Comments

  1. StonedRanger says

    I hope Elyas calls back in September. I didn’t really get what was supposed to happen aside from some stars aligning. I want to listen to him explain how he ‘miscalculated’ the date/time/whatever.
    Tom you are an embarrassment to everyone in Oregon. Please stop. Humans are not special, geese have been spotted flying at 25000 feet without oxygen. You cant fly at all, and even in a plane if you fly that high you need external oxygen. How are you more special than that bird? Some whales can go thousands of feet deep in the ocean and hold their breath while underwater for lengths of time that would kill a mere human. Why aren’t they more special? As to being the only life we know of, sorry, but youre on a planet with literally millions of types of life. And our explorations haven’t even reached to any significant number of the other planets in our solar system. In a universe that is billions of light years across, you don’t think its the height of hubris to suggest that we are not only alone, but special? We haven’t explored a fraction of a fraction of the known solar system, nevermind the universe.
    Adam Big G, little g, who cares? You have to show a god is existent, not just give new names to things that already have names. Your ideas get us to no new territory of knowledge or thought.
    Other than that a tidy show, thanks to all who take their time to put this on for us.

  2. Justin says

    As annoying as Tom was, I think they should have given him 5 more minutes to ask his other question, especially considering he said he wasn’t sure when he could call back in the future. Instead they switch to an atheist who doesn’t even know when to replace the batteries in his smoke alarm. I don’t know how people can live with a constant chirp like that. That chirp isn’t supposed to exist! It means your battery is low, replace it!

  3. SamFromUK says

    @StonedRanger,

    Humans are special because we have been given control over our environment and other animals. Basically we are masters of this earth.

    “In a universe that is billions of light years across, you don’t think its the height of hubris to suggest that we are not only alone, but special? We haven’t explored a fraction of a fraction of the known solar system, nevermind the universe.”

    You can speculate all day long that there could be other life out in the universe and conjure up all sorts of statistics but the fact remains that as of now there is no other known life out in the universe. Also you’re being presumptuous that one say we will be able to explore the universe. My suggestion is concentrate on the here and now otherwise we could be here all day imagining all sorts of things that could be possible in the future such as flying pigs.

    “You have to show a god is existent”

    I don’t agree with Adams idea of god as I believe whatever we observe is a work/creation of God not God himself. No one can show you God in his form but what we can do is observe his works and use that and his revelations to decide if he is existent.

  4. says

    sam @ 4:

    “My suggestion is concentrate on the here and now otherwise we could be here all day imagining all sorts of things that could be possible in the future such as flying pigs.”

    … or gods.

  5. Yaddith says

    SamFromUK:

    Are human beings really the “masters of the earth”? Only from our perspective. I think one could make a better argument for microbes or cockroaches.

  6. Nathan says

    @ Sam prove we have “been given control” not that we can but that we have “been given control”. You can’t and you won’t, Yeah, so you will fail like you do every time you comment here.

  7. RationalismRules says

    @SamFromUK
    Hi Sam, I’m still waiting for an answer from the previous thread. The question is: how it is that your personal experiences lead you to the conclusion that you are infallible on the existence of god, whereas you consider everyone else fallible, despite their experiences? Why do you set yourself above every other human in this respect?

  8. SamFromUK says

    @Nathan,

    To understand that we have been given control you need to be a believer. As an atheist you’ll never accept the evidence. The evidence is in front of everyone, it’s not hidden. It’s how you interpret the evidence. As an atheist you’ll observe that humans have control over our environment and you’ll just put it down something like evolution or this is just how things are. In order to understand the “given” part you need a different perspective which atheists who are genuine may want investigate further.

  9. says

    sam @ 9:

    “To understand that we have been given control you need to be a believer.”

    it is impossible to believe “x” before understanding “x”; whatever you think you believe, it may be “y” or “z”, but it cannot be “x”. in short, it’s a given that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    but “buy before you try” is a common pressure tactic used by hinky salesmen throughout history.

  10. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “how it is that your personal experiences lead you to the conclusion that you are infallible on the existence of god, whereas you consider everyone else fallible”

    I’m infallible on the existence of God because that is my explanation and reasoning for existing. It’s not logical or reasonable for me to assume that I (I’m talking about my consciousness and subjective reality) came into existence from some “natural” process. You really have to take a deep look at your reality to try and make sense of it. I’ve tried explaining it to you but you just don’t seem to get it. Which is why I say it would take a long time for me to take you through it all step by step and question your understanding of your being, science and religions. You and other atheists fallible on the existence of God because you have no position on the existence of God. You guys are waiting for the evidence. Once you see the evidence then you will be convinced and you’ll be in the same position as me and billions of others where you can’t deny it.

    Problem is that like many atheists you view science as a means of determining whether something is true. Yet you don’t even really understand the science you accept as being true. You’ve put yourself in a position where when confronted with a phenomena you will science to explain it and if you can’t you’ll just say it’s a mystery and that maybe in the future science will explain it. That’s the only 2 options you give yourself which immediately means there’s absolutely no other conclusions you can come up with.

  11. SamFromUK says

    @Yaddith,

    Microbes and cockroaches can’t capture other living organisms and put them in zoo’s or labs. No other living organism that we know of can communicate with one another the way we can. They don’t have ideas and concepts like us such as maths, languages, creativity, philosophy, etc.

  12. Murat says

    I enjoyed Ewan’s call the most.
    Despite being usually a cover-up for other stuff, I believe theology is open to different definitions, some of which would include a study of arguments “against” god. In that sense, I’ve always considered AXP as a “theological” show in one way.
    Another reason I enjoyed that talk was that it led Don to mention Ambrose Bierce, who is one of the most amazing (and most underrated) writers in American literature. I believe Bierce’s take on religions, morals, politics and nationalism, along with his sense of humor, deserves to get quoted more frequently on AXP.
    Other than The Devil’s Dictionary, many of his stories deal with death, existence, and even the idea of parallel universes. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, I believe, is the very first example to what is still one of the most popular narrative patterns in fiction. (I can even argue it to be the earliest influence behind Back to the Future)
    An adventure (inspired from his work) into which he also was written as a “wandering writer” is among the bulk of comics I had translated from Italian: http://www.solobeifumetti.it/ken-parker-classic-50-storie-di-soldati.html
    Though never as household a name like Benjamin Franklin or Mark Twain, Bierce has found his way into cinema as well. I was very excited to discover that a movie I had skipped for very long, the 3rd chapter of From Dusk Till Dawn, had him inside the story as one of the major characters: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120695/?ref_=nv_sr_4
    I hope Don talks more on Bierce in a future episode. I felt like a relative of mine was mentioned when he did so in this one.

  13. Nathan says

    @ Sam

    No, Sam, yeah your religion yeah, has polluted your mind, yeah. So maybe you should, yeah, look at it rationally, yeah. You, yeah are making a presupposition, yeah. Prove, yeah, that the base of your belief, yeah, has any merit.

  14. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    I’m infallible on the existence of God because that is my explanation and reasoning for existing.

    Why does this only apply to you, and not to everyone else? Everyone has some sort of belief in why they exist. How is it that you are incapable of being wrong on this issue, yet everybody else remains fallible?

    I’ve tried explaining it to you but you just don’t seem to get it.

    Actually, what you keep trying to tell me is why you believe in god, which is not the question I’m asking.
    The question that I keep asking is why you apply a different standard to yourself than to everyone else. You explicitly said that you could not be wrong on this issue, but everyone else could be wrong. I simply want you to explain what it is that lifts you above the fallibility of the rest of the world.

    As before, I’m not going to get distracted by your assertions about god, atheists, the universe etc. etc. until we’ve dealt with this specific issue – your claim of infallibility. Can you back up this claim, or is it simply hubris?

  15. bob novak says

    When talking with that preacher guy in Oregon it became clear that all three of you guys need to learn some grade school astronomy The nearest star is Alpha Centauri, it is 4 light years away or 24 trillion miles.

  16. Adam from nj says

    Adam from nj here, I was repeatedly asked while on the air basically why anyone should see god my way and thus believe in him. They hung up on me just as I was getting to this point.

    So to answer, Just look at this show. Half the callers are atheists who are feeling isolated and miserable because they’ve painted themselves into a corner by not being believers. If instead you understood god my way, you could literally walk into a church and connect with the people there on their level while not believing in imaginary bearded men in the sky. I’ve been able to do this. No ick factor. it’s a way of validating a believers way of thinking and being able to say “yes I agree with you, let’s connect on a deep level”. It’s incredibly fullfiling to be able to connect with believers of all kinds. There are a lot of them. Much more than atheists. So that in a nutshell is my main selling point

  17. says

    So, Elyas in Virginia, what you said at 17:40-ish isn’t actually a thing. As Russell, I think, said, the constellations are pretty fixed, and Leo and Virgo aren’t going to be any place different in the sky on September 23rd 2017 than they are at any other time of year. They are going to be no more or less aligned than at any other time. Unless you mean aligned with something on Earth because of the equinox? In which case they were aligned with it last year, will be next year, and in March as well, I expect.

  18. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “I simply want you to explain what it is that lifts you above the fallibility of the rest of the world.”

    Define “rest of the world”.

    There a millions of believers who can’t deny God. They know God exists.
    It’s my understanding of God and this reality which “lifts me above the fallibility of the rest of the world”. That’s all. It’s a bit like someone asking you why you can’t be wrong on “1+1=2”.

  19. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    Really? Can you bend a spoon with this “special knowledge” you’ve acquired?
    If not, then shut up and fuck off.

  20. says

    Re Pastor Tom in Oregon:

    The good reverend feels “special” by virtue of accomplishments of other human beings. Presumably he had nothing to do with putting John Glenn into orbit in 1962, but hey, he did recently see a movie about that.

    Let’s imagine dropping him into the mid-Pacific, naked. Let’s give him a life vest, just to be kind. *Now* who’s special? The naked ape floundering in all that big, blue water … or the sharks, those perfect, evolutionarily designed killing machines? We could likewise drop Rev. Special into the African savannah, naked but for a loincloth, and instruct him to use his special human powers to outwit the various predators who now (correctly) see him as a tasty pink treat. Ditto for the Arctic circle. The desert. And so on. And it’s worth noting that God’s special pastor cannot “fly” at all, unlike most birds, except with help from technology developed by other people.

    Also, I’d like to ask the atheist with a Muslim girlfriend one question: Are you sexually active with your girlfriend? If so, that sort of makes all her other objections about pork and Ramadan rather moot, no?

  21. Monocle Smile says

    LOL Elyas. Constellations don’t align. Where in the fuck did he read this bullshit? Dude, you could pick any arbitrary formation of celestial bodies and find absolutely loads of them that haven’t occurred in the past million years. What this has to do with the passage he read is beyond me; he is apparently still plagued by a godbot brain.

    Tom: “I’m a country pastor in Oregon.”
    Me: *rolls eyes and prepares for truckloads of painfully stupid bullshit*
    Russell comes out with a perfect analogy and Tom just dishonestly dismisses it for no reason. It’s the typical ‘my ignorance is just as good as your intelligence’ nonsense that has infected the country for a couple of decades. I might have a heart attack and die of “not surprise.”

  22. Nathan says

    @ Sam
    Yeah, argument from popularity, yeah, is a fallacy.

    Also, yeah 1+1+2 can be demonstrated, yeah, your god can’t. Failed again.

  23. Monocle Smile says

    Damn, Don dropped a nuke on Tom’s “special” spiel when he asked about mankind being special before we accomplished any of the stuff Tom mentioned.
    This is actually a tactic I’ve started using with apologists in general. “If the point you’re blathering on about were different, would your stance change?” The answer is always “no,” which means the entire line of argumentation is dishonest. I’d like to ask the apologists who spend all their time talking about cosmology if they wouldn’t believe in god if Fred Hoyle’s steady-state model were the case in reality instead of inflationary models. Pretty sure I’d get a bunch of “no” answers there, too.

  24. Rhode Island Style Mike says

    Hey everyone!

    So I don’t watch the show live, but I do listen to the podcast during my long daily commute, which is 110 miles to and from work daily. I’ve been watching the show for quite some time & rarely if ever disagree with points made by the hosts. Often times I use the thoughtful responses to hone my own tact when dealing with the religious.

    I’m not commenting on this specific episode, but chose to comment on it because it was the most recent & I’m thinking probably where my question will get the most views/responses.

    I can recall a few episodes where one of the hosts (I feel like every host has chimed in on this once or twice) discusses how you can choose your family & just because someone is genetically related to you doesn’t make them family etc. I recall a few being very eloquently put & right now, for a friend, I’d love to share a clip of one of those responses. I feel like there was a recent episode (2017) where this was brought up & I loved the response. I also think it was made by Matt.

    If anyone could point me in that direction, I’d be grateful!

    -Mike

  25. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    Define “rest of the world”.

    Certainly.
    In thread 21.31 comment #206 I asked “So, in your world, everyone else can be wrong about the existence of god, but you can’t?”. You replied “Yes”
    So, clearly, in this conversation, “rest of the world” means “everyone other than you”.
     

    There a millions of believers who can’t deny God. They know God exists.

    But according to what you’ve already said, they could be wrong about the existence of god, but you cannot. Why? How is it that your beliefs render you incapable of being wrong, but other people, even those who may believe in the same god as you, could be wrong in their beliefs?
     

    It’s my understanding of God and this reality which “lifts me above the fallibility of the rest of the world”.

    Again, just another assertion as to why you’re infallible, which is not the question under consideration. The question is, why do you claim to be different to everyone else on this issue?
    What is it that makes your understanding of god so special? How do you know that nobody else shares this level of understanding? They are all fallible, but you’re not. How come?

  26. Monocle Smile says

    Is Adam a real person? Humpty-dumpty-ism at its worst. How does he function?
    Oh, fuck. “look at the treeeeeeeeeeeeees!” What’s it like walking through life knowing nothing, Adam? What’s the point? There’s seems to be no categorical difference between pantheism and calling a coffee cup “god.” Mind-numbing meaningless sophistry for the sole purpose of rationalizing bullshit. Is this really how Adam spends his free time? Might want to pick up a hobby, bro.

  27. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    Sorry I didn’t mean to say that I am the only one infallible on the existence of God. There are millions of others who are the same. They see the evidence and understand it the same way as I do. There are many believers who believe in the same God yet they do so only by faith, without understanding the evidence.

  28. pureone says

    I have a pantheon of God’s that created Sams god. I’ve got their holy text right here. I’m infallible on the existence of this pantheon of gods because that is my explanation and reasoning for my and Sams god existimg. My pantheon of gods created everything.

    As an atheist to my gods you’ll never accept the evidence. The evidence is in front of everyone, it’s not hidden. It’s how you interpret the evidence. In order to understand the “given” part you need a different perspective which atheists to these gods who are genuine may want investigate further.

    That was easy.

  29. SamFromUK says

    @pureone,
    LOL.
    Go on then show us the holy text. It’s not as easy as you think to come up with holy text.

  30. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @ Sam – 29
    “Go on then show us the holy text. It’s not as easy as you think to come up with holy text.”

    Ye keep saying that. L. Ron Hubbard, hack that he was proved that untrue. Hell, so did Joseph Smith. Truth told it really doesn’t seem terribly difficult at all if yer skilled with prose.

  31. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    ” Hubbard taught that the thetans, having created the material universe, had forgotten their god-like powers and become trapped in physical bodies”

    Where did the thetans come from? How could thetans forget? If they forget then they are clearly not gods. How do gods become trapped. It’s nonsensical.

    Joseph Smiths book is bizarre compared to the Bible which it’s meant to be based on.

  32. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 31

    I find yer objections to be hairsplitting to be honest. Both Mormonism and Scientology have managed to appeal to thousands (possibly millions) of people. Yer game with their holy books could very easily be turned around and pointed at for the Quran or Bible. For instance, I’ve read Dianetics and the Book of Mormon and will agree that they’re silly and “bizarre” but I would also say the same thing about the Bible and other holy books which people put stock in.
    Yer statement that “It’s not as easy as you think to come up with holy text” is demonstrably untrue, as frauds, con artists and lunatics have done it plenty since the dawn of recorded history. That is unless the small print of yer statement is “come up with a holy text that I, Sam from UK the requisite amount of stock in.”

  33. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    I know what you’re saying and I’d agree. It’s difficult for most atheists to distinguish.

  34. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 34

    Care to elaborate? Taken on its face that statement seems rather prick-ish.
    I know ye’ve been asked before 100 different ways, but if ye have some grand insight that makes these books (or yers in particular) have a kernel of truth or wisdom about the existence of a supreme being, we’re listening. Ye’ve got quite the audience here waiting for it. What was it ye found that was so damned convincing that ye think ye’ve got a bead on the truth of reality? Surely if ye did it at least some of us here could do it as well, but yer deep sounding platitudes aren’t really helping yer case.

  35. Sadako says

    Just looking back through the years in Stellarium, you can easily find out what years Jupiter was in Virgo in September (when the Sun always tends to be at the ‘head’ of Virgo, and the waxing crescent moon will be at the ‘feet’ of Virgo at some point during the month). The last time Jupiter was in Virgo when the Sun and Moon were in the relevant positions was September 8, 2005, prior to that, September 18, 1993 (when Mars, the red planet, was even between her legs–not so for this event), and I’ll bet if I keep checking every 12 years in the past in September (switching to August when we get far enough into the past), I’ll keep finding Jupiter in Virgo when the Sun is at the ‘head’ and the Moon is at the ‘feet’ of Virgo.

    Fun fact: in August 131 AD, there was a conjunction between Jupiter and Mars in Virgo with Jupiter being ‘born’ and Mars ‘chasing’ it across the sky over several nights–so if it was supposed to be a sign in a book written in the late 70s-90s in the 1st century, they were probably referencing that event, expected a mere few decades after writing.

    Astrology was a super important part of life in ancient times. I’ve seen suggestions that the reason why the Hebrews were punished for building a golden calf was because that would be moving backwards in astrological ages from Aries to Taurus, that entering the Age of Pisces is why a fish came to be the symbol of Christianity, etc. but this is just a symptom of the fact that ancient people were ridiculously superstitious when it came to astrology. (And the failure of anything to come at the predicted times might be why the church ended up with such a strong aversion to astrology and horoscopes–it would keep the knowledge of failed predictions secret.)

  36. pureone says

    I could show you tbe holy text, but it can only truly be understood in the original language, which few know.. It does say that I am infallible as to their existence and you are fallible in your beliefs.

    It is difficult for atheists like Sam to understand.

  37. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    I’ll try.

    The God of the Quran, Gospel and Old Testament is the same God. Each of the three books have similar stories. A prophet is sent to a group of people to let them know what God wants them to do or warn them. The messages are clear in all the books. Which is simply to believe in God and work righteousness. That’s it. Nice and simple. Now obviously when you read a book which is supposedly from God and sent to a human being to spread to others you ask yourself simple questions like:

    Why does God need a prophet? Why not send some angels or come down himself?
    Why not give a book which will last forever and which people can touch and hold and know it’s from God?
    Why rely on human beings (who lie and cheat) to spread/preserve a message which if you don’t believe you could end up in hell?

    It doesn’t come apparent straight away but questions like these are answered. You may not like the answers but they’re there. So that’s one things strange I found – whatever questions I had they are answered. That’s why I tell people (including Muslims) to read the scriptures themselves and understand it.

    The definition of God is clear. It’s a being who created absolutely everything and does not need anything from it’s creation. Which is an important concept to understand because it explains a lot of things.

    The Quran, Gospel and Old Testament will be around forever – so far I can’t see them going anywhere. This I found strange because they are basically ancient books which are being followed in modern times. A time of science and technology. I just found it odd that people would want to do this. I would have expected religions to be declining but instead it’s followers number in the billions despite the so call absurdity in the scriptures.

    The Quran tells the believer/reader to think and ponder over their existence and to use science and knowledge to to learn about God. It doesn’t say to blindly believe.

    The Quran makes a statement that no one can create life. So far this is true.

    The Quran claims that all humans will eventually die. So far this true. Interestingly it seems that scientists are finding out it’s difficult to manipulate human biology to break this dying process.

    Quran clearly states that only God can make you believe which at first I found hard to believe. But it’s true. To some people you can show them all sorts of miracles and they will still never believe yet some people you just show them one minor sign and they will believe. Why this is the case? It tells you in the Quran and and Old Testament.

    There’s more things but then I could be here all day list them. Some are very subtle but important.

    Most atheists on this forum are looking for something testable. Something which scientists can confirm. Sorry to disappoint but you’re not going to get that from scientists. All scientists can do is interpret the data and make conclusions based on the known. Or if they don’t know they’ll say it’s something for which more information is needed.

    When you understand what the Quran and Old Testament is saying you realise that the miracles are all around you. It’s how you interpret the data around you. Take a look at the birth of a human baby. That is a clear miracle. It’s probably a bigger miracle than Moses parting the Red Sea or seeing writings in the sky. Problem is that we see new babies being born everyday hence we don’t see it as a miracle. But if you look deeper in the biology and consider actually what we are made of and how we grow and age and die and what we do in our short lives. It’s absolutely miraculous.

    This is what I learned from reading the Quran, Gospel and Old Testament. To look at things in the world and learn to understand what I observe properly. I’ve challenged people in many forums to show me that scientists can create life from non life and they fail. They usually start off by saying it’s been done but when you show them that it hasn’t they disregard it. Instead I would have expected them to question why it hasn’t been down. What is the limitation? Why the limitation? What does it mean for evolution?

    But no usually they don’t care. They’re just waiting for some scientists to tell them that the evidence of God has been found. But as I said before it’s not going to happen.

  38. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    That’s some weapons-grade bullshit.

    I just found it odd that people would want to do this. I would have expected religions to be declining but instead it’s followers number in the billions despite the so call absurdity in the scriptures.

    Indoctrination and lots of dead bodies tends to have that effect. Also, religion is generally in decline and secularism is on the rise, and secularism almost across the board is far more prevalent in more developed nations.

    Take a look at the birth of a human baby. That is a clear miracle

    Do you really have to wonder why nobody takes you seriously? Why you suffer such a high degree of ridicule? For the same reason as if you left the house with your pants on your head. I recall in the last thread that you claimed mitosis was a “miracle” and literally broke physics, which is why I no longer make any attempt to reason with you. Pointing and laughing is the only option left.

  39. Yaddith says

    SamFromUK:

    Capturing other living organisms and putting them in zoos and labs is not something I care to brag about. Other organisms do communicate, just not precisely the way we do. What evidence do you have that other organisms do not have ideas and concepts?

    We have control over our environment? What about floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes?

    I’ve been waiting 66 years for some evidence that a god exists. I guess I’ll have to wait a bit longer.

  40. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    it is impossible to believe “x” before understanding “x”; whatever you think you believe, it may be “y” or “z”, but it cannot be “x”. in short, it’s a given that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Nit: Daniel Dennett has a wonderful demonstration of how this is incredibly false. During one of his presentations – I cannot remember which – he gives a concrete example of a claim for which he does not understand at all, but also one which is he convinced is true, and he also has good and strong justification for believing that the claim is true. In the presentation, he put up a slide in Turkish. He doesn’t speak Turkish. He knows that the claim is true. He knows that the claimis true because he asked a friend of his to give him a true claim in Turkish, and his friend gave him the claim.

    He also used the example “E = m c^2”. Do you believe that it’s true? Probably yes. Do you understand what it means? Possibly kinda, to some degree, but probably not really.

    As Dennett said in the video, approx, language is this wonderful construct that allows us to have good reasons to believe that something is true, without any understanding at all. He does a tie-in to how language allows for inheriting knowledge, and thus the true creation of complex culture.

  41. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 40

    For those listening at home, I don’t know how to quote block so I’ll be doing this by hand. Gomen nasai.

    “The God of the Quran, Gospel and Old Testament is the same God.”
    Is it? I know that’s a common consensus but did Allah really evolve out of Yahweh? I’ll admit some thematic similarities but YHWH, the Triune Christian God and Allah are all worshipped and regarded quite differently and have quite different fluff associated with them.

    “Each of the three books have similar stories. A prophet is sent to a group of people to let them know what God wants them to do or warn them. The messages are clear in all the books. Which is simply to believe in God and work righteousness. That’s it. Nice and simple.”
    I’m afraid that’s a gross, GROSS oversimplification even if yer carefully cherry picking to absolve the God character of his more angry attributes. Yahweh evolved out of a Canaanite Storm God who lived in a volcano. Like other gods of the time he was a regional god and as his tribe grew in power so too did he subsume the attributes of other gods in the pantheon like El and his consort Asherah. This somewhat contributes to the somewhat schizophrenic tone of him in the early books I think. If ye read some of the early books with this understanding, ye can spot the henotheistic tendencies (as in we acknowledge the existence of other gods but this dude is OUR God) of the early cults and how they gradually evolved into denying the existence of other gods altogether. Even then, despite being a god of righteousness he still promoted things like genocide, rape, incest in some cases, slavery. Etc.
    Then (allegedly) along came Jesus who in an age where ye couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a Messiah managed to sell himself as THE Messiah. Or maybe he didn’t and it was something his followers popped on him later. In any event, after his (alleged) death he was (allegedly) deified by his followers and became part of the Triune God which gradually developed as Christian authors tried to get their shit straight. Now classic Yahweh was reclassed as the Father, Jesus was him but also Son and Savior, and the Holy Ghost had a more nebulous purpose and identity which changes drastically depending on who ye talk to. Here attempts were made to rebrand Yahweh as a God of Wrath into one of Mercy, but that’s a discussion for another day.
    Then into this dogmatic nightmare came Muhammed who depending on whether ye consider him a Prophet or Madman/Hack/Fraud he either received divine command (which if I’m not mistaken was supposed to be passed to him by the Archangel Gabriel?) that more reliably expressed God’s nature and desires for mankind, or that he simply conflated Yahweh with Allah and managed to sell it really well to the tribes of the time. I’ve always noticed with some amusement that its recorded that his child bride Aisha was recorded as having noticed that God’s commands seemed to conveniently line up with things Muhammed already wanted, but I’m not sure which brand of Islam ye ascribe to and I know one branch holds her in high regard and the other not so much, so whatever.
    In any event, where I was going with this is that the books themselves of the big 3 Abrahamic Religions are RIDDLED with inaccuracies and contradictions. God’s message and desires for people are hardly consistent or simple. It’s too such a degree that I’d be willing to admit that Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship some evolution of the same thematic character, but considering even people within the respective faiths walk away from their holy books with a different understanding of God it seems a stretch to me to say that there’s no difference between Yahweh, God and Allah.

    “Why does God need a prophet? Why not send some angels or come down himself?
    Why not give a book which will last forever and which people can touch and hold and know it’s from God?
    Why rely on human beings (who lie and cheat) to spread/preserve a message which if you don’t believe you could end up in hell?
    It doesn’t come apparent straight away but questions like these are answered. You may not like the answers but they’re there.”
    Admittedly these are not the problems which factored into my faith or lack thereof. The Problem of Evil may be an interesting feedback loop for religious arguments, but I don’t find it compelling or interesting. A creative enough believer can fabricate whatever reasons they want to, some with scriptural backing and occasionally even scriptural backing that’s not contradicted by other scripture.
    However, all of these questions are only important if yer willing to take for granted that God is real. I don’t. What I want is some kind of coherent argument or evidence for its existence. It’s like when people will make conjectures about the family structure, habits, and culture of the American Sasquatch when there’s never been any demonstration that there IS an American Sasquatch out there to HAVE a family structure, habits or culture.

    “The definition of God is clear. It’s a being who created absolutely everything and does not need anything from it’s creation. Which is an important concept to understand because it explains a lot of things.”
    The Green Sun explains alot of things. Odin and his brothers creating the 9 Worlds out of the corpse of the Frost Giant Ymir explains things. Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones explain things, it doesn’t mean any of them ARE the actual explanation though.

    “The Quran makes a statement that no one can create life. So far this is true.”
    And what happens when that’s not true anymore? Will ye move the goal posts and say “well Allah created the life of the scientist who created that new life” or will ye accept that the situation has changed? I don’t ask this in a mean spirit, ye already mentioned the creation of a child, which is (in most cases) a biological act done by a man and a woman, but ye seem later in yer thing here to credit the baby to Allah and not ol Mom and Dad and Yuengling Lager.

    “The Quran claims that all humans will eventually die. So far this true. Interestingly it seems that scientists are finding out it’s difficult to manipulate human biology to break this dying process.”
    This claim seems almost pedestrian. It’s like “the book claims the sky is blue and by crumb, looky there!” Even then, depending on how ye want to classify life we’re on a path to extending things like that into the wild blue yonder as well.
    “Quran clearly states that only God can make you believe which at first I found hard to believe. But it’s true. To some people you can show them all sorts of miracles and they will still never believe yet some people you just show them one minor sign and they will believe. Why this is the case? It tells you in the Quran and and Old Testament.”
    This always struck me as a very dishonest dodge and one that rewards believers for credulity and waving off people who go “now wait a minute…” It’s not the fault of the non-believer that the Holy Books are inconsistent and God seems to have an infinite pass on leaving a detectable trail.

    “When you understand what the Quran and Old Testament is saying you realise that the miracles are all around you. It’s how you interpret the data around you. Take a look at the birth of a human baby. That is a clear miracle. It’s probably a bigger miracle than Moses parting the Red Sea or seeing writings in the sky. Problem is that we see new babies being born everyday hence we don’t see it as a miracle. But if you look deeper in the biology and consider actually what we are made of and how we grow and age and die and what we do in our short lives. It’s absolutely miraculous.”
    While neat, I wouldn’t call such things divine. Not when there’s trackable data that explains in broad strokes how things came about. Intelligent Design is all about cherry picking data and I don’t have any respect for it at all.

    “This is what I learned from reading the Quran, Gospel and Old Testament. To look at things in the world and learn to understand what I observe properly. I’ve challenged people in many forums to show me that scientists can create life from non life and they fail. They usually start off by saying it’s been done but when you show them that it hasn’t they disregard it. Instead I would have expected them to question why it hasn’t been down. What is the limitation? Why the limitation? What does it mean for evolution?
    But no usually they don’t care. They’re just waiting for some scientists to tell them that the evidence of God has been found. But as I said before it’s not going to happen.”
    To the best of my knowledge there’s no hole in the data for an intelligent creator, so it’s not really being looked for. An all powerful all knowing intelligence behind time and space would be interesting, but so fart the data hasn’t really lead to one. So bearing Occum’s Razor in mind, the introduction of a force that all powerful would be the needless introduction of one hell of an element.

  42. says

    Frankly, I’m a bit sick of Sam saying, “You need to consider this deeply”. He seems to think this is his way of being profound. The man is an out and out idiot.

  43. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    Sorry I didn’t mean to say that I am the only one infallible on the existence of God. There are millions of others who are the same.

    Well, at least you’ve realized that you were wrong to claim special status for yourself above all other humans. Of course you haven’t actually abandoned the claim, you’ve simply extended it to ‘anyone who shares my belief’.

    Now, how do we distinguish between those who are infallible in their god belief, from those who believe in a god but who remain fallible in that belief?

  44. says

    @Sam

    “They see the evidence and understand it the same way as I do.”

    Yes.. evidence. It’s what the atheists here are asking for.

  45. says

    Once again.. another thread hijacked by the preaching of Sam. That his world view is correct. That his evidence is sufficient (scripture).

  46. RationalismRules says

    @Evil

    I don’t know how to quote block

    Yeah, a long post like that really needs the breakup of blockquotes to be more readable.

    Here’s how you type it:
    <blockquote>quoted text goes here</blockquote>

    (Pro-tip: check your post with the “Preview” function before you post – it’s easy to forget the “/”, which leaves the whole thing in a mess…)

  47. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Rationalism Rules

    Thanks. I’ll pocket that for later, though personally I’m hoping not to drone on quite to that extent again, hahaha.

  48. RationalismRules says

    @Evil
    Out of interest, is there some particular point to your usage of ‘ye’ and ‘yer’?

    For what it’s worth: from a reader’s perspective, I find uncommon word usages act like road-humps for me – they interrupt the flow of reading, so instead of all my thought process going into the meaning of the point being made some of it gets diverted into dealing with unexpected word-bumps.
    (Still managed to enjoy your post, though)

  49. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Rationalism Rules

    Out of interest, is there some particular point to your usage of ‘ye’ and ‘yer’?

    It’s a conversational quirk I picked up years ago that started out partly out of annoyance with the tendency (both by myself and others) for your, you’re and so forth being used incorrectly and partly my own amusement and is now done so casually I constantly forget I’m doing it. At this point it’s only for highly professional matters that I’ll make an effort to use the proper words, other times I tend not to worry about it.

    P.S. Thanks again for the block quote instruction!

  50. t90bb says

    I told you guys Sam does not deal in good faith. Thats why I recommend he be removed. He asserts infallible knowledge….but cannot explain his basis. And to further muddy the waters he claims we atheists would not understand the evidence even if Sam was able to express it…..we go nowhere….
    It seems he cannot clarify or express the reasons he believes. But believe him…hes right and infallible. Just please block him. He brings nothing to the table. He offers nothing to this blog. At least warn him the nest time he asserts something without providing the basis of said belief, boot him. We have a name for people who assert things without evidence….idiot. Sam fits the label like a glove.

  51. says

    @t90bb

    I think people will start shifting their view as more and more threads get hijacked.

    The basis of Sam’s belief is that scripture is how god communicates with people. However, when pressed on how he came to that belief he simply avoids that question.

    If someone debates in good faith, all well and good. If someone comes in week in week out to preach and disingenuously avoiding answering the questions that aren’t convenient, people will either ignore him or he will get blocked.

    Personally I skip through most of his posts as they are long and rambling, and don’t respond to the questions he is asked.

  52. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Meh, I’ll still come down on the side of NOT booting him. Repeating my statement from last time, while obtuse he hasn’t been rude, per se. Running under the assumption that he’s not a troll, I’m actually moderately interested in the perspective of a theist from a stripe I don’t interact with all that often. Granted alot of his arguments fall into familiar patterns and I don’t have any real confidence that any part of the exchange here will change anyone’s mind, but fuck it, why not?

  53. indianajones says

    I have had a a holy text REVEALED to me:

    ‘For Lo, the one true GOD is IAW and EXACTLY (no more than or less than) as described by the Holy Prophet Pureone @28’

    Published as Holy Writ right here for the first time ever. I may come up with another testament in a few centuries or whatever, it really needs a bit of fleshing out.

