about the harm done farming?” etc– has an obvious answer that a rational humanist could have come up with on their own if they weren’t being defensive and were trying to arrive at an honest conclusion.

    But this one is interesting. All I can do is point out that it’s not how we live our lives in any other arena. Most of us would not advocate leaving pets intact and breeding them, and then keeping pets for only a year or two before killing them. In this way, instead of preventing new lives from ever being born, we could churn out thousands and treat them well, emptying the shelters, creating many short happy lives. Instead, we prefer to spay and neuter, and when we adopt a pet, we feel a moral duty to keep it until natural death or until vet bills would be so high they would take up income we need for our own wellbeing. We could certainly provide for many more children, giving them happy lives, and yet few humanists advocate for large families to create more life.

    I don’t think there is harm in preventing a life from being created. I do, however, see a destruction of value and a moral wrong in needlessly or arbitrarily killing a sentient life.

  277. Monocle Smile says

    @Drew
    I started reading, but then found myself wondering what else I could be doing instead.
    But there are a couple things I’d like to address.

    Why is it wrong to arbitrarily kill deer? Why is it wrong to arbitrarily kill a dog? You can give weak rationalizations about waste and ecosystems, etc, and I could simply change the scenario to eliminate them

    You make this same mistake earlier with the submarine. The most effective moral systems involve situational ethics, so “changing the scenario” misses the point entirely. The scenario directly informs the choice. I typically don’t give a crap about ‘what if’ scenarios that are completely divorced from reality; I abhor thought experiments and utterly reject the idea of determining morality in a vacuum.
    I grew up in Michigan. The state would pay hunters to go out and slaughter deer. After reading a bit about it, I determined that this was the best choice, since the deer population was so inflated that loads of them would starve to death in the winter if their numbers weren’t trimmed.

    I would argue that it’s incumbent on you to find a reason to separate humans from animals, not on me

    Sapience. Well, that was easy.

  278. phil says

    Isn’t it speciesist to eat plants but not animals? What about mushrooms? Last I heard they were closer to animals than plants although they are actually neither. Can we really know that plants don’t suffer? A lot of plants we eat don’t actually become dead until we cook them. Isn’t eating seeds a bit like eating abortions?

    How come we have evolved to eat meat but it has become immoral to do so?

  279. Sawyer says

    Matt Dillahunty makes no sense here. Just like the religious fools who cant get over their cognitive dissonance due to childhood indoctrination Dillahunty is the same fool regarding his eating habits.

    – “Humans are omnivores”. Only means we CAN consume animal products, doesnt mean we HAVE to. Millions of vegans are perfectly healthy.

    – Sharks, lions etc. cant choose what to eat or understand the morality of the topic. We can -> Stupid “argument”

    – “Yeah but if I’m on a deserted island blablabla”… Irrelevant. Never happens. You eat at home. You dont need animal products to survive.

    – “Yeah but if a family has no money blabla”… Dillahunty has enough money. Most people in America have enough money to eat vegan. Potatos, rice, pasta are amongst the cheapest foods you can buy.

    – “Yeah but the health situation blablabla”… Millions of perfectly healthy vegans. If you’re not stupid and do 10 minutes research you know how to do it.

    – “Yeah but if you have a special medical condition blablabla”… Irrelevant, almost never happens, most people can perfectly live vegan.

    – “Yeah but a chicken cant tell me it wants to live”… Stupid point. Most animals clearly experience fear when they are threatened, discomfort when they’re treated badly, joy when they’re free to play around etc. They fight to survive or try to flee. We clearly know they want to live. Therefore we act against their desire to live and be free.

    – Killing and torturing (a being who wants to live and can suffer) for fun or no good reason is not moral. Unnecessary suffering or killing of beings who clearly can suffer and want to live shouldnt be considered moral either. You dont need animal products, therefore you only consume them out of habit (laziness, convenience, ignorance) and/or taste (fun, pleasure). Habit and fun are no good justification for “morally questionable” behaviour.

    – “Yeah but if you kill them fast so that they dont feel anything blabla”… Better than torturing them before but they still have the desire to live (see above) and its still not necessary.

