Open thread for episode 21.49: Tracie and Don


Today on TAE, Don discusses category errors in the Bible, and then he and Tracie take viewer calls.

The Atheist Experience is a production of the Atheist Community of Austin, a Texas nonprofit educational organization dedicated to the separation of church and state and promoting positive atheist culture.

General TAE Links

General useful resources

Links of interest to this week’s program

  • This history and evolution of “Elohim”
  • Galatians I (verses 1-9 discussed on the show)
    • In the conversation about Galatians, I (Tracie) was asked whether I believed the Galatians had read the Letter to the Hebrews. On the fly I didn’t know. But after looking it up, the answer is “no, and it wouldn’t matter if they had.” The letter is considered to be a forgery and not an authentic Pauline letter (whereas Galatians is considered to be authentic–in contrast). And the letter to the Hebrews is dated after the latest estimated date for the Galatian letters–meaning that it didn’t exist at the time Galatians would have been written and read.

 

Comments

  1. t90bb says

    gotta love Jesse……Hem comes on all unassuming but underneath it all really came to try to validate the bible and to preach lol….and failed at almost every turn….He says christians shouldnt come to the show to win arguments…lol…..good thing, because they dont!.. He tried to mock fellow christians for not knowing much and then went on to demonstrate he knows far less than they do. Great job Jesse! Traci and Don handled him very well. No doubt his butt will be sore in the morning!

  2. John David Balla says

    This is a textbook takedown of a Christian prophecy claim. If TAE is looking for material that best describes what it does, and why, this is it! The relevant exchange begins at 1:13:42 through 1:25:35.

    THE CLAIM:
    Galations 1. Paul mentions three groups of people that did not exist at the time, i.e., Muslims, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses., according to Jesse (the caller). Make some popcorn and get ready to be thoroughly entertained.

  3. paxoll says

    Quite honestly sometimes listening to the show scares me. For instance the last caller this week, and at least one person virtually every week for the past month. People who believe something and it is so crazy they can’t articulate or communicate in any comprehensible manner. It’s not everyone, and maybe it has to do with being on the air, or that they are just not prepared. But if their thinking is as incomprehensible as what they actually say, that is scary.

  4. Nicholas Weil says

    What tedious callers. The rambling Christian from Nebraska, the rambling atheist from Iran, the long boring build-up from Journy in Asheville (“Let me start with a synthesis…I wish for a win-win…here’s a polarized topic…it’s a joke…the dualities…”). You know, it’s YOUR show, ACA. You don’t have to be prisoner to 5 minutes of “let me start with a little background about myself” or, as a call is winding down, “can I just ask ONE more thing?” Callers are never as interesting as they think they are, and I’ve never heard a call that couldn’t have been trimmed by 20%-30% without sacrificing any important detail or rushing the pace too much.

  5. sayamything says

    I’m officially voting for President in the next election. President 2020!

    That last caller…I had no idea what was going on there.

    Also, I disagree that there was too much Don.

    the prophecy calls are always so bizarre to me. From an outsider perspective, it seems so plain and clear that it’s post-hoc reasoning, but they keep popping up. At least this one was new (to me), as opposed to the “Israel was a nation created in a single day” one I’ve seen a bunch of times.

  6. Uriah says

    To Tracie:
    You said on Jesse’s call that you didn’t know if JW’s didn’t call themselves Christians.

    As a former JW, I was taught that they are Christians, and call themselves Christians, but don’t consider themselves a part of Christendom as in orthodoxy. This is because they believe Orthodox Christendom is “the great apostasy” by saying Jesus is God.

  7. Monocle Smile says

    @sayamything
    My “favorite” prophecy arguments involve prophecies that have very obviously failed. I had someone once highlight the one about Tyre. I informed the person that Tyre was still around and watched a silent short-circuiting of a person’s brain.

  8. Monocle Smile says

    LOL Richard. It’s one thing to talk about what’s knowable, but I’m not impressed by ignorant people who haven’t even made an attempt to learn about well-understood phenomena prattle on about “things we can’t explain.”

    Okay, now I’m wondering about Richard. He’s probably genuine, but he spouts some lines that also come from trolls and his speaking cadence is a bit odd.

    “Paul predicted Islam, JW, and Mormonism!”
    >reads passage that has fuck all to do with any of that
    >gets obvious shit flat-out wrong about the passage he just read
    Wait, did Jesse seriously ask Tracie and Don why Mormons come to anyone’s door? The fuck is going on with this call? I have no more to say. I was laughing during most of this.

  9. Monocle Smile says

    “Does the word ‘god’ exist?”
    Lines like this are by themselves enough to break my give-a-shitter. I can already draw a justified conclusion that a conversation with a person who asks questions like that will be a colossal waste of time.

  10. johnjnesbit says

    That Jesse from Kearney, NE was just an evangelistic caller, using diversion tactics to avoid answering the questions directly and meandering constantly towards his own objectives. In other words, just to tie up as much time on the call as possible. Tracy and Don were too patient at first but slowly started to catch on later. He ended up preaching his own biblical interpretation/message as he said goodbye. He talked like a skilled con artist for his generation, with a resonant speaking voice. He got a rise out of Tracy. He also seemed to have control over the hosts for most of the call.

  11. oldman says

    I think it is sad that Jesse thinks that the Bible talks about future events and brings up verses that clearly do not talk about Mormons, Islam and Jehovah’s Witnesses. I like that Tracie pointed out that Paul was was talking to a specific group of people for their time and not off in the future. There are many Christians like Jesse who have the same view that the Bible talks about future events. For thousands of years Christians have been preaching that Jesus is coming and that we are in the last days. Even though I am a Christian myself, I believe the Bible was written for the people in their day and does not talk about what will happen in the future

  12. says

    @9: >You know, it’s YOUR show, ACA. You don’t have to be prisoner to 5 minutes of “let me start with a little background about myself” or, as a call is winding down, “can I just ask ONE more thing?”

    You know it’s your device right? You don’t have to be a prisoner to even one minute of anything you’re not interested in.

    @15: >He talked like a skilled con artist for his generation, with a resonant speaking voice. He got a rise out of Tracy. He also seemed to have control over the hosts for most of the call.

    I believe you’re being serious here, but it’s hard to believe you’re being serious here: He sounded like a “skilled con artist” to you? He claimed he had been “studying” Biblical prophecy then utterly butchered a verse that couldn’t have been easier to understand. He added zero spin that gave it any credibility–it was massive fail, and you were impressed by it? If anything Jesse, by the end of that call, should realize he needs to go back to the drawing board. I’m not saying he *will*, but he should. In order to view the verse the way he did he had to:

    1. Ignore Paul’s greeting *to the Galatians*
    2. Ignore Paul using present tense verbs
    3. Ignore Paul never mentions he’s talking about future events or issuing any sort of prophecy about what people need to watch for in the future
    4. Ignore the fact that if he was issuing prophecy, that letter would be confusing to the people reading it, as it had no cues, and would have not been directly addressing an issue with that group, although it’s written as though it’s immediate and to them

    With ALL the complaints we get about ignoring context and trying to distort the Bible–Jesse calls in and twists it into knots–not even making any solid attempt to justify his view of it–just saying it’s so and ignoring an avalanche of context and communication clues that make this so easy a child could know what’s going on. He seemed to me like a person who hasn’t really put much time at all into Biblical prophecy.

    On top of that, he actually asked me if the Galatians had read Hebrews. On the fly I didn’t know. But that’s a simple thing to look up. And I did. What I found was:

    1. The authorship of Hebrews is unknown (while the Galatian letters are accepted to be authentic Pauline writings)
    2. The date of Hebrews falls AFTER the latest date estimates for the Galatian letters

    So, the church at Galatia would NOT have read the Letter to the Hebrews at the time they read Galatians 1, because it hadn’t been penned yet. And even if they had–it was most likely a forgery and not written by the apostle Paul.

    Seriously, Jesse was clueless on all fronts, and I’m really surprised anyone thought he sounded slick. If he sounded “skilled” what is your metric for “incompetent”?

    And he “controlled” the hosts? If that’s controlling me, then I hope all Christians who call in always control me–if the result is making their arguments and points look as vacuous and ridiculous as possible. They should feel free to use me any time they would like for that reason.

    RE: Getting a rise out of me, yes. I have no problem admitting it’s staggering to me that someone can look at an orange, in their face, and simply assert, with no reason, it’s an apple. The only thing more astounding is that any viewer found this to be an indication of “skill” rather than outrageous. Note that at that point–where he showed he was not interested in reconciling his beliefs with facts–I ended the call by simply saying he asserts what he asserts, for no reason, and I assert what I assert and have supplied my reasons, and that we would have to let that stand as our “closing arguments” as it were. I allowed him one final comment to his fellow Christians, and we ended the call.

    @11 – Thank you! I have wondered about that, but never bothered to look it up, so I appreciate you letting me know.

  13. says

    jesse sounded like someone used to rambling authoritatively to the uninitiated, especially those relying on his interpretative skills to understand material they won’t bother reading themselves. in other words, he’s used to preaching to the choir.

    tracie, you showed him who the real dilettante was and your vigorous takedown was the highlight of the show.

  14. says

    Jesse sounded to me like someone intent on filibustering for as long as he could without any sincere interest in the conversation. Did Jesse really think there was a connection between the Mormons knocking on his door and biblical prophesy, or was he being a troll?

    I don’t know if the start of the podcast was intentionally different, or if it was an accident, but it was great to start immediately with the hosts having a conversation rather than the theme song, announcements and so forth. Please make this the new normal!

    Tracie and Don did a great job, though they could have shut down some calls more quickly.

  15. says

    @19 — If he was a troll he was at least using real apologetics, because other Christians use this same scripture as a critique of Mormonism, although they may not be calling it prophecy. And based on the story of the Koran, I see how it would be applied to Islam as well:

    http://biblereasons.com/mormons/

    I don’t attribute intention to what incompetence can adequately explain. I don’t see any reason to doubt that Jesse thought his point was supported because he sees the reference to an angel giving gospel as equivalent to the story of Joseph Smith and Muhammad. Ironically reading this link above, I understand much better *why* they’re making the connection at least, although I still see no basis to assert the verse is prophetic, rather than the concept of using angels as messengers is pervasive in the Abrahamic religions. In fact, the word means “messenger.”

  16. Clinton Hammond says

    Long time listener.
    Very infrequent poster.
    Tried to catch it live streamed once and got called away before the show started.

    Turning off YouTube comments in favour of this format, For The Mutha-flippin Win!

    Keep up the awesome, folks!

    Clinton From Canada

  17. robertwilson says

    @20 I think he was a troll in the sense that his only intention was to tie up the show, he just happened to do it with known apologetics, at least when he go to that point.

    Having said that, I felt that you turned what could have been a waste of time into an interesting call. When you called him out on not getting to a point (I doubt he had one besides preach) you brought up some good points of your own and regardless of his intention you called him out on the bs when his delaying tactic finally turned into an actual bible verse.

    When john (above) says he sounded like a skilled con artist, I agree he didn’t, but he did sound like someone whose intention was not to engage with you at all and to just waste as much of the show’s time as possible.

    I’m glad you turned the call into something more than that. I think you could have been even more aggressive in interrupting him, but I also suspect no matter what you did, he’d count simply calling as a win for “his side” whether because he was cut off or successfully wasted time.

  18. Mobius says

    @12 Monocle Smile

    The Bible prophecy I get a kick out of was God sending Jonah to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh. When Jonah finally got there, Nineveh repented and God didn’t destroy the city. And I’ve had theists tell me this is proof of prophecy.

    Wait. What?

    Yeah, and Tyre is a good example too. Tyre will be destroyed and more than 2000 years later Tyre is still here.

  19. Mobius says

    Positive is positive and negative is negative. Jeez.

    I once had a theist tell me “A is A” is a tautology, and tautologies are always true. Which to him meant they were extremely powerful statements. I pointed out that “a moon made of green cheese is a moon made of green cheese” is pretty trivial.

  20. Monocle Smile says

    @johnjnesbit

    He got a rise out of Tracy. He also seemed to have control over the hosts for most of the call.

    I’m not really sure where you’re going with this. Callers pick the topic of discussion and the hosts follow, and that’s the way it’s been since the inception of the show. And as for the Tracie thing…this sounds like Straw Vulcanning. Stop that. If someone says something as absurd as Jesse did and the respondent DIDN’T react as Tracie did, I would be more concerned.

  21. John David Balla says

    Per post 17 (above), @heicart.

    Tracie, You proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesse’s claim was not only spurious but dishonest. You couldn’t have handled the call better. When people make declarations to “honesty” or “integrity” or any other characteristic that can only be proved through action, not rhetoric, they probably are not. (A fascinating aphorism indeed.) You demonstrated that a seemingly decent and fair-minded Jesse was deceitful. He did have an opportunity to fess up when you demonstrated his claims were completely without merit. Yet again, he proved his declarations false, namely that he is interested in the truth.

    On a more overarching notation, I am becoming more convinced that most people are not concerned with the truth, but rather righteousness where the ends justify the means. Your exchange with Jesse arguably demonstrated a mental hiccup bordering on mental illness. We may not call “religious impulses” mental disorders but perhaps it is worthy of such consideration.

  22. Wiggle Puppy says

    I don’t think Jesse was a purposeful troll. I participated in a Southern Baptist Bible study throughout high school, and it’s common in these sorts of groups to sit around and talk about discovering some transcendent ‘Purpose’ for your life, and to marvel at all the amazing things in the Bible, and that sort of thing. This wasn’t long after 9/11, to take one example, and we marveled at how the Bible predicted in Isaiah 2:19 that people would hide in caves in the end-times in order to escape God’s wrath. It *must* have been talking about Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda hiding in the caves of Tora Bora after the US invaded Afghanistan. You spend so, so many hours sitting around and agreeing with people about all this stuff and not really thinking critically about it at all. The predictable result is that you run into a brick wall, as the caller did, when you start talking to someone who actually knows what they’re talking about and how to short-circuit some of this stuff.

  23. says

    @21 – “When john (above) says he sounded like a skilled con artist, I agree he didn’t, but he did sound like someone whose intention was not to engage with you at all and to just waste as much of the show’s time as possible.”

    I think this is what any defender of the faith is going to sound like. These aren’t ever people who want to have an honest conversation. These are people who think they have some defense of their faith–like this guy who was going to prove the validity of the Bible to us. They are operating on “introjected” beliefs, not personally achieved beliefs. So their defenses are always going to be post-hoc justifications for things they probably don’t even know they’ve accepted without much question/examination. It isn’t until they’re confronted with something that makes them realize they’re not making sense that they stop and think “Wait, what?”

    I remember having multiple moments like that as a Christian–where I was arguing ridiculous points I thought were brilliant until someone pointed out the painfully obvious flaw to me that made me embarrassed I didn’t think of it before I began spouting. When those moments occur, the common experience is for the Christian to go and think long and hard about what just happened. They may look up information and find some apologist who puts a bandage on it for them so they can keep going with the same idea. Or they may reconsider it and stop using that argument so they don’t suffer a similar smack down later. Or they may revise their view of it only slightly and move ahead with that.

    From Jesse’s reactions, I can almost guarantee that the fact he was ignoring the cues I pointed out likely never occurred to him. As someone said earlier, he sounded like someone who has been around people who agree with him or who would at least be very open to his alternate views of Biblical interpretation. I don’t think he’s encountered someone who would say out-right “this is poppy cock, anyone can look at this passage and plainly see what the author is saying–why are you making all this crap up?” When you are called out to defend a thing you’ve never had to defend to someone who FULLY rejects your foundations, not just your nuanced interpretations–that’s like stepping into an alternate universe for a Christian who is paying attention. And I can pretty well guarantee that the idea of someone saying “No, I don’t just assume the Galatians were familiar with Hebrews while they were reading this letter,” was not something that he had ever considered. His reaction was that he was totally unprepared.

    I fully expected him to give some reasonable basis for how he / scholars know/believe that the Hebrew letter would have been available to the Galatians. And it wasn’t until I saw his lack of response to that, that I realized “OMG–he has never considered this before.” That’s why I googled it later–because I thought he would be wrong. I just never dreamed how wrong. And if HE googled it afterward out of curiosity (or as many Christians do–to prove I’m wrong)–he will see quickly that his assumption was utterly without foundation–and very wrong, and that Hebrews is a fake and didn’t even exist at the time of the Galatian letters. And he sounded like that would be a huge surprise to him.

    I’ve been on the apologetic end of this conversation. And while not everyone has exactly the same experiences, Ex conservatives share a lot with each other about what experiences are pretty common. And I don’t think Jesse was a troll. I think he thought this was a good argument for prophecy and the Bible’s validity–based on the fact he’s never tested it on anyone previously who doubts all of it.

  24. says

    @27 – “The predictable result is that you run into a brick wall, as the caller did, when you start talking to someone who actually knows what they’re talking about and how to short-circuit some of this stuff.”

    Exactly what I described as well, directly below your comment. Devoted Ex-Fundies will recognize this response easily.

  25. Gail Herr says

    I got the impression that Jesse had set up his call with his own audience. Meaning he had a group of friends or church members listening in to hear him proselytizing to atheists. He was insufferably arrogant and self-righteous. Tracy handed him his ass. Loved it. I like it when she gets fired up. I just wish he hadn’t gotten his little bible verse closing at the end. Like he was ending the sermon for today. I’d rather see the hosts hang up on those kind of tactics.

    Journey was just spewing word salad. That can be a symptom of mental disorder, or at least a lack of clear thinking. Either way I think it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Painful to listen to it, and to watch the hosts trying to formulate a meaningful response.

    Count me in the group that thought Don did well tonight.

  26. Monocle Smile says

    Wait, Sam from the UK called and nobody mentioned this?
    Sam’s voice is as grating as ever, but at least the conversation was different this time. In fact, Sam spent most of the time defeating his own point.

  27. t90bb says

    Since I see Tracie is active here I wanted to thank her for all she does. Her (our) work is important..

    I thought of another irony in Jesse’s call. He was obviously quite confident and full of himself but every time he made a pompous statement that Tracie blew up…he tried to distance himself from it (like the 3 most important questions. later saying oh well thats what RAVI says) lol. but now for the irony…..

    Its pretty clear he thinks he KNOWS a lot about God and the Holey Babble. Yet he admitted on the call he has not read the whole book. If you thought the actual creator of the universe….the being that loves and controls your ETERNAL destiny…wrote a book to YOU…..would you not take the time to actually read it??? Its not that long a read. Perhaps if he spent more time reading and less lecturing on what he has been taught is, and is not, in the book….he could save us all some frustration..and save himself more embarrassment???. I find more skeptics read the babble than believers….interesting. Believers appear to be all too quick to grab their “get out of Sin free” card and cling to the promise of eternal bliss polishing Yahweh’s toenails and reminding him of how fantastic he is…….and seem to try to avoid “the fine print” at all costs! Cherry-picking at its very worst!

  28. Robert, not Bob says

    @23 MS Regarding Tyre, my father claims that the prophecy only applies to Tyre-the-island-enclave, while Tyre-the-peninsula is a totally different city (the original rock no longer being inhabited). No, that makes no sense, but it just shows what I’m sure you know well: that there’s no question that can stump someone sufficiently determined.

  29. says

    @32

    Au contraire! The Babble is, in fact, an ungodly long book.

    The KJV has around 800,000 words. According to Amazon Text Stats, the average length of a novel is about 64,000 words, so figure reading the damned thing is akin to reading about a dozen average-length novels (and the Catholic version contains more books than the KJV, so it’s even longer).

    More to the point, it’s insufferably dull, making it *seem* considerably longer it is.

  30. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ Tracie #29: Yes, I would guess that the people here doubting Jesse’s sincerity probably don’t have much first-hand experience with fundamentalism. It creates its own alternate reality, folks – you’re warned to ignore any influences from the fallen, sinful secular world and to only pay attention to what happens in church services and Bible studies, thereby creating an insular echo chamber filled with nonsense. I once learned in a “class” at Bible summer camp that dinosaur fossils had been placed in the ground by Satan in order to make people believe in an old Earth and thereby lead them away from belief in Biblical inerrancy. Jesse sounded *a lot* like people I used to know and admire for their devotion to the faith.

  31. Mobius says

    @33 Robert, not Bob

    The island Tyre and the peninsula Tyre are the same. The Greek army under Alexander the Great built a huge earthen ramp from the shore to the island so they could successfully invade it. Over the centuries, the sea has deposited sand on this and built up the peninsula. So…same city.

  32. rectorsquid says

    Tracie, I commend you on knowing right off the bat the difference between a letter written to some people 2000 years ago and a prophecy. Too bad the caller could not allow his rational brain to convince his religious brain that it was absolutely a 2000 year old letter to some people 2000 years ago and not a letter to him right now. It sure does show how religion makes people arrogant when they think they are being singly addressed by a passage in the Bible.

    Even the atheist callers can’t just get to their point without using 1000 extra unnecessary words. A lot of slow talking blabbering callers this week. If I ever call, I will certainly try to get my point in the first 10 minutes of my call.

    And finally, sometimes I think I can just hear Tracie thinking “WTF is this person talking about?”

    I would like to hear a longer discussion on presupposition and questions like “What is my purpose in life?” It’s like asking “When did you stop beating your wife?” but people just don’t quite understand it in regards to less obvious supposition.

  33. t90bb says

    34……its entirely readable if you are committed to it. Especially if you are convinced its a love letter from the magic genie that controls your eternal destiny. I never said it was a quick or easy read. But its certainly not a full encyclopedia. Ive seen many read a novel a week. May not be typical but many of us have read it. Funny you mention its boring. You would think a loving gawd would want to make the read fun and pleasurable…..its so NOT. Chalk up another mark against the possible imaginary all powerful genie!