    Easier than I, or SFUK, thought I guess!

  54. indianajones says

    Ya know what? This might be the beer talking, but I’m actually pretty damn proud of that. It has an origin story, a prophet, at least one contradiction that I can spot AND an unreliable author of highly dubious provenance!

  55. RationalismRules says

    @t90bb

    Just please block him. He brings nothing to the table. He offers nothing to this blog.

    Here’s the value I see in Sam – he is good practice. His arguments are all empty assertion and argument tactics – distraction, avoidance, Gish Gallops, bloated rhetoric, false claims. If you want to get better at debating it’s important to be able to recognize dishonest tactics, and it’s vital to be able to ignore distractions. It takes serious effort to cut through Sam’s copious bullshit and focus in on anything remotely approaching a real point. And having found one, it’s great practice at not allowing yourself to be side-tracked into other arguments by his endless distractions (Shaun called it “nailing jelly to a wall”, which is a brilliant description).

    If you don’t want to interact with Sam, then don’t. It’s really that simple.

  56. SamFromUK says

    @RR,
    “Now, how do we distinguish between those who are infallible in their god belief, from those who believe in a god but who remain fallible in that belief?”

    Those that are infallible in their belief will be able to point out why they believe using the the scriptures and science using rational arguments. Those that are fallible in their belief will say something like “I just believe because it feels right” or “it’s a matter of faith”, etc.

    For example when it comes to evolution and they are told that ToE explains our origins the infallibles will point out that ToE is nonsense and just assumptions and assertions which have not been proven to be facts. ToE goes against scripture because God clearly says he created man from the earth – no evolution needed.
    When a claim is put forward that humans can no create life the infallibles will look at their claim and point out they haven’t. Scientists have either used existing living cells or they’ve created something which cannot even reproduce itself and is just a bunch of molecules which does nothing.
    Or when it comes to scientists claiming that they have nearly conquered death or aging in humans. We know that these things can never be conquered, scientists can speculate all they like that it will be possible in the future but we don’t hold our breath on it.
    So those who really understand God know from scripture what God has done and what limited powers humans have been given and we accept it. Our knowledge comes from scripture and science.

  57. says

    @Sam

    “Those that are infallible in their belief will be able to point out why they believe using the the scriptures and science using rational arguments.”

    OK.. well do you realise that by your own admission you are not infallible in your belief. You have not advanced a single coherent argument as to why you positions is correct.

    Like I said.. what a muppet! World class troll though

  58. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,
    ““The God of the Quran, Gospel and Old Testament is the same God.”
    Is it? I know that’s a common consensus but did Allah really evolve out of Yahweh? I’ll admit some thematic similarities but YHWH, the Triune Christian God and Allah are all worshipped and regarded quite differently and have quite different fluff associated with them.”

    OK let’s take this on first as it’s good base for understanding religion properly.

    First there is no Triune Christian god. This concept is made up by later followers of the Bible. The Bible in it’s current form is made up of the Old Testament and New Testament. The New Testament is made up of the 4 Gospels, Acts of the Apostles and Epistles.
    Many Christians consider the whole New Testament as divinely inspired but I disagree with that because they contradict some of the things that Jesus said and the Old Testament.
    If you read the Gospels then Jesus clearly states that he is a prophet, a teacher and also the messiah. He never claims to be the divine son of God. The term “Son of God” is grossly misunderstood by many Christians.

    Now when it comes to worshipping God by the Muslims, Christians and Jews. Yes it is different but it’s OK to have different rituals and prayers. As long as you are following a book sent by God it’s fine. You will be judged by the book you follow.

    If you read the Gospel, Quran and Old Testament it’s clear that there was one God since the beginning of creation. Problem nowadays is that most adherents of Christianity, Islam and Judaism don’t accept one anothers books or religions. This is wrong. The Quran clearly says God made different groups of followers and that we are meant to get along with each other harmoniously rather than hate one another.

  59. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    Those that are infallible in their belief will be able to point out why they believe using the the scriptures and science using rational arguments.

    People with different beliefs about gods can explain why they believe using their holy texts and with rational and scientific arguments. If they believe in different gods, how is it possible that they are all infallible?
    (Do you actually understand the meaning of ‘infallible’?)

  60. indianajones says

    In case ya didn’t quite get it SFUK. And, I KNOW I am just as infallible as you CLAIM to be.

  61. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “However, all of these questions are only important if yer willing to take for granted that God is real. I don’t. What I want is some kind of coherent argument or evidence for its existence. It’s like when people will make conjectures about the family structure, habits, and culture of the American Sasquatch when there’s never been any demonstration that there IS an American Sasquatch out there to HAVE a family structure, habits or culture.”

    I get what you’re saying and I’m getting there. The evidence of God is all around you it’s just a matter of perspective. Problem is that like most atheists you’ve been conditioned to think in a certain way either through religious teachings or the way you understand science.

  62. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “People with different beliefs about gods can explain why they believe using their holy texts and with rational and scientific arguments.”

    Give me an example we can go through.

  63. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    To clarify. When I say I am infallible on the existence of God I mean that I can’t be wrong on it. I know God exists, it’s no longer just believing. I could be wrong on what scripture says in various areas and I’m happy to be corrected on my understanding of that. This also includes science and many other things.

    Hope that clears things up.

  64. indianajones says

    Still no reply? It’s almost as though SFUK doesn’t take my position seriously, or thinks that in fact I am not engaging in good faith. I wonder why that could be?

  65. Safudas says

    Wow Adam, for a guy who claims to have been an avid fan of the show (and Matt in particular) you’ve shown to have learnt very little by coming with your pantheistic word-salad.

  66. says

    @SFUK

    OK then. Let’s have it. What are your rational and scientific arguments to convince us? You said you could do that. So do it.

    Or.. alternatively you could ignore the question as is you standard MO for inconvenient questions. One thing’s for sure though. It won’t go unnoticed that it’s ignored.

  67. Murat says

    Re: Failure #50 of Don’s list, “You’re so special.”
    Listening to this again, I wondered if the “you” in here addresses more to each “individual” or to “humanity”, with regards to Christian faith.
    Don seems to be considering this as “humanity” as opposed to beasts and plants. For I don’t know which verses from the texts this failure depends on, I just can’t be sure if THAT is the context.
    There seems to be quite a difference between the claim that “YOU are so special that you will find your car keys” and “YOU (as a species) are so special that you (as a species) are now receiving messages from God”.
    Not that it matters in terms of taking the claim seriously, but I think these two should be listed as two different failures in Don’s list, and not merged into one.
    *
    As for the part of Tom’s call where he addresses the latter of these: I don’t think Tom’s counter-reasoning to “not special” is silly. Actually, apart from his terminology not really fitting into how science defines the universe, he is right on the money when saying “if this planet is the only one hosting intelligent life, then we ARE special.”
    Don and Russell replied well to that, noting that “rare” and “special” are different concepts, and that the fact that we just don’t know of other intelligent life doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The cheetah and the giraffe being unique in their own ways and “inteligence” being “unique-ish” were good points as well.
    But still, I think that “language” provides quite a stalemate here when the claim is humans being “special” and the counter-argument being they are “not speial”.
    IMHO, there is a better and more practical way of responding to what Tom was saying:
    Let’s says humans are “special”. Let’s say we DO know that there is NO OTHER intelligent life in this or any other universe.
    How does this support the idea of a God?
    If the framework is not that of a polytheistic religion which enables one species to rely on and worship “their” particular God, like, wolves having another god that made them in his image, whereas humans have a “better” god, who, in competition, provides “superiority” to his subjects over those of other gods’ subjects… Then… How does being “special” become meaningful?
    There’s a missing link in the claim that being SPECIAL indicates being created by a GOD.
    It’s the SAME god that created the “not-so-special” creatures, plants and beasts, right? Then, for them, there is practically no god.
    The only way I can fill in the blanks Tom left there would be by saying that “God manifests himself to humans by virtue of the intellect he let them have.” I’m not too sure, but I guess this is also compatible with how today’s Christians tend to read the scripture.
    And in this case, the fact that humans have different IQ levels, peoples having varying levels of cultural development, and even, animals differing in their intelligence, contradicts with the claim that “special = intelligent = God-made”.
    For the claim to make sense, everything around us had to be completely dumb and we (as humans) had to have the exact same level of intelligence among our species.
    Because, with regards to that approach, intelligence is a mere “frequency” on which God broadcasts, and if there is just one god, then all other frequencies are unnecessary.

  68. DanDare says

    Elyas has fallen for the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy. Shoot at a bunch of buildings. Where the bullet hit paint a tiny bullseye around it and crow about ow accurate you are hitting that incredibly small bullseye from such a range.

  69. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    Give me an example we can go through

    This is simply time-wasting. You know as well as I do that most Jews do not believe in Allah, and most Muslims do not believe in Yahweh. Both cite their holy texts as their ‘evidence’, and both rationalize them by finding correspondence to science and by rational argument. So according to your latest criteria, both Muslims and Jews are infallible regarding their contradictory gods. Both camps believe their god to be the only god, therefore they cannot both be right, so they cannot both be infallible.
     

    To clarify. When I say I am infallible on the existence of God I mean that I can’t be wrong on it. I know God exists, it’s no longer just believing.

    Saying “I know” does not render you infallible. Knowledge is not some magical extra category – it’s simply belief with a high degree of confidence. There are people who “know” that they have been abducted by aliens. I see no reason to believe they are infallible on the subject of aliens, any more than I see any reason to believe the absurd hubris of your own claim.

  70. DanDare says

    Pastor Tom is equivocating with the many different meanings of the word “special”. The examples Don gave is the religion assigning special care and interest from god on the target. Just because a flower may be special because of a unique arrangement of petals and colours that doesn’t mean its is “special” in the sense Don was discussing.

  71. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “You know as well as I do that most Jews do not believe in Allah, and most Muslims do not believe in Yahweh”

    If you talk to Muslims and Jews about God only then you’ll find that they both have to agree that they are the same God. They do differ on scripture but that’s a separate subject since it’s own to interpretation. But on the concept of God they both have to agree. That’s what their scripture says regardless of what a Jew or Christian says.

    I think this is what you like many others don’t understand. You’re looking at the religions as a whole where you’re taking in the opinions and thoughts of the adherents. You need to take a step back and just look at what the scriptures are saying by themselves. Which is why I kept saying many times that I’d have to take you back to the beginning and try to explain the basics first before you’d understand. But you keep on bringing lame arguments such as Jews and Muslims don’t agree, etc.

    “Saying “I know” does not render you infallible”

    Infallible on what? The existence of God or other matters? Because I thought I had clarified that I could be wrong on other things.

  72. Monocle Smile says

    I get what you’re saying and I’m getting there. The evidence of God is all around you it’s just a matter of perspective. Problem is that like most atheists you’ve been conditioned to think in a certain way either through religious teachings or the way you understand science.

    I have now contracted a horrific disease.

  73. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    If you talk to Muslims and Jews about God only then you’ll find that they both have to agree that they are the same God.

    This is clearly contradicted by the history of religious conflict throughout the world. Jews and Muslims have been at war with each other for centuries over their opposing gods. As have Muslims and Christians. As have Hindus and Sikhs.

    I know that you believe that the gods they believe in are the same, but that is not the point. You have said that those various individuals are infallible on their god belief. So the issue is their belief about their god, not your belief about their god.

    It is not possible for two people to believe in different monotheistic gods and for them both to be right. At least one of them has to be wrong. Which makes you wrong too.
     

    You need to take a step back and just look at what the scriptures are saying by themselves.

    Scriptures do not say anything by themselves, any more than sheet music plays a tune by itself. They are entirely subject to the interpretation of their adherents.
     

    “Saying “I know” does not render you infallible”
    Infallible on what? The existence of God or other matters? Because I thought I had clarified that I could be wrong on other things.

    Our entire discussion has been about your claim of infallibility on one particular issue. The issue about which you said “I know”.
    Sam, if your arguments are so strong, why do you find it necessary to resort to these obvious attempts to distract?

  74. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    First there is no Triune Christian god. This concept is made up by later followers of the Bible.

    I agree it’s made up, but then I kinda carry that understanding to the other ones as well :-P.
    As I understand it, the Trinity was a concept come up with by early Christians to reconcile the depictions of God in all the different Holy Texts they were using. Still, the divinity of Jesus Christ is kinda a defining sticking point for adherents of Christianity these days. It’s somewhat amusing that ye can say God’s cool with the different faiths following him when one of those faiths has such a fundamental error in how they conceptualize them. I mean this isn’t just a difference in ritual & prayer, it’s a completely different understanding of the nature of God. So in a way I don’t get the objection to a Triune God when he’s fine with the distinctly different understandings based on their different books which ye say he himself sent.

    Many Christians consider the whole New Testament as divinely inspired but I disagree with that because they contradict some of the things that Jesus said and the Old Testament.
    If you read the Gospels then Jesus clearly states that he is a prophet, a teacher and also the messiah. He never claims to be the divine son of God. The term “Son of God” is grossly misunderstood by many Christians.

    Are ye aware of the fact that the Epistles of Paul are generally dated to be written earlier than the Gospels? Even then, there were lots, LOTS of writings being passed around at the time, some far more popular than the books which were collected into the Bible. Even of the 4 Gospels, have ye ever looked into the studies of how they were written? The Q Document? In large swaths the existence of the Bible today is due to a Christian heretic (depending on where yer sitting) called Marcion of Sinope who started collecting, editing and redacting Books as he saw fit and the Church was like “well hell, we better get a book together or else people are gonna start using this guy’s!”
    I mean not for nuthin, but even when I was still a Christian I stopped taking the Bible seriously later on because the more I learned about how it was written the less divine I was able to regard it. I think I said it before, but my loss of faith was a gradual process born out of investigation for exactly WHY I believed this stuff.

    I get what you’re saying and I’m getting there. The evidence of God is all around you it’s just a matter of perspective. Problem is that like most atheists you’ve been conditioned to think in a certain way either through religious teachings or the way you understand science.

    Ye say ye were an atheist once and that’s fine considering it just means ye didn’t have a belief in a god or gods. However, where ye ever a skeptic or critical thinker? I ask because alot of yer arguments seem based on around fallacious logic and circular reasoning. I mean right here yer using the “Look at the Trees” Argument which is so riddled with holes it practically comes off as childish.
    Plus, not to throw the “well I was an atheist so I know how you think” thing back in yer face, but I was a pretty hard core theist for the first half of my life. I was devout and saw the Hand of God in EVERYTHING. However, after a while I learned specific how’s of particular things and the answer was generally mundane. Euphoria that I’d previously believed to be the Spirit moving me was matched and in many cases exceeded by corporeal means through women, booze, drugs, sometimes even wellings of pride at my own accomplishments. After a while rain stopped being Angel’s Tears (or piss, depending on who I was talking to) and thunder and lightning stopped being God’s farts and I was able to appreciate the natural beauty around me. As God’s hand faded away I was able to appreciate things on their own. Sapient purpose behind everything didn’t seem necessary to marvel at it.
    I don’t think it’s fair to say I (and probably very many of the others here) have been “conditioned” to think a certain way. Especially not when held up against theists who’ve been taught how to interpret their holy texts to say whatever they want them to say. Alot of us got where we are through study and examination of what these books ACTUALLY say. Ye see it alot with Christians who want to wink off unfortunate passages in the Bible by yelling “context!” It’s not atheists twisting themselves into pretzels trying to defend how a book promoting genocide, rape and slavery still gets to be called “the Good Book” and is a moral guide for how mankind ought to live.
    If ye find many non-believers hold science in high regard it’s because it’s been demonstrably useful for understanding the world around us and helping us improve our lives.

  75. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “It’s somewhat amusing that ye can say God’s cool with the different faiths following him when one of those faiths has such a fundamental error in how they conceptualize them. I mean this isn’t just a difference in ritual & prayer, it’s a completely different understanding of the nature of God. So in a way I don’t get the objection to a Triune God when he’s fine with the distinctly different understandings based on their different books which ye say he himself sent.”

    Sorry please elaborate on this. Are you saying that the Gospel, Quran and Old Testament books describe the nature of God differently? From my reading they all say God is one and he is the creator of everything.

  76. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam

    From my reading they all say God is one and he is the creator of everything.

    Well, except for Confusion. As 1 Corinthians 14:33 states:
    For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
    So it is written 😛
    Looks like whatever else, confusion had to come into being all on its own without God’s help. But I jest…
    I can’t speak to the Quran (or rather won’t since I’ve spent precious little time studying it compared to the other 2) there are distinct differences in the character of God betwixt the Old Testament and the New. Again, folding in an understanding of Henotheism and that Elohim can mean many Gods and ye can chart the evolution of a pantheon into a monotheistic entity. Running under the assumption that Jesus was a real person and not an exaggeration of an existing person, an amalgam of various people, or fabricated whole cloth as a figure head for a new philosophy, the God he promoted may have been the Jewish God, but it seems like alot of what he was doing was a hard retcon to make him more palatable in hard times. Combine this with the work of Paul of Tarsus who was trying to appeal to Gentiles in order to make the religion grow and ye get even more of a different character. Then when ye carry this over to the Christian thinkers trying to reconcile the various books they cobbled together into a Bible and ye have the creation of the Trinity as a concept so that they could explain how God was himself AND his son AND this other nebulous thing called the Holy Spirit.
    Then I guess later Muhammad came along and was like “so there’s this god, and he’s the same god, and he’s the only god and he created everything like the god those dudes are talking about. However they got the finer points wrong, he never had a son, Jesus was just a Prophet. Also I’m the last Prophet.”
    Not for nothing, but other than claiming there’s one Creator god, and some pantheonistic (is that a word or did I just make that up? Whatever) similarities between the lore, Yahweh doesn’t seem to behave like God who doesn’t behave like Allah.

  77. ironchops says

    It has been demonstrated by all of the differing ideas about the G_d/gods, that no one knows or have ever known the Name, definition of or the nature of this/these (most likely non-existent) beings we refer to as gods. All of the conflicts are caused because no one knows.

  78. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “the God he promoted may have been the Jewish God, but it seems like alot of what he was doing was a hard retcon to make him more palatable in hard times. Combine this with the work of Paul of Tarsus who was trying to appeal to Gentiles in order to make the religion grow and ye get even more of a different character. Then when ye carry this over to the Christian thinkers trying to reconcile the various books they cobbled together into a Bible and ye have the creation of the Trinity as a concept so that they could explain how God was himself AND his son AND this other nebulous thing called the Holy Spirit.”

    Only the Gospels can be considered divinely inspired because Jesus claimed to be a prophet and performed a number of miracles. The other books in the New Testament never make a claim that they were prophets as far as I know.

    The God that Jesus promoted was the same God of the Old Testament. Jesus clearly says he came not to abolish the Law but to fulfil it and that it’s not going to change. What Jesus was teaching the pharisees was righteousness, compassion and sincerity and the pleasing of God rather than showing others that they were righteous. This is what the God of the Old Testament wanted.

    “Not for nothing, but other than claiming there’s one Creator god, and some pantheonistic (is that a word or did I just make that up? Whatever) similarities between the lore, Yahweh doesn’t seem to behave like God who doesn’t behave like Allah.”

    Can you show me why you think Yahweh doesn’t behave like God or Allah. Remember I’m only considering the Gospels are divine and the Old Testament as well as the Quran.

  79. SamFromUK says

    @Ironchops,

    “All of the conflicts are caused because no one knows.”

    The conflicts aren’t to do with God but more to do with land, resources, arrogance, hate, differences in beliefs. Take the Shia and Sunnis, they follow the same book, same God, love the same prophet yet they hate each other because one group bad mouths some people in the past. Nothing at all to do with God or even the Quran, simply because they made up their own beliefs and are going to stick to them regardless of what the truth is. Same goes for Christianity and Judaism.

  80. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “It is not possible for two people to believe in different monotheistic gods and for them both to be right”
    “Scriptures do not say anything by themselves, any more than sheet music plays a tune by itself. They are entirely subject to the interpretation of their adherents.”

    Please show me the differences between the two gods using only scripture. I want to see your interpretation.

  81. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Only the Gospels can be considered divinely inspired because Jesus claimed to be a prophet and performed a number of miracles.

    Again, are ye aware that the Epistles of Paul date earlier than the Gospels? Or that we’ve got no clue who wrote the Gospels? Are ye aware of the quagmire that comes with trying to figure out how they were even written? Markan Priority? Q Document? Ye seem to place alot of confidence in the 4 Canonical Gospels as sources without justification for doing so. If ye’ll pardon the expression, “yer buildling yer house upon the sand.”

    Can you show me why you think Yahweh doesn’t behave like God or Allah. Remember I’m only considering the Gospels are divine and the Old Testament as well as the Quran.

    Do I seriously have to dig up every example of Yahweh punishing mankind for his own shortsightedness while blaming humanity for failing him? Do I need to dust off the story of the Levite and his Concubine to display how God is perfectly cool with the worst transgressions going on in his name to make a point of “people should have come to me first?” Or the Book of Job where he let a faithful man’s life be destroyed as part of a wager between himself and one of his angels? Or countless other instances throughout the Old Testament when God ordered the slaughter of tribes?
    Jesus may have spoken about God being one of compassion and mercy, but that’s not really born out in the texts, particularly the ones he was claiming to fulfill. Ye say yer going off of the Gospels, but I vaguely remember it being very early in the Book of Mark that Jesus is announced as the Son of God and is again said to be so while being interrogated by the High Priest. Admittedly I can’t recall if Matthew ever actually uses Son of God to talk about Jesus, but the writer seemed bound and determined to connect Jesus to everything in the Torah that could be considered messianic prophecy and a handful of things that had nothing to do with the Messiah. Luke I think also prioritizes Jesus’s status as Messiah and doesn’t talk alot about his divinity. However, running under the assumption ye believe that Luke and Acts share the same author then it moves on to describe a fair amount of Jesus as the Son of God. Also I’m quite sure John identifies Jesus as the Son of God. So there’s a big point of contention between understanding the Christian God as Allah. Allah had no son, but the Christian God certainly did and recognizing his divinity is a primary factor in being a Christian.
    Yer understanding of the Abrahamic God seems overly simplistic to be kind and flies in the face of the “full text.” Ye seem hung up on his status as the Creator God and his more fluffy attributes like omni-benevolence and mercy while are ignoring his poor judgment, wrath and cruelty. Ye seem to be turning a blind eye to all the other aspects that set the understandings of the various gods apart. I’ll say that I don’t find it surprising that a deity with the nebulous attributes that Yahweh gradually adopted from his humble beginnings as a Canaanite Storm God result in so many different understandings of him and what he wants.

  82. says

    @Sam

    As I predicted, my simple one line question was simply ignored.

    I guess that would make me a prophet in your world view.

    But why was I ignored? Well because you are not infallible on the subject of god, nor can you prove god with science or rational argument.

    I, on the other hand am infallible on the subject of god – The god of the old testament does not exist, except in the pages of the book. Nor does jesus. Nor does the god of the koran. I don’t just believe this, I know this. When I read that it was all false it just made sense.

    Now.. could you please do one of two things? Argue in good faith or bugger off.

  83. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    Please show me the differences between the two gods using only scripture. I want to see your interpretation.

    My interpretation of holy texts is not relevant to the issue, any more than yours is. This is just another distraction.

    You claimed “those that are infallible in their belief will be able to point out why they believe using the the scriptures and science using rational arguments”. That has nothing to do with my interpretation of their belief, or of your interpretation of their belief. So long as there are people who hold differing beliefs on god who can satisfy your criteria, they cannot all be infallible. The claim is logically incoherent.

  84. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “So long as there are people who hold differing beliefs on god who can satisfy your criteria”

    This where you’re getting confused. There are believers who are Jews, Christians and Muslims who stick by their faith yet all agree that they worship the same God. They have the same core beliefs such as Judgement Day, belief in Angels, prophets and afterlife.

    Also I did say it was those people who agree on the one God, that was part of my criteria. As I said before the rituals, and prayers and laws can be different but the concept of God is the same.

  85. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “Ye seem to place alot of confidence in the 4 Canonical Gospels as sources without justification for doing so. If ye’ll pardon the expression, “yer buildling yer house upon the sand.””

    The Gospels are mentioned in the Quran hence I have confidence in them. If you read the other books in the New Testament then it’s clear that they don’t have the words of Jesus. In Islam we have hadiths. These are so call sayings of Mohammed. The Quran makes no mention of these so I don’t accept them as divine. However the vast majority of Muslims have high regard of the hadiths even though they know they are not part of divine scripture. The hadiths in my opinion cause Muslims to separate themselves into their own sects. Some Muslims call other Muslims non-believers if they don’t accept the hadiths the way they do. It’s bizarre but I’m guessing similar things happen in other religions.

  86. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    Also I did say it was those people who agree on the one God, that was part of my criteria.

    Please direct me to the post where you included this in your criteria for infallibility.
     

    There are believers who are Jews, Christians and Muslims who stick by their faith yet all agree that they worship the same God.

    This sentence is unclear, because of your use of the word ‘all’. Are you simply claiming that some Jews, Christians and Muslims accept that their god is the same (in which case the word ‘all’ is redundant) or are you attempting to reassert your earlier claim (which I have already refuted) that all Christians, Jews and Muslims accept that they worship the same god?

  87. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam-88

    The Gospels are mentioned in the Quran hence I have confidence in them.

    So then I guess the earlier answer to my question “Ye say ye were an atheist, but were ye ever a skeptic or critical thinker?” the answer is “No.”
    If the Quran does attest to the veracity of the 4 canonical gospels (which again, were 4 of many many books used by followers at the time and were canonized by men), then it’s in conflict. Allah has no son and Jesus was merely a Prophet (well maybe not MERELY since I suppose in Islam this is a big deal). HOWEVER, at least 2 of the 4 Gospels DIRECTLY refer to Jesus as the Son of God, despite (again) Allah having no son.
    Putting aside the study of how the Bible was put together and its demonstrably mundane origins, how is this something ye reconcile? I mean a big stated reason of why ye believe the things ye do about God is that it says it in the Quran but have ye ever examined it and the circumstances surrounding its construction? Have ye ever looked into the other books which it seems based on and how they were written? Have ye ever looked into the origins of Yahweh and how he was conflated with the earlier paganic Allah to become the Allah ye know and love today? I think ye said in an earlier thread that yer a believer in the Flood, despite the lack of physical evidence and the narrative being lifted from the Babylonians who themselves expy-ed it from earlier versions.
    I ask because it seems, having spoken at length with ye over 2 threads now that ye found the Quran appealing and it’s the one yer going with.

  88. Tod says

    Evil, I for one love your affected linguistic style 🙂

    It reminds me of some of the characters in the David Eddings novels that I was a huge fan of as a kid (and still am!).

    Belgarath I seem to recall used to use that affection when undercover and trying not be recognized as the worlds premier sorcerer 🙂

    Good job that man!

  89. Monocle Smile says

    I imagine Evil as having a gravelly voice, an eyepatch, and 1+ missing teeth. The style is definitely growing on me.

  90. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “Please direct me to the post where you included this in your criteria for infallibility.”

    I had a look at the previous posts and accept that I didn’t mention that as part of my criteria.

    “Are you simply claiming that some Jews, Christians and Muslims accept that their god is the same (in which case the word ‘all’ is redundant)”

    Yes, I am only claiming that some Jews. Christians and Muslims agree that they all worship the same God. To clarify, I’m talking about the attributes of God. Some Jews who have read the Quran probably accept that as well.

  91. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    Is there anything that you aren’t making up as you go along?
    Do you really think you’re accomplishing anything here or that anyone is taking you seriously? What is your purpose? You already said that only your god can actually give us evidence and convince us of its existence, so why are you still here?

  92. Robert, not Bob says

    @ Tod
    That was Beldin, as Feldegast. He did it to annoy Belgarath, which to be fair seems to be the hobby of that entire universe…

  93. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “So then I guess the earlier answer to my question “Ye say ye were an atheist, but were ye ever a skeptic or critical thinker?” the answer is “No.””

    When I converted to Islam I’d have to say I wasn’t a critical thinker. I gradually became a critical thinker when I wasn’t getting good answers to simple questions such as “What happens to those who do good but don’t believe in God?” or “Why is evolution wrong?” or “Were the prophets really sinless and perfect because the Quran seems to disagree”. Many Muslims just believe because that’s how they’ve been brought up, it’s been drummed into them from an early age.

    I’d say I’m very critical now and love to question things more and think about them.

    “If the Quran does attest to the veracity of the 4 canonical gospels (which again, were 4 of many many books used by followers at the time and were canonized by men), then it’s in conflict. Allah has no son and Jesus was merely a Prophet (well maybe not MERELY since I suppose in Islam this is a big deal). HOWEVER, at least 2 of the 4 Gospels DIRECTLY refer to Jesus as the Son of God, despite (again) Allah having no son.”.

    To clarify the Quran just mentions the word “Gospel”. It doesn’t say 4 Gospels. But I take the Quran to mean all 4 Gospels.
    The term “Son of God” doesn’t mean the literal son of God. I think followers of the Trinity change the meaning of that to become the literal son of God to support their own ideas. But Jesus clearly states who is and that he can only do what God tells him.

    “I mean a big stated reason of why ye believe the things ye do about God is that it says it in the Quran but have ye ever examined it and the circumstances surrounding its construction? Have ye ever looked into the other books which it seems based on and how they were written? Have ye ever looked into the origins of Yahweh and how he was conflated with the earlier paganic Allah to become the Allah ye know and love today?”

    Yes I have had a look a the origins of the Quran and Bible. It would be great if their origins were clear and it was all documented well throughout the ages. However if it was well documented would it persuade and atheist? I doubt very much. It’s the content that people really object to.

  94. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 96

    When I converted to Islam I’d have to say I wasn’t a critical thinker. I gradually became a critical thinker when I wasn’t getting good answers to simple questions such as “What happens to those who do good but don’t believe in God?” or “Why is evolution wrong?” or “Were the prophets really sinless and perfect because the Quran seems to disagree”. Many Muslims just believe because that’s how they’ve been brought up, it’s been drummed into them from an early age.

    I think part of the demonstrated problem is that ye seem to be “critical” within only the very narrow purview of how ye choose to view Islam. It seems by all accounts that ye were looking for some stability in a world view and Islam offered it. Then once ye were dedicated to making sense of things according to the Quran and making the jibe with observations of the real world ye got to a point of “I see Islam and God “this way”, but other Muslims see him “that way.” Why do they think that? Are they right?” Instead of “what reason do I have to believe that any of this maps to reality in the first place?” I mean other than “we haven’t created life yet” and “everyone dies”.

    The term “Son of God” doesn’t mean the literal son of God. I think followers of the Trinity change the meaning of that to become the literal son of God to support their own ideas. But Jesus clearly states who is and that he can only do what God tells him.

    And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
    Matthew 3:17
    Was God being metaphorical there? If ye believe what it says, then that’s a pretty hard sell for “he was just a Prophet.”

    Yes I have had a look a the origins of the Quran and Bible. It would be great if their origins were clear and it was all documented well throughout the ages. However if it was well documented would it persuade and atheist? I doubt very much. It’s the content that people really object to.

    I think a big problem I have with stuff like this is that the same people pointing to the Torah, Bible and Quran as evidence for celestial beings and who will get excited when archeology supports the existence of these places aren’t willing to extend the same courtesy to other texts.
    For instance, Alexander the Great was a real dude who ran around and did some incredible things, but legends that he was actually the son of Zeus or was partially divine are not given any credence. We’ve not only found the city of Troy, we’ve even found the layer which corresponds to when the Trojan War would have taken place. Hell, we’ve even found contemporary records with names like Agamemnon and Achilles, but does that mean that the legends of the House of Atreus are true? That Achilles was the son of the Sea Nymph Thetis? That the Olympians interest in the war was such that Ares and Apollo were running around the battlefield in person?
    In that same vein, Muhammad was real, but does that mean he was legitimately receiving dictation from the Archangel Gabriel? I dunno, but is that more likely or is it possible he was a charismatic man who managed to promote an idea and unite a lot of people around himself? In the grand scheme of things, one of those is far more likely than the other. Not saying the former DIDN’T happen, but it’s got an uphill battle in terms of demonstration.

  95. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “Was God being metaphorical there? If ye believe what it says, then that’s a pretty hard sell for “he was just a Prophet.””

    Yes, God was being metaphorical. If you read the Gospel and read what Jesus actually says then he himself claims he’s a prophet and the messiah. He never claims to be the divine son of God. When he did miracles he even says it was due to God.

    Psalm 82.
    “6 “I said, ‘You are “gods”;
    you are all sons of the Most High.’
    7 But you will die like mere mortals;
    you will fall like every other ruler.””

    Even in the old testament some people are referred to as “gods” but it’s never in the sense of the proper term for God.

  96. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “I think a big problem I have with stuff like this is that the same people pointing to the Torah, Bible and Quran as evidence for celestial beings and who will get excited when archeology supports the existence of these places aren’t willing to extend the same courtesy to other texts.”

    I don’t think I’d ever consider archaeological artefacts as evidence of God or other celestial beings but I think they can help give support to the truthfulness of some stories.

    “In that same vein, Muhammad was real, but does that mean he was legitimately receiving dictation from the Archangel Gabriel? I dunno, but is that more likely or is it possible he was a charismatic man who managed to promote an idea and unite a lot of people around himself? In the grand scheme of things, one of those is far more likely than the other. Not saying the former DIDN’T happen, but it’s got an uphill battle in terms of demonstration.”

    It wasn’t Mohammed’s job to convince people he was getting revelation from God. The God in the Quran clearly says his job was just to obey and pass on the message as instructed. It is God who will guide people and make them believers.

    Should we be critical of the Quran, yes we should. If we are after the truth then yes we shouldn’t blindly accept anything just because someone says it’s from God or because they are so passionate about it they are willing to die for it. We should think about it rationally and search for the truth regardless of what the truth is.