  280. RationalismRules says

    @Sawyer
    For the most part I agree. Matt’s arguments were poor, and you nailed them.

    But:

    – “Yeah but a chicken cant tell me it wants to live”… Stupid point. Most animals clearly experience fear when they are threatened, discomfort when they’re treated badly, joy when they’re free to play around etc. They fight to survive or try to flee. We clearly know they want to live. Therefore we act against their desire to live and be free.

    There is an evolved drive to survive, but that is not what is meant by ‘wanting to live’, in regard to the moral question. ‘Wanting to live’ requires an understanding of the concept of life vs. death.

    If a computer is programmed to fight threats to its integrity, is it immoral to turn the power off?

  281. Sawyer says

    Thats splitting hairs.

    If a being can enjoy life (playing around, forming (family-) bonds with other animals etc.) and can experience pain, fear and discomfort, then it clearly wants to be treated well and continue living. Even if it doesnt fully grasp the meaning of life and death. Little babys up to a certain stage are less evolved than a grown pig, they also don’t understand the “meaning” of life but clearly suffer if treated badly and thrive if treated well. So they clearly “want” to live/be treated well.

    The emotions of my cat for example are crystal clear most of the time. Easily explainable and most of all very predictable. It clearly “wants”/prefers to be treated well and gets pissed if not treated well. And a cat is much much dumber than a pig.

  282. RationalismRules says

    @Sawyer
    No, it’s not splitting hairs, it’s understanding that the subject is more complex than the way you’re representing it.

    If a being can enjoy life (playing around, forming (family-) bonds with other animals etc.) and can experience pain, fear and discomfort, then it clearly wants to be treated well and continue living.

    No, the second does not follow from the first. All you’ve shown is that it responds to stimuli in ways that are evolutionarily advantageous, and then you’ve projected an abstract human concept onto those behaviors.
    To say ‘it wants to keep living’ requires a concept of life. You can’t even get you to a notion like “I want to keep doing this for as long as possible”, because a concept of time has not been established in animals either.

    Equally, it doesn’t make sense to claim that a baby ‘wants to live’. How can it, before it even has a sense of “me'” let alone a concept of life and death. Imagine the opposite case – would it make any sense to say that an animal or a baby “wants to die’? Even if it is in great pain? How can it want something that it has no concept of? If that doesn’t make sense, then ‘want to live’ can’t make sense either.

  283. Sawyer says

    Playing with words or splitting hairs again.

    If a being prefers to be treated well (clearly enjoys it) and clearly feels discomfort if not treated well (doesn’t take much for a cat for example, touching at the wrong place is often enough) the case is clear. Better treat it well or you go against its well being.

    The fact alone that it fights for its life (evolutionary mechanism or not) shows you that it “wants”/prefers/chooses/tries to survive. Even if it has no concept of life and death and it’s just pure survival mechanism it still acts in a way that clearly shows that it doesn’t like/want/prefer/whatever to be killed.

    Wants to live, doesn’t wanna die, chooses to act in a way that most likely leads to survival… whatever you want to call it. If it didn’t mind it wouldn’t fight, so the actions alone clearly show the intentions to not be killed.

  284. RationalismRules says

    @Sawyer
    All you’ve done is reassert the same argument – ‘if a being likes being treated well, it wants to live’. Plus you’re adding the reverse case – ‘if it doesn’t like being treated badly, it doesn’t want to be killed’. It’s exactly the same leap of inference, which I’ve already showed why you are not justified in making. You’ve not added anything to change or advance you point – you’ve just restated it using different words.

    To address the negative case: for an animal to not “like/want/prefer/whatever to be killed” it would need to understand ‘killing’ which requires a concept of life and death. Again, it’s acting on evolutionary instincts and learned behaviors, not with any understanding of life and death. As I said, it’s the exact same unjustified leap of inference.

    You started this out by ripping Matt for making bad arguments, which led me to believe you were interested in good arguments. From our discussion, it seems you don’t mind bad arguments so long as they support your pre-held position. Which puts you in the same position as Matt on the issue, doesn’t it?