  34. Tom R. says

    There was NOT too much Don. What irritates me is that Tracy goes too deep into it with some of these clowns and the call lasts forever. Like she’s psychoanalyzing them. I end up fast forwarding the video to the next caller. It drives me nuts! And I LIKE Tracy but she spends too much time on some of these people.

  35. says

    @39 – I don’t think you know what psychoanalysis is. If you do, please explain where you see me doing this on the show.

    “Psychoanalysis is a set of theories and therapeutic techniques related to the study of the unconscious mind, which together form a method of treatment for mental-health disorders.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoanalysis

    I don’t actually *care* if you “like” me or not. If you find conversations I have with callers tedious, it won’t hurt my feelings in the least if you skip shows I host. I won’t even know it, so feel free to watch with other hosts who handle calls in a way you find more tolerable.

  36. says

    @37 – ACA has launched a new program called “Talk Heathen,” which is also a call-in format, with a goal of longer calls. You might enjoy it. It’s still building up a base, so it may be a little slow right now, but callers like Hamish (who actually continue to call TAE weekly, but some of us refuse to take his calls any longer) have started to clue into the new outlet and call to talk longer to those hosts, Jamie and Eric.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNo4F3mz70-UqRbKwjRmRWg

  37. says

    Just to chime in, the Bible is an anthology of 66 books, the length of which are very diverse. However, if the estimate above of 800,000 words is accurate, that averages less than 12,200 pages per book. There are actually (my church promoted this) programs built that help you complete a Bible reading within the span of one year. Here is a site that offers people options on how to read it all or in part, in different time spans:

    https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan/

  38. RationalismRules says

    @t90bb

    If you thought the actual creator of the universe….the being that loves and controls your ETERNAL destiny…wrote a book to YOU…..would you not take the time to actually read it???

    I’ve never thought about this before, and it’s a good point. It’s rare that a theist caller to AXP claims to have read the whole thing.

    Although I was a rapacious reader as a youngster (no TV), I never had any interest in reading the bible because I found it soooo tedious.

  39. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ RR 43: the website ‘Why won’t God heal amputees” has a good take on this – on the main page, click “Did God write the Bible?”

  40. Robert, not Bob says

    @36, Mobius, Yeah, I know that; I tried to explain it to him, and also that the prophecy meant that the Babylonians, not Macedonia, would take the city, but, well, creationists… I once tried to introduce him to Talk Origins, and he literally covered his eyes!

  41. says

    @32 – “Since I see Tracie is active here I wanted to thank her for all she does. Her (our) work is important.”

    In a prior show thread you said I ran the “worst show [you] ever witnessed,” and that my handling of it was “totally unacceptable.” Importantly, you expressed not only being tempted to turn that particular episode off “mid-episode,” but also made it clear that my hosting was so bad you might “stop watching” TAE all together.

    Please don’t misunderstand–I’m not offended by criticism. In fact, I encourage and expect people to express dissatisfaction–to whatever degree they experience it. However, I can’t help but note how odd it is to thank a person for their contributions, when you’ve stated their contributions ruined your experience to the point it made you question whether you could even continue watching TAE.

  42. t90bb says

    46….hmmmm…..Tracie….I think you are exaggerating my criticisms. I also posted afterwords and admitted I overreacted in frustration. I can certainly review my posts on the matter. I know I said I believed viewership might decline unless we reel in some of these callers. I NEVER said YOU ruined my experience to the point of not being willing to watch the show in the future. Your imagination is running away with you.
    I did say your handling on ONE call frustrated me to the point of considering turning off THAT episide. I will certainly be more careful in my criticism of you as I can see you are rather sensitive. You seem to address almost all criticisms here with….”although I dont take it personally….” Of course you do to some degree…you are human.
    I thought you did a wonderful job this week.. Considering I had been admittedly rough on you in the past I felt it was only right to offer my praise and appreciation this week. It was honest praise.
    My criticism you cite was specific to you regarding a single call only. And I have reviewed my experience and thoughts and had already admitted I was a bit of a “dick”. I think you may have glossed over the fact I have also stated in the past that you are one of my “favorite” hosts/co hosts.
    I have also stated on many occasions how hard I believe it is to do what you guys do. Many viewers like myself can sit and ponder post episode how we may have handled and caller or issue. You guys do it on the fly…on live TV and in most cases do it incredibly admirably. I really admire you guys. And aside from personalities I do believe what you and the rest of the team do is incredibly important. II believe our position is noble, as it is the position of truth. We don’t pretend to know things we do not. You guys have a podium to reach thousands every week with our message. And you do it well in the face of fierce opposition. My Sunday nights are really enjoyable, in part, for what you, and the rest of the staff do. But its more than just entertainment to me.
    I readily admit I overreacted in my response to a single call on a single episode. Please consider that you may have overreacted to my criticism. I am a huge Tracie fan whether you like it or not!

  43. t90bb says

    finally..in fairness to Tracie I reviewed my initial posts to the episode….and she is correct

    Huge fan of the show but unless they do something about allowing callers to talk silliness for 45 minutes I will stop watching. This (todays show) was the worst run show I ever witnessed. Totally unacceptable////…..and I love the hosts.

    I was and absolutely a dick and I reacted in frustration. Hopefully my subsequent posts have clarified my position. I was a douche and I own that. My apologies to Tracie.

  44. t90bb says

    pss….i apologize to the board and the community as well. I am done beating the dead horse now. Thanks guys, you are all important to me!

  45. John David Balla says

    General comment about callers. If any caller — and I mean any caller — cannot pose their question within the first 60 seconds then something is awry. I have heard many callers say that they will get to their point (or question) quickly, and then qualify “quickly” as “5 minutes.” How can a 5-minute setup be warranted regardless of the complexity of question? Having said that, what’s more important is establishing a dialogue because people tire very easily from monologues, even if the subject matter is of interest. It’s like watching a tennis match with one player.

    Another interesting and non-contentious observation. The most incoherent of callers tend to require the most “set up” time. And that’s just to pose the question. Then there is “figuring-out-what-the-hell-they-said” time. It is these type of callers who could be qualified within the first 60 seconds. I know. Easier said than done. Personally, I’d experiment with a timer, one that everyone could hear when it goes off. But that’s just me.

  46. rodney says

    I do think that Jesse did his best to be polite and use a reasonable sounding tone, as he was saying something that was unreasonable. That does fool some people into thinking something is reasonable when it’s not, I’ve seen a lot of christians think someone won a debate because they didn’t yell or curse. I think Traci handled it perfectly, I didn’t see it as getting a rise out of her so much as a growing level of exasperation at an obvious bad argument.

  47. John David Balla says

    51. Tracie’s exasperation was more than justified. It was appropriate. Her exchange with Jesse was a textbook example of methodically taking the caller to task, and exposing a completely spurious claim. That said, I’m impressed with callers like Jesse and how their calm and confident demeanor can disguise the unsoundness of their argument. Psychoanalysis is warranted even though accusations (see above) have already surfaced without foundation. There very well may be a “credulous personality disorder” worthy of such an undertaking. However imperfect psychoanalysis may be, such profiling is valuable wherever insight is gained, where a better explanation is realized, even when incomplete. Hence is the nature of social science.

  48. rodney says

    “Tracie’s exasperation was more than justified. It was appropriate.”

    You’re preaching to the choir with me. Absolutely agree.

  49. RationalismRules says

    I’m a little surprised Sam from UK hasn’t turned up here. Perhaps he’s licking his wounds from his thorough trouncing by Tracie & Don.

    This was one of the best demonstrations I’ve ever seen of refusing to engaging with diversionary tactics (Sam’s standard stock-in-trade), and forcing the caller to stay on point.

    Great job Tracie and Don! Good to see you working so well together.

  50. Wiggle Puppy says

    I just had a thought – Sam and Jesse should get together and discuss which of them is right. Now THAT would be entertaining.

  51. Monocle Smile says

    @Wiggle
    That would indeed be amusing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up blaming atheists for their conflicts anyway, as believers tend to do.

  52. SamFromUK says

    Sorry but I don’t see why i should have been licking wounds.
    I got my point across and the hosts agreed. The question is how do you get people to agree to what is the true meaning. Now that takes a lot more time and explanations because the other party may have deep indoctrination.

  53. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    Well, that’s quite a remarkable lack of self-awareness.
    How do you get people to agree? As far as I’m concerned, it’s like trying to get people to agree to the “true meaning” of The Great Gatsby. It’s a work of fiction, and while there are some clear themes, people are free to find their own meanings. However, it’s still fiction and should be treated as such. Same with the bible and koran.

  54. says

    For Richard from Los Angeles, and to anyone else who wants to understand how our brain reacts to music, I recommend the book “This Is Your Brain on Music”, by Daniel Levitin. The author was a music producer for a long time and decided to start a scientific career to understand music, so he has experience in both sides.

  55. Nathan says

    @ Sam

    They didn’t agree with you, they just summed up the silly nonsense you are spouting. You have failed to present a convincing argument in every single call you have made.

  56. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    Out of interest, have you listened to or watched the call on the video, since calling in?

  57. Occam's RAZR says

    It was rather mind-boggling when Tracie asserted (at around the 41’26” mark) that she assumes God had alternative options. Is there *anything* in Christian theology that suggests God is capable of having any choice in the matter? Don’t the apologists insist that God and His Nature are inseparable, eternal, and unchangeable? Isn’t it a bedrock foundational assertion of the Christian Faith that God cannot contradict his eternal, unchanging nature? Or do they allege that He always was and that He knows all? He cannot be different or do anything differently, correct? Have I missed something in all the scriptural gobbledygook? Or was the Christian god doomed by his own unchanging nature to cross an infinite amount of time to lip-synch the infamous words “Let there be light” to the sound of his own nature?

  58. Occam's RAZR says

    I’d also like to submit that Tracie’s “Grace and peace to you from God blah blah blah!” (from the 67:20 mark) be permanently enshrined on her Greatest Hits anthology. I kinda almost want that on a t-shirt. In a dozen different languages.

  59. t90bb says

    I for one listened to Sams call again, I remembered it as a jumbled, incoherent mess. It was actually worse. I think his point was that if everyone just read the scriptures we would all agree on their meanings. Which, is, in a word…LAUGHABLE. Scholars study these Holy Books (who are the most educated in historical context, translation errors etc) and even they don’t agree. I know this troubles Sam but his Holy book and those studied by other religions are silly, vague, and full of contradictions. Exactly what one would expect if these books were written by bronze age men, living in dirt huts, with bugs in their beards. I for one am nearly certain that no all powerful deity could write such crap. Unless god was cramming for finals and just mailed this one in.

  60. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Damnit, I forgot to save the dealie that told me how to block quote, but @t90bb – 63:
    ” I for one am nearly certain that no all powerful deity could write such crap.”

    Well ye see there’s yer problem, trying to apply yer human understanding of narrative coherence to a deity that can perceive time and space simultaneously and exist in multiple dimensions at once. Why should it deign to lower itself to yer pathetic understanding? It made it as simple as it could, the fact that such important information came across so muddled is the fault solely of our squishy mortal brains and their imperfect ability to process the divine message. Only people who’ve read the Scriptures with just the right understanding could POSSIBLY understand that what’s obviously immortal to our diminutive corporeal perception is anything BUT when yer a 12th level intellect.

    Seriously though, I was under the impression Sam had bowed out till he figured out a better way to articulate his ideas. It was somewhat disheartening to see him espouse shit we’d already held his hand through in a previous page.

  61. SamFromUK says

    My apologies if I didn’t make sense, but I think I did better than last time in getting my point across.

    Problem for most atheists is that they simply don’t believe in the concept of a God. They’re looking for scientific evidence (which is actually there but they just don’t realise it yet) hence some parts of the scriptures (I’m talking about Quran, Gospel and Old Testament here) seem very strange and/or hard to understand. I know I found that with the Quran in various parts.

    The problem with most theists is that they’re indoctrinated by the community they are following or in. Hence in Islam you have the Sunnis and Shias, both following the exact same Quran yet they hate each other. The ideology and hate of the parents is passed on down to the younger generation and so it continues. The same goes for the Christians and Jews. All following one book yet so many divisions.

    I’ve seen converts you start off in believing the Quran but after some time with the muslim community they start practising and believing things which are not in the Quran or prescribed by it. After some time they become passionate about those beliefs and practices because they’re so heavily influenced by them.

    I guess the same goes for atheist who follow the dogma of the Theory of Evolution. Many atheists don’t understand ToE or even Evolution yet they will blindly accept it or use that against theists.

    As Tracie did with Jesse, I think you can go through the scripture and scientific studies and call out people where you think they misunderstand. They may not accept your understanding but you can challenge them and show that they are in error.

  62. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    Oh, the delicious irony.

    Problem for most atheists is that they simply don’t believe in the concept of a God

    Most atheists in the US are former believers and we most definitely understand the concept. Despite constant correction in the past, you still haven’t grasped that understanding that a concept is incoherent nonsense is different from “not understanding.”

    They’re looking for scientific evidence (which is actually there but they just don’t realise it yet)

    Facts not in evidence. Provide this or GTFO.

    The problem with most theists is that they’re indoctrinated by the community they are following or in. Hence in Islam you have the Sunnis and Shias, both following the exact same Quran yet they hate each other. The ideology and hate of the parents is passed on down to the younger generation and so it continues. The same goes for the Christians and Jews. All following one book yet so many divisions

    Agreed in full. But you suffer from this as well.

    I guess the same goes for atheist who follow the dogma of the Theory of Evolution. Many atheists don’t understand ToE or even Evolution yet they will blindly accept it or use that against theists.

    You’ve been embarrassed so badly on this topic before that I’m surprise you don’t have evolution PTSD.

    As Tracie did with Jesse, I think you can go through the scripture and scientific studies and call out people where you think they misunderstand. They may not accept your understanding but you can challenge them and show that they are in error.

    And this is that delicious irony I mentioned. You’ve been shown to be wrong on virtually every claim you’ve ever made and yet you haven’t backed down from any of your laughable positions.

  63. SamFromUK says

    @MS,

    Sorry but you’ve been deluded by the dogma of ToE. If you did understand ToE you’d know it just assumptions with absolutely no evidence at all. Science demonstrates that ToE simply doesn’t happen. If you don’t understand this then please go and educate yourself.

    There’s no point discussing God with you because as you’ve said before you don’t care if there is a God so why do you need to see evidence of God?

  64. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Same goes for you. You are not interested in whether there is a God so why bother participating in discussions about God?

  65. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    OK, I still can’t find that fucking quote macro I had saved, but whatever.

    @ Sam – 68
    “You are not interested in whether there is a God so why bother participating in discussions about God?”

    Well I’d find it interesting if it could be demonstrated, but I don’t let the existence or non-existence of a god impact my life on the daily. As for why engage in religious discussion, the reasons are many fold. For one it’s good to exercise yer mental muscles here and there with such conversations. Understanding what people believe and why can be very edifying (albeit often frustrating).
    For another alot of people use their religious convictions to justify generally shitty/harmful beliefs and actions that affect others and the world around them, so laying bare their motivations is a worthwhile exercise.
    For another, maybe some day someone will actually provide a good argument for such a thing, and I’d like to be there if that ever happens.
    Hell, some could be said to just have a masochistic streak and enjoy aggravating themselves. Who knows?
    There’s more I’m sure and different people would have different motivations, but for now those were the ones to pop into my mind,

  66. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    There is nothing correct about your latest posts. Nothing. This has been demonstrated countless times in the threads you have previously infested. You have serious issues.

  67. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    I think it’s good that you are interested in whether there is a God. For me it was the most important thing ever in my life. Now I feel complete, no more mysteries about why I exist, what is the truth and what my purpose in life is.

    So once a God is demonstrated then what?

  68. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Hey hey, what has two thumbs and refound the block quote dealie? The Evil God of the Fiery Cloud!
    Anywho:

    I think it’s good that you are interested in whether there is a God. For me it was the most important thing ever in my life. Now I feel complete, no more mysteries about why I exist, what is the truth and what my purpose in life is.

    Sure. Security blankets can be a hell of a thing.

    So once a God is demonstrated then what?

    I dunno. Guess we’ll find out come the day it ever happens.

  69. SamFromUK says

    @MS,

    “The primary function of science is to demonstrate the existence of phenomena that cannot be observed directly. Science is not needed to show us things we can see with our own eyes. Direct observation is not only unnecessary in science; direct observation is in fact usually impossible for the things that really matter.” – talkorigins

    I guess the above explains why you’re so deluded. I suggest you expand your reading text include sources outside of talkorigins.

  70. Mobius says

    @Evil God of the Fiery Cloud

    Ah, was going to post how to blockquote, but I see you figured it out in #72.

  71. t90bb says

    Sam you just said:

    I think it’s good that you are interested in whether there is a God. For me it was the most important thing ever in my life. Now I feel complete, no more mysteries about why I exist, what is the truth and what my purpose in life is.

    As an atheist I could not agree with your third sentence more! Getting honest about myself and my lack of belief in your magic genie was the most freeing moment!

    I am more than willing to revisit the position as soon as someone gives me good evidence to. I know I am pretty new here but your calls and posts are some of the most vacuous I have experienced, Sam! Its like every time you call and post I feel even more confident in my position. In the rare case I can actually decipher a point you have attempted, I remind myself that you have no doubt asked your magic genie for help before doing so. When I think of your calls as a collaborative effort with your magic genie….it brings me greater confidence! So thank you!

  72. StonedRanger says

    I know its been said before, but apparently Sam is a lying POS when it comes to evolution.

    SAM: My understanding of, and my acceptance of evolution as being an established scientific fact has nothing, I repeat, not one damned thing to do with my lack of a belief in your or anyone else’s god. My atheism is informed by my skepticism, my ability to think rationally and my belief in the reality which we all share. I don’t believe YOU when YOU say there is a god (or any other theist who claims god is real). How you can connect that to evolution is beyond me. And please address the fact that many theists understand and accept the scientific validity of evolution also, and it doesn’t seem to affect their belief in a god. So you babbling on about how this is some kind of fundamental flaw in atheists is just stupid. But then so are you, so I shouldn’t be all that surprised when you keep saying it.

  73. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Mobius
    Yeah, I had it saved on another computer, but I’m housesitting for my sister and am on a laptop which didn’t have it. But some detective work got my back to a previous thread where someone was kind enough to explain it to me, so the day is saved for now. Thank ye anyway!

  74. Mobius says

    @73 SamFromUK

    A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.
    –Simon and Garfunkel

    You should pay attention to that, Sam. It definitely applies to you. You don’t listen to what others are saying, just to the parts you want to hear. This is, in large part, why your understanding is so poor.

  75. t90bb says

    and one more thing Sam….I must offer you one compliment.

    Although the points you try to make on this board are stupid….they are 10,000 times better than your calls. Its good to know that you might actually be able to tie your shoelace!

  76. Monocle Smile says

    @Sam
    Your normal posting borders on trolling, but now you’re going whole hog. Fuck off, wanker.

  77. SamFromUK says

    @StonedRanger,

    “I don’t believe YOU when YOU say there is a god (or any other theist who claims god is real). How you can connect that to evolution is beyond me. And please address the fact that many theists understand and accept the scientific validity of evolution also, and it doesn’t seem to affect their belief in a god. So you babbling on about how this is some kind of fundamental flaw in atheists is just stupid. But then so are you, so I shouldn’t be all that surprised when you keep saying it.”

    When have I linked atheism to evolution? Please cite the comment or take back your nonsense.

  78. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    Evolution is a naturalistic process that successfully explains the diversity of life-forms on earth. It is not in conflict with theism – many theists accept the fact of evolution. You don’t accept this process, we get that. So what is the alternate process that you propose?

  79. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    Process means a series of steps. Naturalistic means conforming to the laws of the natural universe. Whether or not you believe in evolution, it is accurate to describe it as a naturalistic process. That’s just language.

    So, now that I’ve explained that, lets get back to my question. You reject evolution as the process whereby the diversity of life came about. What is the alternate process you propose?

  80. SamFromUK says

    So which natural laws does evolution follow? Is it the laws of molecular chemistry and physics, if so how have you determined this?

    This is where atheists don’t understand the observations. Evolution is fact because it’s observable. However just because something can be observed repeatedly does not make it a naturalistic process.

    (ToE is not fact because it’s never been observed however due to the bizarre way scientific fact is defined by talkorigins it’s somehow considered fact.)

  81. t90bb says

    84..rr…..

    this is how the theist/creationist plays the game sam will continue to ask questions until you get tired or bored….and then claim victory……..all while ignoring your direct question……its a common strategy.

  82. t90bb says

    sam seems to need very detailed and technical information about evolution……yet seems to have no problem with accepting a magic genie “puffed” life into existence because a book about A TALKING SNAKE SAYS SO.

  83. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @t90bb #87:

    sam […] seems to have no problem with accepting a magic genie

    Article: Wikipedia – Jinn

    They are mentioned frequently in the Quran (the 72nd sura is titled Sūrat al-Jinn) and other Islamic texts.

  84. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    We all understand that you reject evolution. I’m not attempting to change your position on that point. I’m simply asking what is the process you propose that accounts for the diversity of life?

    You seem very reluctant to answer this straightforward question – why is this?

  85. SamFromUK says

    @Sky,

    As muslims we have absolutely no problem with accepting Jinns. Same applies if you’re a Christian or Jew.

  86. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    There’s a metaphor here about playing chess with a pigeon. If only I could remember it, hahaha.

  87. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    I’ve already answered that question. (comment #84) I answered it immediately, clearly and directly, despite the fact that you ignored my question and simply asked your own question in response – a bit rude, but I let it pass because I was feeling generous.