  97. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 98
    I’ve read it. Problem is, as has been mentioned before, the scriptures are the Big Book of Multiple Choice and can be spun to say whatever ye want. I could say “why go out of his way to call Jesus his son? Aren’t we ALL his children in the sense that yer trying to say?” Granted I can’t read the original Greek or Aramaic, but generally whenever is talked about in the Gospels, he’s referred to as the Son of God (Big “G”).
    However, in the grand scheme of things I consider this neither interesting nor important and don’t want to get bogged down in Bible Study when there’s a larger issue at hand. Arguing what this verse or that verse meant in context with some other verse in a different book is irrelevant to the grander question which everyone has been asking ye.
    And that is, for those listening at home “Why should any of us care what these books say?” As one of the hosts (likely Matt, but for the life of me I can’t recall which) once said:
    Truth is demonstrated! Not merely asserted.
    I’ve seen before people say “well it says it’s the Word of God!” So what? Just saying it doesn’t make it so, how do ye verify the thing IS what it says it is. As I’d said, Alexander the Great being real doesn’t mean he was the son of Zeus. Troy and the likelihood that it was the setting of a conflict which was remembered as the Trojan War being real doesn’t mean that the Olympians were. All these claims have to be investigated and verified on their own.
    Earlier I leveled a criticism at ye that it seems ye glomped onto the Quran as yer world view at some point and that yer world view is now shaped by yer presupposition that it’s true and that ye’ve got the right interpretation of it. Ye think that this book is proof that a Universal Creator is out there and that it represents what he wants from us, his (presumptive) creations.
    How is it ye can speak with authority that we’re special creations in comparison to all the other life on Earth or in the Universe at large, that there was a global flood which defies the observable evidence in the world around us, or ( * I had other things listed here, but I can’t recall if yer a Young Earth Creationist or Flat Earther or if I’m just confusing ye with an earlier argument I had this week, so for the time being I’ll give ye the benefit of the doubt and spare ye that) when the books yer using are not the stable foundations yer purporting them to be?

  98. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    OK, I see ye posted again while I was writing up that whole mess, but it largely says what I wanted to say to yer other points anyway. So whatevah!
    I guess I’ll just repeat that yer “criticism” seems to be within the narrow view of the Quran and how everything else (for instance the Torah and Bible) fits within it while disregarding things beyond it.

  99. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “Do I need to dust off the story of the Levite and his Concubine to display how God is perfectly cool with the worst transgressions going on in his name to make a point of “people should have come to me first?” Or the Book of Job where he let a faithful man’s life be destroyed as part of a wager between himself and one of his angels? Or countless other instances throughout the Old Testament when God ordered the slaughter of tribes?
    Jesus may have spoken about God being one of compassion and mercy, but that’s not really born out in the texts, particularly the ones he was claiming to fulfill.”

    I agree, reading some of the books from the Old Testament which describe some disturbing events doesn’t sound great. As a critical thinker do you not think the author knew this? Why would anyone want to write things like that if they wanted to promote a God who is loving, merciful and compassionate. Would it not have been easy to do that? Why not just pass on the good bits and leave the bad bits out?

    In the Quran, the punishments described for those who go to hell is not very pleasant. The Quran could have been trimmed to only include the good bits but it’s not. Even Jesus warns people about the end of times as being really really bad.

    So here you have 3 scriptures revealed hundred of years spans between them, revealed to different peoples yet they have the same core beliefs and some really disturbing content which could have easily been left out. Now as a critical thinker would you not think maybe this was deliberate?

    When you understand the definition of God then you may better understand human emotions. Do you ever wonder why you find some events in the Old Testament disturbing? Why/how do you relate to those events, why do you dislike death but like new life being born? If you think about there is nothing “evil” happening in the physical world. It’s just atoms and molecules. The evil that we know of happens in our minds and we all have the same concept of that evil. So as an atheist who things rationally you should be able block it all out and think nothing of it. After all you’re just here to pass on your genes and just die and that’s it. But we can’t we are what we are and I think this is something we need to think about. Is evil real or is it just things going on in our minds? When you understand this then what God is saying in scripture becomes clearer. The physical world isn’t what needs changing it’s our subjective reality our hearts and minds. Hence the term “submitting to the will of God” aka islam or “doing the will of the Father” as said in Christianity.

    The physical world is just a means to communicate with one another. It also shows something of what’s in our hearts and minds. This is the understanding I get from reading the scriptures and I’m guessing many other believers do as well.

  100. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    Answer my questions.

    So here you have 3 scriptures revealed hundred of years spans between them, revealed to different peoples yet they have the same core beliefs and some really disturbing content which could have easily been left out. Now as a critical thinker would you not think maybe this was deliberate?

    This is just laughably wrong. Not only are these documents not even remotely independent, but they DO NOT have the same ‘core beliefs.’ You’re just making shit up and this has already been pointed out.

    If you think about there is nothing “evil” happening in the physical world. It’s just atoms and molecules. The evil that we know of happens in our minds and we all have the same concept of that evil

    Wrong on two counts. Our minds are part of the physical world and we DO NOT all have the same concept of evil. It’s like you warped in from some wrong planet in a wrong universe where everything is wrong, to paraphrase Martin Wagner.

    So as an atheist who things rationally you should be able block it all out and think nothing of it. After all you’re just here to pass on your genes and just die and that’s it.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StrawVulcan
    This is also something that’s been pointed out to you before. Episode 21.20 had a special guest whose work shits all over your ignorant ass.
    I’ll ask again…answer my fucking questions.

  101. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 102

    So here you have 3 scriptures revealed hundred of years spans between them, revealed to different peoples yet they have the same core beliefs and some really disturbing content which could have easily been left out. Now as a critical thinker would you not think maybe this was deliberate?

    A critical thinker might look at how they were written by similar people in a similar place drawing off of similar shared mythos. Even with all this they don’t jibe as well together as ye seem to be wanting them to.

    I’m not gonna block quote the entire next paragraph but I’ll give ye credit for coming the closest I’ve yet seen to explaining yer world view. My response basically boils down to:
    I don’t see any divine plan in our shared human experience. We’re similar creatures with similar drives dealing with a similar external factors and it makes sense there’d be some similarity in the developing of moral frameworks. These are well understood by examining the ebb and flow of the reality within which we find ourselves, however chaotic it may sometime seem. I see plenty of people desperately trying to find meaning in it, and it’s comforting to believe there’s a grand plan behind it. However, to me it looks like people seeing shapes in clouds. At best I find such people guilty of wishful thinking, at worst willful ignorance. In either case, the terror with which people regard the “we’re nothing but molecules” oversimplification is understandable, but ultimately useless.
    Amusingly in some sects of Buddhism, a major point of the exercises is to rid yerself of diseases and illusions, to be able to look at the world for what it is and be OK with it. Pain in life comes from being out of sync with the world, forcing it to be something it’s not and not understanding what it truly is. Once ye can see clearly ye will be able to truly live. This is one of the paths to Enlightenment. I bring this up because maybe understanding that all the world and us are is spinning energy is what will free ye from yer muddied perception 😛
    Even more amusingly this is also something that L. Ron Hubbard ripped off with his whole “ridding yerself of thetans” thing. All of life’s ills come from these confused thetan spirits inhabiting yer body and once yer “clear” of them ye’ll have magic powers and shit. And of course ye “clear” yerself by buying into their program, but that’s neither here nor there…

    The physical world is just a means to communicate with one another. It also shows something of what’s in our hearts and minds. This is the understanding I get from reading the scriptures and I’m guessing many other believers do as well.

    Ever hear of the Gnostics and how they believed that the physical world was evil and we’re trapped in it in these meat suits preventing us from the purity of God’s true creation? They believed it was created by an evil god. Not making a point with this really, just bringing it up as something interesting.
    Also ye might want to steer away from the Argument from Popularity. How many people believe a thing speaks nothing to the truth of said thing.

  102. Nathan Roe says

    Sam you are the dumbest person I’ve ever interacted with. Also, you can’t prove that wrong. And I am also infallable.

    So I guess you are wrong.

  103. bigjay says

    Holy crap! Russell and Don stuttered and fumbled around so much the country preacher actually made them look kinda clueless. That was painful.

  104. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    So let’s dig into this new criterion. To be infallible you have to “believe in the one god” ie. believe that all religions are simply different forms of worship of one fundamental god.

    Why “the one god”? How do you know there aren’t multiple gods? A god of thermodynamics; a god of gravity; a god of ‘spiritual feelings’; a god of childhood cancer etc. etc.

  105. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “Why “the one god”?”

    It comes down to what your definition of god is. My definition includes is a being who is all powerful and all knowing. If there are 2 or more gods then there can’t be an all powerful and all knowing being. If one of them doesn’t have one of them attributes then they are not a god.

    “believe that all religions are simply different forms of worship of one fundamental god.”

    Not all religions just the Abrahamic ones and possibly other monotheistic ones.

  106. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “How many people believe a thing speaks nothing to the truth of said thing.”

    I totally agree.

    “I see plenty of people desperately trying to find meaning in it, and it’s comforting to believe there’s a grand plan behind it.”

    Why do you think humans have that behaviour? Why have any human emotions at all? Why do we find them difficult to control?

    Let’s look at science. The method that we use to determine whether something is true or not. If you read the Gospel and Old Testament then you’ll find it was science that God used to convince some of his prophets and the peoples. It wasn’t as if the people just believed in God because someone said something and people just accepted it. The people asked for evidence of God and they got it. But did that change them and make them righteous people? For some it did but most didn’t change to be righteous hence the all the events that happened in Israel.

    Exodus describes the 9 plagues, red sea parting and a column of fire and smoke which lead the Children of Israel by night and day. Now tell me this, would you be convinced that God existed if you were there and experienced all these miracles? I would be.

    Let’s look at the red sea parting. If you could examine the read sea parting closely and could observe water in the shape of a wall what would you think? How would you explain it? I guess if you’re Matt you’d want an explanation of how this is happening. How do you get an explanation of this phenomena? What experiments do you do to find out? Most likely if you’re a super skeptic like Matt then you’ll probably say we’ll figure it out in the future.

  107. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    If there are 2 or more gods then there can’t be an all powerful and all knowing being

    Why not? I don’t see why 2 (or more) equally all-powerful and all-knowing beings is any less believable than one. What exactly is the problem here?

  108. says

    With apologies to “The Princess Bride”..

    @Sam

    You keep using those words “critical thinking”. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

    Interesting MO.. only engaging with the other blog posters who allow him to post wordy rambling responses that don’t actually say anything.

    Someone has packaged up Sam’s call to the show. It’s instructive to rewatch.. especially his reason for believing.

    When asked directly how do you know the koran is the word of god his words are.. “well you just assume”. That is the entire basis for his “knowing”.

  109. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    When I say all-powerful I mean a being who has no match in power. When I say all-knowing I mean a being who has no match in knowledge. Problem is that if there are multiple beings all equally powerful then I’d question who is in control. Maybe they could somehow all work in unison and all collectively create and think. But then that’s just like there being just one being practically regardless of how many of them there are.

    Could the God of the Quran be the wrong god? It could be. Maybe there’s another god who hasn’t revealed themself yet. Let’s say the God of the Quran is true and as described in the Quran you are resurrected on the Day of Judgment. You see the angels, you meet and greet all your family and see the gardens of heaven and are filled with bliss. Everything described in the testament has turned out to be true including hell. You see a being clothed in light and he tells you that he is God. Do you believe him? Maybe another god created this god? Maybe the true god doesn’t want to make themself known yet. Maybe this god is just the god of this particular universe and there are multiple universes with their own gods.

    The possibilities go on and on. If you read the Quran you find that even the angels question God as to why he is creating human beings. No one including the angels know why God does what he does and they probably don’t know who he is properly.

  110. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    Problem is that if there are multiple beings all equally powerful then I’d question who is in control.

    Why must there be one in control? How do you know they don’t just all do whatever they want?
     

    Maybe they could somehow all work in unison and all collectively create and think.

    Why would they need to work in unison or collectively? They are all-powerful, they can do as much or as little as they want.
     

    When I say all-powerful I mean a being who has no match in power. When I say all-knowing I mean a being who has no match in knowledge.

    How do you know this all-powerful god is unmatched? If this god is an independent existent entity then it is not dependent on your definitions – it is what it is. Your definitions could simply be wrong.
     

    The possibilities go on and on.

    Indeed they do. And they include the possibility of multiple gods, and the possibility of no gods.

  111. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    We don’t know unless we are told so. Even when we are told so we have to take their word for it. As I said before you could see many miracles being performed by God. How do you know there isn’t an even more powerful God. You just don’t know because we’re limited beings with limited understanding.

  112. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    This is what I was trying to explain to Matt. I know I did a bad job because Matt being the belligerent individual he is wouldn’t let me explain, he just kept on butting. You can’t use science to prove God exists in terms of him being all powerful and all knowing. You can ask God to create planets and galaxies or human life or tell you what will happen in the future but that just tells you he can do those things. It’s up to you to be convinced whether everything else he hasn’t showed you is true.

    I think Matt has double standards when it comes to accepting evolution. He admits he doesn’t understand it himself yet due to it being popular among scientists he blindly accepts it. Yet when it comes to the existence of God he says he just doesn’t know what would convince him. Even if he saw the dead being brought back to life that would not be evidence of God for him.

  113. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    We don’t know unless we are told so. Even when we are told so we have to take their word for it.

    So your ‘infallibility’ is simply taking someone else’s word? That’s gullibility, not infallibility.

  114. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    The Quran makes you ask questions about your existence. About the reality that you can observe. It’s from questioning our reality and using science I get to the conclusion there is God. So even if the Quran was wrong there still would be God.

  115. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    It’s from questioning our reality and using science I get to the conclusion there is God.

    And that’s all it is Sam, a conclusion.

    If you are human, you are capable of error. If you are capable of error, you could have reached an incorrect conclusion. To claim anything else is absurdly arrogant.

  116. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 109

    If you read the Gospel and Old Testament then you’ll find it was science that God used to convince some of his prophets and the peoples.

    Congratulations. Ye just caused my eyebrow to raise so quickly it nearly popped off my head. One of the better definitions I’ve read of miracles is that they are a suspension of natural laws. How in Odin’s Many Names did God’s use things specifically meant to defy science use science to prove to his people?

    Exodus describes the 9 plagues, red sea parting and a column of fire and smoke which lead the Children of Israel by night and day. Now tell me this, would you be convinced that God existed if you were there and experienced all these miracles? I would be.

    Fun little bit. There’s a dude by the name of Simcha Jacobovici who called himself the Naked Archeologist. He did a special which I believe was produced by James Cameron called the Exodus Decoded which attempted to link the 9 Plagues with the Eruption of Thera (the one that wiped out the Minoan Civilization). Now this had a couple things going against it where the Theran Eruption happened 3-400 years before the Exodus, and also that there’s no real evidence the Exodus actually effin happened. However, Mr. Jacobovici managed to arrange alot of disparate elements into a compelling narrative which used natural forces to explain the miracles described in Exodus, so long as ye were willing to wink off some timeline issues.
    Another fun bit of trivia, Ancient Astronaut Theorists believe that UFO’s were responsible for guiding the Jews out of Egypt. Moses was their agent and used tech they gave him to appear as magic to the people of the time, the parting of the Red Sea was done by use of force fields and the pillar of smoke by day/fire by night was an effect they used to get the Jews to follow them.
    Now ye might ask, “Oh, Great Evil God of the Fiery Cloud, where are you going with these admittedly fascinating but puzzling segues?” I would respond “to demonstrate that “something crazy happened, must be God!” is a lazy response to unknown or unexpected phenomena.” How did ye exclude other still fantastic but mundane compared to All Powerful God hypotheses while just merrily jumping to the one which includes the most problematic external entity? While it’s largely true that within the text Moses invokes God and crazy shit happens, that doesn’t mean that it’s what’s actually happening. As the old saying goes:
    Correlation does not mean Causation.

    Let’s look at the red sea parting. If you could examine the read sea parting closely and could observe water in the shape of a wall what would you think? How would you explain it? I guess if you’re Matt you’d want an explanation of how this is happening. How do you get an explanation of this phenomena? What experiments do you do to find out? Most likely if you’re a super skeptic like Matt then you’ll probably say we’ll figure it out in the future.

    For instance the parting of the Red Sea (setting aside the matter of whether or not the text meant the Reed Sea which I think was to the North), if I was there and assuming we’re talking about current me with my modern day understandings and Evil God powers and that I’m not some ancient bumpkin and I was in fact seeing things as the scenario is believed to have happened, I’d be like “well hell, that’s pretty interesting.” However, I don’t think I’d immediately be like “Wow, Moses must be channeling the power of an extra-dimensional entity!” Maybe there are aliens somewhere above the clouds using force fields as Giorgio Tsoukalos postulated. Maybe Moses harmonized his ki with the water and could no control it like a Waterbender from the Avatar series (the cartoon, not those overblown movies). Perhaps he’s a human mutant with considerable telekinetic powers and what he thinks is God is actually his ability to hear the thoughts of others and it’s driven him a bit mad. Stuff like this is no more stupid than “God did it.”

    FYI I may have accidentally double posted this. Hopefully a mod can clean that up if it’s the case.

  117. Murat says

    I just watched Footloose (1984). Maybe for the first time, or maybe after totally forgetting I once had back in its day, on VHS.
    Much as I understand why it was some kind of a hit (memorable scenes, energy, good-looking people etc.) I found the conflict extremely weak. The reverend (John Lithgow) and the kid (Kevin Bacon) were not really characters in contrast, nor was there anything in the movie to build up tension over their takes on “dancing”.
    One thing that bugged me was that, in the USA of the 80s, a reverend and a town council influenced by him were portrayed as enough of a legislative power to actually “ban” dancing & rock music. I know that small towns can have some weird rules of their own, but, really? Was that not a thing of the 50s, at best?
    I wonder if anyone here has a recollection of this movie and the impact it had back then. Are there still (even, were there in the 80s) places in the Mid-West where a religious-backed opposition to entertainment could find some sort of legal ground?

  118. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    I grew up in the Midwest. Now, it was suburbia instead of the rural areas, but I still know things.

    There are still schools today that ban books for religious reasons. Catcher in the Rye is a popular banned book under the pretext of “language,” but the real reason is that the main character takes god’s name in vain and commits “blasphemous acts.” I guess you could say they have some sort of “legal ground,” but only in that the state governments haven’t said “knock that off.” If challenged, I doubt those bans could hold up in court.

    I realize you’re not American, so it may be rather shocking, but yes, massive chunks of this country are still extremely backward. Footloose was not at all unrealistic in terms of the issue portrayed.

  119. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    It’s from questioning our reality and using science I get to the conclusion there is God

    So are you lying now or were you lying before? Because this is the exact opposite of the shit you were spouting previously.

  120. Murat says

    @MS
    I have travelled quite a lot in the USA, maybe spent about a year in total there within the past 8 years or so, but this aspect of the Midwest is still a point of curiosity to me. Austin and Tucson were the “least metropolitan” cities I spent time in. So, I’m still quite a virgin in terms of being treated awkwardly over an accent.
    Small towns struggling against secular rule and libertarian values attract my attention in popular fiction, also because I’m writing stuff touching such issues.
    I guess it was the movie adaptation of “Inherit The Wind” (with Spencer Tracy) and “In the Heat of the Night” (with Sidney Poitier) that established such stories as a “movie genre” for Hollywood.
    Nowadays I’m catching up on things, going through some books, watching or re-watching films. “Easy Rider”, though not strictly on religious bases, had a similar theme with “Footloose”, if not similar tone.
    What states and what cities would you recommend as places to briefly visit for observing the “we don’t like strangers here” and “this is a strictly Christian community” moods, without taking too huge a safety risk?

  121. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 118

    It’s from questioning our reality and using science I get to the conclusion there is God

    Yeah, I got to second the confusion about this statement. How do ye reckon that yer using science and questioning reality?
    Going by every interaction I’ve seen ye have on the show and since coming to this forum ye’ve demonstrated a tendency to rather extreme selection bias in the data yer willing to accept, and by that I mean things that jibe with what ye already want to believe are fine, but things that run counter aren’t true or are being misinterpreted.

  122. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    They are outside the Midwest, but Lynchburg, VA and Shreveport, LA are both somewhat larger cities with that kind of milieu.

    As for smaller towns…Paw Paw, MI is pretty small and backwoods (western Michigan in general is the “northern bible belt”) and you can find lots of those towns in Pennsylvania as well, but I make it a point to avoid such places. Eastern Oregon is the home of Ammon Bundy and filled with Ammon Bundy types, so maybe check that out if you’re really that much of a masochist. Or just watch “Jesus Camp” and spare yourself the experience.

  123. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “Congratulations. Ye just caused my eyebrow to raise so quickly it nearly popped off my head. One of the better definitions I’ve read of miracles is that they are a suspension of natural laws.”

    Apologies, my bad for using the word science. I was trying to say God uses real phenomena we can observe with our senses to convince people he is who he is. God doesn’t use spread a feeling of “Godliness” or things from the spiritual realm to convince people.

    When you understand God then it doesn’t seem quite right to use the term “natural laws”. This puts the idea in some peoples head that God uses supernatural powers or that maybe God is somehow bound by the laws of physics. The way I think of it is that God create all the laws that we can observe and those we don’t know about yet. When God made the red sea part he was suspending the laws of physics as we know them but he created them in the first place. When it comes to God there’s no such thing as something which is “natural”. Natural is a term we give to things which we can observe and study and maybe come up with theories on how they behave. So when God brings the dead back to life he’s doing it via the laws of physics we know of it’s just that he’s able to control them. So God doesn’t use magic to do things. It’s all real.

  124. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 127

    Hahahaha, there’s people on this forum who have issues regarding the words natural/supernatural that cause my eyes to roll back into my head and I lose a couple hours. I have no plan to dip my toe anywhere near that water, so ye’ll excuse me if I wing us away from the minutiae and back to the overarching issue here.
    What I observe here is a whole lot of rationalization to make nonsensical events described make sense in the context of the reality within which we find ourselves. What I don’t see is any kind of explanation to believe any of this stuff actually happened.
    I rewatched yer latest call in to the show, and ye talk alot about starting with the assumption that the Quran is true and both there and here ye seem to do a great deal of post hoc rationalization to explain how things might work together. I mean by yer own description God has the ability to alter reality however he pleases for the effect he desires. By many people’s definitions that would qualify as “magic.”

  125. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “I mean by yer own description God has the ability to alter reality however he pleases for the effect he desires. By many people’s definitions that would qualify as “magic.””

    It’s “magic” when God makes things from nothing but I think it gives the wrong impression/meaning in that people take that to mean it’s not real. Hence I feel the term “magic” isn’t appropriate.

  126. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 129

    It’s “magic” when God makes things from nothing but I think it gives the wrong impression/meaning in that people take that to mean it’s not real. Hence I feel the term “magic” isn’t appropriate.

    What do ye mean by “nothing.” Do ye mean it how it’s used in common parlance or a more scientific definition à la Lawrence Krauss? Because one of those has things popping in and out of existence all the time and the other one barely makes sense as a concept.
    So in yer definition of God can even he not make “something” from “nothing” since doing so would be “magic” which ye say God doesn’t do?

  127. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “While it’s largely true that within the text Moses invokes God and crazy shit happens, that doesn’t mean that it’s what’s actually happening. As the old saying goes:
    Correlation does not mean Causation.”

    Interesting. So let’s get this clear. Moses invokes God. Miracle happens. A column of fire by night and smoke by day guides a large group of people through the desert. Moses invokes God and a dead person is brought to life. A large group of people hear the voice of God whilst at the same time a mountain is raised above them covered in smoke and fire. People ask for food. Food is sent down from the sky every morning. People ask for water. Water is made to come out of rock at the strike of a staff.

    So you witness all these events along with many others. Are you saying you’re not convinced that this voice is the one causing the events? Forget about whether the voice you hear is God’s for a moment. Are you saying you need more evidence to convince you that the things causing the miraculous events is not from the voice you are hearing.

  128. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “What do ye mean by “nothing.” Do ye mean it how it’s used in common parlance or a more scientific definition à la Lawrence Krauss? Because one of those has things popping in and out of existence all the time and the other one barely makes sense as a concept.”

    Nothing as in common parlance that’s the only thing we can understand and use. The scientific definition à la Lawrence Krauss is meaningless. Lawrence Krauss thinks he’s so brilliant that he’s become confused himself. He doesn’t have a clue about what “nothing” is and like many atheists and people like himself he’s going to go around in circles. Poor guy.

  129. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “So in yer definition of God can even he not make “something” from “nothing” since doing so would be “magic” which ye say God doesn’t do?”

    As I mentioned before the term “magic” doesn’t seem appropriate since I feel it give the impression that it’s not real or maybe an illusion.

    What God can we can only discover if he tells us. Otherwise we’re just speculating. No one knows God. Hence on the call I was trying to say that sometimes you end up relying on circular reasoning. This is not to say that you accept that the Quran is true because the Quran says it’s true. I was trying to get to explaining that the Quran makes certain claims and those claims can be tested using science.

  130. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    So you witness all these events along with many others. Are you saying you’re not convinced that this voice is the one causing the events? Forget about whether the voice you hear is God’s for a moment. Are you saying you need more evidence to convince you that the things causing the miraculous events is not from the voice you are hearing

    There’s an old story about a young squire of prodigious physical ability but somewhat diminished mental faculties and even lower self confidence. In order to bring him out of his shell, his mentor in the finer points of being a Dragon Slayer who recognizes his potential greatness teaches him a “magic word” that will make him invincible against all harm and able to kill any beast.
    So great is his confidence in his mentor, that the next time a Dragon attacks his master prompts him forward telling him to remember the word. The squire does so, kills the Dragon and becomes a great hero.
    Many years later, the squire has grown into a fine Knight himself with a string of great victories behind him. Countless people have seen him ride up, repeat a word and slay a dragon.
    Now the ending of the story is somewhat irrelevant to the point I’m trying to make, but in the same scenario of what yer describing, are the people justified in the Knight’s belief that his magic word had real power? If someone observing postulated that the word was merely a placebo which gave the Knight the confidence to use the abilities he already possessed, would ye be among those accusing him of denying a miracle?
    So yes. In the scenario that Moses is real and any of that shit actually happened, maybe invoking God was just the activator for Moses’s own magic powers. How do ye disregard that and just settle on “It must be God!” Matt called ye out on this as well in yer call. Just because something says it’s the cause of something, how do we know that’s ACTUALLY the cause. If I were there observing the miracles of the Exodus, I’ve admitted I’d have to agree that I’m seeing something incredible, but I’d be suspicious of definitive explanations for something which so greatly violate my understanding of the natural order. I mean hell, how do ye know he wasn’t being aided by the devil or some other demon PRETENDING to be God?
    See man, the underlying thing here is the problem pretty much everyone on this forum has with ye. Yer bar for standard of evidence is set far far far too low.

  131. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “So yes. In the scenario that Moses is real and any of that shit actually happened, maybe invoking God was just the activator for Moses’s own magic powers. How do ye disregard that and just settle on “It must be God!””

    Interesting.
    Moses never claims that it was his own power. Moses claims that it’s God doing it. Now what? Do you say Moses is lying, under the control of some alien? What?
    Apologies for questioning. I’m just trying to understand your reasoning.

  132. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    OK, time to start condensing all this stuff…

    @Sam – 132

    Nothing as in common parlance that’s the only thing we can understand and use. The scientific definition à la Lawrence Krauss is meaningless. Lawrence Krauss thinks he’s so brilliant that he’s become confused himself. He doesn’t have a clue about what “nothing” is and like many atheists and people like himself he’s going to go around in circles. Poor guy.

    Putting aside the issue with Lawrence Krauss, in the “common parlance” case can “nothing” even be a thing? Is it possible for “nothing” to even exist for God to make anything out of? A way’s back a dude called Eric from Mesa, AZ called in a few times trying this “you can’t create something from nothing” talking point and Tracie Harris had the most artful take down of that I’ve ever heard. I invite ye to hunt for the clip, it’s a pretty good one.

    @Sam – 133

    What God can we can only discover if he tells us. Otherwise we’re just speculating. No one knows God. Hence on the call I was trying to say that sometimes you end up relying on circular reasoning. This is not to say that you accept that the Quran is true because the Quran says it’s true. I was trying to get to explaining that the Quran makes certain claims and those claims can be tested using science.

    It’s not every day I find someone admit to circular reasoning while still insisting they have a cogent point.
    I’ll go back to “truth is demonstrated; not merely asserted.”
    If ye can’t demonstrate the truth of what ye say to others, why are ye so certain it’s truth to begin with? How are ye able to the difference tell this intrinsic feeling yer so is truth from a delusion?

  133. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 135

    Moses never claims that it was his own power. Moses claims that it’s God doing it. Now what? Do you say Moses is lying, under the control of some alien? What?
    Apologies for questioning. I’m just trying to understand your reasoning.

    Why does he have to be lying? Maybe he’s just mistaken about the origin of his power. Like I said, maybe he’s a mutant with psychic powers. Maybe he’s being deceived by a demon. Maybe it’s God acting through him. How can ye tell which it is? How can ye tell if any of those are the explanation?

  134. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Well I personally would believe until I learnt otherwise.
    Interestingly this goes back to how do accept God when you’re not even convinced by miracles? What kind of evidence are you looking for?

  135. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 138
    I could give the glib answer and say “I don’t know, but an all knowing, all powerful God should know what it would take to convince me.” However, I’ll stop that at “I don’t know.”
    In the scenarios offered, I’d be instantly suspicious of claims of certainty as to such bizarre things. Especially if the being credited with the acts wanted something from me like my worship and devotion.
    Believing until learning otherwise is exactly the opposite track ye should take, ESPECIALLY if it’s something that yer basing yer life around. It actually amazes me that ye don’t find anything wrong with that.

  136. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    How about we have that discussion after you demonstrate that shit like columns of fire and smoke and parting of seas actually happen? I’ve been running into several religious apologists who get butthurt about people “ruling out supernatural explanations” when they can’t even point to an actual phenomenon of the supposed “supernatural” variety that’s even been confirmed to happen.

    Oh, you’re upset that I wouldn’t accept god as an explanation for an amputee regrowing a limb? How about you show me a limb being regrown first, and THEN we’ll talk. Everything else is sophistry.

  137. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “I could give the glib answer and say “I don’t know, but an all knowing, all powerful God should know what it would take to convince me.” However, I’ll stop that at “I don’t know.””

    Fair enough. So based on that why do you need to see evidence of God? You’re not going to accept miracles or hearing God’s voice or even seeing him. So does that not mean that you will never believe regardless of what you are presented with? If that’s the case then would you consider yourself rational? You’re being presented with clear evidence yet you’re still not convinced and you have no idea what will convince you. Is this the reasoning of a rational person? If it is maybe you could describe what constitutes to someone being rational.

  138. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 141

    You’re being presented with clear evidence yet you’re still not convinced and you have no idea what will convince you.

    We seem to have very different definitions of “clear evidence.” So fart I’m presented with a great deal of anecdotes, and if yer going down the “look at the trees” route of argumentation for God, well we’ve got plenty of alternative explanations for those which don’t violate Occum’s Razor.
    As Matt is fond of quoting David Hume: The Wise Man apportions his belief to the evidence.” So when people make arguments for God that rely on circular reasoning, fallacious arguments, and anecdotes from ambiguous sources then yer not gonna be getting much belief from a person of sufficient skepticism.
    As I said before, yer bar for Standards of Evidence is set WAY too low. If yer gonna be convinced of something enough that ye allow it to shape yer world view, don’t ye think it should be based on as airtight reasoning as ye can manage?

  139. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    You’re lying out your ass yet again.
    Evil is not saying “nothing will convince me.” He’s saying “the hypothetical scenarios you present are chock full of holes and you still have all of your work ahead of you.” You’re not the first religious apologist to be so horrifically wrong here, and you won’t be the last, but it’s pretty clear that none of you have ever set foot in a science classroom.

  140. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    To clarify, I’m not saying accept the Bibles text that the miracles performed by Moses happened. I’m saying what if you there at the time of Moses and witnessed all those miracles yourself. It’s a hypothetical question.

  141. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 144

    I’m saying what if you there at the time of Moses and witnessed all those miracles yourself. It’s a hypothetical question.

    Like I said, if I was there I’d have to admit I’m seeing something fantastic. But if ye followed that up with “by the way, God did this and he wants XYZ from you” I’d be like “what? Are ye sure? I mean what I saw is incredible, but couldn’t an omnipotent being be a bit more efficient with hsi power? Odin has moved whole populations to other dimensions before, did God really have to have us escape through a parted sea and then wander for 40 years in the desert? Hell, the primoridial entities in Supernatural could have teleported ALL of us and our shit to the Holy Land with a snap of their fingers. If God wanted to show off his power there were cooler ways he coulda done it. BUT if Moses is a Water Bender, then this makes perfect sense!” I mean this God is hypothetically asking alot from me, so if I’m gonna be giving my devotion and worship to something I want to make sure I’m not being tricked by a demon.
    In that other thread I mentioned I’m a comic creator, and I can come up with a thousand alternate explanations for how something crazy might have happened which have exactly the same evidentiary support for an Omnipotent God.
    That said, let’s say I’m sufficiently awed by what I see and my glib counter-explanations fall flat and I’m forced to go “ok, a God did this.” Now please give me a call when this happens anywhere ever. Otherwise the hypothetical is meaningless.

  142. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “God really have to have us escape through a parted sea and then wander for 40 years in the desert? Hell, the primoridial entities in Supernatural could have teleported ALL of us and our shit to the Holy Land with a snap of their fingers. If God wanted to show off his power there were cooler ways he coulda done it.”

    Yes, God could have teleported them to the Holy Land. But why the Children of Israel and people in general have to go through trials and tribulations and have life the hard way has good reasons behind it.

  143. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 146

    Yes, God could have teleported them to the Holy Land. But why the Children of Israel and people in general have to go through trials and tribulations and have life the hard way has good reasons behind it.

    Ye focused on the wrong part of my previous post, man. Yer trying to argue with me about the life, culture and habits of the American Sasquatch and I’m saying I have no reason to believe the American Sasquatch even exists.
    The meat was the last part.

  144. RationalismRules says

    Lawrence Krauss thinks he’s so brilliant that he’s become confused himself. He doesn’t have a clue about what “nothing” is and like many atheists and people like himself he’s going to go around in circles. Poor guy.

    Who let Trump into the discussion…?

  145. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “Ye focused on the wrong part of my previous post, man. Yer trying to argue with me about the life, culture and habits of the American Sasquatch and I’m saying I have no reason to believe the American Sasquatch even exists.”

    I understand, and I’m getting there. Takes me a while to try and figure out how to word what I want to say.