  285. Sawyer says

    And your argument is all of a sudden sound because you say so and call yourself RationalIsmRules or what?!

    You didn’t read properly. Even if it has no understanding of life and death and it’s purely based on evolutionary survival instinct, this still is enough to not kill it, because we know that it can enjoy life and would do so if we let it live.

    I decided two minutes ago that I’m much smarter than you and therefore came to the conclusion that from my higher evolved understanding of life and death your “understanding” of it is zero. Therefore I’m suddenly justified in killing you. Hell you don’t even understand the REAL meaning of it!

    Babies I can kill too. I mean common, what do they understand about life and death? Do they really want to live? Hell no… Their possible future well being and positive feelings are therefore also of no significance.

    My cat (and every other animal) also has no concept of starving yet it still clearly wants to eat, even brings me its food or gets pissed if I don’t feed him. And after a certain time without food or water it would really start to suffer.

    So this suffering of my cat is bad but letting it starve to death is only bad as long as it’s still living/starving. As soon as it starved to death it’s suddenly ok because the cat had no concept of starving?

    You got the wrong username.

    Animals also don’t fully understand the concept or meaning behind suffering. Doesn’t mean it’s ok to let them suffer.

  286. Sawyer says

    A mentally disabled child who is less mentally evolved/aware/smart than my cat, will never understand the concept of life and death, has no sense of time or identity, and can suffer, feel pain and feel joy is also not to be killed, just because it doesn’t understand shit.

    Every animal that’s at least somewhat smart (especially the animals we eat) acts in a way that possibly leads to their well being, freedom, good feelings and tries to avoid actions that lead to the contrary. Being killed isn’t part of that program. Even if they don’t fully understand it. We do.

    Therefore the feeling or moral situation changes when you hit an animal with your car and see it lying on the street in a puddle of its own but not yet dead. The moment you know it has no chance of surviving this and its only gonna be pain, fear and agony from now on, that’s the moment where it suddenly is more moral to kill it and stop the suffering.

    If it’s reasonable to believe that it will survive (and has the chance of future enjoyment/good feelings/jumping through the woods/whatever) the situation is different again.

  287. RationalismRules says

    @Sawyer
    Wow, you really spewed up a bunch of bile there, didn’t you? Why is it so problematic for you that I’ve exposed a flaw in one of your arguments? It’s as though invalidating your moral argument puts your entire world-view under threat (very theist-like).
    There are good arguments for vegetarianism that are supported by evidence – the economic argument, the ‘benefit of the planet’ argument etc – it’s just that this moral argument you want to push isn’t one of them. That’s because it isn’t based on what we actually know about animals from evidence, instead it seems to be largely based on ascribing human characteristics to ‘my cat’.
     

    because we know that it can enjoy life and would do so if we let it live.

    You absolutely don’t know that. It could be just about to head into a lifetime of pain and discomfort due to disease or misadventure. By killing it now you are just as much saving it from future pain as you are robbing it of future pleasure.
     

    A mentally disabled child who is less mentally evolved/aware/smart than my cat, will never understand the concept of life and death, has no sense of time or identity, and can suffer, feel pain and feel joy is also not to be killed, just because it doesn’t understand shit.

    This is a false equivalence.
    – A disabled child is a member of our own species. We do not assess other species in the same way as we assess members of our own species.
    – We have a taboo against eating other humans. We do not have a taboo against eating animals.
    – Most cultures don’t currently accept the idea of euthanizing humans who are suffering at the end of their lives, yet it is common practice to do this for animals. This clearly demonstrates that we regard human life differently to animal life.
    (BTW: infants ‘develop’ they don’t ‘evolve’. Evolution happens over generations, not in a single lifetime.)
     

    So this suffering of my cat is bad but letting it starve to death is only bad as long as it’s still living/starving.

    You seem to be confusing our positions here. You are the one arguing that killing animals is immoral, not me. Nor have I ever advocated allowing an animal to suffer.
     

    Being killed isn’t part of that program. Even if they don’t fully understand it. We do.

    Exactly, it isn’t ‘part of that program’. Life/death is not simply an extension of happiness/unhappiness or pleasure/discomfort. It is an entirely different proposition, and attempting to equate them in the way you are doing simply doesn’t work.