    More importantly, it doesn’t matter. You reject the theory of evolution, and I’m not challenging that. I’m simply asking what process you propose to explain the diversity of life?

    You’re never shy of advancing your opinions / beliefs, so why is this question such a problem for you? Is the reason you keep trying to divert the conversation back to evolution … because you don’t have any alternative to offer?

  88. RationalismRules says

    @Evil
    I hadn’t heard that one, so I looked it up. From Wikipedia:

    “Pigeon chess” or “like playing chess with a pigeon” is a figure of speech originating from a comment made in March 2005 on Amazon by Scott D. Weitzenhoffer[1] regarding Eugenie Scott’s book Evolution vs. Creationism: An introduction:
    “”Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon — it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.

    It’s a great quote, but the thing is I’m not trying to debate Sam on evolution, I’m trying to find out what his alternative is.

    I’m saying, “You don’t like chess? Fine, let’s play some other game. What would you like to play instead?” and the pigeon is saying “Chess is stupid. Let’s keep playing chess.”

  89. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Heh, full admission: I was being a bit glib there and maybe even a bit hypocritical given how long I went round and round with Sam last time. I pretty much exhausted any interest I had in investigating his worldview back in August, but by all means if anyone thinks there’s still meat on that bone have at it.

  90. paxoll says

    Evolution follows the basic laws of physics that describe our universe. Since these laws have not been demonstrated to come from UNnatural causes (nothing has ever been demonstrated to be caused by an unnatural source) then by definition Evolution is a natural process. When a theory accurately describes every scientific fact brought about from experiments designed to verify that theory, then calling the theory a scientific fact is not much of an overstatement. The fact is that you have demonstrated virtually no understanding of how evolution is proposed to work, and repeating your ignorance on this forum over and over should be a banning offense.

  91. SamFromUK says

    @paxoll,

    Great. Please describe which laws of physics evolution follows.

    You seem far more intelligent than RR who just loves to avoid any questions which he finds difficult to answer. So props to you and boo to RR.

  92. Loveromates says

    “I think it’s good that you are interested in whether there is a God. For me it was the most important thing ever in my life. Now I feel complete, no more mysteries about why I exist, what is the truth and what my purpose in life is.”

    Good for you. Keep believing in your god if that makes your life meaningful.

    Why should I submit to the same god as you do? More importantly, why should I worship a god who would punish me after my death simply because I don’t believe in him?

    Before you give me the answer, I know the verse in the Koran that talks about punishment to infidels. I will not debate theology with you. Will you accept the fact that I read the same book as you do and draw a different conclusion? Or will you do like dahwah Muslims, who love to proselytize people?

  93. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    I’ve pointed out repeatedly that the specifics of evolution are irrelevant, because I’m not attempting to make a case for it. You reject it, I accept that, now let’s hear your alternative.

    When I initiate a discussion with a question I’m not simply going to allow you to drag that conversation to your preferred territory to save having to answer a question that you find uncomfortable. I’m very happy to debate evolution with you, but I’m not going to get distracted into that debate until we have discussed your alternative process (if you actually have one, which we haven’t even established, so far).

    Do you have anything to offer to this discussion, other than diversions and playground insults?

  94. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    Quote me where I have ever rejected evolution. Once you realise you’re wrong answer the question on what scientific laws evolution follows.

  95. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    Episode 21.33 comment #62.

    @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.

    I’m still waiting to hear your alternative process. Please stop trying to derail the discussion.

    Unless you’re now changing your (infallible) position and accepting the theory of evolution, which you previously (infallibly) rejected.

  96. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    If you read the above I said ToE is nonsense, not evolution.

    “ToE is nonsense and just assumptions and assertions which have not been proven to be facts”

    There is a big difference between evolution and ToE. I humbly suggest you google to learn a bit more about. Many people are confused by the two.

  97. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    Read the last three words of the above quote:

    no evolution needed.

    How is it that ToE can be wrong because “no evolution needed”, but that is not a rejection of evolution as the process that explains the diversity of life-forms on earth?

    Are you now accepting evolution as the process which explains the diversity of life-forms on earth?

    If not, I’m still waiting to hear what alternate process you propose.

  98. t90bb says

    Is it not time that the moderator blocks Sam…..he is disingenuous and does nothing to move any of our conversations forward. He really is nothing but a distraction here. I am serious.

  99. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Has anyone actually been banned for being annoying here before? Maybe that Mark from Austin Stone Church guy, but that Multinamed From UK/London guy was just on here to proselytize and I know there were calls to boot him but I wasn’t aware that it was ever done.

    In certain branches of Japanese budo there’s this practice called Hamon where someone has REALLY fucked up and they’re ejected from the dojo, with their name being taken down off the wall and discarded. A way’s back a friend who belonged to another system was talking about hamon-ing a person because he disliked them and I was like “I dunno dude, hamon is a big deal and should be reserved for more serious things than “this guy’s fucking annoying.””
    In that vein, when ye have a conversation with someone that’s bothersome and going nowhere, is it worth going through the bullshit of banning them when ye could just ignore them? In previous threads there were long conversations about veganism which I give absolutely 0 fucks about and it was a simple matter to just scroll past anything regarding it to concentrate on the conversation topics I actually did find interesting.

  100. paxoll says

    @Sam. Pick any law of physics and evolution follows it. Those laws are the basis of chemical kinetics, which govern how every molecule in a cell behaves, which governs the emergent properties of macromolecules such as proteins and DNA, which governs all the cellular activity of growing and replicating, unfaithful replication which has been widely studied has show mechanisms for how and why this happens. This is the theory of evolution, common decent with modification. Your ignorance has gotten to the point of trolling and if you seriously want to know about evolution then go back to highschool. Evolution is completely irrelevant to atheism. It has some value to anti-theism as evidence that 99% of religious texts are wrong since most of them have a creation story of man that in no way is compatible with evolution.

  101. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “How is it that ToE can be wrong because “no evolution needed”, but that is not a rejection of evolution as the process that explains the diversity of life-forms on earth?

    Are you now accepting evolution as the process which explains the diversity of life-forms on earth?

    If not, I’m still waiting to hear what alternate process you propose.”

    I had a gander at the atheist bible TalkOrigins site and have realised that I may be using wrong terminology to describe what I don’t accept in evolution. My apologies for any confusion.

    So I will now clarify my position based on the TalkOrigins site.

    I accept evolution or microevolution based on the definition below as described by TalkOrigins .

    “Evolution is a change in the gene pool of a population over time. A gene is a hereditary unit that can be passed on unaltered for many generations. The gene pool is the set of all genes in a species or population.” – TalkOrigins

    The above definition can be observed today and believers like myself are perfectly happy with it. Slight oddity in the definition is that it doesn’t define what a “species” is which can be quite tricky to define.

    What I don’t accept is macroevolution or common descent. As described on the TalkOrigins site –

    “Evolution can be divided into microevolution and macroevolution. The kind of evolution documented above is microevolution. Larger changes, such as when a new species is formed, are called macroevolution. Some biologists feel the mechanisms of macroevolution are different from those of microevolutionary change. Others think the distinction between the two is arbitrary — macroevolution is cumulative microevolution.”

    TalkOrigins writes –

    “Microevolution can be studied directly. Macroevolution cannot. Macroevolution is studied by examining patterns in biological populations and groups of related organisms and inferring process from pattern. Given the observation of microevolution and the knowledge that the earth is billions of years old — macroevolution could be postulated. But this extrapolation, in and of itself, does not provide a compelling explanation of the patterns of biological diversity we see today. Evidence for macroevolution, or common ancestry and modification with descent, comes from several other fields of study. These include: comparative biochemical and genetic studies, comparative developmental biology, patterns of biogeography, comparative morphology and anatomy and the fossil record.”

    As TalkOrigins points out macroevolution cannot be studied directly. It is “is studied by examining patterns in biological populations and groups of related organisms and inferring process from pattern”. In my humble opinion there is absolutely no evidence for macroevolution. The main evidences are genetic studies and comparative morphology and anatomy and the fossil record. All of these evidences in absolutely no way can confirm if the living organisms being studied are able to reproduce with one another. As of now there is absolutely now way of confirming which living organism is able to reproduce with another.

    In fact the current data shows that there are clear barriers to certain groups of even “closely related” living organisms being able to produce viable offspring. For example mules. This phenomena is simply ignored by evolutionists. Instead of studying it further and accepting the reality that there are such barriers evolutionists are undermining their own credibility when they don’t take this phenomena into account when postulating their ideology as facts.

  102. SamFromUK says

    @paxoll,

    “Pick any law of physics and evolution follows it.”

    OK I pick Newtons laws of motion. Please describe how evolution follows Newtons laws of motion.

    “Evolution is completely irrelevant to atheism”

    I disagree. Evolution could be used to convince atheists that there is a God.

  103. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “Has anyone actually been banned for being annoying here before?”

    There’s always a first. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  104. StonedRanger says

    Sam @ post 81: here is your post 65 “I guess the same goes for atheist who follow the dogma of the Theory of Evolution. Many atheists don’t understand ToE or even Evolution yet they will blindly accept it or use that against theists”. Clearly you are linking atheists to evolution. Please don’t try to BS your way out of this by claiming the ToE (theory of evolution) is not the same thing as evolution. Now answer my questions.

  105. StonedRanger says

    From Sam 107 ” As of now there is absolutely now way of confirming which living organism is able to reproduce with another. Bullshit. Put them together and see if they can breed successfully. How is that hard to understand?

  106. SamFromUK says

    @stonedranger,

    “Bullshit. Put them together and see if they can breed successfully.”

    In the name of science can we see if we can breed you with a gorilla?

  107. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    I’m happy for you that you have clarified your position on evolution. However, the change in terminology doesn’t change anything in my question. You reject that part of evolution that deals with species change, which is a crucial component of the diversity of life.

    So, once again:
    What is the non-evolutionary process you propose to explain the diversity of life-forms (or species, if you prefer) on earth?

  108. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    I believe that it’s God who creates the diversity of life forms we observe in the world. It’s one of the evidences for God as mentioned in the Quran.

  109. Monocle Smile says

    @RR
    If that flaccid response isn’t enough to make you stop feeding the chew toy, I don’t know what is.

  110. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    That’s not a process, it’s a narrative.

    A process is a detailed explanation of how something happens – the mechanism – the step-by-step. “God did it” is just a claim about what happened, it doesn’t tell us anything about how it happened.

    What is the process by which this god ‘creates’ diverse life forms? Do you actually have any process to offer, or is it just ‘magic’?

  111. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    This is where atheists like yourself become confused and don’t understand.

    Any sign of God has to come down to “God just did using his powers”. Thats it. If you’re not happy with that reason then so be it, no one can go into any further details and if you think about it it’s not necessary.

    Think of this example. When someone drops something from a height we say gravity caused it to fall. That’s it, just gravity. We simply accept it as force. We can’t see it or reproduce it, it just exists.

    What I think you’re after is explanations using observed phenomena which we understand. So you want explanations using our understanding of chemistry and physics and biology. Sorry but that would not make sense in proving that God caused it. Because if you could explain how God did something you’d also probably want to reproduce it which would then mean that thing is not special. If for example humans were able to manipulate evolution as in control the formation of different animals then you’d simply say God is not needed. But as we can observe today there are clear barriers on how much population of living organisms can change. The way dogs can be bred is different to the ways birds can bred. The so called mutations and viability of offspring is proven to not be under our control even though we are able to manipulate matter at molecular level.

    So finding out how God did is irrelevant and defeats the purpose of saying that God did it. This does not mean we should stop studying phenomena once we reach limits. We should carry on studying until we exhaust our ideas and technological limits. The more we investigate and study the more we can confirm what we don’t understand and maybe we will come across new information.
    However it would be nice yo confirm what the present status quo is and be honest. We can’t create life from non life. We cant manipulate macroevolution. Could we do this in the future? That’s the wrong question. We just don’t know the future and it is not a question for science or scientists. We should however carry on developing and learning regardless of our own ideologies.

  112. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    Any sign of God has to come down to “God just did using his powers”.

    So no alternate process then? Just a story about magic…

    I can see why you were so reluctant to answer the question.

  113. DanDare says

    Whenever I talk with theists about god I always us the pronoun ‘she’. After all giving birth to a universe is a female act right? That’s my interpretation of scriptures and its fun.

  114. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    Ok I’ll assume for arguments sake that evolution as described by talkorigins is the process by which God creates the diversity of life we see in earth.

    So what next? Is God relevant anymore or do you say ok you accept it and now you’re a believer?

  115. SamFromUK says

    Let’s say for example scripture describes evolution as we understand it today. Would you then accept that God created the process of evolution or that God uses the process of evolution to create diversity of life?

  116. SamFromUK says

    What I think you’re after is an explanation of the diversity if life using processes we can observe which we can reproduce in the lab. You want the believers to describe this process so you can go and verify it in the lab or in the real world. Problem is that if you were presented with such an explanation then you would say this is all natural and in no way points to a God. And you would be right to come to that conclusion. On the other hand if you told that diversity of life is controlled by God via forces which cannot be observed you won’t accept because there’s no evidence of such force which can be observed or reproduced in nature or the lab.

    So it’s a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t ” situation.

  117. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    Let’s say for example scripture describes evolution as we understand it today. Would you then accept that God created the process of evolution or that God uses the process of evolution to create diversity of life?

    Of course not. What sort of skeptic would accept a supernatural ‘explanation’ (aka story) just because they encountered something unexpected / difficult to explain?

    First I would consider all the possible naturalistic explanations for why that might be the case. Even if we were able to rule out all conceivable naturalistic explanations, that would simply leave us at the point “I don’t know”, not “it must be god”.

    At that point you may just as well posit a technologically-superior alien race passing their knowledge to our bronze age authors, or a future human with a time-machine going back and changing the scripture as a prank – either of those explanations is just as plausible as a ‘god’. Without evidence they are all just stories.
     

    if you were presented with such an explanation then you would say this is all natural and in no way points to a God.

    Exactly.
     

    On the other hand if you told that diversity of life is controlled by God via forces which cannot be observed you won’t accept because there’s no evidence of such force which can be observed or reproduced in nature or the lab.

    Correct. A god which cannot be observed is indistinguishable from a god that doesn’t exist.
     

    So it’s a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t ” situation.

    It’s a “nothing points to a god” situation.

  118. SamFromUK says

    I totally understand and agree with what you’re saying. I’ve in that situation when I went through my atheist phase.

    “A god which cannot be observed is indistinguishable from a god that doesn’t exist.”

    It’s not about observing God and it’s not necessary and quite impossible if you really think about it. I shall try to explain. First you need to have a definition of God. The Abrahamic God has a number of superlative descriptions. For example “all powerful”. As limited human beings there is no way of testing this. If God is not all powerful then he is not God as defined by the Abrahamic God. This god may be able to create many galaxies at the blink of an eye and he may indeed have created the human race but that simply does not make him the God as defined in the Abrahamic scriptures. The reason being that it causes integrity issues and doubt in the God concept.

    Also bear in mind that evolution is a concept a name given to a particular process we observe in the world. This process is not a thing which you can observe but rather a series of processes and phenomena which can be measured. In the same way life and biodiversity are the observable products of God. Even if you could see God creating life, for example creating a human being from clay you would simply want to find out how he did it. You probably still wouldn’t be convinced because you didn’t know how he did it. You probably want xn explanation using forces and processes which you accept yo be natural. But then if that was the case and you could do the same then there is nothing special about it.

    When it comes down to it God has to do something which is a mystery to us. If you can’t accept this then you’re forever going to be in your own made up dilemma.

    I know it’s difficult to accept this initially but over time it does all make sense. It helps if you drop all baggage that comes with the Abrahamic God such as slavery, genocide, evil in the world, ambiguous scriptures, etc. Just consider the concept of God and creation first.

  119. t90bb says

    Listening to Sam I cannot help but be reminded the theists perspective nearly always comes down to one great big argument from ignorance…

    We all (all of us humans) admit our very existence is a mystery….just like thunder and lightening was a few hundred years ago. Atheists freely admit this remains a mystery but we are learning more and more every day. We are ok with acknowledging what we dont know. We may not be entirely comfortable with this….but being committed to intellectual honesty that is where we are.

    Theists on the other hand are quick to make their magic genie…”a god of the gaps”. Since we humans cannot explain things..that is evidence that a magic genie DUNNIT!…In the case of Sam…this serves two useful purposes…

    1. It comforts the mind from having to think about the unknown
    2. And it calms his fear of what happens after death as he is happy that he will be sucking mohammeds little penis for eternity.

    Its a win win for Sam…and those like him. Its also intellectually dishonest and lazy. He also has little self respect. His calls are some of the worst in the shows history. His points are hard to understand if you are even able to make them put. He should really ask his girlfriend mohammed for some help in expressing himself.

  120. Tod says

    I’ve seen this response from theists more and more recently, it’s basically saying “what evidence would convince you” or phrased as an accusation of “no evidence would convince you” bearing in mind that we skeptics generally point out that we’re not quite sure what would count as evidence, because we cannot see a way to investigate the “alleged supernatural”. It seems to be a way to accuse us of being closed-minded.

    I think Matt even went across the same subject a bit with Blake and also in a debate with a theist who proposed his having his head cut off, but then re-appearing completely fine later on.

    The issues as I see them are

    1) I cannot state what would be convincing, due to having no current method to tell between various proposed supernatural causes – God, magic, demons, fairies, and technological set-ups such as the Matrix, much more powerful aliens, and psychological factors such as chemical imbalances, dreaming, psychic manipulation (guess that could come under actual magic above)

    2) We are given fabulous examples such as God creating life, or heads being re-affixed, which don’t actually get around issue 1, and which we never actually do see…

    3) The believer is also in the same position of being unable to propose a convincing method to tell between a correct proposed supernatural cause, and an incorrect supernatural cause.

    4) The believer doesn’t seem to want to tell us what convinced them, as they may already be aware they cannot justify why they have settled on that particular supernatural explanation rather than another one.

    5) The thing they have accepted, usually god but sometimes some of the other supernatural things on the above list and others I haven’t mentioned to remain succinct, seems to fall into a category of things we don’t know exist, and things that they may also agree there is no evidence for existing… so fairies, etc.

    It should worry the theist that they cannot differentiate between their proposed correct supernatural explanation and other wrong supernatural explanations, and that the particular supernatural explanation they have accepted seems to be in that same category as other things they actually believe do not exist….

  121. StonedRanger says

    Sam, why wont you address my response to you at post 110? You gave a glib nonsense answer to my post 111, but you still wont admit that you lied in your post 81. If you want to see if humans and gorillas can breed, that can be done although im pretty sure that while one can have sex with a gorilla, you cant breed with one. Genetics are not close enough. Now, about your lying to me in post 81 as I demonstrated in post 110, care to address that seriously? Because I see you back pedaling up there. I know, I know, you aren’t really interested in being truthful, but try just this once, will ya?

  122. SamFromUK says

    @Stonedguy,

    “Clearly you are linking atheists to evolution”

    Please clarify what you mean by linking atheists to evolution.

  123. SamFromUK says

    “If you want to see if humans and gorillas can breed, that can be done although im pretty sure that while one can have sex with a gorilla, you cant breed with one. Genetics are not close enough.”

    Genetics are close enough for childless couples who cant conceive. You need a lot more understanding about how living organisms reproduce. It’s not just at the DNA level. Hence similarities in DNA is NOT evidence of relatedness especially when it comes to determining relationships of creatures who allegedly lived thousands or millions of years ago.
    I’ve challenged Matt D on this snd his response was that I’d need a qualification in biology to have an opinion on this. In other words Matt is clueless about it.

  124. paxoll says

    @Sam I already answered that “natural law” question in the following sentence. You don’t understand or want to understand evolution. Look at ring species. Various species able to breed and produce offspring, until you get around the natural barrier and suddenly the first and last species are not able to breed. There is no such thing as macro and micro evolution, it is a bullshit term used to confuse ignorant people like you.

  125. SamFromUK says

    “Hence similarities in DNA is NOT evidence of relatedness ”

    Before anyone comments that DNA is used to determine child/parent relationships I’d like to say that yes I accept that it can be used within certain limited parameters. However when it comes determining lineage across species then no it is not reliable or appropriate. We need a much better understanding of living organisms before we can use DNA as evidence.

  126. Monocle Smile says

    @CrumpetBuggerer
    You got pulled apart like BBQ pork last time you went down this fucked up line of argumentation by a biologist, so the fact that you shamelessly dive back in tells me you should be banned for trolling.

  127. t90bb says

    134///monocle….ive been saying the same. Sams best attempt to prove his magic genie is to try to muddy the water about evolution….as if this somehow makes his girlfriend mohammed any more real or likely……ban him

  128. StonedRanger says

    Sam @ 130: You made the statement in post 65 that some atheists follow the ‘dogma’ (whatever the hell that is) of ToE. If that isn’t linking atheists to evolution, then clearly you have no idea what you are talking about when you say things. You still haven’t addressed my questions from post 76. All you do is pick some little nit picky thing to question in an attempt to sidetrack the conversation. This is why you need to go. You wont answer direct questions. It shows why people on this blog think youre a dishonest asshole. Now please, make fun of my handle some more. Clown.

  129. SamFromUK says

    @tod,

    “God, magic, demons, fairies, and technological set-ups such as the Matrix, much more powerful aliens, and psychological factors such as chemical imbalances, dreaming, psychic manipulation (guess that could come under actual magic above)”

    Yes one, all or some of them could be true. But initially why not start with “Which one of those has allegedly given a message to all of mankind claiming to have created you and the universe?”

  130. Tod says

    And how would you even know that?