  146. Chakat Firepaw says

    @Murat #121:

    I just watched Footloose (1984). Maybe for the first time, or maybe after totally forgetting I once had back in its day, on VHS.

    One thing that bugged me was that, in the USA of the 80s, a reverend and a town council influenced by him were portrayed as enough of a legislative power to actually “ban” dancing & rock music. I know that small towns can have some weird rules of their own, but, really? Was that not a thing of the 50s, at best?

    One thing to remember is that films are generally made by people in their late 30s to early 50s. This results in a little bit where high school/teen movies aren’t about the way things are but about the way things were 20-30 years ago. This is true even if the film uses modern trappings.

    So, as an early ’80s film, Footloose is really about the ’50s.

  147. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “That said, let’s say I’m sufficiently awed by what I see and my glib counter-explanations fall flat and I’m forced to go “ok, a God did this.” Now please give me a call when this happens anywhere ever. Otherwise the hypothetical is meaningless.”

    Great, you’re “sufficiently awed” by what you see. But why are you awed by what you see? You see the red sea part and can observe two walls of water. On closer examination you can feel the water as it is in the shape of a wall. The reason you’re impressed is because you’ve never seen this before. According to your understanding and experience this should not be possible. That’s just not the way water behaves. It seems like a miracle. If only you could have more time to observe it and take a closer look maybe?

    So let’s say for arguments sake Moses is back at the camp and says he can control water however he wants to. You do various experiments to observe. All you can observe is that water molecules somehow align to form shapes without any containers. How it happens you don’t know, you just can’t see any forces but obviously there has to be some other force otherwise how does it happen? After maybe years of experimentation are you still just as impressed with water forming shapes without any containers? I doubt it. It’s a strange phenomena but you’re no longer surprised, it is what it is.

    You see a mountain being raised which is surrounded by smoke and fire. You see that phenomena many times, are you going to be just as impressed for the 10 time as you were the first? I doubt you would. You would be expecting it, nothing surprising about it anymore. It’s God doing his miracle nothing else.

    So what I am saying here is that you’re sufficiently awed when you see the miracles for the first or maybe second time but if you see the miracles again and again and again are you impressed? My thoughts are you’re not. Am I correct?

  148. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    I maybe wrong on this but I’m pretty sure that Krauss was debating with a Muslim some time ago (if I’m being honest the Muslim lost the debate as Krauss was better at explaining science) and the Muslim said something like God can create things out of nothing and Krauss was saying that’s absurd. It’s not logical, defies physics, blah, blah. At that time I was wishing the Muslim would have asked Krauss to define “nothing”. Would have been awesome to hear what his response would have been. Now here is Krauss stuck with what “nothing” is because we can observe things appearing and disappearing into “nothing”. Brilliant.

  149. Murat says

    @Chakat Firepaw
    I guess the “lack of strong contrast” visible among the lead characters was a result of their way of carrying such a background to (their) present time.
    Even though a single piece of fiction may not, I believe that the overall reflection of things in cinema and literature can provide us quite fair a picture on how things were at a time.
    Again from the 80s, Peter Weir’s “Witness” was interesting for me in terms of depicting how far faith-based lifestyles could go under a uniting secular constitution.
    The Amish seem to be the most harmless -and also the most compatible with contemporary ecological concerns- among fringe communities of faith-based lifestyle, which is why I’m also curious about getting to know them at a point. The way I get it, unlike Mormons, they don’t care to spread their belief and just prefer to live closeted and untouched. In that sense, in huge contrast with Evangelism, I’d say.
    I hope someday AXP begins to make special episodes on subjects like “religious conflicts in movies” etc. Much as the show is always fun to watch, the randomness of the calls inevitably cause lack of structure, and such topics to begin with could cure that.

  150. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    (I have only skimmed your conversations with other posters, so apologies if I’m duplicating here).

    I don’t understand why the ‘nothing’ issue is so important for you. The theist timeline doesn’t contain a ‘nothing’ because there was always god. So why must the atheist timeline start from nothing? Why couldn’t it simply be the case that whatever the universe formed from – let’s just say ‘energy’ – has always existed?

  151. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “I don’t understand why the ‘nothing’ issue is so important for you. The theist timeline doesn’t contain a ‘nothing’ because there was always god. So why must the atheist timeline start from nothing? Why couldn’t it simply be the case that whatever the universe formed from – let’s just say ‘energy’ – has always existed?”

    Exactly, there is always God for us.

    Yes, why not say “energy” has always existed. Start off from that premise since it seems more logical to humans. It may not be true in reality but it does at least make a lot more sense than “nothing” since we can never define that.

    So you start off with “energy” just existing. It’s existed for ever. It has no beginning. You can call it “energy” but us theists will decide to call it God. So if you see it like that do you see how theists view God as just existing? He has no beginning, he just exists. Forget about the rest of God’s attributes for the moment but in terms of God’s existence you should be able to relate how we understand God to be a being who just exists.

    Which is kind of intriguing when Moses asks God what his name is – “I am who I am”.

  152. Murat says

    I’m fine with people believing energy or something sciency-feeling like that having existed forever, hence, it and God being practically the same thing.

    What amuses or disgusts me (depending on the situation) is to watch the futile attempts at tying that assumption/wish to organized religions with absurdly complicated side dishes.

  153. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    Yes, why not say “energy” has always existed. Start off from that premise since it seems more logical to humans. It may not be true in reality but it does at least make a lot more sense than “nothing” since we can never define that.

    Just to be clear, I’m not taking this as a starting premise, I’m just saying it’s one possible explanation. There are several others that I’m aware of, and there are probably many more that I’m not aware of. It remains an open question for now.
    I just don’t see why many apologists claim eternal existence for their god, but attempt to rule it out-of-bounds for a non-deity explanation.

    I don’t know why you have such a problem with Krauss, though (apart from the fact that he seems very arrogant). What is wrong with more deeply examining the idea of ‘nothing’?
     

    you should be able to relate how we understand God to be a being who just exists.

    I’ve never had any problem with this. It’s only an issue when apologists say “everything has to have a cause” and then immediately say “except for god”.

  154. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 153
    I’m somewhat tickled how ye acknowledge the part where I say the hypothetical is meaningless and then proceed to give more hypotheticals. I’ve already been honest when I said “I don’t know what would convince me of God’s existence.”
    All miracles I’ve ever heard of described would be incredible, but a twist of the scenario and they could be done by pretty much any fantastic being and hey man, I don’t want to be tricked! If the God in addition is demanding worship, obedience, changing my life and threatening me with eternal torment if I don’t play by his rules well then I’m gonna need a REALLY good reason to do so.
    Course, none of this matters because as far as I can tell, there’s no reason to believe any of this stuff actually happens. When it does, it’s possible I’ll change my tune. Till that time I’m not impressed by the hypothetical scenarios of people who’ve sacrificed their skepticism on the Altar of Credulity for their own comfort.

  155. RationalismRules says

    @Murat

    I’m fine with people believing energy or something sciency-feeling like that having existed forever, hence, it and God being practically the same thing.

    First: you don’t have a problem with people believing something that is not backed up by evidence? Not a skeptic, then…

    Second: “practically the same thing”? Hardly. Every god concept I’m aware of includes the notions of ‘entity’ and ‘agency’ (except pantheism, which doesn’t count because it’s just a different name for ‘the universe’). That’s very different to ‘energy’, which, by the way, I simply used as a stand-in term for whatever-the-universe-originated-from (I probably should have said ‘stuff’ instead – ‘energy’ has too many connotations of new-age-wanky-bollocks).

  156. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “I don’t know why you have such a problem with Krauss, though (apart from the fact that he seems very arrogant). What is wrong with more deeply examining the idea of ‘nothing’?”

    I don’t have any problems with Krauss or any other scientist. It’s just amusing listening to some of the stuff they come up with, and how they ridicule religion.

    “I’ve never had any problem with this. It’s only an issue when apologists say “everything has to have a cause” and then immediately say “except for god”.”

    Well that’s just what makes logical sense to us. We’ll never know if it’s true but that’s what we assume.

  157. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “All miracles I’ve ever heard of described would be incredible, but a twist of the scenario and they could be done by pretty much any fantastic being and hey man, I don’t want to be tricked! If the God in addition is demanding worship, obedience, changing my life and threatening me with eternal torment if I don’t play by his rules well then I’m gonna need a REALLY good reason to do so.”

    Yes, those miracles could be done by anything. But forget about who did those miracles. Let’s just look at why you found them incredible. You found those miracles incredible simply because you’ve never seen them before. It defies your observations and experiences of the world you live in. If you had seen miracles like those everyday you would not find them incredible. You’d want something more convincing.

    You look at the world around you. It’s not incredible in the miracle sense because you see it all the time.

  158. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “I simply used as a stand-in term for whatever-the-universe-originated-from (I probably should have said ‘stuff’ instead – ‘energy’ has too many connotations of new-age-wanky-bollocks).”

    Doesn’t make a difference what term you use if you think about it.

  159. Ethan Myerson says

    You found those miracles incredible simply because you’ve never seen them before. It defies your observations and experiences of the world you live in. If you had seen miracles like those everyday you would not find them incredible. You’d want something more convincing.

    You’ve made this point twice now, and I’m still not certain what it’s meant to demonstrate. Yes, unusual things are unusual until they become commonplace. So….?
    .
    .

    Doesn’t make a difference what term you use if you think about it.

    It does make a difference if the terms you use are overloaded with baggage. I call it “energy”, you call it “god”. It’s not just semantics if the next thing you say is, “…and being that it’s god, we can also reasonably infer that eating pork and being gay and a woman allowing unrelated men to see her uncovered hair are morally reprehensible.”

  160. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    It’s only an issue when apologists say “everything has to have a cause” and then immediately say “except for god”.”

    Well that’s just what makes logical sense to us.

    “Logical sense”? You’ve got to be kidding me. It’s logically invalid.

    If your premise is “everything has to have a cause”, that includes god. That’s what ‘everything’ means – every thing. If god is a thing, then it is included in everything.
    As soon as you make an exception for one thing you are no longer dealing with ‘everything’, and the premise fails.

  161. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 164

    You look at the world around you. It’s not incredible in the miracle sense because you see it all the time.

    After that whole talk and we’re right back at “Look at the trees.”

    But then there’s little gem from 163

    “I’ve never had any problem with this. It’s only an issue when apologists say “everything has to have a cause” and then immediately say “except for god”.”
    Well that’s just what makes logical sense to us. We’ll never know if it’s true but that’s what we assume.

    Why would we assume that? Is there a reason ye can give to do such a thing that does not rely on fallacious reasoning, in this case particularly Special Pleading?

  162. Murat says

    @RR

    First: you don’t have a problem with people believing something that is not backed up by evidence? Not a skeptic, then…

    Second: “practically the same thing”? Hardly. Every god concept I’m aware of includes the notions of ‘entity’ and ‘agency’ (except pantheism, which doesn’t count because it’s just a different name for ‘the universe’). That’s very different to ‘energy’, which, by the way, I simply used as a stand-in term for whatever-the-universe-originated-from (I probably should have said ‘stuff’ instead – ‘energy’ has too many connotations of new-age-wanky-bollocks).

    Uhh… I don’t see how “not having a problem with X group” is relevant to my very own skepticism. I consider MYSELF to be a skeptic. I know THEY aren’t.
    People with whom I have a “problem” are basically those who force anti-secular rule, who try to impose their beliefs and assumptions on others, who trick their way into switching facts with beliefs.
    And someone who claims “energy” to be “God” does not quilify directly as one of the above. I wouldn’t be bothered by their presence or talks long as they don’t cross the aforementioned lines.
    I understand what you mean when you say that particular kind of equivocation is short of supporting a decent “theistic” approach (simply because it fails to demonstrate that the “energy” they mention shows no signs of “agency”) but, well, THEY don’t see it as a major problem by definition.
    I don’t think one needs to have a beef with “not X” in order to correctly define himself as X.
    I just try to save my confrontational energy for those whom I find truly despicable with regards to how they apply their faiths to the real world. And I’m quite aggressive when it’s THAT kind I find myself arguing with. At times, I can even go Monocle Smile on them.

  163. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat

    And someone who claims “energy” to be “God” does not quilify directly as one of the above. I wouldn’t be bothered by their presence or talks long as they don’t cross the aforementioned lines.

    Really? How do you think these people vote? Do you not think this way of thinking poisons other beliefs as well? Perhaps I have less of a problem with these people, but poor thinking promotes and enables other poor thinking. This is why I don’t hold back with “liberal christians,” because precious few of them lift a finger against the Westboro Baptist Churches of the world (social media posts don’t qualify as real opposition).

    I just try to save my confrontational energy for those whom I find truly despicable with regards to how they apply their faiths to the real world. And I’m quite aggressive when it’s THAT kind I find myself arguing with

    Okay, that’s fair. I agree with this. Choosing battles is something I can’t argue with.

  164. Murat says

    @RR

    Really? How do you think these people vote? Do you not think this way of thinking poisons other beliefs as well?

    If I’m not heavily mistaken, most of the people whose theism goes only far as “God=Energy” are the New Age folks. Some months ago I spent a few days among (mostly) that kind of “spiritualists” on the premises of a Buddhistic complex in the Catskill Mountains. We did have some political conversations and my impression was that each of them were reasonable and responsible in terms of voting. Though not supported by facts, their beliefs were, at least, not in contrast with reality. Trump’s denial of climate change was spooking them as they were in line with scientific data showing mankind to be responsible for what is happening to the planet.
    The experience was just a brief introduction to vegan diet for me, but I did participate in some meditation seances, and yes, I did find scientifically unbacked and quite misleading some practices (like, claiming that placing fingers somewhere special on the inside of the hand was good for the kidneys, etc.)
    I see your point that, when people build up (or, dive into) a faith system that neglects basic thought mechanisms, they become prone to every other kind of mischief. But I’m just not sure New Age hippies should be in the frontline when it comes to challenging people’s ways of thinking.
    In some AXP episodes I had felt that Matt was really frustrated with such stuff, and I had kind of wondered why, in a very general sense, that type of believers were not being led to make alliance with skeptics / atheists against organized religion.
    I don’t know what your experience with such people is, so, can’t say you are wrong in assuming they have a poisoning effect (I’d agree especially for atrology etc.).
    I guess everyone fights a diferent kind of fight when it comes to religious oppression, theocracy, misinformation etc. I might have been very agressive towards fans of the New Age under different circumstances, but it’s a whole different line of, and a more immediate threat that I recently had to channel my personal efforts to: https://news.sol.org.tr/publisher-detained-latuff-cartoons-171375

  165. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “After that whole talk and we’re right back at “Look at the trees.””

    I don’t think you’ve been looking at the trees properly. If you were then you’d find them special, in fact if you look at anything in this reality you’d find it special. Let’s continue please, maybe I’ve missed something?

  166. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “Why would we assume that? Is there a reason ye can give to do such a thing that does not rely on fallacious reasoning, in this case particularly Special Pleading?”

    It’s probably meaningless for most atheists but for us theists were trying to apply logical reasoning when coming up with an explanation of God.

  167. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    It’s probably meaningless for most atheists but for us theists were trying to apply logical reasoning when coming up with an explanation of God.

    Try starting without your conclusion in mind.

  168. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “If your premise is “everything has to have a cause”, that includes god. That’s what ‘everything’ means – every thing. If god is a thing, then it is included in everything.
    As soon as you make an exception for one thing you are no longer dealing with ‘everything’, and the premise fails.
    Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says”

    I don’t think the premise fails because it just refers to things in the universe. So everything in the universe has a cause.

  169. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    “If everything is special, then nothing is special”

    I was thinking anything we can observe in this life or reality as I believe everything has been created for a reason. Before the earth was formed and there was no life then it everything wasn’t special.

    But I take your point and maybe should have said everything we can observe is divinely created.

  170. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 172

    I don’t think you’ve been looking at the trees properly. If you were then you’d find them special, in fact if you look at anything in this reality you’d find it special. Let’s continue please, maybe I’ve missed something?

    Ye and I both see and experience trees. Ye and I both experience the natural world. Yer the one saying it’s a miracle. Yer the one with the burden of proof. I agree the natural world can be neat, but if yer gonna tell me there’s a divine intelligence behind it all, then ye’ve got to show yer work.

    @Sam -173

    It’s probably meaningless for most atheists but for us theists were trying to apply logical reasoning when coming up with an explanation of God.

    I’m not sure ye understand what “logical reasoning” means if that’s what ye think yer doing here. Admitting yer using circular reasoning (which ye did way back in post 133) and demonstrably falling back on arguments riddled with logical fallacies like the Argument from Ignorance and Special Pleading do not a cogent argument make.

    @Sam – 176

    I don’t think the premise fails because it just refers to things in the universe. So everything in the universe has a cause.

    This Universe, yes. Which by the way is the only one we have to investigate. Yer making some rather large assertions about shit which we have no data on.

    @Murat – 177

    I have new found respect for the expression “not seeing the forest for the trees”.

    Congratulations, good sir. Ye’ve won the thread!

  171. SamFromUK says

    @Ethan,

    “It does make a difference if the terms you use are overloaded with baggage. I call it “energy”, you call it “god”. It’s not just semantics if the next thing you say is, “…and being that it’s god”

    I agree, let’s leave all the baggage aside for a moment.

  172. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “Ye and I both see and experience trees. Ye and I both experience the natural world. Yer the one saying it’s a miracle. Yer the one with the burden of proof. I agree the natural world can be neat, but if yer gonna tell me there’s a divine intelligence behind it all, then ye’ve got to show yer work.”

    Great at least you think natural world is neat. That’s a start.

    So what is it about the trees that you don’t see anything incredible in them but you do see water being parted as being incredible? Is it just because you see trees all the time?

    What if you’ve never ever seen a tree before. Would it be incredible then?

  173. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Bah, once again ye chose to reply to the least interesting part of my previous post. But whatever, here we go:

    Great at least you think natural world is neat. That’s a start.

    Hey now, I’m an exponent of Wabi-Sabi. I’m all about finding beauty in the banal.

    So what is it about the trees that you don’t see anything incredible in them but you do see water being parted as being incredible? Is it just because you see trees all the time?

    Trees are part of the natural world and we have a pretty good understanding of the natural processes by which they happen. Water pulling back like a curtain is NOT something that has an understood natural mechanism to explain it.

    What if you’ve never ever seen a tree before. Would it be incredible then?

    Sam, I don’t wish to suggest your hypotheticals are predictable, but there are as-of-yet undiscovered tribes in the heart of the Peruvian jungle who knew you were going to say that. So instead of repeating myself I’ll instead go to this:

    @Sam – 178

    But I take your point and maybe should have said everything we can observe is divinely created.

    As Tracy once said “Things that don’t exist can’t be the cause of other things.”
    The existence of God/a god is not the closed matter ye seem to want it to be, especially not among many of the people posting here. If yer gonna posit that the divine is everywhere we look, then yer gonna have to show that. If we both agree that the natural world exists, and YER the one saying there’s an intelligence behind it, ye have to show yer work. And an endless amount of hypotheticals, bald assertions, circular reasoning, and fallacious arguments are NOT how ye do that.

  174. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “Trees are part of the natural world and we have a pretty good understanding of the natural processes by which they happen.”

    Great. So trees are part of the natural world and we have a pretty good understanding of natural processes by which they happen.

    Do you understand the chemistry involved which creates a seed and from a seed it becomes a tree? Yes we can observe it happen but that doesn’t not mean we actually understand it. This is where scientists such as Dawkins just ignore the vastly complex process taking place and they just give it names and that’s it, it becomes natural.

  175. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 184
    That’s again ye chose to focus on the least interesting part of what I wrote previously.

    Do you understand the chemistry involved which creates a seed and from a seed it becomes a tree? Yes we can observe it happen but that doesn’t not mean we actually understand it. This is where scientists such as Dawkins just ignore the vastly complex process taking place and they just give it names and that’s it, it becomes natural.

    Ye know that Dawkins is a biologist by trade, correct? I’m willing to bet he understands the biological mechanics and their complexity a great deal more than ye do. Seriously, this is starting to sound like that whole Oprah “Atheists can’t experience wonder” shit. Are ye aiming for an Appeal to Emotion here? I hate playing Fallacy Bingo with people but yer making it really rather difficult.
    There’s only so many times that we can go:
    A: Do you see?
    B:Yes.
    A:But do you really see?
    B:I said yes.
    A:But do you really really REALLY see?
    B: …
    A:God’s in there. I swear!

    So I will repeat myself.
    As Tracy once said “Things that don’t exist can’t be the cause of other things.”
    The existence of God/a god is not the closed matter ye seem to want it to be, especially not among many of the people posting here. If yer gonna posit that the divine is everywhere we look, then yer gonna have to show that. If we both agree that the natural world exists, and YER the one saying there’s an intelligence behind it, ye have to show yer work. And an endless amount of hypotheticals, bald assertions, circular reasoning, and fallacious arguments are NOT how ye do that.

  176. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “As Tracy once said “Things that don’t exist can’t be the cause of other things.””

    So how does Tracie explain things coming from the Krauss “nothing”?

  177. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Forget about God and everything being divinely created. Let’s just purely focus on the science of nature. What is it that we understand and how we came to understand it.

    “Ye know that Dawkins is a biologist by trade, correct? I’m willing to bet he understands the biological mechanics and their complexity a great deal more than ye do.”

    I’m sure we could come up with a name for this fallacy if there isn’t one already but I’ll leave it to the smarty pants atheists to come up with that since they love doing that sort of thing.

    So you think Dawkins understands biological mechanics? Does he understand it well enough to create a seed from scratch?

  178. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 185
    Amusingly I’m fairly certain she and Matt address that topic in their call from Eric from Mesa, AZ. Though admittedly he kept trying to say “Something can’t come from nothing, and I’m not saying nothing in the same definition that scientists like Krauss use” but then was like “but scientists say something CAN come from nothing and isn’t that dumb” and she had to point out that yes (ish) if they were using Eric’s definition of nothing, but that’s not what they meant when they said “a Universe from nothing” because they were saying that using THEIR definition of nothing. In any event, look up “A Confused Theist Tries To Defend The Kalam” on Youtube. It’s actually quite pertinent to alot of what yer trying to posit here.
    But also, the reason I said that is because yer saying that “everything we observe is divinely created” when there is no definitive evidence that the divine even exists.
    So we’ve got “look at the trees,” are we going to have to add “God of the Gaps” to yer list of sins here?

  179. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 186

    I’m sure we could come up with a name for this fallacy if there isn’t one already but I’ll leave it to the smarty pants atheists to come up with that since they love doing that sort of thing.

    Yer looking for the Appeal to Authority. And it’s only a fallacy when what yer appealing to isn’t an actual authority. Kinda like saying “9 out of 10 dentists say that MiracleGro is the best fertilizer for your yard!” But understanding fallacies are important if yer gonna say yer using logic and reason. It’s kinda built in there and it’d be to yer benefit if ye learned how to avoid them.

    But anywho,

    So you think Dawkins understands biological mechanics? Does he understand it well enough to create a seed from scratch?

    What does that have to do with anything? Does understanding how trees grow new seeds matter at all in this new hypothetical?
    Can ye, since that apparently matters?

  180. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 186
    Apologies, I missed this part. I normally like to keep everything confined to one post, but I suppose this will have to do:

    Forget about God and everything being divinely created. Let’s just purely focus on the science of nature. What is it that we understand and how we came to understand it.

    Through observation and testing. I invite ye to learn more about the scientific method and its applications to save myself an arse load of typing.

  181. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “What does that have to do with anything? Does understanding how trees grow new seeds matter at all in this new hypothetical?”

    Of course it does. This is the most important part of my argument. What do we exactly mean when we say we understand something. An apple drops from a tree. How did it drop down? It’s a mystery. OK we’ll call it “gravity”. There mystery solved. Now let’s go to the next mystery. When it comes to understanding things in science all we are doing is giving things a name most of the time. That’s all we’re doing.

    So, do you know how trees grow new seeds? Do you understand it well enough to be able to reproduce it from scratch? And if you don’t understand it well enough to reproduce it from scratch why not and should you claim that you understand it?

  182. Murat says

    Yaay! A lottery in which all the numbers are winning the top prize!
    The dropping of the apple from the tree is a mystery.
    Had it not dropped and stayed there attached to the branch forever, it was gonna be another mystery!
    Seeds grow up and become trees, what a miracle!
    If trees popped out of the soil without a need for the seeds, it would’ve been yet another miracle!
    Every single thing is proof for whatever it is we think we believe in.
    But even if these things failed to exist, we would’ve been believing with the same level of certainty because we’re high, or because we’re simply wired that way!

  183. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 190

    “What does that have to do with anything? Does understanding how trees grow new seeds matter at all in this new hypothetical?”

    Of course it does. This is the most important part of my argument. What do we exactly mean when we say we understand something.

    Sorry, I think ye may have been unclear in what I meant when I said that. I said that in response to yer “can he create a seed from scratch” comment and what I meant was “is it important to be able to do that (which I took to be a conversation stopper)? Or is it enough to understand they process by which plants generate seeds (which we’ve got a decent bead on).?

    When it comes to understanding things in science all we are doing is giving things a name most of the time. That’s all we’re doing.

    If ye can say that I don’t believe ye’ve got the slightest idea about what science is and what it does.

    So, do you know how trees grow new seeds? Do you understand it well enough to be able to reproduce it from scratch? And if you don’t understand it well enough to reproduce it from scratch why not and should you claim that you understand it?

    So this is a case of anything less than 100% = 0?
    I mean, depending on what ye mean by “scratch” we (humans) have done some pretty incredible things creating new stuff out of what could be considered “scratch.” Hell, just look what they’re doing in particle colliders and such.

  184. Monocle Smile says

    @All
    This quote from Sam:

    An apple drops from a tree. How did it drop down? It’s a mystery. OK we’ll call it “gravity”. There mystery solved. Now let’s go to the next mystery. When it comes to understanding things in science all we are doing is giving things a name most of the time. That’s all we’re doing

    This is the same person who claims mitosis is an actual miracle.
    This is the same person who spent half of his last adventure here trying to disprove paternity tests to a geneticist.
    He is not worth engaging. Stop feeding him and let him rot.

  185. says

    @Monocle Smile

    I concur.

    However, it appears that RR, Evil God and Murat are having quite the fun game of count the logical fallacies.

    Sam appears to be an example of Dunning Kruger.

    I don’t know how many more times we are going to see about Moses parting the red sea in this thread. He doesn’t seem to comprehend that people here don’t accept the story in the first place.

    Sam: But how did Moses part the red sea?

    Someone Else: I don’t accept that he did.

    Sam: But what if he did?

    Someone else: I don’t accept that he did.

    Sam: But what if he did?

    X30

    Sam, I know you are likely to read this, even though you have chosen to not engage those people who give you the least room to ply you bullshit. (such as myself and Monocle Smile).

    What I want to say to you is that those who are still engaging are not doing it because you are convincing them. They are doing it because it amuses them to see you flailing helplessly. They are very cruel people who enjoy a battle of wits with an unarmed man. They probably pull the wings off flies in their spare time.

    When you come here with arguments no deeper that “look at the trees”, and “well if you assume that the koran is true then it becomes true”, you are making a fool of yourself. If this is something you enjoy, well and good.

    However if you had any sense of pride, this is a place you would withdraw from. You are not equipped for this battle.

    By your ridiculous arguments you are making people more sure that a belief in god is absurd, not less.

  186. t90bb says

    shaun 194…..
    Could not have said it better. We both agreed weeks ago that ground rules should have been set up and enforced with respect to Sams postings. I went so far as to suggest kicking him out.
    The volumes and volumes of Sam’s posts remind me that some “can say so much yet say so little”….Hes made assertion after assertion w/o evidence and when pinned…..he plays the “im getting to it”, “Im having a hard time putting what i know into words”, or “if you only understood as I do” game. His basic arguments boil to down to the “why is there something rather than nothing” and the “universe is too complex to have come to be without an intelligence” ?.
    Sam offers nothing new…hes basically a presupposition…..he wants to give his magic genie special pleading. He has yet to even demonstrate that this magic genie of his is even possible….let alone likely. Hes a shit show.

  187. says

    @t90bb

    Yes.. the question of why is there something rather than nothing is an intriguing question. It is the greatest philosophical question of all.

    However, I personally prefer the answer “I don’t know” to a confected.. “well then god”.. because (as Matt Dillahunty is fond of saying) “What else could it be??”

    I would rather actually know something than presuppose something. That is the fundamental difference between myself and theists of all stripes. I am comfortable not knowing why.

    Having said that, the why offered is ridiculous anyway. A petty, vindictive being with all of the personality traits of a bronze aged tribal elder with narcissistic personality disorder? Come off it! If you believe that, I have a bridge for sale.

    The obvious problem with this is the description of an infinitely wise god. I can’t see a god this wise even wanting worship. It’s not like I insist my cat worship me, and I’m not even that much smarter than her.

  188. RationalismRules says

    @Shaun #194
    For the record, if a fly landed in my hands, looked up at me and said “I can fly, therefore god” I might pull its wings off, but I would plead extreme provocation, your honor.

  189. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    I don’t think the premise fails because it just refers to things in the universe. So everything in the universe has a cause.

    That’s a different premise.
    But let’s examine that one, and see if it leads to a god… (spoiler alert: it doesn’t)

    Whether or not the premise is in fact true is another open question. Fortunately we don’t need to go there to show how it fails to produce a ‘god’. Let’s just assume that the premise is true.

    “Everything in the universe has a cause” tells us nothing about anything that is outside the universe. If the universe had a beginning, ie. didn’t exist at some time in the past, then whatever it arose from was, by definition, not ‘in the universe’. So if ‘energy’ existed prior to the universe, then that would fit the premise just fine. As would anything else.

    The premise doesn’t even get you close to an ‘entity’ with ‘agency’. It simply gets you to “anything at all that existed prior to the origin of the universe”.

  190. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    “As Tracy once said “Things that don’t exist can’t be the cause of other things.””

    So how does Tracie explain things coming from the Krauss “nothing”?

    Since this is appears to have slipped past everyone else, and it’s pertinent to the comment I just posted, I’ll hit it:

    If something came from nothing then it was uncaused. It simply happened without a cause.

    Uncaused shouldn’t be a problem for you, because your imaginary friend is uncaused.

  191. dargndorp says

    Just a heads up to everyone – Matt Dillahunty has communicated (via Twitter and facebook) that tomorrow’s show has been cancelled due to bad weather.

  192. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “If something came from nothing then it was uncaused. It simply happened without a cause.”

    How do you know? Have you just made and assertion?

  193. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “But let’s examine that one, and see if it leads to a god”

    I did say forget about what your thoughts of a god was as I believe it comes with a lot of baggage which causes atheists mega problems. I just said you can this thing “stuff” or “energy” whatever you want whatever name you want, it’s just that us theists give it the name “God”.

  194. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “The premise doesn’t even get you close to an ‘entity’ with ‘agency’”

    I agree. Let’s keep it that for now.

  195. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    I’m still reeling at Sam’s interpretation of how the “theory of gravity” came about. He’s just phenomenal, I haven’t seen something like that in a minute, so thank you, Sam.

    I appreciate you.

  196. RationalismRules says

    @RR,

    “If something came from nothing then it was uncaused. It simply happened without a cause.”

    How do you know? Have you just made and assertion?

    It is an assertion, but it is supported by logic. I’ve drawn a valid conclusion. If nothing exists, then no cause exists. Hence if ‘something’ comes from ‘nothing’, then it is uncaused.

  197. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “So this is a case of anything less than 100% = 0?”

    I’ve no idea what you mean by this.

    “I mean, depending on what ye mean by “scratch” we (humans) have done some pretty incredible things creating new stuff out of what could be considered “scratch.” Hell, just look what they’re doing in particle colliders and such.”

    What I mean by scratch is from atoms and molecules. Using our understanding of chemistry and physics. Not that the higher level of cells and more complex living organisms which Dawkins and Co love to cite and show how clever they are on science.

    Sorry, but what’s so incredible about particle colliders?

  198. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “It is an assertion, but it is supported by logic. I’ve drawn a valid conclusion. If nothing exists, then no cause exists. Hence if ‘something’ comes from ‘nothing’, then it is uncaused.”

    Great, so in your books and assertion is fine as long as it is supported by logic.

    How do you know “nothing” is not something? What’s your definition of “nothing” and how are you going to test for it? If it’s not observable and testable can you use science to describe it?

  199. RationalismRules says

    I did say forget about what your thoughts of a god was as I believe it comes with a lot of baggage which causes atheists mega problems. I just said you can this thing “stuff” or “energy” whatever you want whatever name you want, it’s just that us theists give it the name “God”.

    I’m sorry, you’re now saying that ‘god’ has no more meaning than ‘whatever existed before the universe began’?

  200. SamFromUK says

    “I’m sorry, you’re now saying that ‘god’ has no more meaning than ‘whatever existed before the universe began’?”

    Yes, let’s go with that for now since it simplifies things. Let’s even do away with the name “god” for now and you can call it whatever you feel like.

  201. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    Great, so in your books and assertion is fine as long as it is supported by logic.

    Valid logic, resting on valid premises, yes.
     

    How do you know “nothing” is not something?

    From the definition.
     

    What’s your definition of “nothing” and how are you going to test for it?

    Referring you back to what you said in post #132:

    Nothing as in common parlance that’s the only thing we can understand and use.

    So, using the common parlance version of nothing = the absence of any thing.
    It can’t be tested, it’s an abstract concept. Logic, ie. structured thought process, can be applied to abstract concepts, as well as to real things.
     

    If it’s not observable and testable can you use science to describe it?

    I don’t really understand what you mean by ‘use science to describe it’. It’s an abstract concept. As far as I’m aware, nobody claims that it has actual existence – even that notion is inherently contradictory.
     
    Looking back at your earlier question, though, I didn’t read it carefully enough, because it’s quite a strange response to Evil’s comment. “Things that don’t exist can’t be the cause of other things.” doesn’t seem to me to be a controversial statement. But your response was:

    So how does Tracie explain things coming from the Krauss “nothing”?

    Are you suggesting that this could be caused by something that doesn’t exist? How would that work?
    Even if you are interpreting Krauss’s “nothing” as leaving room for “something unknown”, how could something that doesn’t exist have any causal impact on that?