  288. RationalismRules says

    @Sawyer

    Demonstrate how killing a pig or cow is moral when it’s not at all necessary.

    Sorry, this is just an attempt to shift the burden of proof. You are making the claim so you have the burden of proof. I’m not trying to convince anyone else that it’s moral – I’ve just not encountered any valid arguments that it’s immoral.

  289. Sawyer says

    You don’t think it’s morally ok? What is your position on the topic? Do you eat meat = pay other people to kill animals for you to eat?

    I already presented my argument: Killing animals (which are smart enough to enjoy life like pigs, cows, cats, dogs etc.) when it´s not necessary is immoral. Every action clearly shows that survival and well being is in their interest. When you kill them you go against this very interest.

    Now you come again with “But they dont understand the concept of it all blablabla” (by the way, who says we do actually?) and I say that´s completely irrelevant. Even if it´s all just pure survival instinct (notice the word “survival”…) it´s still their interest/goal/intention/programming/instinct and you go against that programming. Every species strives towards survival, so if you kill them it´s against their interests. If aliens came and killed us all we wouldn’t be too happy either. But maybe the alien boss tells us that from their standpoint we dont understand some higher dimension shit about the real meaning of life and death so I suppose everything’s fine then?

  290. RationalismRules says

    @Sawyer
    Just to be clear, my position on the topic isn’t required to deal with your argument. You are attempting to convince others to agree with your position, so it’s up to you to put up arguments for that position. If your arguments are flawed, they are not convincing. It’s not necessary for me to argue a contrary position in order to refute your arguments, I just need to show the flaws in those arguments.

    Having said that, I’m happy to declare my own position: I eat meat. The main reason is simply that I enjoy the taste. Probably the second most important reason is convenience.
    I’m not trying to persuade anyone else to my point of view – I’m not a ‘carnevangelist’. I don’t care whether you do or don’t eat meat. For me, the reasons to eat meat outweigh the reasons to not, so far.
     

    I already presented my argument: Killing animals (which are smart enough to enjoy life like pigs, cows, cats, dogs etc.) when it´s not necessary is immoral.

    Yes, you keep asserting this claim, and you keep failing to support it. Simply saying the same thing over and over doesn’t make it true. If you want to persuade anyone else, you need to make convincing arguments for your position. None of your arguments so far have been convincing, and repeating them doesn’t make them any more so.
     

    Every action clearly shows that survival and well being is in their interest.

    Same argument, already refuted.
    Clearly, well-being is in their interest – I have not argued against this. But I have repeatedly demonstrated that ‘survival/life’ and ‘well-being’ are separate issues. It is entirely possible for a living thing to have high levels of well being, but to not survive. It is equally possible for a living thing to have low levels of well being, but continue to survive.
    Survival is not automatically in the best interests of an individual. What if their life ahead is one of misery and ill health? As I said previously: by killing it now you are just as much saving it from future pain as you are robbing it of future pleasure. For some reason you didn’t offer any response to this point…

    The basis of your entire moral argument is this false equivalence between ‘well-being’ and ‘life/survival’. I’ve repeatedly shown you that the connection is simply not there. I’m getting sick of going around this circle, so this is the last time I’ll be explaining this point.
     

    Now you come again with “But they dont understand the concept of it all blablabla” (by the way, who says we do actually?) and I say that´s completely irrelevant.

    No, I have no reason to return to this argument, unless you return to asserting that they ‘want’ to live.
     

    If aliens came and killed us all we wouldn’t be too happy either.

    No, we wouldn’t be happy. We’d be dead. Neither happy, nor unhappy.
    My death is not going to bother me at all. For me, the best possible scenario is that I die instantaneously while I’m happy and healthy. Whether my life was short or long isn’t going to matter to me when I’m dead.

  291. Sawyer says

    Great, then anybody can just kill you. No problem for you…

    Serious question, please try to answer honestly: If I kill your (healthy and young) dog just for fun, no good reason, no necessity, just because I like to, would you consider this immoral?