    How do you determine between a god creating a message, a demon creating a message, men just writing things down at the time, aliens sending a message or psychics delivering messages from the dead? Other than personal bias, arguments from tradition or arguments from authority…

    Surely before we assume any of the options, we have to have an idea if they actually exist?

    You admit one or all could be true, yet there is another option… none of them may be true…

    How do you show any of them are true?

    How do you, a human, claim to be able to know the difference between a delusion, a chemical imbalance leading to a strong conviction, a demon trying to fool you or a god trying to communicate with you?

  131. SamFromUK says

    See what the message says. If it says it’s from aliens then it’s from aliens.

    Test the claims in the message.

  132. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    You’ve completely missed the point of this:

    A god which cannot be observed is indistinguishable from a god that doesn’t exist.

    Let’s try approaching the same point from a slightly different angle. Thought experiment: imagine two scenarios: Scenario A and Scenario B. They are exactly alike in every aspect, except that in one of scenarios an unobservable god exists, whereas in the other scenario no such god exists. How can you determine which scenario contains the god?
     

    Also bear in mind that evolution is a concept a name given to a particular process we observe in the world. This process is not a thing which you can observe but rather a series of processes and phenomena which can be measured. In the same way life and biodiversity are the observable products of God.

    I’m happy that you now understand the difference between a process and a narrative. But you are wrong to say that you cannot observe a process – In observing the steps of a process you are observing the process. In fact you’ve immediately contradicted yourself on this very point by saying that a process can be measured. Measurement is one of the forms of scientific observation. (How could you possibly measure something that you cannot observe?)

    As for “In the same way life and biodiversity are the observable products of God.”, this is a total non-sequitur. Unless you’re now claiming ‘god’ is a process?
    Even if we set aside the “in the same way” non-sequitur, “A is a product of B” is a worthless claim when you can’t even demonstrate that B exists, let alone show a link between the two.
    “In the same way rainbows are the observable products of unicorn anuses”.
     

    When it comes down to it God has to do something which is a mystery to us.

    Yep, so do unicorns. It’s a mystery how they poop out rainbows. If it wasn’t, they wouldn’t be magical creatures.

  133. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sam
    I’m just repeating myself from past threads, but here I go again.

    In fact the current data shows that there are clear barriers to certain groups of even “closely related” living organisms being able to produce viable offspring. For example mules. This phenomena is simply ignored by evolutionists.

    No, this is a prediction of evolution. I don’t know why you think this contradicts evolution.

    The main evidences are genetic studies and comparative morphology and anatomy and the fossil record. All of these evidences in absolutely no way can confirm if the living organisms being studied are able to reproduce with one another. As of now there is absolutely now way of confirming which living organism is able to reproduce with another.

    This is a variation of the “were you there?” argument. It’s simply not convincing. The existence of the observed morphological tree of life, and the existence of the genetic-distance tree of life, and the broad coincidence of these two trees, is consistent with the theory of evolution and common ancestry. These brute facts are broadly inconsistent with every other plausible theory.

    For example, if animals were created by an intelligent designer who reused parts, we should expect to see that animals could not be classified in a family tree. For example, we should expect that the intelligent designer would mix-and-match parts from his toolkit, like a mammal with feathers, or a bird with mammary glands, and so forth. We should expect to see some cross-over, some sharing of parts from that toolkit. That’s the idea of intelligent design, but that’s the opposite of what we actually see in the real world when we look at real animals. A mammal with feathers, or a bird with mammary glands, could not be placed on the tree of life. They don’t fit. They would be huge outliers in an otherwise elegant “buckets-in-buckets” classification.

    Again, it is a brute fact that we can classify animals according to a family tree, aka we can classify animals in buckets, and every bucket can be placed into a single larger bucket with other buckets, and every one of those buckets can be placed in a single larger bucket with other buckets, and so forth. That’s a description where there are no common parts. If there was a designer who used mix-and-match common parts, this buckets-in-buckets scheme would be impossible. Again, for example, on the designer idea, we should expect to see things like birds with mammary glands. A bird with mammary glands would not fit into the current bucket-in-buckets classification. Because it has mammary glands, it should go into the “mammals” bucket, but that means it couldn’t also be in the “birds” bucket, and that would be a problem, because there is no overlap between the “mammals” bucket and the “birds” bucket. In basically every case, we don’t see animals like a hypothetical bird with mammary glands. Basically all animals neatly fall into this buckets-in-buckets classification scheme. And again, this is exactly what the theory of common ancestry predicts that we should see. Whereas, the intelligent design hypothesis predicts that we should see lots of animals that cannot be placed in a single spot in this “buckets-in-buckets” classification scheme.

    On just this evidence alone, we would have a conclusive case for common ancestry and evolution. All of the other evidence is just extra. We wouldn’t even need it, but with it (fossil record, geographic co-location of closely related specifes, etc.), the evidence is insurmountable.

    At this point, the relevant hypotheses are:
    1- Common ancestry and evolution.
    2- A trickster god who purposefully choice to create animal species to look as if common ancestry was true.
    and the second hypothesis is laughable. It’s the Omphalos Hypothesis, which is just as absurd as “Last Thursdayism”.

    In short, you still probably don’t understand evolution, and specifically you don’t understand what it means for us to be able to classify all animals according to a family tree, and the implications that this has on common ancestry vs intelligent design.

    Any sign of God has to come down to “God just did using his powers”. Thats it. If you’re not happy with that reason then so be it, no one can go into any further details and if you think about it it’s not necessary.

    All of us would be happy with a conclusive demonstration that there is such a god, and that this god has such powers. A few simple demonstrations would go a long way towards convincing us. We would demand testing him, with the best scientists and magicians on hand to oversee the test. (The magicians are a crucial part of the testing process – to ensure that there is no cheating.)

    For example “all powerful”. As limited human beings there is no way of testing this.

    False. Your problem is that you’re assuming a standard of absolute confidence. We’re not asking for that. We’re just asking for some reasonable level of confidence. We can totally make tests that can achieve a reasonable level of confidence. Ex: “It passses every test that we put to it. It’s a reasonable conclusion that its powers are unbounded.”

    Even if you could see God creating life, for example creating a human being from clay you would simply want to find out how he did it.

    Yes, BUT this alone would be a demonstration that 1- the god exists, and 2- the god has powers beyond current human science and engineering. That’s a lot more evidence than what we have now.

    You probably still wouldn’t be convinced because you didn’t know how he did it.

    Wrong. This is a gross misunderstanding of science. It’s also very common, so don’t feel too bad.

    Fundamentally, science never answers the “how” question. From a certain perspective, that’s not a very interesting question. I don’t need to know how someone builds my phone in order to know that it works, and to use it. I don’t need to know how my phone works to know that it works.

    Science and engineering do often ask the “how?” question. It’s a reductionistic approach. It’s a very useful approach. However, every sort of reductionistic inquiry will quickly end with the scientist saying “I don’t know how it works. I just know from the evidence that it works according to this abstract model.”. For example, how do magnets work? For our purposes here, no one knows. We have very good abstract models that describe what magnets do, but not how they do it.

    > Feynman, How Do Magnets Work?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO0r930Sn_8

    You probably want xn explanation using forces and processes which you accept yo be natural. But then if that was the case and you could do the same then there is nothing special about it.

    That’s almost correct. You’re almost at the right answer.

    This is the right answer: According to your model, imagine what the natural state of reality looks like. The natural state of the universe is some formless “void”, a place of no-places and no-times, where the only thing that exists is Yahweh. Yahweh would find himself in this reality, with the ability that anything he wishes to happen by force of will, happens. This is just a brute fact about this reality. The brute fact “whatever Yahweh wishes to happen, happens”, is a brute fact about reality. It’s a description of the relationship between Yahweh, and the rest of reality. It’s a natural law. A natural law is simply some brute fact description about the world, and this would just be a brute fact. There would be no explanation for it. There would be no mechanics underlying it. Thus, one could not answer “how does Yahweh do it?”. The only answer that one could give is “I don’t know how Yahweh does it. Even Yahweh doens’t know how he does it. Yahweh simply knows that it’s true.”

    Now, compare that to the situation that modern scientists find themselves with regard to magnets. Scientists don’t understand how magnets work. In other words, they don’t understand the mechanism, if any, by which magnets work. However, they do understand a lot about the working of magnets and what they do. They have detailed abstract models about what magnets will do, even if they don’t know how magnets do what they do.

    The dichotomy between the “supernatural” and the “natural” is simply a convention, and arbitrarily linguistic convention. This convention has almost no purpose, and it causes a great deal of confusion in discussions like this one by making it difficult to apply proper empirical methods into topics that have been arbitrarily labeled as “supernatural”.

    In other words, I’ll science whatever I damn well want to.

    This discussion rests on a false understanding of the foundational principles of science. In short, one does not need to understand the mechanism in order to know that there is causation. In other words, the only real way to show causation is to carefully observe correlation plus good attempts to remove confounding variables.

    In other words, the trite saying “correlation doesn’t show causation” is at best confused, and IMO mostly wrong. It is true that showing correlation does not show causation if one has not accounted for confounding variables, but when one makes a sufficient attempt at removing confounding variables, then observing correlation does show causation.

    PS: The last part of my post is directly taken from this lecture:

    > Skepticon 7: Scott Clifton

  134. Mobius says

    @117 Sam

    Any sign of God has to come down to “God just did using his powers”.

    Ah, yes. The old “It’s magic!” response.

    All you are saying here is “Accept what I say and don’t ask questions.” Sorry, dude, but that doesn’t cut the mustard.

  135. Mobius says

    @137 Sam

    Yes one, all or some of them could be true. But initially why not start with “Which one of those has allegedly given a message to all of mankind claiming to have created you and the universe?”

    There have been literally hundreds (if not thousands) of gods that have allegedly given a message claiming to have created the universe. Show us how your claim is any different than that of the priests of Makemake of the Rapa Nui.

    You have a “just so” story, with nothing to back it up.

  136. Mobius says

    @141 EnlightenmentLiberal

    Interesting talk.

    I have pointed out on other forums that calling the universe a creation influences our thinking and leads us to think of a creator as being a rational conclusion. The language we use affects our thinking, something the speaker above mentioned.

    I had one theist get very hot and bothered about that concept, ranting that it just wasn’t true. That it couldn’t be true. Alas.

  137. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “No, this is a prediction of evolution. I don’t know why you think this contradicts evolution.”

    Interesting. Please explain how barriers between groups of species being able to produce viable offspring is a prediction of evolution.

  138. SamFromUK says

    @Mobius,

    “There have been literally hundreds (if not thousands) of gods that have allegedly given a message claiming to have created the universe. Show us how your claim is any different than that of the priests of Makemake of the Rapa Nui.”

    Great point and a very important one. Show us what the claim/message is and we can go through it.

  139. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “For example, if animals were created by an intelligent designer who reused parts, we should expect to see that animals could not be classified in a family tree. For example, we should expect that the intelligent designer would mix-and-match parts from his toolkit, like a mammal with feathers, or a bird with mammary glands, and so forth. We should expect to see some cross-over, some sharing of parts from that toolkit. That’s the idea of intelligent design, but that’s the opposite of what we actually see in the real world when we look at real animals. A mammal with feathers, or a bird with mammary glands, could not be placed on the tree of life. They don’t fit. They would be huge outliers in an otherwise elegant “buckets-in-buckets” classification.”

    You’ve made a common mistake here which that young chap in the video made and to be honest the majority of theists make. Which is that you have postulated your own idea of an intelligent designer. Your own expectations. Instead you should research the intelligent designer you want to argue against and use the claims made by that intelligent designer. The only way to do this is via text which claims to be from a intelligent designer (or his prophet if he happens to be around).

    It makes me cringe when sometimes you hear a Christian saying “God is love” or “God is all loving”. The Gospel or Old Testament says no such thing. These words are words from humans. IN this case when the Christian is asked why people go to hell or why is there suffering the world then they have no answer.

    So if you are going to make arguments about God then please use scripture to derive your arguments from. In the same way I can only argue against evolution based claims made by evolutionists.

  140. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “The only answer that one could give is “I don’t know how Yahweh does it. Even Yahweh doens’t know how he does it. Yahweh simply knows that it’s true.””

    This is not the concept of God taken from scripture. God came first and reality was created. If the above Yahweh is true then he is not God – who is all powerful and all knowing. If God does not know something or simply exists in a reality which happens to find himself then he is not God. Yes he is the most powerful being and the one who is most knowing compared to everything else but he is not God. And to be honest this may be the truth but we will never know this in this life. We can only know what we can observe (and taught by God, but obviously an atheist won’t understand this) – this is just a hard fact we can’t get around.

  141. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “Fundamentally, science never answers the “how” question.”
    “Science and engineering do often ask the “how?” question.”

    “I just know from the evidence that it works according to this abstract model.”. For example, how do magnets work? For our purposes here, no one knows. We have very good abstract models that describe what magnets do, but not how they do it.”

    So based on the above are you willing to accept that God created life and only he can create life because so far humans have not been able to create life. I’m happy for you to accept this claim temporarily until you come across other info in the future but for now are you willing to accept the claim as being true?

  142. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “Let’s try approaching the same point from a slightly different angle. Thought experiment: imagine two scenarios: Scenario A and Scenario B. They are exactly alike in every aspect, except that in one of scenarios an unobservable god exists, whereas in the other scenario no such god exists. How can you determine which scenario contains the god?”

    I know what you’re saying and you correct in asking this question. However the followers of the Abrahamic faiths are basing their claims from scripture which they claim is from God. So the starting point is not an unobservable god but one which was observed thousands of years ago and who has made himself known through scripture for all the world.

    So I think your question should be “How do we know if these scriptures are from a god and are in fact real/true?”. We as believers are not claiming to have just imagined a god but are basing our faiths on scripture. Yes, someone could have made up the scriptures thousands of years ago, so how does one verify them?

    I’m saying the only way to verify them is via testing the claims in the scriptures and seeing what other things they contain which make sense.

  143. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “But you are wrong to say that you cannot observe a process – In observing the steps of a process you are observing the process. In fact you’ve immediately contradicted yourself on this very point by saying that a process can be measured. Measurement is one of the forms of scientific observation. (How could you possibly measure something that you cannot observe?)”

    Sorry I worded it wrong. I was trying to say evolution isn’t a physical thing in the sense of it’s shape and something which you can touch. The way you recognise evolution is based on the definition and the observations you make. So evolution is not the change in a living organism but the changes you observe in a population of those living organisms who are able to breed and which happens over a period of time, etc, etc. In a similar way we recognise God from observations we make in reality. Scripture says God does have a form but no one has ever seen him or will see him in this life – I know this is meaningless to non-believers but I just wanted to mention it in case someone has actually read scripture and point this out.

  144. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “All of us would be happy with a conclusive demonstration that there is such a god, and that this god has such powers. A few simple demonstrations would go a long way towards convincing us. We would demand testing him, with the best scientists and magicians on hand to oversee the test. (The magicians are a crucial part of the testing process – to ensure that there is no cheating.)”

    The demonstrations are this –

    1. Create life from non-life.
    2. Stop natural death.
    3. Make a food source for humans other than that created from living organisms.
    4. Using just gravity create rock from dust.

    There you go.

  145. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    Just to clarify, the below are demonstrations of Gods power and abilities.

    1. Create life from non-life.
    2. Stop natural death.
    3. Make a food source for humans other than that created from living organisms.
    4. Using just gravity create rock from dust.

    The above are similar to the miracles done at the time of Moses. Except that sometimes people heard the voice of God. But as you know just hearing the voice of God does not really prove God unless God performs a miracle which is observable. All the above are observable – life, death, food, stars/planets being formed from dust.

  146. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    ” “A is a product of B” is a worthless claim when you can’t even demonstrate that B exists, let alone show a link between the two.
    “In the same way rainbows are the observable products of unicorn anuses”.”

    Not necessarily. We’re not making an arbitrary statement. The claims have to come from a source and not just someones imagination.

  147. StonedRanger says

    Come on mods. Stop the madness. Sam is no longer trying to have a conversation. He just wants to assert shit. Sam has no proof of anything he says, has had his nonsense debunked over and over and all he can do is put his hands over his eyes and say Nuh uh whenever someone tries to talk to him. Please give us a break.

  148. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Interesting. Please explain how barriers between groups of species being able to produce viable offspring is a prediction of evolution.

    If there were no barriers to breeding between species, then we should expect to see many crossovers on the tree of life. In other words, we should expect that occasionally members of one lineage would breed with members of a separate lineage, which would mean that the morphological classification of life and the genetic classification of life would not look like family-trees. They would look like tumbleweeds. The whole enterprise depends quite heavily on the notion that once two creatures become “sufficiently separated” on the tree of life, they cannot interbreed.

    You’ve made a common mistake here which that young chap in the video made and to be honest the majority of theists make. Which is that you have postulated your own idea of an intelligent designer. Your own expectations. Instead you should research the intelligent designer you want to argue against and use the claims made by that intelligent designer. The only way to do this is via text which claims to be from a intelligent designer (or his prophet if he happens to be around).

    No, I’m covering every possibility of every possible intelligent designer. If there is an intelligent designer, then the intelligent designer choose to create in exactly such a way as to give the appearance of a family tree. The existence of the appearance of the family tree is an indisputable brute fact, available to anyone who looks. The family tree appearance exists whether there is a god or not. This appearance of a family tree is undeniable. The problem is explaining that. Either it is a family tree, or someone went through a lot of effort to make it look like a family tree.

    God came first and reality was created.

    This is definitional. Yahweh, if he exists, is a part of reality. That’s what the word “reality” means. It means “all that exists”. Again, you should read what I wrote again.

    If the above Yahweh is true then he is not God – who is all powerful and all knowing.

    Even Yahweh cannot defeat logic. Yahweh cannot make something both true and false at the same time. Yahweh is still limited by logic and math. If you disagree here, then I think that’s about the end of the conversation (again). Therefore, Yahweh is still subject to the regress argument.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regress_argument

    For a separate example, even Yahweh does not know if the following sentence is true or false “this sentence is false”. Yahweh, like the rest of us, knows that the sentence is a self contradiction, and it’s neither true nor false.

    Going back to the regress argument, Yahweh would know that he is able to alter reality by force of will, but he wouldn’t know how. Even if he did know how, that sort of explanation would just lead to another question “why is that true?”. This is the regress argument. Even a god cannot escape it.

    If Yahweh exists, it is simply a brute fact without explanation, a natural law without explanation, that Yahweh is able to alter reality by force of will. To deny this is to deny basic logic, and to say that Yahweh is not bound by logic, and that’s a complete non-starter for me.

    So based on the above are you willing to accept that God created life and only he can create life because so far humans have not been able to create life.

    No… I know that magnets do work because I’ve seen them work, and others have seen them work. Seeing Yahweh create a new human being from dirt / clay / whatever in front of me would go a long way to convincing me. It would be a good start. It would be evidence far better than what we currently have.

    1. Create life from non-life.

    Citations please. I didn’t see it. It’s not on video-tape. The best scientists and magicians in the world didn’t oversee the demonstration. Ditto for the rest of your list. It’s just hearsay. I’m not going to accept these claims on 2000 year old hearsay.

  149. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “If there were no barriers to breeding between species, then we should expect to see many crossovers on the tree of life. In other words, we should expect that occasionally members of one lineage would breed with members of a separate lineage, which would mean that the morphological classification of life and the genetic classification of life would not look like family-trees. They would look like tumbleweeds. The whole enterprise depends quite heavily on the notion that once two creatures become “sufficiently separated” on the tree of life, they cannot interbreed.”

    Sorry but you’re just making things up as you go along. First you say evolution PREDICTS barriers. Where does it predict barriers? Please first define evolution and also species while your at it. Then cite the source which states that evolution predicts barriers.
    You claim evolution predicts barriers then say “we should expect that occasionally members of one lineage would breed with members of a separate lineage”. Why should you expect occasionally that members of one lineage would breed with members of a separate lineage?

    Also please define “sufficiently separated” and also explain why some human couples are not able to have offspring even though they are of the same species. How do you test whether one living organism can breed with another? If it’s only via observing them breed then how can you create a tree of life which claims to show relationships between living organisms. Is it not just assumption?

    Please be honest.

  150. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “No, I’m covering every possibility of every possible intelligent designer. If there is an intelligent designer, then the intelligent designer choose to create in exactly such a way as to give the appearance of a family tree. The existence of the appearance of the family tree is an indisputable brute fact, available to anyone who looks. The family tree appearance exists whether there is a god or not. This appearance of a family tree is undeniable. The problem is explaining that. Either it is a family tree, or someone went through a lot of effort to make it look like a family tree.”

    Sorry, you just can’t do that. The fact is you have absolutely no idea of what any potential intelligent designer was thinking or intending. You do not have a family tree. What you have is groupings according to morphology and not one based on which species is able to breed with another. You have absolutely no way of confirming which species is able to breed with another until you actually observe them. What you are doing is asserting your conclusions. You’re fine to make conclusions based on the data but to assert it as fact is not science. This is what Dawkins does. He tries to ridicule you with his conclusions. Everyone is free to come up with their own conclusions or simply say that we don’t have enough info yet.

    Tell me this, are mules a separate species? If not do they belong on your “family tree”, and if they do then where do the go on it?

  151. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “Even Yahweh cannot defeat logic. Yahweh cannot make something both true and false at the same time. Yahweh is still limited by logic and math. If you disagree here, then I think that’s about the end of the conversation (again). Therefore, Yahweh is still subject to the regress argument.”

    You don’t know this. You’re just making assumptions. And to be honest it’s not really something that concerns us.