    If there is ‘nothing’ (in the common parlance) and something appeared from that, then it would have to be uncaused, as I demonstrated in the previous post. If something appeared from Krauss’s ‘nothing’ (ie. the absence of everything we’re aware of), then maybe there was something there that we weren’t aware of, but I still don’t see how that could be affected by something non-existent. That seems wacky, even by your standards.

  202. RationalismRules says

    @SamFromUK

    “I’m sorry, you’re now saying that ‘god’ has no more meaning than ‘whatever existed before the universe began’?”

    Yes, let’s go with that for now since it simplifies things. Let’s even do away with the name “god” for now and you can call it whatever you feel like.

    So, given that you’ve stripped your god concept of all attributes, and even its label, it seems to me you’ve just accepted that “everything in the universe has a cause” tells us nothing whatsoever about ‘god’. Is that correct?
    (Either that or you’ve abandoned your god altogether, which I presume is not the case…)

  203. Murat says

    @dragndrop

    Just a heads up to everyone – Matt Dillahunty has communicated (via Twitter and facebook) that tomorrow’s show has been cancelled due to bad weather.

    Which practically means this very thread will experience the double half-life of a normal one, providing Sam to go on in circles with different phrasings of the same fallacies for yet another week, leading many of us to inevitably succumb to theism!
    This Hurricane Harvey must be a sign from God… There’s no other explanation… We should reconsider all the blasphemy we have been defending so far…
    Or maybe, those disturbed the most by Sam can simply throw in alternative topics to the thread so people bored at home can naturally focus on other stuff… Just saying…

  204. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 206

    “So this is a case of anything less than 100% = 0?”
    I’ve no idea what you mean by this.

    What I mean by that is that ye seem to be asserting that unless we can fabricate things from pure aether we can’t say we know anything about it at all. For instance, Scientists are still not sure exactly what gravity “is” (and the ones I talk to tend to treat that problem with a somewhat childish excitement), but that doesn’t mean we know nothing about it and we’re able, in broad strokes, to predict its behavior. It also strikes me as somewhat amusing that yer sitting somewhere using a computer to speak to a person who ye don’t even know where they are in the world using a computer to say “scientists just name things.”

    What I mean by scratch is from atoms and molecules. Using our understanding of chemistry and physics. Not that the higher level of cells and more complex living organisms which Dawkins and Co love to cite and show how clever they are on science.

    Did a scientist steal your girlfriend or make ye look foolish in public or something back in the day? Ye seem to be displaying this Anti-Intellectualism bent that’s rather alarming, I daresay…
    But to yer question, investigate genetics. They’re doing some pretty crazy things in that field which might just fulfill yer criteria.

    Sorry, but what’s so incredible about particle colliders?

    We’re able to mimic what stars do on a much smaller scale, creating new elements in an atomic furnace. Among other things, we can even pull off the old Alchemical dream of creating gold, though it’s prohibitively expensive and the return is insignificant. I’d imagine as technology improves, we’ll probably get better at it, but the point is, we (humans) can do it.

  205. StonedRanger says

    @Murat #212 – Not at all. People could decide to just stop feeding the troll. Not that I think that will happen. I chose a couple of shows back to no longer engage with sam even though he tried to engage with me after my post. Sorry sam, nothing you have to say has any value to me. I will talk one way to you, but since I understand that all you want to do is play the what if game that’s all you get. I hope everyone in Texas is safe and suffers the least amount of damage from this storm.

  206. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “I don’t really understand what you mean by ‘use science to describe it’. It’s an abstract concept. As far as I’m aware, nobody claims that it has actual existence – even that notion is inherently contradictory.”

    If it doesn’t have actual existence how do you explain real things which do exist from it?

    “Are you suggesting that this could be caused by something that doesn’t exist? How would that work?
    Even if you are interpreting Krauss’s “nothing” as leaving room for “something unknown”, how could something that doesn’t exist have any causal impact on that?”

    “If there is ‘nothing’ (in the common parlance) and something appeared from that, then it would have to be uncaused, as I demonstrated in the previous post.”

    How would that work? Maybe we need to define what it means to “exist”. Maybe we could come up another abstract concept which brings things into existence but the thing itself is something beyond existence?

    I don’t see why something would be uncaused if it came from nothing as in the common parlance version. We just don’t know how or why. Don’t think you can just make an assertion that it was uncaused.

  207. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “So, given that you’ve stripped your god concept of all attributes, and even its label, it seems to me you’ve just accepted that “everything in the universe has a cause” tells us nothing whatsoever about ‘god’. Is that correct?”

    Correct. Using our own intellect we don’t know nothing about “god”. We need more information if we need to know about “god”, it can never come from our own intellect.

  208. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    Correct. Using our own intellect we don’t know nothing about “god”. We need more information if we need to know about “god”, it can never come from our own intellect.

    Then shut up and fuck off.

  209. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “What I mean by that is that ye seem to be asserting that unless we can fabricate things from pure aether we can’t say we know anything about it at all. For instance, Scientists are still not sure exactly what gravity “is” (and the ones I talk to tend to treat that problem with a somewhat childish excitement), but that doesn’t mean we know nothing about it and we’re able, in broad strokes, to predict its behavior”

    I never said we had to go to the aether level or beyond, just to the level where we can manipulate things. Hence I said to the atoms and molecules level. I agree we have good understanding of certain things at a certain level. Problem is Dawkins and Co use peoples gullibility to push their forward their silly conclusions when they’re not based on proper science. Apparently Dawkins uses “detective work” push his nonsense. How did “detective work” translate to scientific facts?

    “But to yer question, investigate genetics. They’re doing some pretty crazy things in that field which might just fulfill yer criteria.”

    I have. They’re doing great stuff, hopefully they’ll get tons of funding to do more. The things that are being discovered actually supports the theists beliefs.

    “We’re able to mimic what stars do on a much smaller scale, creating new elements in an atomic furnace.”

    Really? Can you demonstrate what stars do or is this just an assumption what people should blindly accept or be considered heretics if we don’t?

  210. Murat says

    I don’t see why something would be uncaused if it came from nothing as in the common parlance version. We just don’t know how or why.

    These are the words of an agnostic, not those of a theist with a religion.

  211. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    I’ll ask my question again:

    “So, do you know how trees grow new seeds? Do you understand it well enough to be able to reproduce it from scratch? And if you don’t understand it well enough to reproduce it from scratch why not and should you claim that you understand it?”

    Forget about everything else, let’s just concentrate on this.

  212. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    I’m not an agnostic. I’m Muslim. Just being honest with my understanding of the Quran. You will know that God says there’s nothing like him he’s beyond our comprehension and that we can’t know anything unless he lets us know it.

  213. Murat says

    @Sam
    Then don’t talk like an agnostic. Simply tell people the hows and whys the way you believe them. Your way of handling these topics is very loosely based on the Quran and you even seem to be unaware of much better Islamic arguments that you could’ve put on the table all this time. You’re unequipped to convince anybody with the current intellectual arsenal you seem to have.

  214. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    You will have read that I can’t convince anyone into believing. It’s not in my control regardless of what arguments I use or even what signs I could show.

  215. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    If that’s the case, then shut up and fuck off. This is a naked admission of trolling.

  216. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    I never said we had to go to the aether level or beyond, just to the level where we can manipulate things. Hence I said to the atoms and molecules level. I agree we have good understanding of certain things at a certain level.

    Oh, in that case yeah, we can pretty much manipulate things at the molecular level. Both my Dad and Brother work (or in my Dad’s case worked, as he’s retired now) for a nuclear power plant. So yeah, Exhibit A right there. Have ye looked into the work they’re doing at CERN or the like? Fascinating stuff.
    Hell, in the manner of seeds we’re able to crossbreed plants to create entirely new things. For instance, the banana we all know and love is a man made creation (hence one of the key reasons everyone likes making fun of Ray Comfort so much).

    Problem is Dawkins and Co use peoples gullibility to push their forward their silly conclusions when they’re not based on proper science. Apparently Dawkins uses “detective work” push his nonsense. How did “detective work” translate to scientific facts?

    For my own edification, what “silly conclusions” are ye referring to here?

    “We’re able to mimic what stars do on a much smaller scale, creating new elements in an atomic furnace.”
    Really? Can you demonstrate what stars do or is this just an assumption what people should blindly accept or be considered heretics if we don’t?

    I can’t tell if yer being willfully ignorant here or needlessly obtuse. Heavier elements were created in the hearts of stars and blown across space when they exploded. The data’s out there if ye care to look.

    “So, do you know how trees grow new seeds? Do you understand it well enough to be able to reproduce it from scratch? And if you don’t understand it well enough to reproduce it from scratch why not and should you claim that you understand it?”
    Forget about everything else, let’s just concentrate on this.

    Why? What possible good can come out of this aspect of the conversation? This is why I was accusing ye of “Anything less than 100% = 0.” Ye seem to imply here that unless we can materialize shit whole cloth we can’t know anything about it.
    If ye can explain to me how this gets ye ANYWHERE near “this is how I know Allah is real” then maybe I’ll indulge ye. We’re getting dangerously close to presuppositional apologetics territory of “well how can ye know anything?” and I’m not interested in the slightest in going down that road.

  217. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “Why? What possible good can come out of this aspect of the conversation? This is why I was accusing ye of “Anything less than 100% = 0.” Ye seem to imply here that unless we can materialize shit whole cloth we can’t know anything about it.”

    The presupposition is that life is a special divine process/phenomena in that it’s something that cannot be reproduced by humans. So the life you observe is not natural regardless of how you view it or what scientists call it. I know that we can’t create life from scratch or even a seed, yet we observe this phenomena happening all the time. Because we observe it happening all the time we think it’s natural. It’s an incredible phenomena at an even grander level than Moses parting the red sea.

    What I was trying to breakdown step by step was your perception of a miracle. How your mind thinks, how it changes when observes an incredible phenomena, how sometimes we don’t see the incredible things unless we take a closer look or change our perspective.

  218. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “For my own edification, what “silly conclusions” are ye referring to here?”

    The silly conclusion of Common Ancestory.

  219. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “I can’t tell if yer being willfully ignorant here or needlessly obtuse. Heavier elements were created in the hearts of stars and blown across space when they exploded. The data’s out there if ye care to look.”

    Sorry but in order to determine whether something really did come from the heart of stars what experiment do you think we’d need to be able to confirm it? Maybe go into the heart of star? I may be wrong but I don’t think we’ve sent a probe to examine the heart of the sun yet.

  220. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    The presupposition is that life is a special divine process/phenomena in that it’s something that cannot be reproduced by humans. So the life you observe is not natural regardless of how you view it or what scientists call it. I know that we can’t create life from scratch or even a seed, yet we observe this phenomena happening all the time. Because we observe it happening all the time we think it’s natural. It’s an incredible phenomena at an even grander level than Moses parting the red sea.

    Assertion. Assertion. Assertion.
    Demonstration please? Show yer work how ye came by this data?
    To put it another way, I know ye believe that life is of divine origins, but HOW did ye come to this conclusion. What data do ye have to support this? I mean seriously, why would ye presuppose that? Yer point of origin on these things ye say is absolutely bizarre!

    “For my own edification, what “silly conclusions” are ye referring to here?”
    The silly conclusion of Common Ancestory.

    I just sighed so hard I think my sternum cracked…

    Sorry but in order to determine whether something really did come from the heart of stars what experiment do you think we’d need to be able to confirm it? Maybe go into the heart of star? I may be wrong but I don’t think we’ve sent a probe to examine the heart of the sun yet.

    So are ye telling me that modern scientists just pulled the origins of heavy elements out of the air and were like “yeah, this sounds good. Hey everybody! Gold and iron and shit were formed in the hearts of stars! No fooling!”
    Seriously man, it’s like ye have no idea how science is done whatsoever but still hold it in contempt.

  221. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Now answer the question please.

    ““So, do you know how trees grow new seeds? Do you understand it well enough to be able to reproduce it from scratch? And if you don’t understand it well enough to reproduce it from scratch why not and should you claim that you understand it?””

    I don’t want to hear about CERN or the cross breeding of plants or what is at the heart of stars, save all that for later if you want. But for now just answer this very simple question. Shouldn’t be hard to do if you can cite a bunch of other sciency stuff.

  222. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “Seriously man, it’s like ye have no idea how science is done whatsoever but still hold it in contempt.”

    Please, just answer the question. This is typical of atheists. Stop being a typical atheist and just run with the arguments.

  223. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Now answer the question please

    Oh, I’m sorry. Did I miss where ye explained what these questions have to do with “Allah is real and here’s how I know?” I saw alot of assertions made but I didn’t take those to be an explanation.
    But fuck it, ye have till the next post to go somewhere interesting with this and get back on topic or I stop playing. Now I’m not sure if the “you” ye refer to is me personally or mankind in general, so I’ll answer both to the best of my knowledge.

    ““So, do you know how trees grow new seeds

    Me: In broad strokes, yes.
    Mankind: Yes, there are people who do this shit professionally.

    Do you understand it well enough to be able to reproduce it from scratch? ”

    Me: No. I’m not a botanist.
    Mankind: I think it’d be fair to say yes.

    And if you don’t understand it well enough to reproduce it from scratch why not and should you claim that you understand it?

    Me: Sure. So long as we’re not talking absolute certainty or anything.
    Mankind: Yes?

    I don’t want to hear about CERN or the cross breeding of plants or what is at the heart of stars, save all that for later if you want. But for now just answer this very simple question. Shouldn’t be hard to do if you can cite a bunch of other sciency stuff.

    But that stuff I mentioned is where the research that answers yer questions is happening.

    Please, just answer the question. This is typical of atheists. Stop being a typical atheist and just run with the arguments.

    Oh, the irony…

  224. says

    @Evil

    please, just answer the question. This is typical of atheists. Stop being a typical atheist and just run with the arguments.

    Oh, the irony…

    It’s disingenuous bullshit like this that made me realise this guy wasn’t worth engaging. I think by the time he has finished going down this rabbit hole of.. “do you really, really know?” which seems to be his current line of attack, I doubt that those still engaging him on here will be wasting their time.

    I mean, come on! This whole line of, do you really, really, really know how a tree makes seeds? Well I personally don’t know the exact process, but I’m pretty sure that there are biologists out there who do. I mean we’ve mapped the entire human genome for god’s sake.

    This is just one more disingenuous argument like the “were you there?” argument. Attempting to cast doubt on every single area of human understanding and saying.. “that’s because god does it”.

    Everything you assert.. how do you know? You know for example that fusion happens. We know that we have created helium atoms from hydrogen atoms. But all of a sudden it’s how do you know? well because we have seen the results of that in nuclear fusion power. But how do you know? Oh fuck off!

    This is like arguing with solipsist. Sam’s approach now is that unless you know every detail about the sum total of human knowledge around you, you know nothing and must therefore acknowledge his god as the reason for everything.

    I just wait to see how much longer he can be this disingenuous and still have people respond. I’m guessing just 3 more incidences of breathtaking arrogance such as insisting that people must answer his specific questions, meanwhile cherry picking those he will respond to.

    Like I said earlier. Like nailing jelly to a wall.

  225. JiggleFresh says

    So, SamFromUK is still trolling-up the AXP threads? How bored can a human be? I did love the whole “it’s a mystery… let’s call it ‘gravity’… that’s all science is” thing. That was pretty funny. Sam, you’re not without a particular charm. I hope you are well, as well as anyone stuck in the harmful weather.

  226. says

    The silly conclusion of Common Ancestory.

    Ah yes, that silly conclusion. Now for once I know something about this. Not much mind you. I understand it as a layman.

    But here’s my layman’s understanding. The great apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes, whereas humans only have 23. Biologist surmised therefore that one pair of chromosomes most have fused at some time in the past and went looking for the fused chromosome.

    On the end of each chromosome are things that are analogous to little caps, known as telomeres. What biologists expected to find if they looked for a fused chromosome was a chromosome with telomeres in the middle. Strangely enough, that is exactly what they found on human chromosome 2.

    Common ancestry is not “a silly conclusion”, it is a scientific fact.

    Now, if someone wants to deny the sum total of human learning and believe in a book written by a charlatan from a prescientific age, that is their prerogative. However, don’t expect others to support you in your delusion.

  227. JiggleFresh says

    There are people here who think Sam isn’t trolling his tits off, clearly. The average intelligence level here seems to be well above the mean. So, my question is why? On a scale of 1-100, how naive am I? I feel like naivete is the most likely answer to my(misplaced?) amazement, given the indulgence others have offered.

    I understand that the majority of people have some sort of religiousity. The people I meet, who fit that description, seem to be merely engaging in a social activity. When pressed, they communicate something more akin to rooting for a particular sports team (and all the fights that come along with that), rather than an actual thing.

    Sam, apparently, has delved into what it means to really believe in a deity. Given that, can he actually believe it’s, in fact, true? Keep in mind, he has figured out how to read and write a language, use a computer, make an email address, find a website AND have the focus to continue a nearly fruitless “debate”, for weeks, on end.

    Idk. Perhaps I’m a “glass half full” type of guy.

    P.S. I hope it doesn’t come across like I am downplaying the usefulness of this forum. There are plenty of folks who are looking for information. I think that the removal of religiosity can only help lifeforms. Also, I think that this forum is ripe with potential for funny interactions. This one just seems too good to be true, imo.

  228. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    @#234(JiggleFresh:)

    I’m saying! LMAO, I literally took a screenshot of that shit and I’m going to share it with anyone I can(preferably a physicist to see how fast they block me.) Sam is legit my new fave commenter.

    He truly is blessed.

  229. Robert, not Bob says

    Evil God, #229 wrote:
    “So are ye telling me that modern scientists just pulled the origins of heavy elements out of the air and were like “yeah, this sounds good. Hey everybody! Gold and iron and shit were formed in the hearts of stars! No fooling!”

    Yeah, that’s exactly what many Creationists really think scientists do: just think of an answer to a question and say “oh, that must be it. Now anyone who questions this is blacklisted.” Because that’s what they do.

  230. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    If it doesn’t have actual existence how do you explain real things which do exist from it?

    If ‘nothing’ doesn’t have actual existence, real things cannot “exist from it”. The question is incoherent.
     

    “If there is ‘nothing’ (in the common parlance) and something appeared from that, then it would have to be uncaused, as I demonstrated in the previous post.”

    How would that work?

    I have no idea. I’m not making any claims about whether or not it could actually happen, I’m simply taking the premises and applying logic to them.
     

    Maybe we could come up another abstract concept which brings things into existence but the thing itself is something beyond existence?

    ‘Beyond existence’ is an incoherent concept. Exist/does-not-exist is a true dichotomy. If something exists it exists. If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. The two categories are exhaustive and mutually exclusive.
     

    I don’t see why something would be uncaused if it came from nothing as in the common parlance version. We just don’t know how or why.

    I already demonstrated this using propositional logic. Please, try to keep up!
    – Nothing (common parlance) = the absence of any thing.
    – For something to be ’caused’ it requires a ’cause’.
    – A ’cause’ is something.
    ∴ If a ’cause’ exists, you are not dealing with ‘nothing’.

    If you want to refute propositional logic, the way to do that is to either show where the logic fails, or that one of the premises is invalid.
     

    Don’t think you can just make an assertion that it was uncaused.

    We already dealt with this in the last couple of posts. I didn’t “just make an assertion”, I showed you my workings. Do you truly not understand the difference between a supported claim and an unsupported claim?
     

    “…it seems to me you’ve just accepted that “everything in the universe has a cause” tells us nothing whatsoever about ‘god’. Is that correct?”

    Correct.

    Good! That’s one piece of empty apologetics sophistry dispensed with. Hopefully next time someone points out that it’s an invalid argument you wont need to waste everyone’s time arguing the point.

  231. says

    @JiggleFresh

    There are people here who think Sam isn’t trolling his tits off, clearly.

    I think it depends on your definition of trolling. If you mean intentionally shifting the goal posts on his arguments with the professed intent of irritating other people, it’s a possibility.

    If you think he doesn’t believe a word of what he is saying and just doing it to get a rise from other (like the infamous Mark from from stone church) it’s a possibility to.

    However, I tend to discount the former to some extent because of the call he made to the show. It was one of the most retarded I have ever seen. The guy was as dumb as dogshit. For that reason it is possible that he truly believes what he is writing.

    The latter I find a little unlikely given the accompanying call. However, I’m not discounting it. He would have to be a really, really good troll to make himself seem that dumb on the show.

    It is not the first time I have seen apologist twist and squirm as they attempt to justify an unjustifiable position with utter rubbish.

    Anyway, although I think he is a moron, I know that blogs like this need protagonists. Echo chamber blogs are so boring.

  232. JiggleFresh says

    @Shaun

    I mean the second one, augmented by the first. It sounds like I should search for Mark/Stone church, to(o). 😉

  233. JiggleFresh says

    I just noticed that the last sentence of my #234 post was poorly written. It might sound like I hope that Sam is in inclement weather. I just meant that I hope everyone is well.

  234. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “– Nothing (common parlance) = the absence of any thing.
    – For something to be ’caused’ it requires a ’cause’.
    – A ’cause’ is something.
    ∴ If a ’cause’ exists, you are not dealing with ‘nothing’.”

    So if you conclude that you are not dealing with “nothing” then what is nothing common parlance?

  235. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Do you understand it well enough to be able to reproduce it from scratch? ”

    Me: No. I’m not a botanist.
    Mankind: I think it’d be fair to say yes.

    Finally, the answer I was looking for. Now that wasn’t so hard was it?

    So you think mankind can reproduce seeds from scratch? Well they can’t. The fact you think they can is one of the things I am trying to explain to you. You have a biased view on science and technology. Based on some of the amazing things we have been able to achieve such space flight, DNA analysis, complex chemistry, etc you think something like creating a seed is possible or should be possible. But it isn’t. Look it up. Check with your science buddies.

    So what does this have to do with God? Well one of the claims made by God is that mankind cannot create life. Life is a divine phenomena over which we have not been given control over to create. Nor can we make living things live forever.

  236. says

    @JiggleFresh 242. You don’t know Mark? He’s the most legendary troll of the show ever, I think.

    He claimed to be from the stone church in Austin. Called into the show maybe half a dozen times. Turned out to be an atheist trolling the show, so I believe. But he was very convincing as a theist.

  237. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    So if you conclude that you are not dealing with “nothing” then what is nothing common parlance?

    Why would the definition change? The issue is not “what kind of nothing are we dealing with?” (asked and answered already), the issue is “if something arises from nothing (common parlance), can it have a cause”? The conclusion is no, it cannot – if a cause exists, then it’s not ‘nothing’. As I’ve demonstrated twice now.

    You’ve claimed several times that you use ‘logical reasoning’ (and similar terms), but when I present you with a fairly straightforward piece of propositional logic you don’t seem able to understand it at all. ??

  238. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    The conclusion is no, it cannot – if a cause exists, then it’s not ‘nothing’. As I’ve demonstrated twice now.

    But then isn’t your first premise incorrect? Basically you’re saying we start of nothing – common parlance, then you’re concluding that nothing common parlance can’t be nothing parlance. Doesn’t that make your logical statements incoherent?

  239. says

    nothing common parlance can’t be nothing parlance.

    Huh? Am I alone in thinking that this person does not understand the word “parlance”?

  240. says

    nothing common parlance can’t be nothing parlance.

    Huh? Am I alone in thinking that this person does not understand the word “parlance”?

  241. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    But then isn’t your first premise incorrect? Basically you’re saying we start of nothing – common parlance, then you’re concluding that nothing common parlance can’t be nothing parlance. Doesn’t that make your logical statements incoherent?

    No. You’re conflating the main proposition with its corollary. I’ll take some responsibility for your confusion because I didn’t lay it out formally, and instead of stating the conclusion directly I jumped straight to the corollary.
     
    So I’ll state it one last time. This time I’ll lay it out formally, and I’ll break it into two steps for clarity.

    (The hypothetical situation is that ‘a thing’ (‘X’) has arisen from ‘nothing’ (common parlance – ‘cp’).
    The question is, could X have been ’caused’?)

    Premise 1: ‘Nothing (cp)’ = not any thing
    Premise 2: A ’cause’ is a thing
    Conclusion 1: ‘Nothing (cp)’ cannot include a ’cause’

    Premise 3: X has arisen from ‘nothing (cp)’
    Premise 4: (from Conclusion 1) ‘Nothing (cp)’ cannot include a cause
    CONCLUSION: X cannot have had a cause.

    Corollary: If X had a cause, it cannot have arisen from ‘nothing (cp)’

  242. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    Your premise 3 “X has arisen from ‘nothing (cp)’” is nonsensical when you state “If X had a cause, it cannot have arisen from ‘nothing (cp)’”. Basically you’re asserting that X HAS arisen from nothing (cp) but then you’re negating it by saying X CANNOT HAVE arisen from nothing (cp).

    Do you see that?

  243. Murat says

    @Shaun #246
    I have yet to understand Mark from Stone Church’s motivation for pulling that trick.
    Why would an atheist disguise himself as a theist to call in to an atheist show?
    The better explanation to this trolling would be that, Mark was actually a theist coming from a totally different place than what he claimed the Stone Church belonged, and he wanted to mock both such Christians and the show.
    Or maybe, he had kind of a vendetta against, or a bet involving Matt or something.
    Interestingly, what he provided as an “online deconversion” was quite impressive and I believe there still are many people watching the related clip from that episode, thinking to witness an actual counter-miracoulous interaction between him and the hosts.

  244. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    Fuck me, this is ridiculously painful.

    Do you see the word “if” at the beginning of the Corollary? It’s a separate proposition. It follows from the main proposition, it is not part of the main proposition.
    IF X had a cause it cannot have arisen from ‘nothing (cp)’.
    IF X arose from ‘nothing (cp)’ it cannot have had a cause.
    They are two sides of the same coin.

    I am not saying “X CANNOT HAVE arisen from nothing (cp).” I’m saying “IF X had a cause it cannot have arisen from nothing.” This clearly follows from the Conclusion.

    IF an animal is a bear, it cannot have a body like a horse with black & white stripes
    IF an animal has a body like a horse with black & white stripes, it cannot be a bear
    According to your ‘analysis’ I just said IF an animal is a bear it cannot be a bear.

    You cannot be this obtuse.

  245. RationalismRules says

    @Murat
    It’s laid out here.
    Once he was exposed as a troll he made some demands, although the fact that he troll-called many times prior to that point means it would be dubious to think that those demands were his motivation, unless he was ‘playing the long game’.

    I agree, the ‘deconversion’ is a fun clip.

  246. SamFromUK says

    Do you see the word “if” at the beginning of the Corollary? It’s a separate proposition.

    You’re corollary is meaningless.

  247. says

    @Murat

    I was disappointed to find that Mark was a troll. They were some of the more entertaining calls on the show. I can’t really say what his motivation was. As RR says he made some demands when exposed, but whether was his original intent, I don’t know.

  248. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    I can’t make it any clearer. If you genuinely cannot see how the Corollary follows directly from the Conclusion, that’s a clear demonstration that you are unable to ‘think logically’.

    Which explains a lot, really.

    I’m done.

  249. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam -245
    Ok, I’m still in a foul mood from that fucking fight I watched last night, but let’s see if we can’t bring this nonsense to a close.

    So you think mankind can reproduce seeds from scratch? Well they can’t. The fact you think they can is one of the things I am trying to explain to you. You have a biased view on science and technology. Based on some of the amazing things we have been able to achieve such space flight, DNA analysis, complex chemistry, etc you think something like creating a seed is possible or should be possible. But it isn’t. Look it up. Check with your science buddies.

    Well shit. It’s not? Guess that’s the end of it…
    Even if I admit that I stretched the concept of “scratch” past what ye’d accept (and I did, mea culpa), ye’ll pardon me if ye haven’t demonstrated a sufficient understanding of science as a concept and the current state of scientific advancement for me to take ye seriously on this matter.
    Quick question though, can mankind create ANYTHING from scratch according to yer view? God built all the raw materials after all, didn’t he? So anything we made would still be using his creations as a base. If we, in the future, master the art of molecular reconfiguration to create new and interesting shit (including things that are unmistakably alive), will ye still be pointing to this or will ye then say “well God made the molecules, ye didn’t create anything from scratch.”?
    Or hell, what about if/when we create a self aware Artificial Intelligence? Does that count as life? What if we put it in a synthetic body that seemed human? Would that count as “life” to ye? Why or why not?

    So what does this have to do with God? Well one of the claims made by God is that mankind cannot create life. Life is a divine phenomena over which we have not been given control over to create. Nor can we make living things live forever.

    I wish ye’d spared me the nonsense of those questions just to get right back to this point ye made earlier. Ye seemed to think ye had some kind of real “gotcha!” and I was worried we’d just end up right back here. The same objections to that point and the others still stand, by the way.
    Anywho, so it was these claims in the Quran are SERIOUSLY what convinced ye it was true? That we can’t create life to yer satisfaction or extend it into forever?

    @JiggleFresh – 234

    How bored can a human be?

    I will admit to a degree of boredom with a side of masochism, but the well is starting to run dry there…

  250. Murat says

    @Jigglefish #234

    So, SamFromUK is still trolling-up the AXP threads? How bored can a human be? I did love the whole “it’s a mystery… let’s call it ‘gravity’… that’s all science is” thing.

    Haha, seems I’ve totally missed out on that one 🙂 So in Sam’s eyes, science is but a way of “giving random names to things that keep being mysteries”…. And he probably has no idea that people have not only “named” the “mysteries”, but also have studied them through science, coming up with and putting into use concrete results such as knowing that the gravity on the Moon is 1/6 of that on the Earth.
    Back when “Samming around” started a few weeks ago, the first thing I asked him about was his personal history because I had felt / concluded that his current take on things was definitely not one a guy could develop through “sitting down and thinking”, but he neglected the “true story” behind his arrival at this set of beliefs and kept diving into waters he was a total stranger to, such as science and philosophy.
    People should be more open. Especially when already not revealing their full identities, talking from behind a curtain.

  251. t90bb says

    I need to vent here…..I notice an incredible double standard. I have a friend who is an atheist who is going through a tough time. He has given much thought to his positiont that has lead him to atheism. He is now bombarded with theists who tell him that his ongoing pain is a result of his denial and rejection of God. This advice and input is generally considered “good” and loving.

    However, when a believer is going through a tough time….if I, as an atheist, were to tell a believer that perhaps the prayer is not helping, that perhaps they are praying to an imaginary concept, and that action is more valuable than prayer…..I AM CONSIDERED CRUEL and UNCARING…..

    Has anyone else noticed this>>>>????

  252. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Well shit. It’s not? Guess that’s the end of it…
    Even if I admit that I stretched the concept of “scratch” past what ye’d accept (and I did, mea culpa), ye’ll pardon me if ye haven’t demonstrated a sufficient understanding of science as a concept and the current state of scientific advancement for me to take ye seriously on this matter.

    Now now, calm down. Let’s just put aside that I’m just a dumb ignorant theist way out of my depths when dealing with advanced topics of science and technology. You atheists are simply the best at understanding science so please do teach me. Maybe everything I was taught at high school just turned to mush when I became a theist.

    Quick question though, can mankind create ANYTHING from scratch according to yer view? God built all the raw materials after all, didn’t he? So anything we made would still be using his creations as a base. If we, in the future, master the art of molecular reconfiguration to create new and interesting shit (including things that are unmistakably alive), will ye still be pointing to this or will ye then say “well God made the molecules, ye didn’t create anything from scratch.”?
    Or hell, what about if/when we create a self aware Artificial Intelligence? Does that count as life? What if we put it in a synthetic body that seemed human? Would that count as “life” to ye? Why or why not?

    Forget about what’s possible in the future an d my religious beliefs. Like I side flying pigs are possible in the future and we could be here all day talking about the if’s and maybe’s.

    Just concentrate on this one subject. Can mankind create seeds from scratch, from atoms and molecules?

    I shall be awaiting your answer and look forward to being well educated on science.

  253. Murat says

    @t90bb
    Well, I see the contradiction, but… For us to be able to call something a “double standard”, should it not be practiced by the same body / group / identitiy, for starters?
    The way you put it, it’s more lika a very obvious “bias”, I’d say.

  254. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Now now, calm down. Let’s just put aside that I’m just a dumb ignorant theist way out of my depths when dealing with advanced topics of science and technology. You atheists are simply the best at understanding science so please do teach me. Maybe everything I was taught at high school just turned to mush when I became a theist.

    As I said, bad mood. (though admittedly I think I’d be in a worse mood if I actually paid for more than a couple beers to watch that fight. Troll Jegus, what a shitshow…)
    However, when ye say “When it comes to understanding things in science all we are doing is giving things a name most of the time. That’s all we’re doing.” and constantly harp about scientists and how clever they think they are, it makes it impossible to take ye seriously on the matter.

    Forget about what’s possible in the future an d my religious beliefs. Like I side flying pigs are possible in the future and we could be here all day talking about the if’s and maybe’s.

    I dunno. At this point I’m rather curious exactly what would fulfill yer criteria for “life.” Y’know, to avoid moving the goalposts and all that in case we do it or have done it.

    Just concentrate on this one subject. Can mankind create seeds from scratch, from atoms and molecules?

    I dunno. At the moment, probably not. Where does that get us? I fail to see how “we can’t create life from scratch the now” maps to “God is real! All life is a miracle! Time to take things in this old book seriously!”

  255. Murat says

    All aside… Where in which holy text does it suggest that God created life “from scratch”?

  256. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    I dunno. At the moment, probably not. Where does that get us? I fail to see how “we can’t create life from scratch the now” maps to “God is real! All life is a miracle! Time to take things in this old book seriously!”

    OK, so you don’t know. Do you want some time to research? Maybe phone a friend?
    For the time being we’ll agree that mankind cannot create a seed. Feel free to research and come back to me on this later on if you wish. One of the interesting things is that you automatically assumed that mankind can create seeds. But why? What made you think that mankind can create seeds from scratch. Maybe a hundred years ago you’d have automatically said no we can’t. The reason you automatically said we can create seeds from scratch is most likely from what you know about science (through media and internet) and what kind of things scientists have achieved. As a skeptical person you would have enquired some more but alas when it comes to science stuff your skepticism barrier is down (it’s only up for religious stuff).

    As I’ve said a number of times before, let’s leave all the religious stuff alone. Forget about God for the moment. Let’s teach this uneducated theist some science.