  292. RationalismRules says

    @Sawyer

    please try to answer honestly

    Why do you assume I would have any difficulty answering honestly? Are you attempting to imply that I have not been honest in our discussion? If so, please indicate where. This is not a rhetorical question. I would like an answer please.
     

    If I kill your (healthy and young) dog just for fun, no good reason, no necessity, just because I like to, would you consider this immoral?

    Yes. I consider killing other living things for no good reason to be immoral, and I consider ‘for fun’ to not be a good reason to kill something.
    Additionally, since your scenario is about ‘my dog’, there’s the additional factor that that your action will cause me pain, which I also consider immoral when it’s for no good reason.

  293. Sawyer says

    “Yes. I consider killing other living things for no good reason to be immoral”

    Why? Please explain.

  294. RationalismRules says

    @Sawyer
    I’m not entirely sure – at a base level it’s probably a ‘default’ position – a moral standard that comes from a combination of my upbringing and the people I hang out with. That’s where moral standards usually originate. Then we change them when we have sufficient reason to – for example, I was brought up to regard capital punishment as morally acceptable, when I learned more I changed that position.
    So far, I’ve not encountered any good reason to adjust my moral standard on killing things for fun (unacceptable), and I’ve not encountered any good reason to adjust my moral standard on killing animals for food (acceptable).

    I can readily identify one underlying reason for my position: I value life for myself, so it seems rational to value it for other living things too. However, for me that’s not an unassailable standard – I don’t regard all life as equal or equally inviolable. How much I value non-human life is affected by other considerations. I will readily kill a fly that is annoying me with its buzzing (I just did, as it happens), but I wouldn’t kill a dog that was annoying me with its barking. So clearly I value a dog’s life more highly than I value a fly’s life. But I still wouldn’t kill a fly for fun.

    I think there’s also something in the fact that I don’t get pleasure from the act of killing, and I can’t empathize with people who do. This is probably also traceable back to upbringing – if I grew up among hunters my perspective would very likely be different. It’s not in itself a good justification for a moral standard, because I don’t expect everyone else to be like me, but I would guess it has some influence on my standard.
     
    I’ve answered your question directly, thoughtfully and honestly. Are you going to respond to my request to explain your “please try to answer honestly” comment?

  295. Sawyer says

    My standpoint is that you need a good reason to kill an animal. Habit (laziness or ignorance), taste (fun) and convenience (laziness) are no good reasons. Therefore I’m vegan.

    “Honestly”: You turned around some of my statements above or deliberately interpreted them in a way that fit your arguments. And you were playing with words + leaving out some of my arguments, which can admittedly also be because it’s time consuming. So I wasn’t expecting a straight answer to my question at all but rather a huge tapdance to avoid having to answer the question.

  296. RationalismRules says

    @Sawyer

    My standpoint is that you need a good reason to kill an animal. Habit (laziness or ignorance), taste (fun) and convenience (laziness) are no good reasons. Therefore I’m vegan.

    You’ve left out the primary reason, haven’t you? Food. All the other reasons are ancillary.
     

    You turned around some of my statements above or deliberately interpreted them in a way that fit your arguments.

    Can you please show me where I’ve misrepresented any of your arguments? Or if that’s not what you’re accusing me of, please clarify.
     

    And you were playing with words…

    Please show me how I have ‘played with words’? You accused me of this back in post #310. It made no sense then, and it makes no sense now.
     

    … + leaving out some of my arguments

    I attempted to address every fundamental argument you put up, but I certainly skipped ones that I considered just variations on something I’d already dealt with. Please point me to any argument you feel I’ve missed, and I’ll be happy to address it.
     

    So I wasn’t expecting a straight answer to my question at all but rather a huge tapdance to avoid having to answer the question.

    That could be a reasonable expectation if I’d done it with any other question ie. tapdance around to avoid answering it. Can you point me to any instance where I did this?
     
    Out of interest, do you think you addressed most of my arguments? My impression is that you ignored anything that you couldn’t refute, went around and around on the same false equivalence argument, and didn’t answer a single one of my questions until I pushed you for an answer on that last one. Maybe try looking at your own conduct, rather than hurling accusations at others.