  152. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “Seeing Yahweh create a new human being from dirt / clay / whatever in front of me would go a long way to convincing me. It would be a good start. It would be evidence far better than what we currently have.”

    You can see life being created around you all the time. Everytime a living organism replicates then that is God creating life in front of you. If you have any doubt go and create it yourself or your own living organism.

  153. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “For a separate example, even Yahweh does not know if the following sentence is true or false “this sentence is false”. Yahweh, like the rest of us, knows that the sentence is a self contradiction, and it’s neither true nor false.

    Going back to the regress argument, Yahweh would know that he is able to alter reality by force of will, but he wouldn’t know how. Even if he did know how, that sort of explanation would just lead to another question “why is that true?”. This is the regress argument. Even a god cannot escape it.”

    In the above example “this sentence is false” this is clearly a sentence, the contents don’t invalidate it being a sentence.

    You know absolutely very little about Yahweh and this reality. No point going there. Also I recommend looking up Schrödinger’s cat. Not his real one but the thought experiment.

  154. Bruce Smith says

    @SamFromUk says:

    Everytime a living organism replicates then that is God creating life in front of you.

    @SamFromUk says:

    You don’t know this. You’re just making assumptions.

  155. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Sorry but you’re just making things up as you go along. First you say evolution PREDICTS barriers. Where does it predict barriers?

    Look, you don’t even have a 101 level understanding of evolution. I just explained it to you. If you don’t understand something about the explanation, please try to ask a better question besides “explain it to me again daddy”.

    You claim evolution predicts barriers then say “we should expect that occasionally members of one lineage would breed with members of a separate lineage”. Why should you expect occasionally that members of one lineage would breed with members of a separate lineage?

    You need to slow down. In context, I preceded that snippet with “If there were no barriers to breeding between species,“. Work on your reading comprehension too.

    Also please define “sufficiently separated”

    No.

    and also explain why some human couples are not able to have offspring even though they are of the same species.

    There’s lots of reasons. I’m not going to pretend to list them. I probably don’t even know half of the reasons.

    How do you test whether one living organism can breed with another?

    I don’t.

    If it’s only via observing them breed then how can you create a tree of life which claims to show relationships between living organisms.

    The same way that Linnaes did, which happened 100 years before Darwin. You take animals, and look at their body shapes, and you put similar ones together into conceptual buckets. Then, you look at the existing buckets wihch contain animals which are more similar to each other than the other buckets, and you put those two buckets into a bigger bucket. You continue this procedure, and you arrive at buckets in buckets in buckets. This immediately leads to a tree structure.

    Also, the same way that modern scientists have. You read the DNA genome of many animal species, and you use a standard computer algorithm, similar in nature to POSIX diff
    http://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/009696799/utilities/diff.html
    to calculate the genetic difference between all species. Then, you take these differences, and you use another standard computer algorithm, to display this in a visual, graphical form. You again see a tree structure.

    Furthermore, you can do both of these procedures without assuming evolution, and without assuming common ancestry, and without any assumptions of any kind. “Tree” is a formal term in the mathematics of graphs. When I say “tree”, I don’t necessarily mean “family tree”. “Tree” is a certain kind of graph, and a graph is a list of connected nodes. A tree is a graph that has certain properties, loosely every node except one has exactly one incoming edge (exactly one “parent”), and exactly one node has zero incoming edges (zero “parents”). The node with zero incoming edges (zero “parents”) is also known as the “root”.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_(graph_theory)

    This particular tree structure is consistent with common ancestry of all animal species.

    If animal species that are far on the tree could interbreed, then they would have interbred, which means that we would be missing a node on the graph, and this new node would not fit the “tree” structure. In other words, because we observe that there are no nodes on the tree which correspond to two animal species interbreeding which are distant on the tree, we conclude that animals which are distant on the tree cannot interbreed.

    Sorry, you just can’t do that. The fact is you have absolutely no idea of what any potential intelligent designer was thinking or intending.

    Which is why I covered every possibility.

    You do not have a family tree. What you have is groupings according to morphology and not one based on which species is able to breed with another.

    Regardless, I have something with the appearance of a family tree. It may not be a family tree, but if it’s not a family tree, then that means that Yahweh purposefully created it to look like a family tree. That means that Yahweh tried to trick us. For reasons that we can delve further into (and some reasons I’ve already given), I reject that outcome.

    You have absolutely no way of confirming which species is able to breed with another until you actually observe them.

    If I’m on a jury for murder, I don’t need to have been a personal witness in order to obtain strong confidence that the defendant is guilty of murder. I reject your ridiculous standards of logical inference. I can make proper logical inferences that something is true, even if no one has ever seen it.

    Tell me this, are mules a separate species? If not do they belong on your “family tree”, and if they do then where do the go on it?

    Doesn’t matter if “mule” is a separate species. If it is a separate species, it would go on the tree right next to horses and donkeys, and horses and donkeys are already very close, which presents no problem for evolution and common ancestry. It would only pose a problem for two species that are distant on the tree. Again, horses and donkeys are as close as you can get on the tree.

    You can see life being created around you all the time. Everytime a living organism replicates then that is God creating life in front of you. If you have any doubt go and create it yourself or your own living organism.

    I don’t see Yahweh doing it. I don’t see Yahweh at all. You’re the one making assumptions.

  156. SamFromUK says

    @EL,


    Doesn’t matter if “mule” is a separate species. If it is a separate species, it would go on the tree right next to horses and donkeys, and horses and donkeys are already very close, which presents no problem for evolution and common ancestry. It would only pose a problem for two species that are distant on the tree. Again, horses and donkeys are as close as you can get on the tree.”

    Please state whether mules come under a horse or a donkey. It has to be one of them in order to keep your phylogenetic tree consistent. Also each node on your tree represents a species. Are mules a species?

  157. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sam
    The two obvious fixes are easy:
    * say mules, donkeys, and horses are one species, or
    * say that mules are not a species.
    Either one preserves the tree structure.

    You’re nitpicking at legalistic points, and missing the big picture. Regardless of these minor details, the tree structure remains, and this is a brute fact about reality that you need to deal with. Even if it’s not a family tree, it still looks exactly like one.

  158. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    You can’t do that. Your phylogenetic tree is based on morphology not on which animals can breed with another.
    Also you need to define species which you haven’t done yet.

    Sorry but you should do the right thing and accept mules don’t belong on the phylogenetic tree.

  159. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sam
    Do you really think that these legalistic and simple-minded challenges can actually stand up to scrutiny? Really? This sort of legalistic reasoning doesn’t belong in science. To use the tvtropes term, you’re ruleslawyering.
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RulesLawyer

    The term “species” is notoriously difficult to define, but I’ll try to play your game. Let’s define “species” as
    1- an existing population of animals,
    2- where the population of animals can be identified by morphological similarities,
    3- and where members of the population regularly interbreed to produce fertile offspring which are members of the same species. In particular, if the population can be split up into two separate groups, and the two separate groups are separate species by this definition, then the larger group is not a species.

    In particular, under this definition of “species”, a species exists only for a moment in time. The next generation of animals will be a different species. We’re simply identifying a way that we can the set of all animals that exist in any point in time. We don’t need to be able to use the same species label through a period of time, and it will even complicate matters because a population that is one species can over time produce new generations which would be classified as two separate species under this definition.

    In most cases, this definition is working. Around the quasi-point of speciation where a single population splits into two separating breeding populations, it will be difficult, impossible, to identify a single moment in time where the speciation split happens, but we don’t need such precise definitions for our purposes here.

    What say you now?

  160. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    Sorry but your definition doesn’t work. Don’t worry about it, as you said it yourself it’s notoriously difficult to define. It would be good if Dawkins and co could address anomalies like these and mention them as caveats instead of asserting their own unscientific beliefs.

  161. SamFromUK says

    @EL,
    3- and where members of the population regularly interbreed to produce fertile offspring which are members of the same species. In particular, if the population can be split up into two separate groups, and the two separate groups are separate species by this definition, then the larger group is not a species.”

    This is confusing. You’re using the term “species” in condition 3 when you haven’t fully defined species yet.

  162. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ok. More formally:

    A population of individuals (living creatures) is a subset of all living creatures according to some objective criteria. A population of individuals exists at a rough moment of history. We say that a particular population of individuals is a species if the population satisfies the all of the following criteria:

    1- The population is defined so that membership is determined only by sufficient morphological similarity of a specified degree of similarity. The defined degree of similarity can be different for every species.

    2- Nearly all offspring by members of the population would be considered members of the population. This does not extend to offspring from parents where one parent is not a member of the population. In other words, if members of the population regularly produce offspring that would not be considered members of the population, then the population is not a species.

    3- Some members are fertile, and offspring are regularly produced. In other words, if members of population never produce fertile offspring, then the population is not a species.

    4- Members rarely or never mate with non-members, and offspring from such mating (if any) must be rare or non-existent. In other words, if members of the population regularly mate with non-members and produce offspring, then the population is not a species.

    5- The population must be defined as narrowly as possible while still meeting the other criteria. In other words, if there is a non-trivial subset of the population which is a species, then the broader population is not a species.

    End straw definition.

    In particular, species exist at rough moment of times. The population of dogs today is not the same population of dogs of 100 years ago. Obviously so, because all individuals of the population of dogs from 100 years ago are dead, and therefore none of those dogs are also members of the contemporary population of dogs. This should be obvious: Evolution is about the change over time. Gene frequencies change over time.

    Oftentimes, the population that is the offspring of a population that is a species will also be a single species. However, sometimes the population that is the offspring of a population that is a species, will not be a single species; sometimes it will be two species. In other words, sometimes the offspring generation of a single species will be two species. In other words, sometimes speciation happens.

    Furthermore, I don’t need absolute boundaries between species, only clear and workable boundaries. That’s why I used words like “rare” and “regularly”. I just need a rule that will partition nearly all animals into separate, non-overlapping groups. Exceptions are not fatal to the exercise. I don’t need absolutes. Science doesn’t need to work in absolutes. The predictions of evolution need not be absolutes. Statistical predictions can still be science. For comparison, quantum theory is one of the most successful scientific theories of all time, and it only gives statistical predictions. I’m doing the same here. I’m just giving (strong) statistical predictions. Therefore, I don’t need a rule that produces absolutely zero ambiguity. I can still have falsifiable predictions when my predictions have a small amount of ambiguity.

    Under this working definition which I created in order to avoid your disingenuous attacks, the obvious approach seems to be: Mules are not members of any species, and the population of mules is not a species. Mules do not produce offspring, which means the population of only mules cannot be a species under this definition. Mules cannot be members of the horse species population, because then I could define a narrower criteria for membership, which would violate the narrowness prong, which means that I must define the horse species population in such a way as to exclude mules. Ditto for donkeys.

    In particular, a donkey and a horse producing a mule doesn’t pose a problem. This is a rare event, which means it doesn’t violate that prong. Also, we don’t arrive at a weird situation of substantial overlap between species because mules are not members of any species. Under this definition of “species”, it is true that nearly all animals are members of exactly one species, which is precisely what we need to make statements about the Linnaeus morphological classification of life, e.g. the classification system of contemporary animals species based on morphology which happens to form a single-root mathematical tree (graph) structure.

    Similarly, there may also be some quirks with this definition regarding eusocial species, i.e. ants, but again these quirks shouldn’t pose a problem when defining species for the purposes of constructing the Linnaeus morphological classification of life.

  163. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:
    And again, I must emphasize that during a speciation event, it will be hard, impossible, to determine the exact moment in time when the previous generation was a single species, but the next generation is two species. This similar to the situation that we find ourselves with horses, donkeys, and mules. At some point of time in the past, the population of ancestors of those animals was a single species. At some rough point, the speciation event happened, which is close to the modern day. During the speciation event, we run into problems regarding my use of the words “rare” and “regularly”.

    In other words, for a speciation event to happen, this is what happens.

    At generation T0, members freely interbreed.

    At generation T1, some unspecified number of generations later, there are two identifiable subpopulations. There is still a single species, but breeding and offspring is slightly less common across the subpopulations as opposed to within either subpopulation.

    Over subsequent generations, this effect becomes pronounced, until we arrive at some point generation T2, where there is almost zero breeding between the subpopulations, but breeding within either subpopulation is regular and frequent.

    You said that you buy microevolution. Presumably this means that you buy speciation. This means that you also buy the story that I just told. This should mean that you should reject your horse-donkey-mule argument. You cannot have it both ways. Speciation doesn’t pose a problem for evolution. Evolution relies on speciation. You should not object to evolution because of the difficulties inherent in defining “species” because of speciation events. Your entire “horse-donkey-mule” argument is only that – pointing out the difficulties in defining “species” during speciation events.

    tl;dr
    Your entire “horse-donkey-mule” argument is attacking a strawman of evolution. Evolution predicts that the odds that two individuals from separate species populations can breed and produce offspring is small, but not zero. Evolution also predicts that the odds decrease as the distance between the two species increase, where “distance” here is defined according to distance on the tree of life.

    Thus, donkeys and horses occasionally producing mules is not a big problem for evolution, because donkeys and horses are close on the tree of life. Rather, if we observed zero such cases of cross-species offspring, this would be good evidence for created kinds, and it would be good evidence against evolution. Evolution predicts that we should occasionally see cross-species offspring.

  164. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “. Also, we don’t arrive at a weird situation of substantial overlap between species because mules are not members of any species”

    Might have been just better to say mules are not a species. If they’re not a species then they can’t go on the phylogenetic tree.

    You’re trying to make evolution fit in with reality. Sometimes you’ve just got to accept it when something doesn’t work in your theory. A true scientist will readily admit this and discard the theory or propose changes to make it fit with reality. Sorry but I don’t believe your changes don’t fit in with reality or evolution. It was a good attempt and I think you should continue researching it.

  165. says

    What is the issue with you Sam? Are you lonely or something?

    No one here gives a shit what you believe or your half baked circular misinterpretations of science.

    God doesn’t exist, if he did I wouldn’t worship him anyway.

    As for evolution – it’s a fact.And it’s not relevant to whether there is a god or not.

    Now why don’t you just go back to your muslim buddies and believe what you want to believe with them? Why do you continue to preach to people who are not buying what you’re selling?

  166. Skye Eldrich says

    Shaun said, “God doesn’t exist, if he did I wouldn’t worship him anyway.”

    THAT is what evangelists don’t get. THAT is what dawah… ists? don’t get. Even IF a god was definitively proven to exist… WE WOULDN’T BECOME CHRISTIANS OR MUSLIMS. In fact, I would make it my life’s mission to try to KILL that god for the good of all mankind, as he/she/it would be the most monstrous being in the history of the universe.

    And before you accuse me of hating god or whatever: Yes, I do hate God. In the same way I hate Voldemort and Darth Vader or any other fictional villain.

  167. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    This actually segues a bit into a conversation had in an earlier thread. For many (not all but many) believers, there’s no difference between “knowing” God exists and submitting yerself to him. One necessarily follows the other. This is at the root of many of their “oh God can’t definitively reveal his existence because that would override our Free Will and it’s important we come to him of our own accord!”
    Of course, as Matt points out, this argument is rendered moot by the belief in Satan and fallen angels that many of them share, since those entities had personal interaction with God and were still able to defy him. Yet the idea that an non-believer could gain similar awareness and be like “ah yeah, look at that. There he is. Still don’t care what he wants, but yeah, now I’m satisfied he exists…” is somewhat unthinkable to many of them.
    Oddly growing up Methodist this wasn’t a mentality I ran into all that often, but as my interactions with believers of other stripes widened I encountered it more and more and it always rather confused me why someone would think it was a 1:1 like that.

  168. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “This is at the root of many of their “oh God can’t definitively reveal his existence because that would override our Free Will and it’s important we come to him of our own accord!””

    This belief is not in scripture hence theists should be called up on it as something they have made up themselves. Today there are billions who know God exists but even though quite a lot will still sin.

    “Yet the idea that an non-believer could gain similar awareness and be like “ah yeah, look at that. There he is. Still don’t care what he wants, but yeah, now I’m satisfied he exists…” is somewhat unthinkable to many of them.”

    I used to think like this some years ago but after seeing the behavior or other believers and noticing my own I understand it why they don’t care. The things of this life are very alluring and hard to let go of.

  169. SamFromUK says

    This is why I’m more interested in the science and learning about all the misinformation they have been brainwashed with.

  170. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 181

    Today there are billions who know God exists but even though quite a lot will still sin.

    Putting aside an exception to the use of the word “know” I pretty much agree. Despite belief in a deity being a prerequisite for good behavior for alot of people, it’s not really borne out in how alot of folks live their lives. Some of the most contemptuous people I’ve ever met have simultaneously been the most devote.

    “Yet the idea that an non-believer could gain similar awareness and be like “ah yeah, look at that. There he is. Still don’t care what he wants, but yeah, now I’m satisfied he exists…” is somewhat unthinkable to many of them.”

    I used to think like this some years ago but after seeing the behavior or other believers and noticing my own I understand it why they don’t care. The things of this life are very alluring and hard to let go of.

    I’m not sure who ye mean by “they” here, but if yer saying that non-believers are dazzled by the mundane at the expense of divine I’m not sure that’s particularly accurate.

    @ Sam – 182

    This is why I’m more interested in the science and learning about all the misinformation they have been brainwashed with.

    As someone who has listened to yer calls, read what ye’ve written and even engaged with ye, that ye think this is an accurate description of what ye do is alternately maddeningly frustrating and gut bustingly hilarious.

  171. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “I’m not sure who ye mean by “they” here, but if yer saying that non-believers are dazzled by the mundane at the expense of divine I’m not sure that’s particularly accurate.”

    They as in both believers and non believers. It’s not only that both find certain things of this life dazzling it’s also the daily routines, the relationships, the influence of others, media, etc. All these things drive our attention and focus on certain things and to think in a certain way. The believers have the advantage that they are the rightly guided ones so they should have a better understanding of how to deal with life events.

    What I say may be maddening to you because you come from a perspective where most of what I say you cannot wrap your head around. That includes the science bits. I’m not being arrogant but one day it will be proven via science that the most of the ideas of evolution today are nonsense. You guys have been duped by Dawkins and co. Will it make you believe in God? Probably not but as believers we can have one up on the heathens.

  172. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 184

    The believers have the advantage that they are the rightly guided ones so they should have a better understanding of how to deal with life events.

    I thank ye for yer Xmas gift of laughter. It’s deeply appreciated, hahahaha.

    What I say may be maddening to you because you come from a perspective where most of what I say you cannot wrap your head around. That includes the science bits. I’m not being arrogant but one day it will be proven via science that the most of the ideas of evolution today are nonsense. You guys have been duped by Dawkins and co. Will it make you believe in God? Probably not but as believers we can have one up on the heathens.

    More hilarious jokes! By the gods, yer generous!

    But seriously man, c’mon. Time and time again I’ve seen ye try to espouse that ye’ve got some kind of great truth we’re all just too ignorant to see and after going round and round it’s the most ridiculous, hollow nonsense like “look at the trees!” Ye say that yer arguments are logical while at the same time admitting to relying on circular reasoning and other logical fallacies. Ye say yer arguments are backed by scripture, and maintain it even when it’s revealed that the scriptures yer relying on refute yer position. Ye say that science bears ye out but are quickly dismissive of any science that doesn’t track to yer understanding of the Koran and are sneeringly dismissive of scientists in general. Yer apologetics are infantile on the level of Ray Comfort and just as stuck to in the face of evidence to the contrary. It’d be adorable if it wasn’t so heartbreaking.

    As to that last bit, Fun Fact: Dawkins didn’t play into my discarding of my religious faith at all. Neither did Christopher Hitchens, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Sam Harris, Matt Dillahunty, Stephen Hawking, Bill Maher, Lawrence Krauss, Ricky Gervais, Bill down the street, or any other atheist, intellectual, author, scientist or famous personality. Most all admit to is that after the fact some of them gave me more concise ways to frame my thoughts, but none of them shaped them to begin with. While I’m sure there are people who lost their faith after reading the God Delusion or something, for alot of us it came after critical examination of our religious beliefs on our own.

  173. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    ” Ye say yer arguments are backed by scripture, and maintain it even when it’s revealed that the scriptures yer relying on refute yer position”

    Please show me which scriptures I have used which refute my position.

  174. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “Ye say that science bears ye out but are quickly dismissive of any science that doesn’t track to yer understanding of the Koran and are sneeringly dismissive of scientists in general”.

    We’ll let the science speak for itself. Just watch this space.

    Dawkins and Co represent your position publicly. They are the public face of most of your thoughts on religion. So when they are proven wrong then you too will be proven wrong. Please don’t take this the wrong way. We can all be wrong about things, it’s how we learn. I’ve been wrong many times and no doubt I’ll be proven wrong in the future both on religious and scientific matters.

  175. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Dude, we’ve been over this. Back in August we went at length and ye said that ye respect the 4 Scriptures, by which ye eventually said ye meant specifically the Gospels because the Epistles of Paul, Acts of the Apostles, etc were “written by men” or whatever.
    A BIG part of what ye were talking about is that Jesus is never directly called or calls himself the Son of God, and I PERSONALLY walked ye through bits in I think Matthew and Mark where he is directly said to be the Son (Big S) of God (Big G). Particularly there was Matthew 3:17 where God himself (or perhaps Metatron speaking for him, depending on which parts of the dogma ye ascribe to) speaks during Jesus’s Baptism:
    Matthew 3:17
    And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
    And the best I was able to get from ye was that “well God was speaking metaphorically there” which is a take which makes NO FUCKING SENSE in the context of the point ye were trying to make. So when ye repeated the whole “Jesus isn’t actually the Son of God in the Scriptures” point during yer last call I facepalmed so hard that they felt it towns away.