    So we can’t create seeds from scratch. But why not? Do we not have sufficient control over atoms and molecules? Maybe that’s the case, I haven’t checked what latest is on that but even when we have complete control scientists have their work cut out since a seed is hugely hugely complex. Far more complex than anything mankind has created.

    I urge you to do a bit on research on cell biology. It’s marvellous topic. As a theist I wholeheartedly welcome more research on this.

    I think you said you know some scientists who may know something about gravity. Ask them this, “What is the origin of stars and planets?”. How did they form? If they tell you then ask them how do they know that and whether they can demonstrate it.

  257. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Just to make myself clear. I’m not looking for “gotchas” or trying to convince you of God. I can’t do that. All I can do is go through the science and explain how I see evidence of God. You most likely never see it as evidence of God but I’m hoping you’ll at least have a clearer understanding of what the status quo is on science. Or maybe I will be educated myself. What many atheists think is that theists are against science or they don’t accept things which goes against the belief. If you read the Quran it’s the opposite. God says go and do your research, look at the world and think deeply about it. It never says to blindly accept that there is God. You also have to remember the Quran was sent to pagans, people who actually believed in God so many atheists may become bewildered if they read it since it’s mostly addressing theists.

    So forget about any gotchas or me trying to convert you. Just think of the science and rationality as well as a bit about human behaviour.

  258. says

    so.. what do we have now? Evil god is still engaging Sam, but he’s mostly playing to an empty room now. tts what happens when you’re a fuckwit.

    I’m tending to lean towards the trolling now. Perhaps not even the same person who called the show. Who knows?.

    Interesting line of attack.. the god of the gaps attack. Focus on what science can’t do now and say.. see,, god. It’s been done for centuries and god has got smaller and smaller every time.

    The age of science is only 200 years old and yet we have already split the atom. We have the miller urey experiments. We also have scientists now creating bacteria. It won’t be long before we can indeed create life from non life. What then? But can you create atoms? There will always be a gotcha for anyone who wants to believe.

    @Evil

    It was a good fight

  259. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 266
    That was alot of text to say nothing about the topic at hand.
    I admitted to stretching the definition of “scratch” for the sake of brevity. There have been advancements made which could be said to have accomplished what yer asking for depending on what ye mean by “scratch” and “life” or at the very least interesting advancements in those areas.
    I tend to TENTATIVELY accept the findings of science because I can appreciate their methodology and if I want to know more, they can SHOW THEIR WORK.
    But I’m afraid I’ve no interest in tabling the religious aspect for science since so fart ye’ve demonstrated a profound selection bias as to what science ye will and won’t accept based on whether or not it jibes with yer presupposition that the Quran is true.
    That combined with the fact that I’m a hentai artist (well, not JUST a hentai artist, but it is what I do that I enjoy…) and yer presumably NOT in a scientific field either, there’s only so much either of us can do if we continue the conversation down that vein. We either agree that science is a reliable method for uncovering the facts about reality or we don’t, and so fart ye don’t seem to respect its ability to do so and I’m not the person who’s going to change that.
    But getting back to the original topic, how does “failure to create seeds from nothing” get to “God is real. Life is a miracle.”?
    @Sam – 267
    Ah, it seems before I hit enter on this ye posted again, so let’s go through that as well.

    All I can do is go through the science and explain how I see evidence of God.

    When have ye done this? Did I miss it? I saw some segues into “men can’t create life from scratch” but I haven’t seen anything approaching a coherent argument for evidence of God. If I missed this then by all means please restate it.

    God says go and do your research, look at the world and think deeply about it.

    God also said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
    Though to be fair Jesus said that and as a Muslim ye said ye reject his status as Son of God. However, it IS in the Gospel of John which ye said ye still put stock in…
    To go on there’s the story of Abraham and Isaac where the point of the story is that Abraham obeys God unquestionably even though he’s asked to do a difficult and reprehensible thing. He’s actually rewarded for his credulity and his faith and at no point is questioning of God’s order brought up as a positive thing.

    You also have to remember the Quran was sent to pagans, people who actually believed in God so many atheists may become bewildered if they read it since it’s mostly addressing theists.

    Out of curiousity, does it say in the Quran that different people got different (and in some cases contradictory) revelations? Or is this an enlightenment ye’ve come to in yer own studies?

    Just think of the science and rationality as well as a bit about human behaviour.

    I’d rather just stick to the original topic at hand than these side paths that meander all over the place just so we can get back to “only God can create life!” or “if you understood God as I do.”

  260. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Shaun – 269

    It was a good fight

    Yeah, I’ve long since gone past the point when Matt would have hung up. We’ve gone far beyond the point of valuable conversation to the point that even I find this tedious.

  261. Monocle Smile says

    @LimeyFuck

    I think you said you know some scientists who may know something about gravity. Ask them this, “What is the origin of stars and planets?”. How did they form? If they tell you then ask them how do they know that and whether they can demonstrate it.

    Folks, this is the same fuckwit who doesn’t accept that gravity can bring particles together in space. Hard to believe, but the last thread of Sam’s was just as embarrassing as this one. He argues against gravity with total ignorance of the Cavendish experiments, let alone all work done since then. He argues against paternity tests when the word “allele” is absent from his vocabulary. If he’s not trolling, he’s no better than a troll.

  262. StonedRanger says

    Good lord, another whole week of this? Evil this has to be at least as tedious for you to write as it is for us to read. But the changing of the goalposts in this thread, my gawd.

  263. JiggleFresh says

    I love how “what you know about science” must come from media or the internet. That was a good line. Don’t hate the player… hate the game.

  264. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    But I’m afraid I’ve no interest in tabling the religious aspect for science since so fart ye’ve demonstrated a profound selection bias as to what science ye will and won’t accept based on whether or not it jibes with yer presupposition that the Quran is true.

    I’m not sure what you mean here. All I’ve done is taken a claim from the Quran and am testing it against the science we know. I have to select something from the Quran because I’m claiming that is the word of God and God makes that claim to show mankind what he can do compared to what we’re able to do. There’s no theist who knows God without the scriptures. Everything we know about God comes from scriptures unless you’re a prophet. There’s no prophet today. So I can only pick from scripture what I want to challenge with the science of today.

    Does that make sense?

  265. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    That combined with the fact that I’m a hentai artist (well, not JUST a hentai artist, but it is what I do that I enjoy…) and yer presumably NOT in a scientific field either, there’s only so much either of us can do if we continue the conversation down that vein. We either agree that science is a reliable method for uncovering the facts about reality or we don’t, and so fart ye don’t seem to respect its ability to do so and I’m not the person who’s going to change that.

    Sorry but where did I say science is not a reliable method for uncovering facts? Here I am saying let’s look at the science to see if it agrees with the conclusions.

    I disagree about laymen not being able to understand the science. Granted we won’t be able to understand all the terminology since it would take a long time but we can look at the methodology used and the data and see if we agree with the conclusions.

    Many times in the headlines of the media we hear that scientists have created synthetic life. However when you read what the scientists actually created it always involves living organisms from nature or it’s not even life.

    It puzzles me that you and other atheist would rather talk endlessly about scripture even though you don’t have a clue what it says and why it says it and there’s absolutely no way you’re going to be convinced by it AND in the end you’ll say you want scientific evidence. Just bizarre and irrational in my opinion.

    Now when you’re challenged on the science you say you don’t have the credentials to understand it. So doesn’t that mean you’re blindly accepting arguments simply based on popularity?

  266. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    I tend to TENTATIVELY accept the findings of science because I can appreciate their methodology and if I want to know more, they can SHOW THEIR WORK.

    Tell me this. If in the Bible it described exactly how Moses made the red sea part in the same way scientists show their workings today would that make you believe the Bible?

  267. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Sorry for the blockquote mistake. Here is the comment again.

    I tend to TENTATIVELY accept the findings of science because I can appreciate their methodology and if I want to know more, they can SHOW THEIR WORK.

    Tell me this. If in the Bible it described exactly how Moses made the red sea part in the same way scientists show their workings today would that make you believe the Bible?

  268. JiggleFresh says

    Hey. So, I’ve watched some of the Mark from Stone Church stuff. I haven’t found where he admits he is just fooling around and then makes demands (what kind of demands? Ha!). Is that from an episode or did it play out on the forum?

  269. Murat says

    I also am curious about the “demands” thing – sounds like “a helicopter and a million dollars in 5’s and 10’s with random serial numbers” whenever I hear of that.
    Yet another “mystery” from the uncanny past of the show.

  270. JiggleFresh says

    Haha! Yeah. What would the demands be? The hosts can no longer use the words “green” “the” or “play”.

  271. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Tell me this. If in the Bible it described exactly how Moses made the red sea part in the same way scientists show their workings today would that make you believe the Bible?

    For me, it’s extremely unlikely that any one piece of evidence would do it. You would need a large body of evidence, of many different phenomena. That, or you would Jesus himself to appear and demonstrate his abilities, many times, under the best scientific observation possible, including the assistance of the best professional magicians in the world, and in many different labs around the world. Something that like might be enough swing me towards “more likely than not”. To go further, I would need more concrete details, but you’re nowhere close to this level of evidence, and so I need not pontificate further.

  272. Monocle Smile says

    @Jiggle
    That part played out on the old blog. “chrislanganfan” is apparently multiple people and they demand that more theists call in or their trolling will continue. Then there’s a bunch of nonsense about Chris Langan. To me, the whole thing was more strange and sad than anything else.

  273. JiggleFresh says

    Thanks MS. The name Chris Langan sounds familiar. Anyway, is the old blog still viewable?

  274. Murat says

    Those affected by the hurricane in Houston have all the right to enter Joel Osteen’s megachurch. If what he spends (just to gain back as profit) for such spiritual activity is tax-deductable, then, logically, he can not act as if the compound is his “private HQ”. It’s as common a place as a stadium or a convention center.
    Such things should be taken to court.

  275. Murat says

    @RR
    Interesting.
    But I fail to understand why Russell has skipped the most obvious of explanations in that post.
    The show has a schizophrenic follower. A guy obsessed in convincing others he is more than just one person. Maybe he himself is convinced about that. Unaware on some mental level that he is just one man. Even when demanding, keeps talking about “him and his friends”. Classic multiple identity disorder.
    What pops up in my mind is: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0309698/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
    Though rare, there ARE such people.
    Let’s hope none of his identities is a serial killer.

  276. RationalismRules says

    @Murat
    Schizophrenia has nothing to do with ‘split personalities’. Disassociative (or multiple) identity disorder is an entirely different mental illness.
     

    A guy obsessed in convincing others he is more than just one person.

    I have no idea what that would be. It’s neither of the above. Something related to Walter Mitty syndrome perhaps? Multiple Masquerade Syndrome? (I just invented that one… you’re welcome.)
     
    I suspect that the reason that Russell didn’t go there is because something that looks a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck is probably a duck.

  277. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    RR is correct, but Russell probably didn’t go the mental illness route because in rational fashion, he probably understands that armchair diagnoses from a non-expert based on a few internet messages are several orders of magnitude more harmful than helpful. Recently you’ve making assertions on topics you understand very poorly, and I think you’re better than that.

  278. Murat says

    @MS
    I usually do that to get the kind of feedback / resonation that would enrich my perspective. I consider it okay to present raw material for the goal of having it refined through dialogue on such platforms, as opposed to solitarily providing worked-on, polished, academic posts.
    *
    I agree on the issue.

  279. RationalismRules says

    @Murat #264 in response to t90bb’s ‘double standard’ post:

    Well, I see the contradiction, but… For us to be able to call something a “double standard”, should it not be practiced by the same body / group / identitiy, for starters?

    It is the same body. The double standard comes from the judger of the actions, not from the actors themselves. The actions are effectively the same from both parties (telling someone else their beliefs are causing problems in their life) but the judge/observer is assessing them differently dependent on the belief system of the actor.

    In t90bb’s case, the judge/observer is fairly clearly a theist, or a theistic society.

  280. Murat says

    @RR
    I see that.
    I may be mistaken, but the term “double standard” sounds more accurate when the judger is a “neutral” 3rd party – like, in the case of theists & atheists, an agency of a secular government or something to that effect.
    Like, it being a double standard for the child of an atheist family having to go through prayer whereas the child of a religious family not being subjected to faithless motivation.
    *
    t90bb is right on the observation, tho.

  281. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    I’m trying to help you, really.
    There’s nothing wrong with the concept of pinging the crowd for information, but it comes across as tactless to present such inquiry as a rather thoughtless assertion rather than as a question, especially when you’re talking about heavily stigmatized conditions.

  282. Murat says

    @MS
    1) I understand and appreciate the distinction between the terms I used, as pointed out by RR.
    2) I agree with you on why Russell probably didn’t go the mental illness route. (A responsible decision for the host, the right thing to do for his position.)
    3) Yet, after having read those brief replies fom him involving demands, friends, ultimatums etc, I still do believe that the “Mark from Stone Church” case is more likely to have (at least some portion of) mental disorder (or, disturbance) than anything else. I’m not sure it was politically incorrect to openly share that idea of mine as the person in question is not in the open. We don’t even know his actual name. I’m well aware I’m no doctor, and that such an assumption could never pass as a diagnosis, but that was what I thought of (after reading those posts, and not after having watched the clips long ago) hence I just wrote my immediate impression. There’s no “accusation” or something, so I don’t see how the assumption itself serves a stigma. On the contrary, the possibility of him having mental problems sort of provides more of an excuse (and even innocence) to why he might have made those calls. Being a troubled guy sounds much more acceptable than having mildly evil intentions, no?

  283. Monocle Smile says

    On the contrary, the possibility of him having mental problems sort of provides more of an excuse (and even innocence) to why he might have made those calls. Being a troubled guy sounds much more acceptable than having mildly evil intentions, no?

    No.
    At least in the US, loads of people who are actually just plain assholes use the mental illness excuse as cover. “Asshole” is not a mental illness and it’s extremely offensive to those who are indeed mentally ill to assume someone has an affliction just because they’re acting like a douche with too much time on their hands. “Mark” is extremely normal compared to the hordes of deplorable 4chan users out there. He’s probably just some dumbass who wanted to feel special. That kind of behavior seems better explained by being conducted by a low achiever rather than someone who is mentally ill.

    Note that I’m a cynic when it comes to people, but I don’t think I’m wrong here. Either way, your presentation was still rather tactless (I cringe at the mention of “politically incorrect” because it has become a dog whistle for people too lazy to change their behavior), which was mostly my point.

  284. RationalismRules says

    @Murat

    I may be mistaken, but the term “double standard” sounds more accurate when the judger is a “neutral” 3rd party

    You’re right that you’re mistaken. There is no need for a neutral 3rd party. In fact, if you think about it, double-standards usually arise from an invested position: “I assess my own action this way, but I apply a different standard to your similar action”.

    Even in the case of a 3rd party, a double-standard usually arises from some level of investment. In t90bb’s case, in a highly religious society like the U.S. you could consider the judger to be society in general.

    A truly neutral 3rd party would be unlikely to form a double standard, because their neutrality leaves them no reason to – that would simply be a capricious choice.

  285. RationalismRules says

    @Murat

    Yet, after having read those brief replies fom him involving demands, friends, ultimatums etc, I still do believe that the “Mark from Stone Church” case is more likely to have (at least some portion of) mental disorder (or, disturbance) than anything else.

    I couldn’t disagree more. His behavior is entirely consistent with trolling. A troll’s ‘personality’ is faked from the start – they are pretending to be something other than who they really are. From there, it’s no stretch to invent several different troll ‘personalities’ – many trolls do that.
    The ultimatums etc. are simply doubling-down – “even though you’ve exposed me, I can still keep trolling you”.

    I can’t see any legitimate reasoning that would lead to assessing Mark/whoever as mentally ill – it’s drawing far too long a bow. If you are going to brand Mark’s behavior as indicative of mentally disorder then you would have to apply the same standard to all trolling, including your own provocative postings, which are, after all, a low-level form of trolling.

  286. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Murat #300:

    I just wrote my immediate impression

    Think before you write. Then think about the effect your writing can have on others and whether you want to even be associated with the opinion in the first place.
     

    I don’t see how the assumption [of mental disorder] itself serves a stigma.

    #291:

    What pops up in my mind is [Identity (2003)]. Though rare, there ARE such people. Let’s hope none of his identities is a serial killer.

    Your immediate impression of mental illness also associated that with violence. The stereotype is harmful and inaccurate.
     
     
    @Monocle Smile #301:

    “Asshole” is not a mental illness and it’s extremely offensive to those who are indeed mentally ill to assume someone has an affliction just because they’re acting like a douche with too much time on their hands. “Mark” is extremely normal compared to the hordes of deplorable 4chan users out there.

    This.

  287. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    For me, it’s extremely unlikely that any one piece of evidence would do it. You would need a large body of evidence, of many different phenomena. That, or you would Jesus himself to appear and demonstrate his abilities, many times, under the best scientific observation possible, including the assistance of the best professional magicians in the world, and in many different labs around the world. Something that like might be enough swing me towards “more likely than not”. To go further, I would need more concrete details, but you’re nowhere close to this level of evidence, and so I need not pontificate further.

    Have thought about what you have written above? Don’t you think you’re being irrational? Even though hypothetically you’ve seen “a large body of evidence, of many different phenomena” you would still need “need more concrete details”.

    As I’ve said before in another thread. Let’s hypothetically say you get more of your “concrete details”, for arguments sake you spend 10/20 years of going through many, many phenomena and are finally convinced these miracles are true and God is true. Now after being convinced that the Quran, Gospel and Old Testament is in fact true are you going to do as God instructs in the scriptures mentioned? Are you going to worship and pray and humble yourself in front of God?

    This is the ultimate conclusion. I think Matt D said he wouldn’t since he thinks he’s far superior to this God (which Matt has no clue about).

    I think you wouldn’t and neither would the vast majority of the atheists on this forum given the language they have used and the thoughts they’ve expressed. So assuming you wouldn’t believe in this God then why do you need to see any evidence? Is there any point?

  288. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @SamFromUK #305:

    So assuming you wouldn’t [worship] this God then why do you need to see any evidence [that it exists and that the Quran, Gospel and Old Testament is in fact true]? Is there any point?

    “And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.”

  289. DanDare says

    The followers of religion cause a considerable amount of harm. Their religions tend to be backward and oppressive.
    To follow one should be a matter of careful reflection and there should be evidence that leads to it conclusively and to no alternative.
    Asking for evidence achieves several purposes. It allows us to seek the truth of the situation. It demonstrates if the person presenting a claim is speaking anything that even resembles the truth of the situation.
    Reason is a simple method for trying to identify good approximations to what is true. Looking for evidence is one of the features of reason.

  290. SamFromUK says

    As I said before. You have conclusive evidence. On top of that you are convinced the God of the Quran, Gospel and Old Testament is true.

    Now are you going to are you going to worship and pray and humble yourself in front of God?

    It’s a simple question.

  291. says

    Are you going to worship and pray and humble yourself in front of God?

    Sorry I know you shouldn’t feed the trolls, but what the hey?

    Not in this lifetime.

    Er, actually yeah, I would.. for a price. (well not humble myself).. if he gave me unlimited worldly wealth, I’m sucking up. Hell, I’d make a deal with the devil if I could.

    If he wants worship from me, he’s gotta pay. Other than that, no fucking way.

  292. says

    Ha Sam tries to engage me.

    That’s a laugh.

    I don’t. It’s irrelevant to me. The only reason I care about religion at all is because the religious people are still trying to impose their rules on people who don’t share their belief. The current gay marriage tussle in Australia being a prime example.

    I find belief in the god of the bible or the koran absurd in the extreme.

    However, if it was shown that this god actually did exist, it would be interesting, nothing more. Just an, “oh, how about that, there is a god after all. Who would have thunk it?”

    And then it’s back to sinning for me, without skipping a beat, because, sinning is what I like.

  293. says

    @Sam Fuck Yeah

    Just as it’s your choice to believe. No problem that you do.

    Just don’t expect to convince me that what you believe is real with anything other that, you know, like.. proof.

    (quick clarification just in case.. none of your arguments so far have actually been proof.)

  294. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    “Believe that a god exists” and “worship a god” are two distinct actions. This is mind-numbingly obvious, yet escapes you. Of course, that’s what we’ve come to expect.

  295. Murat says

    @RR

    If you are going to brand Mark’s behavior as indicative of mentally disorder then you would have to apply the same standard to all trolling, including your own provocative postings, which are, after all, a low-level form of trolling.

    I don’t know exactly which post of mine you label as “low-level of trolling”. The way I get it, trolling involves “pretention” of some kind, and I never wrote anything that didn’t speak my mind, be it in its raw form or else.
    And yes, I would personally find it much less offensive if someone, for some reason, rightfully or not, concluded I had “mental problems” instead of insinuating I had a “secret and evil agenda”, which did happen a few times.
    @MS

    He’s probably just some dumbass who wanted to feel special. That kind of behavior seems better explained by being conducted by a low achiever rather than someone who is mentally ill.

    Were I Mark, I would find those “dumbass” and “low achiever” tags to be much more offensive than an unlicensed attempt at diagnosing a disorder I might have.
    *
    The way people are criticised over certain remarks lacks standard, logic and true empathy. Call it PC talk or else, I just don’t see how anyone can make sure the other side would be offended and hurt by a remark suggesting a mental condition, BUT totally be okay with another kind of pejorative definition like “low achiever”.
    I believe the awkwardness in trying to draw such lines WHILE protecting free speech got surfaced with Trump. People of such nature are known to boost any way they can, but a president calling a huge portion of his own people “losers” is brand new. It’s definitely offensive and plain wrong, but the waters of self-expression lately got so muddied by all-watching eyes that he can provide the counter-arguments to advocate his foul language.
    *
    Okay, you can throw stones at those whom you think are “crossing the line”, and I won’t be butt-hurt over my share of those interventions, but just don’t pretend like that particular “line” is objective, unchanging, fragile, well-thought or something. I just don’t buy that part of the deal.

  296. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat

    Were I Mark, I would find those “dumbass” and “low achiever” tags to be much more offensive than an unlicensed attempt at diagnosing a disorder I might have.

    When I said “offensive” I meant “offensive to people who are actually mentally ill.” I thought I was crystal clear here.

    The way people are criticised over certain remarks lacks standard, logic and true empathy. Call it PC talk or else, I just don’t see how anyone can make sure the other side would be offended and hurt by a remark suggesting a mental condition, BUT totally be okay with another kind of pejorative definition like “low achiever”.

    One can be controlled, the other can’t. It’s quite literally the same reason it’s fine to criticize people for their religion but not their sexuality. I don’t give a fuck about offending Mark, I give a fuck about stigmatizing people with real mental illness. Both Sky Captain and I have been rather clear on this. Why is this hard to understand?

  297. Murat says

    I don’t give a fuck about offending Mark, I give a fuck about stigmatizing people with real mental illness.

    That’s part of the double standard I was trying to get at.
    *
    Sam, Mark, me, a guy with a mental disorder…
    If words can somehow harm us drastically one way or the other, through stigmatizing or else, why draw the line around a particular group?
    *

    It’s quite literally the same reason it’s fine to criticize people for their religion but not their sexuality.

    I don’t think that’s “fine”, either. I don’t know who is making up those rules and in the name of who. This remark is coming up with the assumption that a religion is easier to change for anyone than their sexuality is.
    *
    I understand your position. I just don’t think it’s as solid as you suppose it to be.

  298. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat

    This remark is coming up with the assumption that a religion is easier to change for anyone than their sexuality is.

    This is almost as cancer-inducing as anything Sam has said. You can’t possibly be serious.

  299. Murat says

    @MS
    I am serious.
    It depends on the individual.
    Religious dogma is so strongly forced into many people that it is indistinguishable from their nature.
    You may expect it to go like this:
    – I’m a man.
    – I’m a black man.
    – I’m a Christian black man.
    But no, there are people who place their religion as the very first and foremost feature of their identity:
    – I’m a Christian.
    – I’m a black Christian.
    – I’m a black, male Christian.
    *
    Given that gender has begun to be noted as a “social construct”, plus, that it is not just even possible, but also quite common today for people to undergo sex change operations, I don’t think we can go on and say “Your religion is fine to criticize whereas your sexuality isn’t, because one can be controlled while the other can’t.”
    *
    It depends on the circumstances. In the case of Michael Glatze, BOTH were equally controllable / uncontrollable. He changed in both aspects at a certain point in his life.
    There are certain people I know who hold dear their masculinity, but would agree to say farewell to their dicks if the alternative was to give up on their religion.
    *
    If the bottom line is to avoid using words in a way to push people to a point where they could be traumatized, I just don’t see the distinction between the subject being their religion or their sexuality. The dose, the language, the attitude matters in both cases.

  300. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    Why do you insist upon making shit up instead of educating yourself?
    – I don’t care that religious dogma can run deep. There’s no biology behind it. You CAN free people, which is why the AXP inbox is full of people dropping their religion while “gay therapy” clinics have no confirmed real successes.
    – You’re basically taking the word of Michael Glatze that he’s “no longer homosexual.” Why? There are actual scientific ways to determine sexuality, you know, which is why we know it’s not a choice.
    – Gender and sexuality are distinct. This section is perhaps the most bizarre and incorrect part of that whole rant.

    Take a break and learn things. I don’t even think you understand the points that Sky Captain, RR, and myself have made.

  301. Murat says

    @MS
    I understand the point you guys made. I understand and appreciate it.
    What I’m saying is, IF the bottom line is to avoid causing harm via use of certain language, then you just can not narrow it down to a concern of “stagmatizing the mentally sick”.
    Is it possible that anyone reading a post addressed to them may get depressed over something triggered by words? Is it possible anyone can ever get so affected by any online or real-life interaction in a vulnerable moment that they hang themselves? Is it not exactly that kind of solid harm that we agree to avoid when minding the language?
    If so, we are not off the hook just by putting in use a “special pleading” for the mentally troubled.

  302. Monocle Smile says

    You still don’t really get it. There’s a point lurking in there, but it’s not really related.
    It’s not about the individual. It’s about perpetuating negative stereotypes about already stigmatized groups. Jumping right to the “mentally ill” conclusion when someone is acting like a dick is wrong and extremely harmful and is largely why the mentally ill are already marginalized by society.

    Yes, it’s important to taboo our words, and EL has provided links to this already, but it doesn’t seem like you’re even making an attempt to understand the point. Instead, it appears you’re desperately grasping for some way to make me look worse than you.

  303. Murat says

    It’s not about the individual.

    I differ on this point. It is also about the individual.

    It’s about perpetuating negative stereotypes about already stigmatized groups. Jumping right to the “mentally ill” conclusion when someone is acting like a dick is wrong and extremely harmful and is largely why the mentally ill are already marginalized by society.

    I agree. I see the fault in having written that. I will avoid it in the future.

    Yes, it’s important to taboo our words, and EL has provided links to this already, but it doesn’t seem like you’re even making an attempt to understand the point. Instead, it appears you’re desperately grasping for some way to make me look worse than you.

    I did understand the point. It’s a good point. I’m providing a different angle and suggesting to tune down a bit also when such known, registered harm (like, marginalizing the mentally ill) is not on the table. Because there is always something on the table, whether we see it or not.
    Why would I want to make you look “worse than myself”? It’s just the opposite. I don’t want to “be” bad, not caring too much how I “look”, while maybe providing others to better themselves, just like they provide me.
    It’s not a one-way street. It shouldn’t be. Neither of us has a right to see it like that.

  304. RationalismRules says

    @Murat

    I don’t know exactly which post of mine you label as “low-level of trolling”. The way I get it, trolling involves “pretention” of some kind, and I never wrote anything that didn’t speak my mind, be it in its raw form or else.

    I’ll accept that. I have the impression from our conversations that you sometimes deliberately take a contrary stance to be provocative. However, I am prepared to accept that that’s just my mistaken impression.

    For the record, I draw a distinction between “trolling” and “being a troll”. To me, trolling is any form of deliberate provocation – most of us do this from time to time – whereas “a troll” is someone whose sole intention is to provoke.

  305. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Murat #323:

    Given that gender has begun to be noted as a “social construct”, plus, that it is not just even possible, but also quite common today for people to undergo sex change operations

    Body modifications and pronouns are to affirm someone’s gender (contra what had been externally assigned as a default), not change it. Change is a common misconception because OTHERS suddenly have something new to respond to, info which had previously been closeted away or restricted to trusted friends. This is something transgender educators routinely are tasked to address.
     
    Article: Wikipedia – Sex reassignment surgery

    Sex reassignment surgery or SRS (also known as gender reassignment surgery, gender confirmation surgery, genital reconstruction surgery, gender-affirming surgery, or sex realignment surgery) is the surgical procedure (or procedures) by which a transgender person’s physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are altered to resemble that socially associated with their identified gender. It is part of a treatment for gender dysphoria in transgender people.

     
    Technically one could instead refer to the entire journey of trying out roles and settling in to a gender that fits. However, you’ve been nowhere close to that level of nuance on the subject, so you would do better to avoid it in rhetoric altogether.

  306. Murat says

    @Sky Captain
    I was nowhere close to that level of nuance on the subject because THAT side of the issue was irrelevant with what I was saying.
    The claim was that, religion and sexuality were totally different grounds, one likely to undergo changes whereas the other not, hence we could feel more free with the language to use while addressing one’s religion, whereas the subject of their sexuality rightfully deserved being shielded.
    I disagreed NOT with the main concern BUT with the grounds that distinction was based on, because we simply can not know how severly one is invested in or attached to either of those fields.
    Michael Glatze is a good example to this. It doesn’t matter how sexuality is defined, or whether he is still actually gay or was never gay to start with, or any other thing. What I’m saying is simple and crystal clear:
    People just STICK TO some things as part of their identity. Be it race, religion, sex, it doesn’t matter. Come it biologically, ideologically, out of the blue, it doesn’t matter.
    If you feel the need to avoid slurs, name-calling etc. for ethical, humane, good reasons, for you care about not hurting them, then you should mind the language and the attitude regarding ANY of what they hold dear as part of their current identity.

  307. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Murat #332:

    People just STICK TO some things as part of their identity. Be it race, religion, sex, it doesn’t matter. Come it biologically, ideologically, out of the blue, it doesn’t matter.
     
    If you feel the need to avoid slurs, name-calling etc. for ethical, humane, good reasons, for you care about not hurting them, then you should mind the language and the attitude regarding ANY of what they hold dear as part of their current identity.

     
    #319:

    Call it PC talk or else, I just don’t see how anyone can make sure the other side would be offended and hurt by a remark suggesting a mental condition, BUT totally be okay with another kind of pejorative definition like “low achiever”.
     
    you can throw stones at those whom you think are “crossing the line”, […] don’t pretend like that particular “line” is objective, unchanging, fragile, well-thought or something. I just don’t buy that part of the deal.

     
    #325:

    Is it possible that anyone reading a post addressed to them may get depressed over something triggered by words? Is it possible anyone can ever get so affected by any online or real-life interaction in a vulnerable moment that they hang themselves? Is it not exactly that kind of solid harm that we agree to avoid when minding the language?

     
    #328:

    I’m providing a different angle and suggesting to tune down a bit also when such known, registered harm (like, marginalizing the mentally ill) is not on the table. Because there is always something on the table, whether we see it or not.

    The context is negative reinforcement and mitigation of a recalcitrant community offender (Mark from Stone Church), in this case via reputation. We were pointing out splash damage of amplifying stereotypes in your response (which you acknowledged and promised to refrain from). You then reframed to center any offender’s reader’s feelings wrt to being shamed – in any way – for anything… because they might get triggered and hang themselves, over mild negative attention they incited by transgressing.

  308. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat

    Michael Glatze is a good example to this. It doesn’t matter how sexuality is defined, or whether he is still actually gay or was never gay to start with, or any other thing

    Yes it does. It blows my mind that you could possibly think otherwise. Some things are truly beyond our control, some are fully within our control. Some things are grey. I don’t give a flying fuck that you want to mangle language and chuck a bunch of knowledge out the window for the apparent sake of saving face. This is a terrible, terrible hill to die on.

    If you feel the need to avoid slurs, name-calling etc. for ethical, humane, good reasons, for you care about not hurting them, then you should mind the language and the attitude regarding ANY of what they hold dear as part of their current identity.

    But I don’t care when it comes to some people. Their precious fee-fees take a back seat to reality. I have no problem breaking people if it helps them shake off the bad stuff. How exactly do you think I dropped religion? It sure wasn’t by being handed a bag of sunshine and rainbows. I had to be shaken awake.
    This is still all a red herring. It’s a diversion from the previous topic and utterly hypocritical given your remarks about the mentally ill in this thread.

  309. says

    How exactly do you think I dropped religion?

    @MS

    Clearly it was substantially easier to me. I am assuming you are American. It seems over there there is a pressure to belong to a church and believe.

    For me, religion didn’t figure large when growing up at all, nor for anyone I knew really. Most Australians call religious people god botherers and sort of chuckle at them.

    The most common thing an Australian will say when asked about god is, ” I think there’s something there but I don’t know what it is”.

    Kind of easy to look at it all as rubbish from here. You don’t need to come out as not religious, because no one really believes. It’s not like you have to tell your parents that you don’t believe in god, because they don’t care.

    Only problem we have over here is that we have too many politicians who are still religious. That fucks shit up big time.

  310. Les Black says

    @Sam #309
    Wow Sam, despite all the time you’ve spent here, you still have all your work ahead of you.

    You, like many theists, can’t come up with any actual evidence for anything “supernatural” that’s much more substantial than a card trick. And inevitably, you turn to the hypothetical: “What if (Insert hypothetical miracle here that has never actually occurred.) happened? Wouldn’t THAT make you believe?”.

    The answer from any thinking being should be NO. Why do you think miracles (or, much less, ancient second, third, fourth, etc. accounts of them) prove the existence of a god, particularly your god? A miracle, if it were to occur, is simply something unexplained. To claim it is of supernatural origin is an appeal to ignorance. Many natural phenomena were attributed to supernatural causes before their natural explanations were discovered — I’m sure you can think of several. Now, please give an example of a phenomenon that began with workable natural explanation that was subsequently overthrown by a supernatural one. Anything come to mind?

    The supernatural realm which your god occupies shrinks ever smaller.

    Even if a supernatural event could be explained as such, there’s no sure way of knowing it’s origin. Even scripture calls for caution when explaining magic. For example, in Exodus, the Pharaoh’s sorcerers, pagans all, turned rods into snakes. Satan and his demons, according to the Bible, can also perform supernatural acts that could be called miracles.

    Even the Judaic/Christian god can’t be trusted. If he wants, he can harden your heart (Exodus 9:12), and cause you to believe a lie (2 Thessolonians 2:11-12). And before you deny this, explain why god can’t do *anything* and call it moral? Who are you to order him around? And if you’re reassured by his promises, or by his ineffable good nature, just who gets to decide what is good, hmmm? It sure ain’t you.

    And the day you get around the aforementioned difficulties, then you need to begin formulating why I should give a shit about this god, much less why I should worship him. I’ve not studied the god of Islam much, but you say he’s the same as the one for Judaism and christianity. If so he’s an immoral ass, and let me just say it’ll be a cold cold day.

  311. SamFromUK says

    @Les,

    Sorry but you haven’t understood what I’ve written, maybe take some time to reread it?

    I’ve never claimed that there is such a thing as the supernatural. All miracles can be tested scientifically although they won’t be reproducible by humans. Hence they are miracles.

    Forget all your misunderstandings of the scripture. Just answer this question. If after seeing numerous miracles you are convinced that the God of the the Old Testament, Gospel and Quran is true and real are you going to do as he says and worship him?

    That’s the only question atheists need to answer. The scriptures and the evidence for God is meaningless if the answer is no you will not bow and worship God.

    Granted, once you believe you will have questions about some of the not so nice stuff and strange things mentioned in the scriptures but that is an entirely separate topic which atheists won’t be able to get their heads around until they understand the nature of God.

  312. SamFromUK says

    @yaba,

    A seed is life (or produces life, depending on your definition of life). It is something that cannot be produced by humans from non-life material. When a seed grows many many changes take places at the molecular level to produce and even more complex living organism. Regardless of how much technology and knowledge in the world there is this cannot be reproduced now or in the future and has not been reproduced in the past as far as we know.

  313. says

    @ Sam

    I still don’t understand how a seed is a miracle. I agree we can not make a plant seed “from scratch” currently (I assume we are talking about ordinary plant seeds). I can for now accept your vague description of what happens when a seed sprouts and grows into a plant. I don’t really see how you can know that we will not be able to make seeds in the future, all modern evidence seems to indicate this will be trivial in even the relatively near future. But that’s neither here nor there since we live in the present not the future.

    Also, what does the quran have to do with anything?

    You claimed the seed was a miracle that could be scientifically tested. I don’t understand why the seed is a miracle. I don’t understand what scientific tests can be done to confirm this miracle.

    Think carefully and deeply about this!

    So explain to me, clearly, why is a seed a miracle and how can this miracle be scientifically tested?

  314. Les Black says

    Sam, I already answered your stupid question. Perhaps it’s you who should take some time to “reread” things, you arrogant ass.

    Anyway, what you’re describing as god, “holy” scripture, miracles, etc. is what any reasonable person would regard as supernatural. You are being deliberately equivocal.

    Although it can be a wonderful and interesting thing, there is nothing miraculous about a seed. It acts in accordance with all known chemical and physical laws, and defies none. Further, why do you theists always go to the wonder of seeds and trees and rainbows and fuzzy bunnies? If god creates seeds, not only is he responsible for the lovely grass and flowers and fruits and vegetables, but also the thorns, poisonous plants, and the weeds and invasive species that have choked out the farmers’ crops over the millennia — starving countless millions. What kind of monster would create such curses?

    As for your criteria of reproducabilty — that a miracle cannot be replicated by humans — your position has been doomed for a very long time and you just haven’t figured it out yet. Do I really need to produce for you a list of things that were once considered miracles but are now completely explained and recreated by humans? Really? And what will you do when the first synthetic seed rolls out? Again, “god of the gaps”, dude. Look it up.

    As for my “misunderstandings” of scripture, I quote Mark Twain — “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

  315. SamFromUK says

    @yaba,

    I don’t really see how you can know that we will not be able to make seeds in the future, all modern evidence seems to indicate this will be trivial in even the relatively near future. But that’s neither here nor there since we live in the present not the future.

    I agree, I don’t know if mankind will be able to create seeds in the future. But as you rightly said we live in the present not in the future.

    Also, what does the quran have to do with anything?

    This is where the claim is made. The Quran claims that it is the word of God. We can only know what God is, what he can/cannot do through the scripture or prophets or some other way that God want’s to be known. No one knows God including believers. Therefore our knowledge of God can only come from God himself.

    You claimed the seed was a miracle that could be scientifically tested. I don’t understand why the seed is a miracle. I don’t understand what scientific tests can be done to confirm this miracle.

    I consider a seed is a miracle because it is something mentioned in the Quran as not being reproducible by humans or any other life form. It’s the same as Moses parting the Red Sea. It was simply an event which cannot be reproduced by humans. What made the parting of the Red Sea a miracle in most peoples eyes was that it’s something that doesn’t happen everyday. If parting of the sea was something that we could observe everyday then it would be just like a seed. It’s a phenomena that just exists/happens for which we don’t have an explanation on how. If you were to study the sea parting you’d observe water molecules arranging themselves to form a wall. You wouldn’t know how it was happening. If you observe a seed grow, you can observe molecules changing and arranging themselves to form a highly complex structure.

    You can scientifically observe this phenomena. Scientists can also study this in depth to see what is happening. They know what materials are used and they have some knowledge of the chemistry. Maybe they need to learn a bit more about chemistry but whatever their level of knowledge is they can (and do) try to reproduce it. So far they have failed. What they have learnt is that it’s very very complex and difficult to reproduce.

  316. SamFromUK says

    @Les,

    If you want to have a discussion with me please use good language otherwise I don’t want to engage. I’m happy to engage but I like it when people don’t have to resort to foul language. Spoils the talk in my opinion.

    Do I really need to produce for you a list of things that were once considered miracles but are now completely explained and recreated by humans? Really? And what will you do when the first synthetic seed rolls out? Again, “god of the gaps”, dude. Look it up.

    What people consider as miracles is not what God claims as miracles which humans can investigate to see if they can do the same. It’s wrong to make claims about God which isn’t mentioned in scripture. Only God knows what we can and cannot do and what the nature of the universe is.

    If mankind creates synthetic seeds I’ll accept there is no God and all the scriptures were stories made up.

  317. SamFromUK says

    @Les,

    Mark Twain — “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

    SamFromUk – “if those parts of the bible you do understand bother you then you don’t really understand them.”

  318. SamFromUK says

    @Les,

    “If god creates seeds, not only is he responsible for the lovely grass and flowers and fruits and vegetables, but also the thorns, poisonous plants, and the weeds and invasive species that have choked out the farmers’ crops over the millennia — starving countless millions. ”

    You’d need to understand the concept of God for this to make sense.

  319. Les Black says

    What, you mean “ass”? Is that the language that bruises your tender sensibilities? I hate to break this to you, friend, but that’s a biblical term. As in “jackass”. As in donkey. As in stubborn and simple. I’m sorry if your filthy mind twisted it into something else.

    Speaking of filth, I’d like you to read Ezekiel 23: 20-21 of the holy scriptures to a kindergarten class please, and see how it goes over with their teacher and parents.

    As for what god claims as miracles, and my needing to understand god, please look up “begging the question” fallacy.

    You say “if those parts of the bible you do understand bother you then you don’t really understand them.” That’s pure assertion. How about this — “If you are NOT troubled by some parts of the Bible then you don’t really understand them.”? See how easy that is? Literally anyone can do it.

  320. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Oh wow, this thread is still going on? It seems I missed a response a way’s back, so what the hell?
    @280

    All I’ve done is taken a claim from the Quran and am testing it against the science we know.

    At no point is this anything close to what ye’ve been doing.
    @281

    So I can only pick from scripture what I want to challenge with the science of today.

    The problem, which everyone here and I’d hope even ye by now notice, is that what yer doing is starting with the Quran and working backwards with the data to make it fit. Things which don’t fit (either scientifically OR scripturally) ye seem happy to discard for arbitrary reasons. For instance, the 4 gospels are good because they jibe with yer understanding with the Quran (even though they demonstrably don’t). In previous threads I’ve observed cases where yer willing to take select data points (let’s call the X) seriously because they agree with the Flood narrative, but then when the same science is also like “but the Flood didn’t happen for additional reason Y and Z” yer like “well those aren’t true. How can they know that?”
    The thing is HOW they know that is very easily researchable and verifiable if ye had the interest to do so. Again, scientists aren’t prone to just asserting wild conjecture as fact. If they are pointing to something as a reliable explanation of how they came to their conclusions, they can show their work and walk ye through it.
    Science generally works by observing data and following where it leads. When scientists start with a conclusion and arrange the facts they find to fit that conclusion, they’re called bad scientists and their findings are disregarded.
    @281

    Sorry but where did I say science is not a reliable method for uncovering facts? Here I am saying let’s look at the science to see if it agrees with the conclusions.

    Did ye use those exact words? No, but ye have projected a disregard for scientific conclusions which makes it very difficult to believe ye take it seriously at all as a methodology. Yer the one who said that mostly all science does is “name things, that’s all we’re doing.” Yer the one deriding scientists as “clever.” Yer the one pointing at scientific conclusions (for instance the creation of heavier elements in stars) and going “well how could they know that?” as if they’re pulling the conjecture out of the air and just going with it.

    I disagree about laymen not being able to understand the science.

    That’s not what I said. But I’ll carry that on with the final point from this post below.

    It puzzles me that you and other atheist would rather talk endlessly about scripture even though you don’t have a clue what it says and why it says it and there’s absolutely no way you’re going to be convinced by it AND in the end you’ll say you want scientific evidence. Just bizarre and irrational in my opinion.

    Many of us here were theists of some stripe and it was an examination of Scripture and the dogma which helped alot of us stop taking the religion seriously. So when people, even people from other religious stripes, start pointing at their holy texts as reasons to believe it’s not that much of a leap to be like “what reason is there to believe this any more than the one I left behind?”

    Now when you’re challenged on the science you say you don’t have the credentials to understand it. So doesn’t that mean you’re blindly accepting arguments simply based on popularity?

    As I was saying before, that’s not what I said. For me personally, while I try to generally stay up on what’s going on in our modern understanding of the Universe, my knowledge has gaps. When ye asked questions earlier I even pointed ye in the direction of where research into some of those areas is being done and ye flat out said “I don’t care about any of that.” So rather than just waiting for some hole in my understanding to pop up so ye can use it to say “haha! You really don’t know anything at all for sure, do you!?!” I figure it’s easier to just wing the conversation away from something ye obviously don’t care to try to understand (science) and to something which ye seemingly do (scripture).
    Especially since science and reasoning doesn’t seem to have anything to do with WHY ye believe in the first place, and if I’m not mistaken THAT was the whole point to this exchange.
    @283

    Tell me this. If in the Bible it described exactly how Moses made the red sea part in the same way scientists show their workings today would that make you believe the Bible?

    If it was repeatable, then that would go a long ways to me taking THAT claim seriously. I don’t think I could say that would make me believe EVERYTHING in the Bible. Each claim has to be taken on its own.
    @348 (I know these last few weren’t to me directly, but figured I’d respond anyway)

    SamFromUk – “if those parts of the bible you do understand bother you then you don’t really understand them.”

    That statement is ridiculous. It is beyond demonstrable that one can understand what is written in Scripture and still be bothered by it.

    You’d need to understand the concept of God for this to make sense.

    Unless yer going to add some explanation after this statement I’d recommend stopping using it. It’s really just coming off as a “I don’t know what to say so I’ll just pretend the person I’m talking to is ignorant” kinda thing. Especially since ye haven’t demonstrated that YE understand God either.

  321. Les Black says

    Sam, let me make a prophecy: When, not if, synthetic seeds are developed (IF our species can survive the ignorance of people like you long enough), you and your ilk will NOT renounce your faith. You will repeat what the religious have always done — you will lie about the truth of the event until it’s no longer possible to convince even yourselves, and then you will retreat to another gap in human knowledge to find your god there waiting for you with open arms.

  322. Monocle Smile says

    @Les
    That’s my favorite latest line of attack, too. When apologists blather on about the fine-tuning argument or how the big bang proves god or some other strange shit, I want to ask “If things were different, would you stop believing in god?” The answer is always always always “no.” So the entire topic is dishonest to begin with.

  323. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Les & MS
    Well that was the crystallizing moment of that “debate” between Ken Ham and Bill Nye wasn’t it? When asked what would change their mind, Ken Ham said nothing can convince him that “the Word of God is untrue” and Nye just asked for “one piece of evidence.”
    This is what happens when ye start with the belief that this or that holy text (or any presupposition I guess) is true and then start cherry picking facts and data to support it and disregarding things which don’t agree with it.

  324. Les Black says

    Yes, Monocle Smile. Also, they somehow manage to hold two contradictory proofs of god at once:

    (1) The fine tuning celestial watchmaker god — everything running like a finely made machine. (As if god is somehow restricted to some sort of rules of order! Well, let’s find out who wrote those rules and worship it instead. It’s obviously more powerful than god if he must conform to its rules.)

    And

    (2) The miracle-producing god to explain when the not-so-finely tuned machine goes ape.

    In other words, when things work as expected — that’s god!

    And when things DON’T work as expected — that’s god, too!

    When your tolerance for cognitive dissonance is this strong, there’s next to nothing you can’t talk yourself into believing.

  325. says

    @Sam

    This is where the claim is made.

    That is not relevant to demonstrating a scientifically testable miracle.

    I consider a seed is a miracle because it is something mentioned in the Quran as not being reproducible by humans or any other life form.

    Are you saying your definition of a miracle is something mentioned in the quran? Because I don’t consider that grounds for determining if something is a miracle. So, once again, the quran is completely irrelevant to this point.

    You have talked about scientifically testable miracles and so I asked you to show me one. Please leave the quran out of it in the future until you have actually demonstrated a scientifically testable miracle as you were claiming. And on the topic, stop bringing up other irrelevant stuff like parting seas and such. That has no relevance here either. We are talking about you showing me just one single scientifically testable miracle as you claim there are many of. I just want one. Don’t sidetrack the conversation by dragging in irrelevant other stuff.

    It’s a phenomena that just exists/happens for which we don’t have an explanation on how.

    But this is not true. We know a great deal about how. Granted, not every detail, but a great deal and we learn more every day. Saying we don’t have an explanation for how a seed grows is misleading at best, if not outright false.

    You can scientifically observe this phenomena. Scientists can also study this in depth to see what is happening. They know what materials are used and they have some knowledge of the chemistry. Maybe they need to learn a bit more about chemistry but whatever their level of knowledge is they can (and do) try to reproduce it. So far they have failed. What they have learnt is that it’s very very complex and difficult to reproduce.

    Okay, for simplicity I will agree with this.

    You still haven’t explained why a seed is a miracle. I honestly have no idea why a seed would be a miracle. What, exactly, the it’s miraculous properties? I really just don’t understand why a seed would be a miracle.

  326. indianajones says

    @YABA I am working on a rubber duck analogy, try this on for size.

    No matter what technique you use to sink SFUK (logic, analogies, reasonable questions, insults etc) he will just pop up again. Probably somewhere else in the pond. Eventually SFUK will pop up in places very similar to where they’ve already been. And by the time SFUK gets back to said similar places, he’ll be just as buoyant and yellow and annoying and, and this is important, impervious as ever.

    Fortunately, no one takes rubber ducks seriously as any sort of hazard. If they can’t be defeated, they are better off being simply ignored.

  327. SamFromUK says

    @yaba,

    Are you saying your definition of a miracle is something mentioned in the quran? Because I don’t consider that grounds for determining if something is a miracle. So, once again, the quran is completely irrelevant to this point.
    You have talked about scientifically testable miracles and so I asked you to show me one. Please leave the quran out of it in the future until you have actually demonstrated a scientifically testable miracle as you were claiming. And on the topic, stop bringing up other irrelevant stuff like parting seas and such. That has no relevance here either. We are talking about you showing me just one single scientifically testable miracle as you claim there are many of. I just want one. Don’t sidetrack the conversation by dragging in irrelevant other stuff.

    Sorry, I don’t think you understood what I was saying even though I thought I had made it very clear. I’ll try again. The Quran and other scripture from God is extremely important and central to determining what a miracle is. When I say a miracle I mean some phenomena done by God to demonstrate his existence for us humans. No one knows God unless he let’s them know who he is. Those humans who communicate with God are known as prophets. Today there are no prophets. All we have today is scripture from God. Some of the scripture describes things which he claims only he can do and which we can test ourselves.

    There is no one alive today who can just make up an arbitrary claim on the behalf of God. It has to come from scripture. There is nothing else we have which tells us about God. Nothing else. You cannot simply look at the universe and learn about God. You have to be told by God what to look for. Only God can teach you. I know some people may cry that this is circular reasoning but it is what it is.

    Now please tell why we cannot look at the creation of a seed from non life material scientifically to see if mankind can do the same. At the very least mankind can observe step by step, process by process and see what’s happening. Plenty of observations can be gathered and we can come to a very very good understanding. Note, “understanding” does not necessarily mean mankind can reproduce the same as what they observe.

  328. SamFromUK says

    @yaba,

    “I really just don’t understand why a seed would be a miracle.”

    Maybe you are looking for the sea to part in front of your eyes, or someone dead to be brought back alive, or some writings in the sky? What I think you’re looking for is one time or unusual phenomena. The problem you have with a phenomena which you can only observe a few times is that you can’t test it to your hearts content and neither will future generations. On the flipside when you are presented with a phenomena which happens all the time you don’t accept it as a miracle because your brain becomes accustomed to it. It’s a bit like when you buy a new expensive car. For a few months the new car is amazing, looks great, you’re so happy. After a year or so you don’t feel the same about it. You’ve probably got your heart set on the next model now.

    So the reason a seed is not a miracle because your brain knows about seeds as it has become used to that phenomena.

  329. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 358

    There is no one alive today who can just make up an arbitrary claim on the behalf of God. It has to come from scripture. There is nothing else we have which tells us about God. Nothing else. You cannot simply look at the universe and learn about God. You have to be told by God what to look for. Only God can teach you. I know some people may cry that this is circular reasoning but it is what it is.

    But why accept this? Unless ye already buy what the Quran is selling, what reason is there to take these points seriously over testable observations about reality? It seriously confuses me how ye yerself can see that yer engaged in circular reasoning but keep on doubling down on it.

  330. SamFromUK says

    @Les,

    Sam, let me make a prophecy: When, not if, synthetic seeds are developed (IF our species can survive the ignorance of people like you long enough), you and your ilk will NOT renounce your faith. You will repeat what the religious have always done — you will lie about the truth of the event until it’s no longer possible to convince even yourselves, and then you will retreat to another gap in human knowledge to find your god there waiting for you with open arms.

    Anyone can make prophecies. I don’t think you’ll be around to see if yours is true. So please just stick to the present. I’ve already said that I will accept Quran is wrong and I will stop believing in God.

    Also, there is no such thing as “God of the gaps”. It’s just a phrase non believers use to mock believers. Unfortunately not all believers have a good understanding of God but then again vast majority of non-believers don’t understand ToE.

  331. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    But why accept this? Unless ye already buy what the Quran is selling, what reason is there to take these points seriously over testable observations about reality? It seriously confuses me how ye yerself can see that yer engaged in circular reasoning but keep on doubling down on it.

    First of all this is what it says in the Quran and Bible. Secondly it’s logical and makes sense.

    When you were born did you know who God was without someone telling you? You were not born with an innate understanding of God and no other human being has either. We only learn about God through other people either verbally or via some form of media/books.

    As I said before, when you observer the universe you cannot come up with evidence of God. If there was no mention of God in the world and you saw the seas part or the dead come back to life and no one told you why then you would think that these were just strange phenomena happening. You would never link those events to God because the word God does not exist yet. And even if the word God did exist there would be nothing to link those events with God himself. There could be perfectly explainable reasons to explain those unusual phenomena.

  332. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    and going “well how could they know that?” as if they’re pulling the conjecture out of the air and just going with it.

    Apologies if you thought I was deriding scientists. The work scientists do is great and important for advancing our knowledge of the universe and coming up with things that may make our lives a bit more easier. However having said that sometimes they do pull “conjecture out of the air and just going with it”. You’d have to dig deeper into the science to find out that though.

  333. Les Black says

    Sam, circular reasoning is fallacious. Irrational. So you’re saying that irrational thought must be employed to find god, or is required of us for him to endow us with the knowledge required to believe in him. But this concession you’ve made make things worse for your position, not better. If God works in ways that are not rational to people, then how are we to know what other irrational ways of thinking he requires of us? How are we to know that it is even rational to listen to him, to search for him, to believe his scripture. When dealing with such a god, we can never be sure of anything, not even our own thoughts, perceptions, and beliefs. So there’s no point in discussing anything.

    In light of this, I don’t see the use of discussing anything else with you. The only people I ever run into who ask me to dismiss concerns with rational thought in this way are salespeople, politicians, hucksters, scammers, and proselytizers like you. Now, what do they all have in common?

  334. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 362

    First of all this is what it says in the Quran and Bible. Secondly it’s logical and makes sense.

    Why are the claims of the Bible or Quran different from any other holy text such that they’re to be taken seriously and the others can be disregarded? Why should the myths and statements in those tomes be given any more weight than the Bhagavad Gita, Theogony, the Eddas, etc? Why is Mohammad given more weight than Joseph Smith? I mean yer sure yer right about yer understanding of the Quran, but how is an outside observer supposed to tell the difference between ye and a passionate Mormon when ye offer up the same level of evidence?
    Also, how does something that ye’ve admitted relies on circular reasoning and has been shown to rely on Logical Fallacies get to be called “logical.”

    As to the rest, if God is not detectable in our observations of the World about him, why should any credence be given to the stories which imply his existence? As tales they can be taken as interesting, but why should anyone take them as speaking to the truth of God’s existence? Again, truth is demonstrated, not asserted.

  335. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 363

    However having said that sometimes they do pull “conjecture out of the air and just going with it”. You’d have to dig deeper into the science to find out that though.

    Citation please.

  336. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “You’d need to understand the concept of God for this to make sense.”

    Unless yer going to add some explanation after this statement I’d recommend stopping using it. It’s really just coming off as a “I don’t know what to say so I’ll just pretend the person I’m talking to is ignorant” kinda thing. Especially since ye haven’t demonstrated that YE understand God either.

    If you understand the concept of God then you’ll understand that God create absolutely everything. Everything is under the control of God. God knows about everything. God can (and will) bring all the dead back to life in an instant, No one will be forgotten. Just as you were brought into existence without asking so will the dead, it won’t be their choice. The evil we experience in this life is something temporary. In the afterlife every pain you have suffered will be removed. You’ll have memories of it but there will be no pain. God can remove all pain and suffering from your heart and on top of that give you more happiness than you can imagine.

    So if you have a good heart and intentions in this life you should be fine. It’s those who refuse to stop doing bad things have something to fear.

  337. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Citation please.

    “According to our current understanding, a star and its planets form out of a collapsing cloud of dust and gas within a larger cloud called a nebula. As gravity pulls material in the collapsing cloud closer together, the center of the cloud gets more and more compressed and, in turn, gets hotter. This dense, hot core becomes the kernel of a new star.”
    http://hubblesite.org/hubble_discoveries/discovering_planets_beyond/how-do-planets-form

    It’s never been demonstrated that dust and gas can collapse under the force of gravity to create bigger and bigger masses. If you don’t believe try it at home, if that doesn’t convince you look up the research. They’ve tried.

  338. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 367
    Have ye ever heard the line: That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence?”
    There is nothing intrinsic to what ye’ve just said that should make a difference to anyone unless they already believe a God (specifically yer God) CAN and DOES exist.
    What yer done here is talking about the culture & lifestyle of the American Sasquatch when the existence of the thing yer talking about is point of discussion. If God doesn’t exist, none of what ye’ve said there matters and simply asserting that he’s out there and he created everything and we’ll all be brought back to life, etc etc doesn’t make it so.

  339. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam

    It’s never been demonstrated that dust and gas can collapse under the force of gravity to create bigger and bigger masses. If you don’t believe try it at home, if that doesn’t convince you look up the research. They’ve tried.

    You lying, knuckle-dragging motherfucker, I JUST GOT DONE blasting you for this upthread.

    @Everyone else
    All y’all are masochists. You are not going to fix this troglodyte and it’s to the point where this isn’t really going to help the undecided third party, either.

  340. SamFromUK says

    @Les,

    Sam, circular reasoning is fallacious. Irrational. So you’re saying that irrational thought must be employed to find god, or is required of us for him to endow us with the knowledge required to believe in him. But this concession you’ve made make things worse for your position, not better. If God works in ways that are not rational to people, then how are we to know what other irrational ways of thinking he requires of us? How are we to know that it is even rational to listen to him, to search for him, to believe his scripture. When dealing with such a god, we can never be sure of anything, not even our own thoughts, perceptions, and beliefs. So there’s no point in discussing anything.

    It is what it is. You’ve made some very good points, excellent ones. Hence it’s just going to come down to trusting in God. You can see all the miracles, the angels, all the dead brought back to life, etc. You’ll still won’t understand how God works or how he really thinks. It’s simply beyond our intellect. As Muslims we just accept it. This is one of the key things which I found hard to accept when I converted from atheism.

  341. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Why are the claims of the Bible or Quran different from any other holy text such that they’re to be taken seriously and the others can be disregarded? Why should the myths and statements in those tomes be given any more weight than the Bhagavad Gita, Theogony, the Eddas, etc? Why is Mohammad given more weight than Joseph Smith? I mean yer sure yer right about yer understanding of the Quran, but how is an outside observer supposed to tell the difference between ye and a passionate Mormon when ye offer up the same level of evidence?

    You should test what claims are being made by the other holy texts if any.

  342. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 368
    I had a response typed up to this, but MS said it more succinctly than I did so I’ll move on.

    @Sam – 372

    You should test what claims are being made by the other holy texts if any.

    If ye weren’t going to even attempt to provide an answer to any of those questions why did ye bother to post a response at all?

  343. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    But why accept this? Unless ye already buy what the Quran is selling, what reason is there to take these points seriously over testable observations about reality? It seriously confuses me how ye yerself can see that yer engaged in circular reasoning but keep on doubling down on it.

    Do the testable observations about reality explain how life came into being?

  344. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    I had a response typed up to this, but MS said it more succinctly than I did so I’ll move on.

    Forget about MS. He’s a moron who probably hasn’t completed high school yet judging by his language.

    Please do tell me your response.

  345. Les Black says

    God is not asking me to trust him. You are. I’ll wait for him/her/it to speak, thank you.

    You know what’s really sad, is that I think you’re probably like most folks, a fairly decent person — unlike the list of bad actors I mentioned in my previous post (salespeople, politicians, hucksters, scammers etc). But despite your basic decency, your religion compels you to act like them. That’s what religion does — it makes good people do terrible things. You’ve taken a fairly good mind, god-given or not, and perverted it beyond recognition. What if there is a god, and he rewards us for using our minds rationally, and for rejecting the irrational? You’re bound for hell, brother!!! Repent! Repent before it’s too late!

    But, alas, since you said I must dismiss logic when discussing these things, I can’t be sure that you even exist, or that I do either, for that matter. So I don’t see how I can rationally justify discussing anything with you, since you’ve told me that rationality is not to be trusted.

  346. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 374

    Do the testable observations about reality explain how life came into being?

    To the best of my knowledge no, not with any real degree of certainty in it. Far as I know the current state of the question of the Abiogenesis is “we’re not sure.”
    However, that uncertainty doesn’t in any way make the claims of the Quran more true by default, and those are the claims I was asking about.

    Forget about MS. He’s a moron who probably hasn’t completed high school yet judging by his language.

    Please do tell me your response.

    Now now, in my own rather protracted history of lurking here I’ll admit I do occasionally find MS to be a bit overly adversarial, but most of his(?) questions to ye have generally been about rather large holes in the case yer trying to present.
    Anywho, the small of it is that yer overstating the case if ye think that article is about plucking conjecture out of the air and positing it as if it’s true. We have an understanding of the natural forces involved, how they behave on their own and in relation to eachother, and it’s not that much of a stretch to observe how these things interplay to figure that’s likely how shit happens. I’m not saying this is DEFINITELY what happens, but alot of the available data seems to be pointing that way. I mean is yer objection just that we haven’t seen a star flare into being with our own eyes yet?
    Actually nevermind that. We’re getting to the end of this thread’s life and I’d rather not derail the conversation any further. I’ll ask in the interest of reconsolidating all this nonsense that ye just stick to the first point addressed in this post, since I don’t believe this one is going to go anywhere.

  347. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    To the best of my knowledge no, not with any real degree of certainty in it. Far as I know the current state of the question of the Abiogenesis is “we’re not sure.”
    However, that uncertainty doesn’t in any way make the claims of the Quran more true by default, and those are the claims I was asking about.

    Sorry, but I think you’ve either forgotten the claim or you’re not making sense. I said the claim in the Quran is that mankind cannot create life from non life.

    Now you have clearly said that “To the best of my knowledge no, not with any real degree of certainty in it.”. Therefore, at this present moment the claim is true. Forget about what can happen in the future. We just don’t know. “we’re not sure” means we can’t create life from non life. Period. If you want to go into the current research I’m happy to do that. Let’s see where they have gotten to and why they are stuck.

    Let’s take each claim in the Quran one by one. At the end all you’re going to have is a list of “we’re not sure”. Why say “we’re not sure”? Why not simply accept we can’t do it? What would convince you that we can’t given the present knowledge and technology?

    Sorry but you seem to be acting confused now.

  348. says

    @Sam

    You still haven’t explained why a seed is a miracle. All you have done is (rather rudely and presumptuously) attempted to tell me why I don’t think it is a miracle.

    You have claimed that a seed is a miracle. Now please explain to me why a seed is a miracle. And please stop telling me what I think and am used to or whatever things you want to try and make up about me. I assume you are capable of making your point without attacking me?

    You have make the claim that a seed is a miracle. Explain to me why it is a miracle. What is miraculous about a seed? Explain clearly and simply.

  349. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    We have an understanding of the natural forces involved, how they behave on their own and in relation to eachother, and it’s not that much of a stretch to observe how these things interplay to figure that’s likely how shit happens. I’m not saying this is DEFINITELY what happens, but alot of the available data seems to be pointing that way. I mean is yer objection just that we haven’t seen a star flare into being with our own eyes yet?

    Sorry but unless you can demonstrate in the lab or somewhere that dust can collapse to form a solid mass and then from there on form a bigger and bigger mass then it’s not proven. This is what I call scientifically testable. If you come out with statements like “but alot of the available data seems to be pointing that way” then that by it’s definition is conjecture.

    conjecture
    noun
    1. an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information.
    “conjectures about the newcomer were many and varied”
    synonyms: guess, speculation, surmise, fancy, notion, belief, suspicion, presumption, assumption, theory, hypothesis, postulation, supposition; More
    verb
    1. form an opinion or supposition about (something) on the basis of incomplete information.

  350. SamFromUK says

    @yaba,

    Please look up the meaning of the word “miracle”.

    Then study how a seed grows. What processes take place and why scientists marvel at it.

  351. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 378

    I said the claim in the Quran is that mankind cannot create life from non life.

    I must be confused, though the matter of discussion wasn’t “mankind can’t.” The way ye’ve worded it is “Only God can create life.” As recently as 342 ye said:

    Also the Quran claims that only God can create a seed and life.

    Just out of curiosity, can I have the verse in the Quran which states mankind can’t? Or does it say only God can? In any event, what yer being challenged on is the existence of the creating agent in the first place. As things currently stand, yer postulation of Allah being the Creator and me saying we’re all here because of the Green Sun have pretty much the same level of evidentiary support.

    Why not simply accept we can’t do it? What would convince you that we can’t given the present knowledge and technology?

    Why just accept it? Criminy man, the history of humans is full of people pushing those boundaries and cracking them. Should we have just thrown up our arms and said “if God wanted us to fly he would have given us wings?” Or howzabout “achieving escape velocity is impossible, why even try?” Or breaking the sound barrier? Or curing disease? Why in Odin’s Many Names would we stop at something just because we can’t do it yet?
    Maybe I am confused. Are ye seriously saying that since yer understanding of the Quran says we can’t, and we don’t have it cracked yet, means we shouldn’t try?

  352. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @SamFromUK #367:

    So if you have a good heart and intentions in this life you should be fine.

    Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise.
    -4:56

  353. says

    @Sam

    Please look up the meaning of the word “miracle”. Then study how a seed grows. What processes take place and why scientists marvel at it.

    I’ve done both. But aside from being rude and dismissive, that doesn’t answer my question.

    It’s quite a simple question, so I don’t really understand why you can’t answer. You have claimed that a seed is a miracle. Not once have you explained why it is a miracle.

    So, please just explain to me why a seed is a miracle. I don’t see why this should be so difficult.