  176. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    I see what you’re saying. You’re thinking divine son of God. The Old Testament uses this term as well. It’s the same meaning – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Son_of_God

    It’s just that Christians wrongly decided to change it’s use to mean divine son of God.

    I’m confused with your thoughts on this because you don’t really understand scripture and haven’t looked up the meaning of words but yet you insist that your own made up interpretation is the one that makes sense.

  177. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sam
    The problem is that your understanding of actual evolutionary theory is flawed. You believe evolution claims and predicts that there is zero breeding across species. This is wrong. Evolution does predict that there will be limited breeding across species. You’re applying your own notion of Biblical animal kinds (or Koranic animal kinds?) onto evolution. It’s projection. It’s strawmanning. Knock it off. I, as the proponent of evolution, get to define my beliefs and my claims, not you. I also honestly represent nearly all professional biologists on this topic (give or take some errors).

    Evolution predicts that speciation has happened, is happening, and continues to happen. During a speciation event, one species splits into two. In the evolutionary view of the world, sometimes there is no magic moment when the split happens.

    Frequently, speciation will occur when a single population is split geographically, so that one half cannot physically meet with the other half and breed. One might be tempted to call this the point of speciation, but someone could take members from one side and move them to the other side, and they’d breed just fine, so by a simple forced breeding test they’re still the same species, but by observation they no longer breed (due to the geographic separator). Over time, these two populations will drift apart from the original and from each other, and over time this will make it less likely that interbreeding could happen. It’s not an “all or nothing” thing. It’s a slow gradual process. The statistical chance of successful interbreeding starts from the norm for the original population, and the chance decreases over time as the populations diverge genetically. However, it often doesn’t reach literal zero percent chance.

    Oftentimes, one species will diverge into two due to geographic separation, but then later the two populations will come into close physical proximity again. However, they may not interbreed, and not because of genetic incompatible reasons, but simple behavioral reasons. Chimps and humans are separate species, but we’re close enough genetically that maybe(?) we could interbreed, albeit rarely. However, despite existing in close physical proximity for a long time, this hasn’t happened, because chimps don’t want to fuck humans, and vice versa. Simple behavioral differences are what may keep the species separate.

    “Species” at its core is not a measure about what and cannot interbreed. “Species” at its core is about an actual breeding population, a population of individuals that regularly interbreed. That’s the fundamental unit of evolutionary change (“changes in gene frequencies in populations over time”). It doesn’t matter if two species interbreed if they never actually interbreed. Two such species would do not interbreed, and therefore they do not exchange genes, and therefore they evolve along separate paths.

    I apologize for not realizing this earlier (I’m not a trained student in biology, only a hobbyist), but again, you are simply wrong; evolution does not require nor predict that species are never capable of interbreeding, and worse, if we actually observed that there was zero chance of interbreeding between any two species, that would be strong evidence against evolution. Again, take any two species, and on the hypothesis of common ancestry, at some point in the past, their two ancestor populations consisted of the same species, which means that for any two species, at some point in the past, their ancestors could interbreed, but slowly over time, their ancestors became less likely to interbreed, and the odds that they could interbreed also probably went down to near zero (or actually zero).

    It’s actually quite funny that you’re demanding that I present evidence and argument, which, if true, would actually be evidence against evolution.

  178. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ack: Fixing this:

    > It doesn’t matter if two species are genetically capable of interbreeding if they never actually interbreed. Two such species would not interbreed, and therefore they would not exchange genes, and therefore they would evolve along separate paths.

  179. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 189
    I tried to post a “Deepest Sigh of All” link in relation to yer post on 187, but I guess this forum wouldn’t let me post a Youtube link. Or it’ll appear in an hour or so, in which case this post will just appear nonsensical. But such a deepest sigh of all bears even more for this.

    Ye can say the Christians changed the meaning all ye like. But the Scriptures, as I’ve said, paint Jesus not as just some guy who’s Son of God in some representative or thematic sense, but that Yahweh is Jesus’s daddy just as Zeus was for Perseus and Heracles. Ye can hem and haw with them about it, but ye say he’s not but a Prophet and the Christian Gospels that ye say ye accept paint a different picture.
    Personally, running under the assumption there was a Jesus I see no reason to believe he was divine either, but I’m also not the one predicating my world view on ancient texts that don’t agree with eachother.

    But the important point is this: I don’t particularly care that yer making a case of “oh well they meant this” and that he’s not divine when the people themselves have just as “solid” scriptural support for their take that he was. What I was getting at is that yer statement that “he’s not the Son of God in the Scriptures” is not the cut and dry statement ye seem to paint it as.

    The rest of my points still stand though. Ye bowed out of the previous thread till ye could collect yer ideas and argue yer case better, and yer still rocking Ray Comfort Lite level apologetics. Ye’ve got decent syntax in many cases, I’ll give ye that. However when the underlying conceits of all yer arguments are “look at the trees” and “a wizard did it” ye still have yer work cut out for ye.

  180. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “Ye can hem and haw with them about it, but ye say he’s not but a Prophet and the Christian Gospels that ye say ye accept paint a different picture.”

    You do realise there are quite a few unitarian Christians out there and also the Jehovahs Witnesses don’t claim that Jesus is the divine son of God and even the Jews accept he could only have been a prophet but never the divine son of God. Even the Trinitarian Christians have a hard time proving that Jesus was the divine son of God. But apparently to you it’s clear to you. So I guess you should maybe try to see why you think the way you do regarding this point.

  181. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “I, as the proponent of evolution, get to define my beliefs and my claims, not you. I also honestly represent nearly all professional biologists on this topic (give or take some errors).”

    You are free to define your belief however you wish but when it comes to evolution you have to cite your scientific sources otherwise you’re just making things up.

  182. says

    @Sam

    Dawkins and Co represent your position publicly. They are the public face of most of your thoughts on religion. So when they are proven wrong then you too will be proven wrong.

    I know you won’t answer me Sam, in the same way you don’t answer MS or anyone else who gives short shrift to your bullshit, but this point needs addressing –

    No one is the public face of my thoughts on religion. I don’t follow the words of others like you do. I make up my own mind. If Dawkins became a born again christian tomorrow I still wouldn’t believe in your absurd god.

    That is what you’re not getting. We (atheists and agnostics) don’t need to follow someone else’s doctrine and dogma.

    That you can not comprehend this shows how limited your thinking is. It is beyond your comprehension that anyone could not be a “follower” of something.

  183. says

    Also – evolution disproved tomorrow wouldn’t mean a thing to me. It wouldn’t make me believe in your stupid sky fairy. So give it up. You just don’t get it do you?

  184. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 193

    You do realise there are quite a few unitarian Christians out there and also the Jehovahs Witnesses don’t claim that Jesus is the divine son of God and even the Jews accept he could only have been a prophet but never the divine son of God. Even the Trinitarian Christians have a hard time proving that Jesus was the divine son of God. But apparently to you it’s clear to you. So I guess you should maybe try to see why you think the way you do regarding this point.

    I’m well aware of the tendency of believers to look at the same passages and come away with completely different meanings. As has been pointed out on the show NUMEROUS times, no two believers are completely alike in their beliefs. I can agree that “Son of God” is used elsewhere to not really mean someone who God is legitimately their Papa, but even the article ye posted talked about the different ways the term is and has been used. The best I can give ye about Jesus not being divine in the Scriptures is that I can see where yer coming from since yer trying to get the Gospels to jibe with yer understanding of the Koran. However, even as a non believer I don’t think that’s what the text is saying there. Maybe they (the early Christians) changed it. Hell, whoever wrote Matthew bent so far over backwards to make it look like Jesus fulfilled the prophecies for the Messiah that he even fulfilled things which weren’t really prophecies for the Messiah, but whatever. In general, just as I tend to raise an eyebrow at Christians who blow off the Jews regarding the Old Testament, the Gospels are THEIR book which yer tradition glomped onto. Maybe it’s up to the Christians to say what they meant in the books talking about their Messiah.
    As to the Trinitarian Christians demonstrating that Jesus was the true Son of God, well I guess that depends on what context we’re talking about. On one hand I agree, taking for granted the issue of Jesus’s existence, I don’t believe he was a Son of God in any more than ye or I are. However if we’re talking about within the bounds of the text, well then they managed to insert enough shit that I’m like “sure, in the Story he’s Son of God. It’s not every important figure in the Bible who gets an Archangel coming to their mother to tell her God knocked her up and then God himself actually says “this is my son” to people a couple times.”

  185. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You are free to define your belief however you wish but when it comes to evolution you have to cite your scientific sources otherwise you’re just making things up.

    You have a great many misunderstandings. It could take a very long time to provide a citation for every one of them. Do you have something in particular?

  186. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    Thanks but I’m fine with my understanding so far. I’ll let you know if I need anything clarifying.

  187. SamFromUK says

    @shaun,

    “evolution disproved tomorrow wouldn’t mean a thing to me”

    It would mean you no longer need to test the hypothesis that you could breed with a gorilla. So that could be a relief.

  188. t90bb says

    sam..its funny how u need scientific citations….do you need scientific citations for gravity?? germ theory? so u want scientific citations from us…….yet you flat out acknowledge and accept your book of crap called the qran….and the magical pedophile mohanned because an old book tells you so…….lol……oh the irony

  189. t90bb says

    sam…since you think you have proof that evolution is false….where can i read your published works?? why are you not famous????…im sure your sky genie allah and your pedophile friend mohammed would be really proud of you if you proved evolution to be false….

    sure seems like your wasting time on tae board when you could be publishing your work……or perhaps you are just full of shit. i mean hundreds and hundreds of your posts and i doubt you have moved the needle for anyone…..keep up the great work.

  190. says

    @Sam

    It would mean you no longer need to test the hypothesis that you could breed with a gorilla. So that could be a relief.

    You’re a fucking retard. You’re one of those people who it gets frustrating to deal with on the internet because you want to see them in real life and shake them and say, “grow a fucking brain!”

    I’ll quickly say this, and then I’ll stop arguing with an idiot. I don’t need to test that hypothesis, because I am not a a fucking idiot. I actually UNDERSTAND evolution. You on the other hand have no fucking idea.

  191. t90bb says

    since muddying the waters of science and evolution is obviously geared to make sams magic genie and pedophile prophet appear more legitimate, I’m just wondering what evidence sam actually has that his genie and pedophile prophet are real….

  192. t90bb says

    203…….shuan…..

    Sam like the rest of the retarded theists need to stay just ignorant enough on many topics so as to keep their belief alive. its an art and a skill. they do not want to learn or understand anything that might be in conflict with their books of fairy tales….cognitive dissonance at its most obvious…

    its like when they say shit like mating a dog with a dog will never result in a donkey…CHECKMATE ATHEISTS!….

    THEY DO NOT DARE honestly learn and evaluate the actual evidence…..they wont….its a threat to their promised 99 virgins and fellowship with the pedophile profit..

  193. says

    @Sam

    oh boo hoo.. who’s got you butt hurt? Is it me? Hope so.

    If you’re upset because everyone is laughing at you, time you stopped playing with the big boys.

    Your intellectual capacity is (to paraphrase Matt Dillahunty) “I’m at pre-school… and I left my lunch at home.”

    if you can’t string a coherent argument together and attempt to just bluster your way through, if you are willfully ignorant of why atheists and agnostics have the world views they do, if you make strawmen arguments that misrepresent science and ignore people when they correct your mistakes, there is nothing remaining other than ridicule. So what else would you expect?

  194. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    Your response to my thought experiment:

    the followers of the Abrahamic faiths are basing their claims from scripture which they claim is from God. So the starting point is not an unobservable god but one which was observed thousands of years ago and who has made himself known through scripture for all the world.

    None of this makes any difference to the thought experiment. As I said, everything in the two scenarios is identical other than the existence of the god. If Scenario A has a scripture claiming to be the product of this god then Scenario B has the exact same scripture. And if Scenario A’s scripture claims that the god was directly observed by the authors of the scripture, then so does Scenario B’s scripture.
    How can you determine which scenario contains the (originally observable, but now unobservable) god?
     

    Yes, someone could have made up the scriptures thousands of years ago, so how does one verify them?
    I’m saying the only way to verify them is via testing the claims in the scriptures and seeing what other things they contain which make sense.

    There is so much that is wrong with this. Fundamentally, verifying other claims does not tell you whether or not a specific claim is true. The issue is a little more nuanced than that, because confidence levels come into it, but without sidetracked into that complex area, what we can say is that you are talking about a claim that is arguably the biggest claim imaginable – something that is responsible for the entire universe we inhabit, and on which you base your world-view – and you are basically proposing it should be accepted based on “some of the other stuff in the book is true”. This is utterly and absurdly inadequate.

    Even if it were a valid approach, for a claim of such importance, surely you would want all the other scriptural claims to be verifiably true in order to accept the scripture as the truth of a perfect god? Whereas the reality is that the scriptures are so riddled with inconsistencies and factual inaccuracies that they provide no confidence whatsoever to accept even a minor unverifiable claim, let alone the biggest claim imaginable.

    On the other hand, if your argument is “we should look at the book as a whole”, I will simply point out that you previously exhorted me to ‘ignore the baggage, just focus on the creation’. If you’re looking at the whole thing, then the baggage is a part of that. And as soon as we start opening the baggage, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.
     

    The way you recognise evolution is based on the definition and the observations you make. So evolution is not the change in a living organism but the changes you observe in a population of those living organisms who are able to breed and which happens over a period of time, etc, etc. In a similar way we recognise God from observations we make in reality.

    Around a decade ago, evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin and colleagues used evolutionary theory to predict that fossils displaying both fish-like characteristics and characteristics of the earliest land-based animals (flat-heads with eyes on top, and proto-legs) should be found in the boundaries between waterways and land from the Devonian period. On searching the exposed Devonian rock strata that met those conditions, his team found Tiktaalik: fish-like body, scales, eyes on top of its flat head, fins containing proto-leg structure (radius/ulna, wrist functionality) and a mobile neck. Not only did ToE successfully predict what they would find, it also predicted where they would find it.
    Please give even one single example of a detailed testable prediction that has been made and confirmed “in a similar way” from the ‘creation’ hypothesis.
     

    We’re not making an arbitrary statement. The claims have to come from a source and not just someones imagination.

    The source of your god claim is a book, written by humans.
    The source of my unicorn claim is a book, written by humans.
    In both cases, they are either true or not. You don’t establish that by simply saying ‘my claim comes from a source, yours doesn’t’.
    This is so utterly worthless as an argument that it is hard to imagine why you would even bother to write such emptiness onto the page.

  195. RationalismRules says

    @Shaun @t90bb
    Guys, please join us in the 21st century. Apart from it being just plain contemptible to use disability as an insult, you are also letting Sam off the hook.

    Intellectual disability is not a choice. Sam’s ignorance, self-delusion, dishonesty, intellectual laziness, superstitiousness, and arrogance are all characteristics that he could change if he chose to.

  196. says

    You’re absolutely right RR. Intellectual disability is indeed not a choice.

    No disrespect intended to intellectually disabled people by the use of such terms as pejoratives. I don’t associate using such terms in the case of Sam with anything like that. It just seemed to be the right fit when I looked it up in in my big book of insults.

    Sam is welcome to his views. They’re wrong of course, but he’s still welcome to have them. However he’s not welcome to support his views with utter drivel.

  197. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “How can you determine which scenario contains the (originally observable, but now unobservable) god?”

    As I’ve said a number of times by looking at the claims made and verifying them.

  198. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sam
    I’d love to verify the god claim. How do you do that Sam? And don’t tell me “by looking at other claims in the book”. Like what RR said, I could write a book that contains a bunch of factually true and verifiable claims, and also insert a claim that says “EL is the king of everything”. Verifying the other claims has close to zero relevance to verifying the claim that “EL is the king of everything”. (RR is right that there’s some nuance here, but it’s a long and complicated discussion, and we can skip that for now.)

  199. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    “There is so much that is wrong with this. Fundamentally, verifying other claims does not tell you whether or not a specific claim is true. The issue is a little more nuanced than that, because confidence levels come into it, but without sidetracked into that complex area, what we can say is that you are talking about a claim that is arguably the biggest claim imaginable – something that is responsible for the entire universe we inhabit, and on which you base your world-view – and you are basically proposing it should be accepted based on “some of the other stuff in the book is true”. This is utterly and absurdly inadequate.

    Even if it were a valid approach, for a claim of such importance, surely you would want all the other scriptural claims to be verifiably true in order to accept the scripture as the truth of a perfect god? Whereas the reality is that the scriptures are so riddled with inconsistencies and factual inaccuracies that they provide no confidence whatsoever to accept even a minor unverifiable claim, let alone the biggest claim imaginable.

    On the other hand, if your argument is “we should look at the book as a whole”, I will simply point out that you previously exhorted me to ‘ignore the baggage, just focus on the creation’. If you’re looking at the whole thing, then the baggage is a part of that. And as soon as we start opening the baggage, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.”

    You’re right. It depends on the claims being made. If the claim is the sun will rise tomorrow therefore God is true then it’s obviously a meaningless claim. If the claim was that the sun will not rise tomorrow then that is something which is meaningful.

    I’m glad you think that the claim about God is arguably the biggest claim imaginable. Some crazy atheists don’t care – but that’s their loss.

    So extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Jesus brought the dead back alive, made wine from water, fed thousands from a few fish and loaves, etc, etc that kind of evidence. Now these kinds of claims are historic. There is no way going back in time and witnessing them. If there happened to be video evidence then there’s no point in using that because it could be faked. Government documents could be faked since you can bribe people, swap documents, witness could be liars, etc. Also Jesus may not even have existed and this was all fabricated or maybe it was some clever hoaxer fooling a bunch of primitives.

    I accept that some of the scriptures contain inconsistencies. They were put together by humans. Would it have been good to have them perfectly preserved, sure it would. Would that help verify that it’s from God? Not one bit. How do I know? As Muslims we believe the Quran is the word of God. Has that helped to convince non-believers that it’s from God? Not one bit.
    So simply put there’s no point in verifying historical claims or seeing if there are no inconsistencies. What you need is claims which you can verify today, meticulously, again and again, again forever. That’s what matters.

    Yes I said we should look at the book as a whole but for newbies they should ignore the baggage for now until they understand the basics. The baggage does make sense later one. But it takes time. I’ve asked the same questions as atheists and other theists, such as “Why didn’t God just ban salvery”, “Why couldn’t God himself destroy those nations?”, “Why such harsh punishments?”, etc.

  200. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    As I’ve said a number of times, the claims in each scenario are exactly the same. Your methodology “looking at the claims and verifying them” sounds great, if only the god was observable.
    Method 1: Looking at the claims. You are looking at two identical sets of claims. Because of the circumstances (one scenario with an unobservable god, one scenario with no god) you know that one of the claims is true, while the other is false. How do you tell which is which?
    Method 2: Verifying the claims. Great idea. How? The god is unobservable, and everything else in the scenarios is identical.

    The scripture says “the unobservable god is responsible for the trees”, but there are trees in both scenarios. The scripture says “the god wrote these scriptures”, but it’s the same scripture in both scenarios.

    Which scenario has the god?

  201. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    #215 Just to remind you, the comment that you quoted from me was a response to this from you:

    Yes, someone could have made up the scriptures thousands of years ago, so how does one verify them?
    I’m saying the only way to verify them is via testing the claims in the scriptures and seeing what other things they contain which make sense.

    Now you appear to be saying there is no way to verify any of it. In direct contradiction of yourself.

    For a minute there, I thought this was going to address the point:

    What you need is claims which you can verify today, meticulously, again and again, again forever.

    but no, you didn’t ennumerate any of these claims, so it just falls into the category of more empty bloviating.

  202. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    I think I know what you’re saying now. I think you are saying that in both scenarios we have the same claim, where the claim is that there is God. Both scenarios are in book form but one is allegedly from a divine source and the other is a book written by a human, ideally by an atheist who wants to prove their point or something.

    Is the above correct?

  203. SamFromUK says

    @RR,
    “Now you appear to be saying there is no way to verify any of it. In direct contradiction of yourself.”

    I think you are asking how do you verify the scriptures are the original scriptures. You can’t and it’s not necessary. What makes the scriptures holy is the contents. Even if there was a long historical record of the scriptures it would be irrelevant. Whats relevant are the contents. Let’s say for example someone wrote a paper on elves thousands of years ago. The document has been proven to be a valid historical document via the current methods of determining authenticity, ie dating, references, archeology, other sources, etc. Would the authenticity of the document prove to you that elves exist? Of course not. Could elves have existed thousands of years ago? Yes why not. But since we can’t test for them today then it’s fine not to believe in them.

  204. t90bb says

    219….sam says

    I think you are asking how do you verify the scriptures are the original scriptures. You can’t and it’s not necessary. What makes the scriptures holy is the contents

    OH is that right???? setting up man to fail by an all knowing (past present and future) magic genie is Holy? spreading original sin to all that follows is HOLY??? Slaughtering innocent animals and sprinkling their blood on that alter is HOLY? Burning innocent animals because your magic genie loves the smell of burning flesh is HOLY? Drowning all but 8 in a flood is Holy???? Allowing 8 to survive the flood although they were just as guilty as the rest HOLY? Telling a man to build an alter to slaughter their son is HOLY??? …… Giving guidance as to how to own fellow humans as “property” is Holy?? Giving instructions about how badly you can beat your human property is Holy? Insisting people stone women that do not bleed sufficiently on their wedding night ON THEIR FATHERS DOORSTEP is HOLY??? Insisting that you kill family members that do not believe as you do (and be the first to cast a stone in their death) is Holy? Killing and burning down villages if a member who believes in something other than you do is tolerated is HOLY????