  354. Murat says

    @Sky Captain @MS

    My claim in a nutshell:
    The reason we should avoid marginalizing the mentally ill is that, our words can (through whichever means) end up harming people. Your concern about me tagging Mark as possibly suffering from a mental disorder was just and well put. You were saying that some people with actual illnesses could be marginalized and regarded harmful if trolls like Mark were provided cover under this blanket.
    We are now OVER with this.
    During the course of posting related follow-ups, I brought it to your notice that, the criteria for watching the language should not be limited with such concerns like “marginalizing a group”. When MS claimed it was “ok to criticize people for their religion but not for their sexuality”, noting one was open to change while the other not, I stated that I do not see THIS particular distinciton as a means to differentiate our level of minding the language.
    MS also said the conversations in AXP were legit in that sense because religion could be changed, and I disagree.
    That’s NOT why they are able to engage opely with the callers on the issue of what they believe and why. The hosts have the green light for hard talk because PEOPLE call THEM accepting to have the issue discussed. It there is / was a show that said “call us and let’s discuss YOUR sexuality, what you feel and do, and why”, then it would be EQUALLY OKAY for the hosts to CHALLENGE the sexualities of the callers.
    People being actually able to change their sexual orientations or not is a SEPARATE ISSUE. The difference between sexuality and religion with regards to being “changable” is NOT what I see as the pressing issue regarding CONDUCT with them. I see as valid criteria the CONSENT of both sides to ENGAGE regarding a certain topic.
    *
    Recently, Matt talked about some kind of an unpleasant conversation he had with a fan who started a dialogue by addressing his WEIGHT. He explained that, later people told him the guy had no bad intentions, was a true fan, etc. Yet, Matt was right in being offended by how the dialogue was given a start.
    *
    Not everything we base our social conduct is directly based on FACTS. Many factors (including facts) have roles in forming them as groups of people reach CONSENSUS on certain issues. As in the example of avoiding to marginalize the mentally ill, we do (and in many cases, should) go with the consensus as it is the outcome of good reasoning and good intent.
    However, consensus can be CHALLENGED, too.
    It, after all, is “changable”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o25I2fzFGoY
    *
    The way MS advocates being “brutally straight” with people is something I understand. He had also previously noted it was exactly THAT kind of approach which helped him overcome religion. I wouldn’t count on the same formula to be as effective for anyone else, given each individual has different reactions. But for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s “okay” to follow that approach with regards to beliefs (also because it’s a “changable” condition)… But then, to be consistent with regards to CONDUCT, we should also be okay with FAT SHAMING, right? After all, for many people, their level of fitness is ALSO something they can keep under control.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4YZiKbklAE
    *
    When I’m overweight, I do get offended if I face fat shaming.
    On the other hand, it DOES trigger me the way some hard talk can trigger a religous person to become reasonable.
    So, I’m on both sides of the line when it’s benefiting or being hurt by conduct. We all are. Some, regarding their weight. Some, regarding their faith. Some, regarding their sexuality. If the bottom line is to provide and promote BETTER CONDUCT, we need not draw a line between such aspects, depending on their likelihood to change or not.
    *
    It’s only recently that the AXP team declared they would not let remarks like “retarded” in the spaces they provide for the followers. They also, honestly, noted that they themselves might have used some words to such effect, but that was no excuse for anyone now to engage with others this way. (I think it was Russell who wrote the piece on that.)
    *
    The way we develop our conduct with other people is something we can CHANGE, indeed. And I believe we should do so best as we can. However, I keep differing with you gentlemen on the criteria that DEFINES the current CONSENSUS.
    *
    There is some kind of a merit to engaging (or, disengaging) with people in a smooth and lingually proportionate way. And it’s not necessarily something we are born with. We can grow it, as well.

  355. Murat says

    @Sam

    When you were born did you know who God was without someone telling you? You were not born with an innate understanding of God and no other human being has either. We only learn about God through other people either verbally or via some form of media/books.

    This seems to contradict with the Quran as the book suggests every baby is born a “muslim”, but THEN they may lose it due to circumstances. Islam suggests the OPPOSITE of Christianity with regards to ORIGINAL SIN, claiming we are born INNOCENT and WITH the knowledge of God.
    *
    During the course of such postings, I find you to be detaching yourself from what you currently claim to believe. And the more convoluted your defence becomes, the more personal a religion you are building around your thoughts.
    *
    What I have seen so far suggests that you are a STRUGGLING THEIST.
    The books you carry on your shoulders are not helping, but rather weakining your arguments as they create too heavy a baggage for your level of naivety.

  356. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat

    The reason we should avoid marginalizing the mentally ill is that, our words can (through whichever means) end up harming people. Your concern about me tagging Mark as possibly suffering from a mental disorder was just and well put. You were saying that some people with actual illnesses could be marginalized and regarded harmful if trolls like Mark were provided cover under this blanket.

    Eh, only a glancing blow. The issue isn’t the words themselves, but how those words propagate a societal milieu that guides behavior. It’s a nuance, but I believe an important one.

    MS also said the conversations in AXP were legit in that sense because religion could be changed, and I disagree.
    That’s NOT why they are able to engage opely with the callers on the issue of what they believe and why. The hosts have the green light for hard talk because PEOPLE call THEM accepting to have the issue discussed. It there is / was a show that said “call us and let’s discuss YOUR sexuality, what you feel and do, and why”, then it would be EQUALLY OKAY for the hosts to CHALLENGE the sexualities of the callers.

    I believe you are hopelessly wrong here and have jack shit to back up your ridiculous position.

    But then, to be consistent with regards to CONDUCT, we should also be okay with FAT SHAMING, right? After all, for many people, their level of fitness is ALSO something they can keep under control.

    No, because religion is breaking the fucking planet and almost all religions promote aggressive conversion and poor thought. A person being fat is not breaking the fucking planet. Again, I have no idea why these very simple, very obvious concepts are so impossibly difficult for you to grasp. Also, I REALLY goddamn hate how you’re trying to make me into a cartoon character with your cockamamie hasty generalizations. This isn’t how normal people behave.

    Most of the rest seems like an off-topic rant.

  357. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Murat #319:

    The way I get it, trolling involves “pretention” of some kind

  358. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    This seems to contradict with the Quran as the book suggests every baby is born a “muslim”, but THEN they may lose it due to circumstances. Islam suggests the OPPOSITE of Christianity with regards to ORIGINAL SIN, claiming we are born INNOCENT and WITH the knowledge of God.

    Please quote the verses in the Bible and Quran which say this.

  359. SamFromUK says

    @Sky,

    Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise.
    -4:56

    You’re reading out of context. The verse is referring to those who have been given the book and who also make false things up like superstition.

  360. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @SamFromUK #391:

    You’re reading out of context.

     
    Article: Dwindling in Unbelief – And for the disbelievers, Allah has prepared a painful doom
     

    This idea is so important that Allah (or his prophet) repeats more than 200 times in the Quran.
    […]
    60 verses in the Quran that describe the “painful doom” that unbelevers will endure. There are also 25 “awful doom” verses, 10 “shameful dooms”, 4 “dreadful dooms”, 4 “dooms of fire”, and another 40 or so differently named dooms. Plus 65 verses that mention just a plain old “doom” – and a couple hundred or so that describe Hell, the Fire, etc.
     
    But my favorite doom verse is this one (If you don’t believe in hell, guess where you’ll be going):
     
    “Those who believe not in the Hereafter, for them We have prepared a painful doom.” -17:10

  361. says

    Please look up the meaning of the word “miracle”.
    Then study how a seed grows. What processes take place and why scientists marvel at it.

    Sam’s game is simple. When he says he will use science to prove god, what he actually means is that he will ask you to point to where the edge of science is. When you do, he says, “See, that’s where god is”

    Too bad he is so dumb he doesn’t understand that this has been done for centuries and is known as the god of the gaps. If he had any brains he would know that this god shrinks every time science advances. He doesn’t realise that yes we will one day create life from scratch, that there are already people working on this and that it is inevitable one day. Then where does his god go?

    To where it is now.. to non existence.

  362. says

    You’re reading out of context. The verse is referring to those who have been given the book and who also make false things up like superstition.

    Fucken hell. If I had a dollar for every time a theist has said “out of context” I’d be rich.. slavery.. out of context.. human sacrfice, out of context.. wholesale slaughter.. out of context.. shellfish.. out of context… dashing babies heads against rocks.. out of context…..

  363. says

    @ Sam

    Since you seem unable or unwilling to even explain why a seed is a miracle, perhaps you would like to offer up another scientifically testable miracle? Preferably one that you can at least tell me why it is a miracle in the first place?

    I’m just taking you at your word here.

  364. SamFromUK says

    @yaba,

    I thought I had explained why a seed is a miracle. I’ll try again.

    1. The Quran claims that a seed cannot be created by mankind. The Quran claims to be the word of God.
    2. A seed cannot be created today by mankind.

    Now if you still have questions why then a seed is a miracle then please explain to me what your understanding of a miracle is and why the above is hard for you to understand.

  365. says

    @Sam

    Okay. That is an uncommon (extremely uncommon) use of the word “miracle”, and certainly not my usage of the word.
    Despite some people’s strange need to consult dictionaries, there is no official definition for common English words, and so they derive their meaning from usage. If this is what the word means to you, then you are free to use it that way. However, you should realize that you will have a communication problem with most people since they are unlikely to be using the word in the same way.

    In fact, your definition of what a miracle is is quite the opposite of the most common usages. While the details differ, most people consider a miracle to be, in one way or another, something extraordinary. Your definition is extremely ordinary, and to be frank, quite uninteresting.

    Kind of shockingly mundane, actually.

    So, to break it down to its essence, your whole spiel has been “the quran says humans can’t do this thing, humans can’t do this thing right now, so this is evidence of god”? Because that is truly impressive.

    There’s not really much to say to that.

  366. says

    @Sam

    I’m saying your definition of a miracle is uninteresting. Whatever definition you use, it seems the least you would expect is some sort of “wow” factor. But your definition only has a yawn factor.

    To be clear, I am not saying a seed in uninteresting. We are no longer talking about a seed, we have moved one level up from that. We are talking about your definition of a miracle.

    It should hopefully be obvious to you that there is no point in discussing a specific miracle if we aren’t even using the word “miracle” in remotely the same manner.

  367. says

    @Sam

    The dictionary definition is uninteresting in this case, since it is usage that matters … what matters is that we are talking about the same thing. Dictionary definitions often reflect som degree of common usage at a given time, filtered through the particular company/groups on political biases (but that’s a whole other discussion and not relevant here).

    My personal definition is only relevant as much as it matches up with yours in this case since you are the one putting forth the idea of scientifically testable miracles. So all that really matters is your definition since you are the one claiming this “entities” (in the academic “thing” sense, not the sentient being sense) exist. So your definition matters to know what you are talking about it.

    There seems to have been some assumption that there was a reasonable degree of overlap in the understanding of the meaning of the word “miracle”. Now that you have defined your usage of that word, I pointed out that it is vastly contrary to most common usages of the word.

  368. says

    I’ll step up here:

    dictionary.com (the common usage):

    an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.

    ergo – a seed is only a miracle for Sam in his desperate grasping to justify his imaginary friend.

  369. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Just out of curiosity, can I have the verse in the Quran which states mankind can’t? Or does it say only God can? In any event, what yer being challenged on is the existence of the creating agent in the first place. As things currently stand, yer postulation of Allah being the Creator and me saying we’re all here because of the Green Sun have pretty much the same level of evidentiary support.

    Sorry but you’re being obtuse. I’ve clearly explained the definition/concept of God and how it doesn’t make a difference if you were to see a being made of light creating things in front of you. No one knows God. Science cannot look at the universe and come up with “God”. Science does not work like that. We can only know if God is there if we are told so. Then we can look at the claims made by God and see if they are true. If you want to look at the universe for data to point to God then you are free to do so but it will just be YOUR ideas and thoughts not Gods.

    10:34 Yusufali
    Say: “Of your ‘partners’, can any originate creation and repeat it?” Say: “It is Allah Who originates creation and repeats it: then how are ye deluded away (from the truth)?”

  370. Les Black says

    Those of you who are asking Sam or anyone else for verses from “scripture” or for “interpretations” of said scripture are conceding the logical ground. And that’s a mistake.

    Before scripture should be consulted as such (“the word of god”), one must prove there is a god. To do otherwise is begging the question. Sam has lured you into the irrational world in which he has already admitted he lives.

    Once you concede rational thought, you can never win the argument.

  371. SamFromUK says

    @Les,

    Before scripture should be consulted as such (“the word of god”), one must prove there is a god. To do otherwise is begging the question. Sam has lured you into the irrational world in which he has already admitted he lives.
    Once you concede rational thought, you can never win the argument.

    This is funny.

  372. Les Black says

    Thank you for reinforcing my position, Sam. Saying something is funny is (1) pure assertion, (2) an appeal to emotion, (3) irrelevant, and (4) highly subjective — all irrational.

    Furthermore, you conceded earlier that you are asking us to engage in (5) circular reasoning. “It is what it is,” were your exact words.

    Accepting scripture as the word of god is (6) begging the question.

    The hits just keep on coming.

  373. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @SamFromUK #405:

    We can only know if God is there if we are told so.
    […]
    If you want to look at the universe for data to point to God then you are free to do so but it will just be YOUR ideas and thoughts not Gods.

    So… so close.  -_-

  374. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 405

    Sorry but you’re being obtuse. I’ve clearly explained the definition/concept of God and how it doesn’t make a difference if you were to see a being made of light creating things in front of you. No one knows God.

    I’d say it’s less that I’m being obtuse and more that I don’t believe that yer explanation of God has any useful coherency. What yer describing is a non-entity with a conveniently infinite ability to hide from detection. Ye say it’s responsible for Creation and so forth, but when asked to demonstrate the truth of that we’re lead through a meandering ant colony of circular reasoning and logical fallacies. I don’t know what a belief in a thing that offers no proof can possibly do for ye.
    It admittedly confounds me a bit that ye claim to have some sort of truth when yer methodology can (and is) used by believers in hundreds of other faiths to justify their God models with exactly the same passion and with exactly the same level of evidentiary support.

    10:34 Yusufali
    Say: “Of your ‘partners’, can any originate creation and repeat it?” Say: “It is Allah Who originates creation and repeats it: then how are ye deluded away (from the truth)?”

    Just wanted the context for where yer argument is coming from.
    @Les – 406

    Those of you who are asking Sam or anyone else for verses from “scripture” or for “interpretations” of said scripture are conceding the logical ground. And that’s a mistake.

    Not sure I agree asking for the verse he’s using as the basis for his argument necessarily concedes anything. I’ll agree that as it stands the Quran could say anything and I wouldn’t consider it as having any weight to the topic. At no point have we come anywhere close to a reason why the Quran should be taken seriously as a source.
    In this instance the question was asked more out of curiosity than having anything to do with the argument.

  375. Murat says

    @Sam #390

    Please quote the verses in the Bible and Quran which say this.

    Skip the hadith feedings and consider the related soorah:
    http://islam101.com/dawah/newBorn.htm
    https://www.islamicity.org/7887/seven-stages-of-life-in-islam/
    *
    Very naturally, the Bible DOESN’T have a chance to foresee the Quran’s take on the issue.
    *
    The way you engage with these issues is practically based on “cherry picking”. Usually, when an organized religion is being defended, people tend to base at least 50% of the argument on the established understanding of the given religion, making up the rest through a mechanism of APOLOGETICS.
    In your case, the rapid and careless way of providing multiple, contradicting and one-shot apologetical arguments is eating away the already limited STOCK of established understanding that you had to start with.
    *
    My advice to you is, just give up with the books, the revelation, etc.
    Position yourself as a guy who FEELS there to be a God, one who has some kind of logical arguments to back that feeling.
    This will play into your hand.
    You will have to dance much less around random stuff and face the questions without the need to joggle so frequently.

  376. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    Sorry but you’ve quoted 2 links which contain someone else’s own interpretations. You said the Quran and Bible says such and such thing. If you had said “this is what believers interpret” that would have been better. Those particular interpretations are wrong but I don’t think there’s any point in discussing with you as I don’t think you’re interested in learning anything God related. So I’ll leave it at that. I had thought you were not a blind follower in Islam but your comments suggest otherwise.

  377. Murat says

    @Sam
    You are abruptly trying to argue something very basic. ORIGINAL SIN is an essential element of Christianity. It has no place in Islam. When you’re trying to provide a background for your very personal, unique, particular, self-grown “religion”, which I’d call SAMMISM, you should stop trying to create attachments of any sort to what these religions say.
    Cut that rope off.
    It’s already not helping you cling.

  378. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Ye say it’s responsible for Creation and so forth, but when asked to demonstrate the truth of that we’re lead through a meandering ant colony of circular reasoning and logical fallacies.

    #148
    That said, let’s say I’m sufficiently awed by what I see and my glib counter-explanations fall flat and I’m forced to go “ok, a God did this.” Now please give me a call when this happens anywhere ever. Otherwise the hypothetical is meaningless.

    So are you saying your criteria for determining whether God did something is to be “sufficiently awed” and to see your “glib counter-explanations fall flat”? Or has your criteria now changed? If it hasn’t changed then how was truth demonstrated to you via witnessing miracles where you have not seen God?

  379. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    ORIGINAL SIN is an essential element of Christianity.

    Go then, cite the Bible verses where God says this. If you can’t I suggest you maybe study some more.

  380. Murat says

    @Evil

    Not sure I agree asking for the verse he’s using as the basis for his argument necessarily concedes anything. I’ll agree that as it stands the Quran could say anything and I wouldn’t consider it as having any weight to the topic. At no point have we come anywhere close to a reason why the Quran should be taken seriously as a source.
    In this instance the question was asked more out of curiosity than having anything to do with the argument.

    I find this approach to be correct.
    At least, you are forcing him to VERIFY something.
    Otherwise, some of the blunders he has been making almost over any concept would go unnoticed.

  381. Murat says

    @Sam

    Although the words “original sin” aren’t found together in Scripture, the doctrine is taught in many passages: “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12); “one trespass led to condemnation for all men” (Romans 5:18); and “In Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:22). Knowing this, it is no wonder that David wrote in Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Ephesians is another book of the Bible that people connect with original sin. Ephesians 2:2 says that all people who are not in Christ are “sons of disobedience.” Ephesians 2:3 also establishes this, saying that we are all “by nature children of wrath.” If this is the case, it can only be because we are all by nature sinners. While God did not create the human race sinful, but upright, we fell into sin and became sinful due to the disobedience of Adam.

    Christians often fight over the doctrine of original sin. The ideas around it are not only important, but also powerful. The common description of the great chasm of sin is that we’re on one side and God is on the other, and Jesus’ cross provides a bridge over which we can walk to God again. But this isn’t a description of the Gospel and when we focus on this illustration, we lose sight of the fullness of its message. It’s a description of the story of original sin and original sin isn’t the Gospel. The Gospel is not the story of us being separated by sin from God. It’s the story of God who is for us and intent on being with us that God became human to help us embody the wholeness and fullness of life we’ve been made for. This isn’t the story of separation. It’s the story of invitation and participation.

    The doctrine of original sin has gotten in the way for many of us. Rather than turning back or getting directions or even deciding that we’d traveled far enough, we just kept going. Original sin took us down the wrong path. It took us to a version of the Gospel where sin is the headline and separation is the norm. Because of this, we are in a desperate need of a turnaround.

  382. SamFromUK says

    @Murat,

    Romans, Corinthians and Ephesians are not Gospels. They are not the words of a prophet or God. Psalm 51:5 only cites David as being “brought forth in iniquity” not all mankind.

    The reasons why there is sects in all religions is probably simply down to arrogance of the believers. It’s probably too difficult to live a humble, righteous life as described in the scriptures. Most believers would rather not think for themselves and just follow their own desires. Interestingly the Quran warns the BELIEVERS many times.

  383. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 414

    So are you saying your criteria for determining whether God did something is to be “sufficiently awed” and to see your “glib counter-explanations fall flat”? Or has your criteria now changed? If it hasn’t changed then how was truth demonstrated to you via witnessing miracles where you have not seen God?

    I’m fairly certain I honestly answered earlier that “I don’t know what would convince me” that a God has been demonstrated. Running under the assumption that I’m tracking the question correctly, the second quote there was merely a hypothetical that whatever those criteria are has been met.
    However, the fact that I’ve got no idea what would convince me there’s a god doesn’t mean NOTHING could. It’s possible that some day I’ll encounter a phenomena that’s clear as day and I can just be like “ok, wow.” That’s not to say though that I consider such a thing likely, and it’d still have to overcome and satisfy the same skeptical criteria that all of the holy texts, scenarios and flawed logical proofs ye’ve put forward have failed to meet.
    Considering ye yerself have admitted at least twice in this thread (that I can think of off the top of my head) that yer reasoning is circular I can’t even understand how YE managed to be convinced of this position, let alone that anyone else should find this compelling.

  384. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Feel free to change your position or clarify. As I said before, this discussion is not about gotchas.

  385. Les Black says

    @Evil #405 and Murat #416

    Suit yourselves, but to me the trouble of getting into exegesis wars with a believer is kind of like what George Bernard Shaw said it’s like to wrestle with a pig — You just get dirty and the pig enjoys it.

    Also, it can give theistic observers of the discussion the false impression of credibility to scripture. It must have some validity — otherwise why are they discussing it? “Teach the controversy”, right?

    Screw that. Prove your god *first*, then prove your scripture is *from* that god, then we’ll talk.

    But this slight disagreement is not a hill on which I wish to die in this forum.

  386. Murat says

    @Les Black

    Screw that. Prove your god *first*, then prove your scripture is *from* that god, then we’ll talk.

    I think it also tells us about one’s integral consistency to not refure what he claims to believe it. If his defence mechanism shows signs of multiple self-contradictions, then we can safely assume why he also has difficulty addressing “reality”.

  387. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    I’m fairly certain I honestly answered earlier that “I don’t know what would convince me” that a God has been demonstrated.

    OK, so you’re in the same position as Matt D. You just don’t know. If you don’t know is there any point in having a “skeptical criteria”?

    I assume you’re convinced that ToE is true. What convinced you that ToE is true?

  388. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 421

    Feel free to change your position or clarify. As I said before, this discussion is not about gotchas.

    Are ye sure it’s not about gotchas? Because ye seem to think ye scored a point there somewhere but I’m afraid I don’t see it.
    @Sam – 421

    OK, so you’re in the same position as Matt D. You just don’t know. If you don’t know is there any point in having a “skeptical criteria”?

    It helps keep out bullshit. Think of it like a dam. If the claims can’t beat a certain level of inquiry, they don’t get to be taken seriously.

    I assume you’re convinced that ToE is true. What convinced you that ToE is true?

    Ye’ll have to excuse my ignorance, but what is ToE? Theory of Everything? Totality of Existence? The appendages on my feet 😛

    @Les – 422

    Screw that. Prove your god *first*, then prove your scripture is *from* that god, then we’ll talk.

    In broad strokes I agree. My question earlier was my own curiosity. Alot of times with the Bible I see people stretching the verses to say what they want to the point of “even if I were to believe what this thing is saying, that’s not what that says.” I’m largely ignorant of the Quran and was curious exactly what passage he was referring to and exactly what the wording was to see if Sam fell into this criteria. Seeing the verse, I can understand how he walks away from it with that understanding, but I don’t agree that because it’s in the Quran it carries any more weight than anything in any other Holy Book. Though admittedly I’m curious if there’s also passages that say man will never fly or plumb the depths of the oceans or cure diseases or something which we’ve already overcome. But that’s a conversation for another day.
    As it pertains to this conversation, the Quran might as well be Twilight for all I care about its contents. As ye said, until the existence of the God it purports to be from can be demonstrated, whatever it says doesn’t matter at all.

  389. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 427
    Ah, in that case:
    I tentatively accept the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. To my layman’s understanding it does the best job of explaining the available data, has made testable predictions about what we would find and where, and has been useful in understanding the progression of things like bacteria and diseases and developing medicines and vaccines and such.
    I don’t have any kind of dogmatic attachment to it if that’s what ye mean. If something comes up later that does a better job and can explain itself as such, I suppose it might surprise me but I’d probably be like “ah wow. I guess that does explain things better.”
    That said, the mechanism of natural selection is a claim far more pedestrian than a transcendent, all powerful God existing outside time and space. I mean we at least have an experience of nature. So I don’t think it’d be fair to say believing one is comparable to believing the other. Is that where yer going with this?

  390. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    I tentatively accept the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. To my layman’s understanding it does the best job of explaining the available data, has made testable predictions about what we would find and where, and has been useful in understanding the progression of things like bacteria and diseases and developing medicines and vaccines and such.

    Why are you accepting something which you have not observed and can never be tested?

  391. says

    Why are you accepting something which you have not observed and can never be tested?

    @Sam.

    Oh the irony. You mean like, well… your god? Something like that?

    Notice since the dictionary definition of miracle went up, he quietly dropped that line of attack without skipping a beat? Like I said earlier – like nailing jelly to a wall.

  392. Les Black says

    Sam @ 430.

    Oh my god. It seems your tolerance for irony rivals that which you have for cognitive dissonance.

  393. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    The dictionary definition is absolutely fine. It’s pretty much the same as I have been trying to get across.

    Here is what I’ve learnt from you. You’re not after evidence of God. Just like Matt D you want something to convince you of God. You don’t have a clue what that is.

    The main reason you don’t even entertain the idea that a phenomena which we can observe is done by God is because of the baggage that comes with God, ie a being who is all powerful, all knowing, etc. This is the idea which you’re unable to understand, get your head around and even if you did you’ll probably think so what?

    I get the impression that you and many atheists on this forum just don’t care whether God is true and even if you were convinced it would mean nothing. So I guess there’s just no reason in atheists with this position in asking for evidence of God. Maybe you guys just ask to try and get theists to question there own faith in order to “snap them out of irrational thinking”. Or maybe you just want a bigger community of like minded atheists so you’re not feeling lonely?

    Oh well, enjoy your lives.

  394. says

    The main reason you don’t even entertain the idea that a phenomena which we can observe is done by God is because of the baggage that comes with God, ie a being who is all powerful, all knowing, etc.

    Er, no. The main reason is because god is not real. 400 odd posts and you still haven’t got your head around that. We don’t believe because god is a fantasy. Nothing to do with baggage. Wrap your head around that muppet.

    I get the impression that you and many atheists on this forum just don’t care whether God is true and even if you were convinced it would mean nothing.

    Pretty much.And so what?

    Or maybe you just want a bigger community of like minded atheists so you’re not feeling lonely?

    Nup. Don’t care whether you’re an atheist or not. And I never feel lonely.

    Oh well, enjoy your lives.

    Seeya.. don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out

  395. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 435
    Yeah, looks like it’s only another day before everyone moves on from this thread for whatever the coming episode is gonna do. So I guess we should get everything as buttoned up as possible 😛

    The dictionary definition is absolutely fine. It’s pretty much the same as I have been trying to get across.

    Dictionary definition of what? Is this directed at someone else? I saw ye arguing over definitions with miracles earlier.

    You’re not after evidence of God.

    That’s fair. In the same sense that I’m not after evidence of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster or anything. Do people often go looking for evidence for things they have no reason to think are real?

    The main reason you don’t even entertain the idea that a phenomena which we can observe is done by God is because of the baggage that comes with God, ie a being who is all powerful, all knowing, etc. This is the idea which you’re unable to understand, get your head around and even if you did you’ll probably think so what?

    Also fair I guess. Appeals to God tend to strike me as trying to solve a mystery by appealing to a bigger mystery. It always strikes me as weird when people say “now this incredibly complex marvelous thing couldn’t have come together by chance. The only way it could have come into being is by this INFINITELY MORE COMPLEX MARVELOUS THING, which by the way DOESN’T need an explanation.” It’s silly.

    I get the impression that you and many atheists on this forum just don’t care whether God is true and even if you were convinced it would mean nothing.

    Also fair, more or less. There was a time when I identified as an Apathetic Agnostic and I guess I could still be identified as such. For me personally the question of God’s existence doesn’t affect how I live my life. However, that’s not to say I don’t believe that the belief in God isn’t worthy of addressing, which brings us to the next statement.

    So I guess there’s just no reason in atheists with this position in asking for evidence of God.

    Not so. There’s actually alot of reason in challenging believers to provide evidence for their God. What I find concerning is the certainty with which people espouse beliefs in this God and what it wants and how it causes them to affect the world I live in. So when I encounter people who speak with certainty to this God’s existence, I wanna know what their reasons are. Especially if it’s gonna cause them to impact the world I have to share with them.

    Maybe you guys just ask to try and get theists to question there own faith in order to “snap them out of irrational thinking”. Or maybe you just want a bigger community of like minded atheists so you’re not feeling lonely?

    Ye called the show and came here, man. No one went looking for ye to get in yer face about yer God beliefs.

    Oh well, enjoy your lives.

    Right back at ye. 😀

  396. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sam

    Why are you accepting something which you have not observed and can never be tested?

    In a jury for murder, the jurers need to determine if the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. According to your implicit standards, they cannot observe whether he did it, nor can they test it. Do you think it’s impossible for a jury to do their job objectively?

    Your understanding of science is comically naive. We can often use science to determine if a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The same sort of “historical scientific methods” work equally well for evolution, astronomy, etc.

    PS: If I did not already suspect before, I now suspect that you are a troll, pretending to be a religious person.

  397. says

    I get the impression that you and many atheists on this forum just don’t care whether God is true and even if you were convinced it would mean nothing.

    I just wanted to revisit this particular comment, because of the shock poor little Sam has that it is not important to people on this forum whether or not his imaginary friend exists.

    No it’s not important. I watch the atheist experience because I find it amusing to watch the hoops people jump through to justify their belief in something non existent. It’s called entertainment. Not because I am seeking confirmation of my views.

    And that’s because as to the question of god, that’s settled. It’s not even open to debate in my mind, so why would I care?

    As they say atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby. It’s not like I spend my time thinking about penny blacks, or whatever stamp collectors think about.

    It shows the level of naivete that Sam has to be seemingly shocked that the existence (or lack thereof) of god is a non issue to people who don’t believe.

    Thing is, I know god doesn’t exist, so both of us can’t be right. Naturally then, Sam has to be wrong.

  398. Murat says

    Imagine how amazing it would be if we discovered Sam and Mark were the same person.
    For one, I’d stand up and begin a slow clapping for the success in voice change and in the shift of allegiance from Stone Church to Islam.
    But I’d also be sad he was wasting the talent on such tricks.

  399. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @SamFromUK #435:

    God, ie a being who is all powerful, all knowing, etc. This is the idea which you’re unable to understand

    something to convince you of God. You don’t have a clue what that is.

    So… so close.  -_-

  400. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    From #368, user: “SamFromUK:”

    It’s never been demonstrated that dust and gas can collapse under the force of gravity to create bigger and bigger masses. If you don’t believe try it at home, if that doesn’t convince you look up the research. They’ve tried.

    This goes up there with the gravity quote, I cannot stress how much Sam has amused me these past few threads.

    I have to admit, I enjoyed reading your various ways of cracking Sam’s nut, watching the way he addressed your retorts was helpful. Thank you everyone, your efforts weren’t unnoticed.

  401. says

    It’s never been demonstrated that dust and gas can collapse under the force of gravity to create bigger and bigger masses. If you don’t believe try it at home

    Oh my god. missed that one. Try it at home? That is just hilarious.

  402. RationalismRules says

    443 posts. This has to be approaching record levels?
    130 of them are from Sam. I wonder how many unsupported claims that would add up to? I won’t bother counting.

  403. says

    I know this is way behind the fair, but I think I have figured out what Sam’s underlying assumption is with his ” a seed is a miracle’ claim.

    Here’s what I understand about Sam’s claims –

    God is everywhere.
    Only god can create life.
    Evolution does not happen.
    Common ancestry is not a thing.
    A seed is a miracle.

    I think that for Sam, every single instance of ‘life’ is because god shoved it into what will become alive. That is, no seed ever would grow if god did not shove life into it. That, for Sam, is the ‘miracle’ – that seeds grow into trees at all because, without his god shoving the ineffable principle of ‘life’ into seed, it is only an organized lump of organic chemicals in the form of an unliving ‘seed’. Everything that science can study about a living organism is merely ‘biology theater’ and has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual ‘life’ that something contains, which can come only from god.

    If science were somehow to make a complete mimic of a living organism down to functional DNA that would allow it to grow and develop, it still would not be ‘alive’ – it would just sit there as a lump of chemicals however organized, unless god came along and shoved life into it. Not at the beginning of the process, as in abiogenesis where life happens and then replicates and continues, but every. single. time. god wants a something to be alive, god shoves ‘life’ into it. Since god is by definition everywhere, there is no place that a lump of organized organic chemicals, whether man-made or part of the process of ‘nature’ like a tree ‘seeding’, can be put where god can’t get at it to put ‘life’ into it if and when god wants to. If a seed doesn’t germinate, it because god didn’t for its own ineffable reasons bother to put life into that particular seed. If it lives and becomes a tree, god did it right here and now. Hey presto, a miracle!

    Did I figure out why a seed is a miracle? (No, I am not in the slightest convinced that this particularly odd pre-suppositional idea contains any ‘truth’ at all. And no, I would not worship any such capricious ‘creator’ anyway. Sy Ten will be green with envy that he didn’t glom onto this branch of presuppositionalism first.)

    Have you read The Silmarillion, Sam? This process of shoving life into organisms sounds *exactly* like Eru putting life into Aule’s dwarves that he made in anticipation of the ‘real’ life that Eru said he was going to create. Tolkien did it so much better.

  404. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Gwynnyd #445:
    Article: Wikipedia – Occasionalism

    The theory states that the illusion of efficient causation between mundane events arises out of God’s causing of one event after another. However, there is no necessary connection between the two: it is not that the first event causes God to cause the second event: rather, God first causes one and then causes the other.
    […]
    Ghazali argues that what we observe as regularity in nature based presumably upon some natural law is actually a kind of constant and continual regularity. There is no independent necessitation of change and becoming, other than what God has ordained. To posit an independent causality outside of God’s knowledge and action is to deprive Him of true agency, and diminish his attribute of power.
     
    In his famous example, when fire and cotton are placed in contact, the cotton is burned not because of the heat of the fire, but through God’s direct intervention

     
    Article: Wikipedia – Ash’ari

    Ashʿari theology is an early theological school of Sunni Islam based on clerical authority and rejection of cause and effect reasoning. […] It is considered one of the orthodox schools of theology in Sunni Islam, alongside the Maturidi school of theology and the Athari (non-theological) school.
    […]
    The Ash’arite view holds that:
    […]
    * Although humans possess free will (or, more accurately, freedom of intention), they have no power to create anything in the material world as only God can. This doctrine is now known in Western philosophy as occasionalism.

     
    Article: Wikipedia – Maturidi

    Abu Mansur Al Maturidi’s systematic theology (kalam), which is the most popular school of theology within Sunni Islam.
    […]
    Regarding free will, the Maturidis uphold the concept of occasionalism. Under the Maturidi understanding of occasionalism, God gives humanity the power to make choices and decisions for themselves (taqdir), but still maintains the ability to control all creation.

     
    Then again, Sam is insistent about gravity (and any other forces) being inadequate for planetary accretion, yet God makes planets. So he isn’t quite hewing to a God == laws interpretation. There’d be no conflict with science to rant about hubris.
     
    He repeats an arcane gap in knowledge (astrophysics, cell biology, etc) about a ubiquitous process, declares it impossible to ever understand/replicate, inserts God to inscrutably make it happen. When nobody’s impressed by his post hoc miracles (Look at the trees seeds!)… we’re not supposed to be impressed, because miracles would be evidence from the world, which won’t point to God anyway.
     
    It’s a pretext to spam that atheists arrogantly assume more than is known, that his god deserves credit for everything that happens and that there’s no reason to believe him about that.