    Sam…I hope you can appreciate I am only getting warmed up. Your Qran as well as the Babble are some of the nastiest and vile garbage I have ever read, Its not good enough to use as toilet paper (well..maybe in a pinch!”). I mock it every chance I get..Dont like it??? Too bad. It deserves to be mocked. If you take it personally then thats fine by me. Cry to the moderators if you like. Is your magical genie not powerful enough to stop me?? LOL what a wimp! That pedophile prophet was a real tough guy huh…He knows where to find me. I am as threatened by your magic genie as I am Yogi Bear.

    To claim that the scriptures themselves validate their “holiness” is beyond sick. Makes me wonder what life issues you have dealt with to become so desperate to actually believe in such a dark, twisted narrative. You are wasting your life Sam. Perhaps you find life too terrifying or depressing to live your life without a grand fairy tale.

    Sam, I challenge you to spend some time in quiet reflection. Reflect on the basis of your your belief. Many of us were once as convinced as you. Getting honest with yourself can be a doorway to freedom.

  205. t90bb says

    211…RR…you say

    @Shaun @t90bb
    Guys, please join us in the 21st century. Apart from it being just plain contemptible to use disability as an insult, you are also letting Sam off the hook.

    Intellectual disability is not a choice. Sam’s ignorance, self-delusion, dishonesty, intellectual laziness, superstitiousness, and arrogance are all characteristics that he could change if he chose to.

    Apologize RR…your right.

    Sams defense mechanisms are triple reinforced…he loves his fairy tale. Sam makes me really appreciate the fact that so many of us escape from such sick thinking……I was once very Sam like in my thinking. Until i reached the age of….reason. For some reason once I was exposed to both sides….it was clear to me to which made sense. Sam needs a bit of extra work…but I see a budding atheist within him!. Trying to reconcile his religion with reality and reason is a triple full time job….come to the light SAM! come to the light. Join us in honesty.

  206. SamFromUK says

    @t90bb,

    I think you have mental health issues along with Shaun. Any sane person would have simply found something better to do rather than read discussion which does not concern them. I’m sure there are mental health support services where you live. They say some being online can cause behaviour that you are exhibiting. Maybe try taking a long break from the internet? Just a suggestion.

  207. t90bb says

    222…..sam……this coming from a man that believes in a magic sky genie and a prophet that marries and rapes little girls. Do yourself a favor and listen to your last 10 calls to the atheist experience….and ask yourself who has mental issues. You are regularly laughed at and come back for more. If you only had proof for your deity….lol………enjoy your “special” friend.

  208. SamFromUK says

    @t90bb,

    You may not know this but the idea of the prophet Mohammed marrying a a 9 year old is not in the Quran or any text considered divine – feel free to google it. Hence many don’t accept it. Also if you think the prophet marrying a 9 year old is true why not accept all the other stories about him and those about hell? Seems like you want to pick and choose things which you want to but anything about hell you conveniently want to ignore. You only talk about the marriage to a 9 year old simply to incite anger and mock. People can see right through you. It does not bother me one bit. You’re only digging your own grave.

  209. t90bb says

    oh I dont accept any of it….I only point out how incredibly stupid the holy books are! I mock the use of a talking snake too…yet I dont believe that existed either! So you dont believe your prophet was a pedo? oh thats good! Got any reasons to believe your magical genie actually exists???

    I am mocking your belief…just as I would mock belief in the tooth fairy! I mock the genie of the old test supposed use of a global flood…not because I believe it happened. Some ideas deserve to be mocked…especially when those that expose the silly notions claim others are actually in denial….

  210. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sam
    I don’t know what “holy” means in this context. Written by Yahweh? Well, in order to show that the book is holy, aka t the book was written by Yahweh, it is first requisite to demonstrate that Yahweh exists.

  211. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    Think of Yahweh is a process such as evolution. You observe evolution by observing various phenomena. A group of those phenomena is called evolution but you don’t see evolution as something with shape or form. Or for example think of Yahweh as a force such as gravity. You don’t see gravity but you see it’s effects on mass.

  212. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    So, Yahweh’s actions are indistinguishable from unguided, uncaring natural laws? I don’t think that’s what you mean.

  213. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    Good point and a very fundamental one. When you understand God you realise he created absolutely everything including your mind and the way you perceive reality. Many atheists are looking for something in the universe to distinguish between God and something not from God. They’re looking for something to contrast against. This is an incorrect concept of God. As I said before, everything is a creation of God so there is nothing to distinguish God from. In order to find the evidence of God we have to look at the alleged scriptures from God. No one born on earth knows what the evidence of God is. They have to be told of the evidence of God as well as the fact that he exists. If God did not do this then no human would ever know about God, it would be purely conjecture.

  214. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    I think I know what you’re saying now. I think you are saying that in both scenarios we have the same claim, where the claim is that there is God. Both scenarios are in book form but one is allegedly from a divine source and the other is a book written by a human, ideally by an atheist who wants to prove their point or something.
    Is the above correct?

    We can put in whatever we want, so long as it exists identically in both scenarios. The only difference between the scenarios is the existence/non-existence of the unobservable (although previously observable) god. You seem to think holy books are significant to whether or not a god exists, so let’s put holy books into the scenarios and see if they help you to find the god. You seem to think trees are evidence of god, so let’s put trees into the scenarios and see if they help you to find the god.

    Both scenarios now contain identical holy books with identical god claims. Both scenarios now contain identical trees. Which scenario has the god?

  215. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    I think you are asking how do you verify the scriptures are the original scriptures. You can’t and it’s not necessary.

    Nothing that I have said expresses any interest in ‘which scriptures are the original scriptures’. My only interest is in whether or not there is any way to determine their truth value. This comment that is so far from anything I have actually said that you appear to be once again attempting to divert the conversation away from an issue that you find too difficult.
     
    To drag you back to the actual train of our conversation:

    In #154 you said:

    I’m saying the only way to verify them is via testing the claims in the scriptures and seeing what other things they contain which make sense.

    In my response #210 I pointed out that this is not how we verify claims, particularly claims of extraordinary significance. That it is absurdly inadequate to say “we should accept the biggest claim of them all because the book contains some other things that are true”.

    Your response (#215) was to use a lot of words to apparently make the point “there is no way to verify any of the claims in the bible”.

    Which is a direct contradiction of your comment #154:

    I’m saying the only way to verify them is via testing the claims in the scriptures

    So which is it Sam? Can you test the claims in the scriptures or can’t you?
     

    What makes the scriptures holy is the contents.

    Their ‘holiness’ makes zero difference to whether or not they are true, which is all I care about.

  216. Mobius says

    @234 RationalismRules

    In my response #210 I pointed out that this is not how we verify claims, particularly claims of extraordinary significance. That it is absurdly inadequate to say “we should accept the biggest claim of them all because the book contains some other things that are true”.

    The example I often use is Gone With the Wind. As part of its narrative it tells of the burning of Atlanta, something that actually happened. Are we then to conclude that Rhett Butler actually existed?

    This is where Sam falls short, and which you, I and others have tried to point out.

  217. RationalismRules says

    @Mobius
    Yup. With the added complication that he doesn’t seem to be able to make up his mind whether the rest of the scriptural claims can be tested or not – one minute they can, the next minute they can’t.

  218. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sam
    No no no. You’re being inconsistent. You don’t get to pretend that god is indistinguishable from natural, uncaring physical laws, and also say that Jesus and Muhammad had magic powers. Those are logically incompatible claims.

  219. says

    Sam, Sam, Sam

    You’re calling my mental health into question for mentioning anything about you? I’ve made 5 posts or thereabouts. Each brief and to the point.

    You on the other hand have hijacked an entire thread.

    But of course you are right. I have already said about how foolish it is to argue with an idiot. So once again, I will state my own position versus yours and be done:

    I am a hard atheist with respect to all Abrahamic gods. Allah does not exist and contending that he does is absurd.

    I am agnostic to the idea of a being that would fit the definition of a god existing.

    I believe the science supporting evolution. However it would alter my world view if the science was disproved.

    I would be open to changing my mind given sufficient EVIDENCE.

    A holy book written by scientifically ignorant people does not count as evidence.

  220. Monocle Smile says

    @troll

    I’m sure there are mental health support services where you live. They say some being online can cause behaviour that you are exhibiting. Maybe try taking a long break from the internet?

    Eat shit and die.

  221. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “You don’t get to pretend that god is indistinguishable from natural, uncaring physical laws, and also say that Jesus and Muhammad had magic powers”

    First of all Mohammed did not perform any miracles. Jesus performed numerous miracles.

    It’s not God who is indistinguishable from nature it’s his works. There’s a difference between the two. The miracles are nothing more than the controlling of natural laws. As humans we have been given limited control of natural laws. God created those laws and has full control.

    And it’s not me which claiming this, it is scripture. If you don’t accept it then that’s your choice. However I believe this one of the things atheists become confused with. I humbly suggest thinking more about it.

  222. SamFromUK says

    @Shaun,

    “I believe the science supporting evolution. However it would alter my world view if the science was disproved.”

    For me that shows you’re are reasonable rational person. There are some atheists who would not care one bit if evolution was disproved. At the very least it should make people think why they believed it in the first place. It’s not because of the evidence but how the evidence was presented.

  223. says

    ….. It’s not because of the evidence but how the evidence was presented.

    Just seen your other post. Oh well, it’s your choice.

    look dickhead. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming. Doesn’t matter how it’s presented.

    the evidence for Allah is zero. Literally zero.

    That you believe the false proposition and don’t believe the true one shows that you have no capacity whatsoever for reasoned thought. Since it is not possible to have rational discourse with someone without capacity for rational thought.. adios.

  224. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    It’s not God who is indistinguishable from nature it’s his works. There’s a difference between the two. The miracles are nothing more than the controlling of natural laws. As humans we have been given limited control of natural laws. God created those laws and has full control.

    You’re incorrectly using terms. At best, you’re using terms in a highly confused way and in a way that conflates two very different meanings.

    Miracles and magic are by definition violations of the typical or normal order of things. Otherwise they wouldn’t be miracles. This is definitional. I don’t see a god when I release a hammer and it falls to the ground. It’s not a miracle. It’s just the typical or normal order of things. This is what is commonly meant by “a natural law” (in the loose sense of the term). When Jesus purportedly conjured a bunch of fish from nothing – that is not typical or normal. I cannot do that. This is a violation of the typical or normal order of things. That’s what makes it a miracle. I’m going to need evidence of the miraculous sort to even begin to seriously consider that Yahweh is real. Otherwise, what I see can be easily explained without resorting to a god or magic, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

    And it’s not me which claiming this, it is scripture. If you don’t accept it then that’s your choice.

    Dude, your holy books don’t define terms like “natural law”. You’re making shit up now. Your holy books are not even written in English! They can’t define English terms like “natural law”!

    We’re communicating now in common English, and that means we are going to use the English meanings of words, and not the meanings of words that you pulled directly out of your ass.

  225. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    Miracles are nothing more than controlling the natural laws we observe today. That should be easy enough for you to understand.

    You think you can explain everything by resorting to natural laws. Please go ahead and create life from non life or use gravity to cause dust to form a solid mass. Understanding does not necessarily mean something is natural or repeatable or can be controlled.

  226. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    No no no. No shifting the burden of proof. No more ignoring your problems. Try again. When I release a hammer, and it falls to the ground, this is not a miracle. Agree or disagree? When Jesus (purported) conjured a bunch of fish, this is a miracle. Agree or disagree?

  227. SamFromUK says

    Correct, releasing a hammer and seeing drop to the floor is not a miracle. Seeing life replicate in front of you is a miracle. Anyone can replicate a hammer falling down. No one can replicate life AND it’s one of the things mentioned in the Quran as a sign of God.

  228. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    I think there’s come confusion with your hypothetical scenarios. So let’s flesh them out.

    Scenario A
    =========
    A book exists which someone/people claim is revelation from God.
    Introduction in Book: This is a book revealed from God.

    Book has the following claims to verify that it is from God:
    Claim 1 – Only God can create life from non life, no humans can do it.
    Claim 2 – Humans can only survive/live on food created by God, which is from living organisms.
    Claim 3 – Humans cannot conquer natural death.

    Scenario B
    =========
    A book exists which someone/people claim is revelation from God.
    Introduction in Book: This is a book revealed from God.

    Book has the following claims to verify that it is from God:
    Claim 1 – Only God can create life from non life, no humans can do it.
    Claim 2 – Humans can only survive/live on food created by God, which is from living organisms.
    Claim 3 – Humans cannot conquer natural death.

    Are you saying scenario B can be made up therefore how do you tell the difference?

  229. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “No shifting the burden of proof”

    It’s not shifting the burden of proof. If I say to you prove to me evolution is true. You then tell me to go and find a population of animals, observe their gene frequency over a number of generations. You then say if after those numbers of generations there is a change in the gene frequency then that means evolution has occurred. I say to you bullshit that is just changes in that population of animals. You say that is evolution because that is the definition of it.

    If you define evolution as above then I have no choice but to accept it. All you’ve done is given a name to a series of processes/phenomena that you observe.

    So if I defined my god as the universe then you have to accept it. You can say that is not the colloquial/common definition of god and you’d be right to do so. Doe god being the universe convince you in anyway? No it doesn’t because it’s pretty much meaningless. It doesn’t explain much.

    What I am saying is that only God can define God. No human can do it since no one has been born with an innate understanding of God. The only way we can know about God is through his alleged revelations.

    The question confounding atheists is how do you know if something is revelation from God.

  230. SamFromUK says

    @EL,

    “Miracles and magic are by definition violations of the typical or normal order of things. Otherwise they wouldn’t be miracles. This is definitional.”

    Just to reiterate,

    Yes you are absolutely correct with your definition of miracle. To make it clear I am saying that the creation of life from non life is a miracle. Life is not a natural phenomena even though you can see it in abundance. Something being abundant does not necessarily make it natural.

  231. RationalismRules says

    @Sam

    I think there’s come confusion with your hypothetical scenarios.
    …..
    Are you saying scenario B can be made up therefore how do you tell the difference?

    Feel free to detail the books as much as you like, so long as they remain identical in both scenarios. I’m not sure why you think this clears up any confusion, or even why you are confused at all, but go for it – like I said, so long as the scenarios remain identical in every respect other than the presence of the unobservable god, you can add whatever details you like.

    The way you’ve expressed the question is odd (why specify scenario B?). To state it more accurately and less ambiguously, the question is how can you determine which of the two scenarios contains the unobservable god, and which of the two has no god?

  232. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    They both contain God. You determine whether there is God by checking whether the claims are true. I thought I had explained this clearly enough many times.
    I think you are fixated on wanting see the form/shape of God. That’s what you want to see before you verify the claims of God. Is that correct?

    As I explained a number of times before, you cant see gravity but you see its effects. If someone wanted to see evidence of gravity you drop something. That thing you drop is not gravity but you see the effects of gravity.

    Would have saved a lot of time if you had just said you needed to see God in a shape/form you could see.

  233. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    No Sam, you don’t get to change the thought experiment to suit yourself. I clearly stated from the beginning that only one of the scenarios contains a god and the other does not.

    Try again.

  234. t90bb says

    sam….

    did mohammed perform miracles??? how old was his child fkbuddy when he had sex with the little girl??? DEPENDS who you ask….Muslims themselves all have differing opinions and views. If the magical genie ALLAH wrote a book to clarify these things SHE sure did a piss poor job!!! Just like the rest of the Holy books….GARBAGE.

    You must really find life on earth terrifying…some people drink….you cling to a old book written by dirt dwellers with bugs in their beards…..

  235. t90bb says

    DAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!OMG LOL>>>>a winged creature LOL//////…… Hillarious!!!!

    No Muslim can deny the importance of Mohammed’s night journey in Islam, because this flight determined the Islamic rituals of praying five times a day, and performing ablution – or washing before prayer. In other words Mohammed’s night journey impacts the lives of 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world – five times – each and every day.

    Surah 17.1 Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).

    Mohammed’s one-night journey is said to have covered the 766 miles from Mecca to Jerusalem, included a leg up to heaven and a return to Mecca by morning, and is described in part as follows:

    Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0309: It is narrated on the authority of Anas b. Malik that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: I was brought al-Buraq Who is an animal white and long, larger than a donkey but smaller than a mule, who would place his hoof a distance equal to the range of vision. I mounted it and came to the Temple (Bait Maqdis in Jerusalem), then tethered it to the ring used by the prophets. I entered the mosque and prayed two rak’ahs in it, and then came out and Gabriel brought me a vessel of wine and a vessel of milk.

    So Mohammed flew on al-Buraq to the temple in Jerusalem, tied it up to a ring “the prophets” had used, and went on into the Temple to pray. Because of the fantastic nature of Mohammed’s claims, some 21st century Muslims try to suggest that this was a vision or dream, but according to perhaps the most highly regarded historian of Islam:

    Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, B58, #228: Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The sights which Allah’s Apostle was shown on the Night Journey when he was taken to Bait-ul-Maqdis (i.e. Jerusalem) were actual sights, (not dreams). And the Cursed Tree (mentioned) in the Quran is the tree of Zaqqum (itself).

    Additionally, the rock enshrined in the Dome of the Rock on the temple mount, is supposed to be where Mohammed launched from, for the leg of the trip to heaven. So it would be untenable to suggest that Mohammed’s journey was a dream or vision, while at the same time claiming that he launched from a very much physical and tangible rock, on the temple mount.

    There were many skeptics when Mohammed recounted the details of his trip the morning after his night journey on the flying animal. As Dr. Rafat Amari points out in the introduction to “Islam: In Light of History”, Abu Bakar (the first assistant of Mohammed who became his first Caliph) confirmed Mohammed’s descriptions of the temple he had visited, because Abu Baker claimed he had once taken a journey to Jerusalem and had seen the temple himself, and remembered it to be just as Mohammed had described it.

  236. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    Lol.

    Sorry but your thought experiment isn’t useful or correct. This is probably because you don’t understand the concept of God. You’re so focused on trying to devise ways of convincing theists that they are wrong that you are misleading yourself.

    If you were an honest atheist who genuinely was interested in learning about the truth you’d be asking different questions.

    Anyway I shall leave you to dwell in your own made up reasoning and rationality. You’ll only have yourself to blame.

  237. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    Thought experiments are designed to get you to think about specific issues without being constrained by what you believe about the world. A thought experiment can be constructed in any way you want and from as fanciful a scenario as you want, because the point is not whether the scenario corresponds to the real world, it is to consider the question that the scenario raises.

    It’s sad that you are so desperate to protect your religious beliefs that you would refuse to even engage honestly with a simple thought experiment, simply because you find threatening to your beliefs. It’s also pretty sad that your beliefs are so poorly founded that they can be so significantly threatened by one thought experiment.

    Your claim that you find my thought experiment ‘not useful’ is belied by your behavior. Why would you engage with me on it for multiple posts, including adding your own details to it, if you considered it ‘not useful’? You engaged with me on the question until you realized you couldn’t find any way around it, at which point you attempted to sabotage the question, and when called out for that you suddenly declare it to be ‘not useful’. Bullshit, Sam. Obvious bullshit.

    I genuinely cannot understand how you could fail to realize that this sort of blatant dishonesty is transparent to everyone following this conversation. It’s why you get no respect on this blog, and it’s also why you will never convert anyone to your beliefs.
     

    Anyway I shall leave you to dwell in your own made up reasoning and rationality.

    I gather this means you’re running away now. That’s probably wise, considering how cravenly you have just behaved.

  238. t90bb says

    257……sam……what you said to RR was beyond arrogant…..

    WE dont understand the concept of God??? and you do??? And we have asked repeatedly to explain it to us and you would rather try to poke holes in evolution.

    Why dont you go play with that winged creature that flew your prophet around the middle east/ …

    I will sum up and and end my dialogue with you by saying….There are many theists I disagree with but I generally like…But you are one intellectually dishonest piece of shit Deluded to the core..Claiming others are “misleading themselves” while you believe in winged donkey that fly your bullshit prophet around. Yup, your truly one of the sicker theists I’ve run into. But there is a silver lining. Batshit crazies like you remind me how very important it is to stand up for reason and rationality. It invigorates me. Hope to see you on the battlefield some day. Hope you bring your “prophets” winged donkey with you. In the mean time please call TAE often. Its always enjoyable to listen to theists embarrass themselves on live TV. And you do it better than most! I am using the q’ran as a nice footstool. Its useful for something!

  239. t90bb says

    @258…RR….you did your best man. Conversations with fundamentalists usually run the same course. They brazenly and boldly invite you into conversation……often asking you to take your best shot at their faith. When it becomes obvious that you are not an easy mark for their bullshit they will tapdance a bit. But like a chess player that has decidedly lost advantage (that will accidentally knock and turnover the chessboard)…..they will eventually run away…..usually accusing us of dishonesty……ITS VERY PREDICTABLE.

  240. SamFromUK says

    @RR,

    As I’ve mentioned before. I cannot to convert anyone – this is clearly stated in the Quran and now I can see why. All I can do is argue over the knowledge I have. There are gaps in my knowledge, I’ve made mistakes and I’ll make more mistakes. I may increase in knowledge and I may get a better understanding of this life and I do. I also just find it fascinating engaging with atheists to see what makes them tick. I can remember a time when some atheists were yearning to learn about what the truth was so they could have a reason to believe in God. Nowadays most atheists simply don’t care. This does not bother me one bit.

  241. says

    @t90bb

    as I said earlier – when it is clear someone has no capacity for reason, no point trying to reason with them. It became so apparent to me the utter futility of even bothering.

    @RR

    I genuinely cannot understand how you could fail to realize that this sort of blatant dishonesty is transparent to everyone following this conversation.

    Isn’t this after all why you bother? So that other people who follow the conversation can see the obvious contortions made by someone like Sam? That he doesn’t even comprehend that he is making himself look both deluded and disingenuous by his own words exposes the mindset of theists; a stubborn belief that exists without evidence and persists despite all evidence to the contrary.

    By exposing this immunity to reason, you advance the cause of reason one step at a time. Bit by bit, the tide is turning. In Australia, as you are no doubt aware, the nones are the biggest single group now. That others would have put in the census some nominal form of christianity is a shame, but that is for now.

    More and more people are prepared to come out and say religion is all bullshit, and what someone like Sam doesn’t get is that far from convincing people there is a god, he is doing the opposite.

    Because let’s face it, when it is all in black and white, the question asked by the casual observer is, “If this person is right, why do they have to state their case in such a shifty manner?” And to my mind, that means the engagement with someone like sam, although seeming frustrating and fruitless (like nailing jelly to a wall) is ultimately a win for atheism.

  242. t90bb says

    262 sam says:
    @t90bb,

    You sound like some redneck, hillbilly, blue collar type. Am I correct?

    SAM..is this because I made fun of the pedophiles “winged donkey”? lol…..shall I ask in kind:.

    You sound like some hairy smelly camel jockey that reeks of body odor. Am I correct???

  243. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Well if there’s talking apes why not?

    Well, physical mechanics for one. The structure of a donkey’s or snake’s mouth aren’t conducive to making the sounds necessary for human speech.
    I mean, I get yer being snarky but c’mon man…

  244. SamFromUK says

    Lol.

    Atheists are funny.

    I’m sure it’s possible to evolve those traits. Don’t see anything in evolution to stop that happening. And maybe they could evolve wings aswell? Just got to wait millions of years.

  245. t90bb says

    its like every post Sam gets humiliated and he loves it…..its honestly a bit sad……because humans can talk then his smelly pedophile prophet can surely ride a winged flying donkey around the middle east….lol……….and this is the best allah and the smelly pedo prophet gives poor shits like sam……LOL…

    Im not sure if the q’ran is better suited for toilet paper or a comic book…..

  246. t90bb says

    dont get me wrong the hokey babble is just as deranged!!! it just dosent have a flying winged donkey like creatures that apparently takes hairy smelly men for rides like an airplane!!! LOL

  247. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sam
    1-
    When a baby is born, I still don’t see a god doing it.I don’t see a god at all. Seeing a god is requisite to concluding that a god did it.

    2-
    I don’t see a god, and I definitely don’t see Yahweh. Why do you think this is evidence for Yahweh and not equally good evidence for Odin, Zeus, the Zoroastrian god, the Christian god (as opposed to the Muslim version), or any other god myth? Saying “the miracle of life is evidence for Yahweh” is a giant non-sequitir. It is no such thing. I will grant that given your wrong premises, you might infer that there is some god, but “some god” is very far away from your particular god hypothesis involving Jesus, Mohammad, etc.

    3-
    I have a really good natural explanation for how life works. I can, in principle, explain every step in the creation of a new human being from the sperm and egg from two human beings in terms of chemistry. I can also explain, in great detail, how to produce all of the necessary nutrients to sustain a human from rocks. Earlier, you said that you wouldn’t be satisfied unless someone actually did it with a real human, and presumably for a long period of time (1 year? 10 years?). That would be monstrously expensive to do, for no scientific value, and that’s why we’re not doing it. You’re ignoring a mountain of evidence in your face that not only can we do it, but we do it every day in many industries around the world as regular business. It’s not even cutting edge science. It’s so mundane that it’s part of mass industry. Your standards are ridiculous and dishonest, and you’re just lying to me or to yourself – it’s hard to tell which.

  248. says

    Hey Sam, I get what’s happening when say things like, “you must consider this deeply”.

    I figure that you have a charismatic iman and when he speaks in riddles you find this very profound. You are attempting to emulate this.

    I need to tell you. This is a con trick used throughout the millenia to sway the gullible.

    Now this type of thing was fine before the age of science. The explanations given by priests were enough for ignorant peasants whose whole world extended perhaps to their farm and a local village. For such people could see for themselves that the world was flat and stationary and the the sun moved in the sky. And lightning? Well it’s frightening and powerful isn’t it? Clearly a sign of a mighty being showing displeasure. (and so on…)

    But these simple explanations don’t wash with a modern, scientifically literate community and you need to understand that. As Richard Dawkins famously said, “Science works… bitches”.

    It works in every way imaginable. That we have a giant interconnected brain that stores all the knowledge accumulated throughout human history is testament to this. We have stem cell medicine, a testament to the theory of evolution. We have flight. We have mastered the atom,we have measured the universe, we have tracked the motion of planets. Every day there is a new breakthrough in our understanding in some field or other.

    We have outgrown the explanations that were sufficient for a bunch of illiterate goat herds. Well some of us have.

  249. says

    Hey Sam, I get what’s happening when say things like, “you must consider this deeply”.

    I figure that you have a charismatic iman and when he speaks in riddles you find this very profound. You are attempting to emulate this.

    I need to tell you. This is a con trick used throughout the millenia to sway the gullible.

    Now this type of thing was fine before the age of science. The explanations given by priests were enough for ignorant peasants whose whole world extended perhaps to their farm and a local village. For such people could see for themselves that the world was flat and stationary and the the sun moved in the sky. And lightning? Well it’s frightening and powerful isn’t it? Clearly a sign of a mighty being showing displeasure. (and so on…)

    But these simple explanations don’t wash with a modern, scientifically literate community and you need to understand that. As Richard Dawkins famously said, “Science works… bitches”.

    It works in every way imaginable. That we have a giant interconnected brain that stores all the knowledge accumulated throughout human history is testament to this. We have stem cell medicine, a testament to the theory of evolution. We have flight. We have mastered the atom,we have measured the universe, we have tracked the motion of planets. Every day there is a new breakthrough in our understanding in some field or other.

    We have outgrown the explanations that were sufficient for a bunch of illiterate goat herds. Well some of us have.

  250. RationalismRules says

    @Shaun #263
    I agree with what you’ve said there in general terms, but I don’t really expect that arguments with Sam on this blog contribute much to the general effort. I suspect that any believers (or even ‘doubtfuls’) who read this blog would simply look on Sam as an unrepresentative outlier. Ironically, the fact that his apologetics are so abysmal gives them a pretext to simply ignore the entire conversation. Obviously that’s just my theory.

    I guess my best hope would be that if I make good arguments, some other reader might find a point to take away and use in their own conversations. Certainly I’ve learned a great deal from others here in that way.

    In all honesty, though, I think the main reason I interact with Sam is for ‘the game’. To return to Evil’s chess metaphor, I enjoy herding Sam inexorably into a corner of the board, blocking off all his escape routes, and waiting for him to overturn the table and start flinging his faeces around. It’s not particularly noble, but I get a (perverse?) enjoyment from it.

    Your post #272 is excellent.

  251. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    It’s somewhat amusing. I’m still not sure I agree with the folks who want to ban him because I think it’d ultimately be hurtful to this blog to start banning theists just for being willfully obtuse. Unlike the other multi-named fellow from the UK who would come on to just proselytize, Sam at least sorta engaged some of the points directed at him. A large part of the reason I came to enjoy the show so much was the engaging with theists and it’s when people from said show come onto here for the back and forth that I “enjoy.”
    Sam with his juvenile apologetics isn’t the person who’s going to give a thoughtful argument or compelling reasons for his belief. Conversations with him have gone round and round to end up at the same fallacious justifications, misdirected “gotcha’s” and stolid misunderstandings of anything outside his narrow understanding of his faith seemingly achieving nothing. However if we were to start running said people out just because they were annoying and create an an overly aggressive atmosphere then less theists would come here looking to talk. Who’s to say wouldn’t miss someone who’s actually worth engaging?
    As was mentioned earlier, maybe there’s the off chance some observing believer will see his inane rationale and will be like “hell, do I sound that silly when I give MY reasons?” and they will be forced into some introspection. Odds are low, but such things tend to be gradual.
    On the flipside, Ray Comfort’s made a career of dumb arguments and willful ignorance and I daresay he’s quite a bit more successful than me. So at the end of the day, what do I know, hahahaha?

  252. says

    @RR

    It’s not particularly noble, but I get a (perverse?) enjoyment from it.

    I know. It’s kind of a guilty pleasure.

    I still think there’s value in it though, because it becomes apparent that all theistic arguments rely exclusively on logical fallacies without a foundation of evidence when put side by side with an actual evidence based world view.

    and thank you for your praise of my post.

  253. indianajones says

    Also a fan of #272, but a tiny Nitpick. Dawkins was quoting Randall Munroe of XKCD comics. Everyone should read XKCD btw.

    Anyway, suppose that you were an attention seeking little worm. Suppose you found a place where even the most outlandish and unsupported ideas are given a fair hearing if only so they can be more thoroughly demolished. Suppose further that the community expectation of civil rebuttal was polite concession but you didn’t give a shit about that. What if the further to that that no matter how loud and and near universal the calls for bans on you were, you could rely on the mods not banning you. So you can continue blathering on, being dishonest and silly and obtuse and and, well, so on.

    What would a comment thread look like under those conditions?

  254. SamFromUK says

    Let me summarise your positions:

    1. You want to see evidence of God before you believe in him.
    2. Once evidence is presented for God and you are absolutely convinced that God exists then you don’t care anyway and are not going to obey his laws.

    Is that about right?

  255. indianajones says

    Tell ya what Sam. Fuck your question and fuck answering it. There is no way that any answer will shift whatever pre-conceived nonsense you already hold to be unalterably true. There is no way that you are attempting to gain any further information that might in some way modify your view through a better understanding. Any answer, at all, will only be further fodder for your particular brand of bullshit.

  256. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 279

    2. Once evidence is presented for God and you are absolutely convinced that God exists then you don’t care anyway and are not going to obey his laws.

    Hahahaha, not sure I’d say I wouldn’t care. Actual evidence of an extra-dimensional intelligence would be very interesting. The ramifications of a realm from which it exists alone would open up whole new fields of study.
    To clarify why people wouldn’t exactly be in any hurry to bow down to God if his existence was revealed the question could easily be turned around on ye.
    If Odin and the Æsir were discovered to exist, watching mankind from their realm of Asgard, would ye make sacrifices to them to curry their favor? If an aberration in space/time was discovered and cracked atop Mount Olympus and behind that we found a group of powerful entities who correspond with Zeus and the Olympians, would ye suddenly be like “awesome! I’m getting into the Dionysian Mystery Cult!” I mean seriously, why obey Allah for 72 Virgins when ye could just serve a God who wants to get ye drunk and laid here and now (before ye glomp on to this point, I’m kidding)?
    Would discovering the existence of a God or Gods instantly make ye beholden to them? Or would ye be like “ok, cool, so yer actually real. In which case, what the fuck Aphrodite? How could ye punish a priestess raped by yer uncle by turning her into a monster? It wasn’t her fault! And Hera, if the one yer actually mad at is yer husband how could ye punish these poor girls whose only crime was being pretty and catching his attention? It’s not like any of them could have refused them if they wanted to! Or what about the Trojan War, none of that shit needed to happen if ye three goddesses weren’t having a fucking beauty contest!”
    It’s kinda like that with the Abrahamic God. Yahweh’s existence would be an earth shattering revelation, but my allegiance would depend very much on how closely he maps to the Scriptures’ description of him. I’ve no interest in serving what amounts to a manic depressive omnipotent tsundere (if yer unfamiliar with the term tsundere I invite ye to look it up :-P). At least Valhalla actually sounds like fun.

  257. t90bb says

    279…..sam

    1. Yup…thats generally the way it works. I generally need some evidence before I accept or believe something as true. The more extraordinary the claim the more evidence I will likely need…..Show me something I believe that lacks solid evidence…I will stop believing it.

    2. Would I care??? Would I follow it??? Not sure. In its revelation it is likely it might expose its nature. Its possible this God may reveal itself in a way that would draw me closer and want to follow it. Now if it revealed itself as YOUR god, and it affirmed he exposed itself in the Qran……id probably spit on it and kick it in the balls….and then tell HER how i really feel about it, the pedo prophet, and the magical winged donkey/camel!!!! Thats because the magic genie thats portrayed in your book of fairy tales would be the ultimate piece of shit if it existed!

    HAVE I BEEN CLEAR???

  258. t90bb says

    Shauns 272 reminded me of a video that I love….Shaun may have seen it too and has influenced him…..

  259. SamFromUK says

    I can accept that atheists need to see evidence of God before they believe. It’s a perfectly reasonable and rational if not actually very important.

    However what I don’t understand is the abusive language you guys use. Have you guys not been taught any manners? Is this how you speak to other people or believers in person? Would you expect this kind of behaviour on the call in shows to AE? I know Matt D is quite rude and arrogant sometimes, but if that’s the case why do the shows? Why get angry if you know there is nothing after this life. Aren’t the atheists supposed to show that they are better than the believers since they are more reasonable and rational?

    No need to answer the above. I guess you guys are just not good people.

  260. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Sam
    Mostly. I’d remove the word “absolutely”, because I’m never convinced of anything absolutely, more or less.

    If the laws were generally good laws, then I might obey them, just like I generally obey human laws when they’re good laws.

    Yahweh, as described, is still an unelected celestial dictator, and that has to change.

    And yes Sam, I’m somewhat of an arrogant prick in person. I’m working on it. I think I’ve improved in my conduct here over the years. As for mere “filthy language”, my friends and I don’t care.

  261. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    You probably know this, but Sam has been simply trolling for a while now. His whining about “abusive language” doesn’t reflect on you at all. When it comes to trolls, briefly shitting on them and then pretending they don’t exist is perfectly acceptable behavior.

    @Sam
    I don’t act this way in person at all, mostly because I don’t surround myself with garbage.

  262. t90bb says

    284,,,,,sam said:

    @t90bb,

    You sound like some redneck, hillbilly, blue collar type. Am I correct?

    Sam…we may get animated here but I am not angry….In fact I laugh and pity you more than anything. But now it seems our little convo has come full circle. After being defeated at nearly every turn you have decided to simply say…”whatever”…but you are bad people……lol.
    Sam, you really are pitiful. You remind me how much worthwhile work we have to disrobe idiots like yourselves. With the internet and further exposure your holy book and others have met greater shared scrutiny. They could have either stood the test and showed their obvious greatness and gained traction……or been shown for the ridiculous books of bullshit they are.
    And guess what….religion is on the decline worldwide. Secularism and humanism are spreading like wildfire. People like you and the rest of your fellow deluded Muslims are becoming more marginalized every day. And its the same for the rest of the Abrahamic religions.
    I know this has been tough on you. I have indeed insulted your belief system as being baseless and stupid. If you are able to talk to your magic genie and pedo prophet ask them to give you, and those like you better evidence. And tell your magical winged donkey/camel to swing by and pay me a visit one day soon!!!!

  263. t90bb says

    ohh and sam…….as far as not being taught any manners. I treat ideas with the respect they deserve. This is why I have shown yours so very little.

  264. SamFromUK says

    @t90bb,

    Unless you can avoid death then you will be finding out the truth. The question is more of what excuse you will present. The Quran says we just have to be patient and the truth will become clear. So let’s just wait and see who is right.

  265. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    And now a variation of Pascal’s Wager? C’mon man. Have ye learned nothing?

  266. SamFromUK says

    It’s the truth. Forget about whatever you want to call it. I’m not saying that you should believe otherwise you’re going to be in a very bad place. What I’m saying is death is the ultimate truth. That is the only time both the believers and non believers will learn of the truth.

  267. says

    @Sam

    1. yes,, actual evidence is good.. for whatever someone proposes.

    2. No, god existing does not imply automatic obedience. Why should it? Are you 5?

    As for abuse. If you abuse the people on this blog with specious arguments, why would you not expect the occaisional “get fucked” to get through? It’s not as we we can respond to your drivel with, “well, jolly good point you have there sir, but allow me to counter your argument with..”

    The question is more of what excuse you will present.

    Well the obvious one of course. Well you see, it was only fucktards like Sam from UK saying you existed, how could I believe that? To which he would reply, oh yeah, you’ve got a point there. Yeah someone in our PR department fucked up our advertising campaigns on earth.

    But hey, that is a major level of anthropomorphisation of your god. To assume an infinitely wise being would even want worship from beings that are so far beneath it shows a trump level of narcissism ascribed to your god.

    And I guess you can’t comprehend the simple concept. Any being that would want worship is not worthy of worship.

    And one more thing.. what does worship even mean? I mean in practical terms.. when you think about it, it’s a hard concept to pin down.

  268. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @ Sam -292
    Well yeah, as they say Death & Taxes are the only certainties in life. However, as with every other gorram thing we’ve been talking about across all the various threads, people purporting to speak to what is beyond that have some work to show. I’ve actually been sorta dead for a little bit before and all I walked away from it with was a confusing hallucination about trying to escape an office building with Broadway from the old cartoon Gargoyles (I had open heart surgery when I was younger and it went tits up a couple times).
    Throughout all of this ye’ve purported to have access to some Great Truth and have demonstrated nothing approaching a coherent rationale for it. At the end of the thread back in August ye’d bowed out to try to look for more efficient ways to frame yer arguments and I was hopeful that ye’d learned something over the course of it. That’s why it’s disheartening to see ye come back with the same “look at the trees”, “If you understood God’s Nature”, “A Wizard Did It”, “Evolution is a fairy tale for grownups” and now Pascal’s Wager. Running under the assumption yer NOT a troll who’s merely running down the list of PRATT Arguments to annoy a bunch of Atheists with an exposition fetish then it’s disappointing to just see ye double down on the same silliness.

  269. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    The problem is all down to how I convince you that the life you observe around you is not natural. That gravity is not natural. I’ve tried my best and obviously it wasn’t good enough. I accept it, I’m not going to convince any atheist here and I’m absolutely fine with that – it doesn’t bother me. As I have said all long it’s all a matter of perspective. Once you realise life is not natural everything begins to make sense because then you realise nothing in our reality is actually natural. As I’ve said before most atheists are looking for something to distinguish God from this reality. Yes there are many theists who blindly believe in God and have faith. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

  270. t90bb says

    Sam….what time shall i expect your pedo prophet and the winged flying donkey/camel???? Can you send them over tonight????

  271. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 295
    100 years ago, Martin Wagner actually had a good breakdown of the pitfalls of this kind of argumentation and that is Falsification. If yer gonna posit that the world as we see it requires an outside intelligence to manifest it, ye have to be able to speak with some form of authority about what a world without intelligent guidance would look like. Considering we have exactly one Universe to investigate and pointing to it as evidence for the intelligence yer trying to say created it and ye end up with a VERY tight circle of an argument.

  272. t90bb says

    Yup Sam..I am afraid your right….You are not gonna convince many atheists. Because you are you…and your arguments suck….I guess thats not your fault…..gotta pin that on your imaginary genie and the pedo prophet on the winged flying donkey camel.

  273. t90bb says

    295….sam says

    Once you realise life is not natural everything begins to make sense because then you realise nothing in our reality is actually natural. As I’ve said before most atheists are looking for something to distinguish God from this reality. Yes there are many theists who blindly believe in God and have faith. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

    “Once you realize life is not natural”……lol….sure sam, once you allow yourself to pretend…you experience in a pretend world. That pretend world might actually seem comforting……we all appreciate that. Linda like you and your pretend sky genie and pretend pedo prophet with the pretend winged flying donkey camel…..

  274. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    Sometimes you just can’t use falsification. For example how do you falsify that you exist or that you’re not living in VR?

  275. t90bb says

    BOY do we need another episode of TAE or what????? Laughing at our friend Sam is great….but its too easy.

  276. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 300

    Sometimes you just can’t use falsification. For example how do you falsify that you exist or that you’re not living in VR?

    Ah man… Ye actually did it. Yer going down the presup route, arguably the most worthless line of argumentation there is.
    At the end of the day man, we’re both experiencing the natural world and I’d imagine agree on the broad strokes of the world we’re experiencing. We have to live within said world by its observable laws or suffer the consequences. Ye might posit something beyond that, but as long as yer not willing to show yer work and get me to agree that it’s out there then it amounts to farts in the wind.
    On a personal level I’m intrigued by the idea that there’s a Behind the Curtain to the world we see, or that people can grab hold of the fabric of space time and shape it to their will like Neo playing with the code of the Matrix. Thus far no one’s demonstrated that there’s a way to hack the system. Until they do, I/we are stuck slugging along in the reality in which we find ourselves and I’ve no reason to believe Allah’s out there giving a shit about what we do as Zeus, Amaterasu. Cthulhu, Galactus or anything else is out there.
    I’ve no way to demonstrate I’m not a brain in a vat, but unless someone can show me the out door then I find the “well how do ye know anything” route completely worthless to go down. Besides, by that same vein of argumentation ye have just as little reason to be sure of anything as I do, so let’s not do that shall we?

  277. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    It’s not entirely worthless. You just learn that falsification is not always possible.

  278. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam
    It is worthless, because the discussion can’t go fucking anywhere. If something can’t be falsified why believe in it at all?

  279. t90bb says

    300……sam….

    i cant absolutely falsify i am not living in VR. I share my current experiences with others who confirm my experiences….but they could also be part of a VR. I mean when we post…you respond. Thats evidence that you are sharing my experience…but again you could be part of a delusion on my part or part or my VR. Whatever it is…..its all I experience…and I am enjoying the ride!!! I suspect I am a tiny part of the natural world which has yet to be fully explained. I fully admit to many mysteries to what I, and we, experience. I am open to explanations including a “designer”. Just waiting for evidence. Until then I will remain truly open minded. So far….nothing supernatural has been demonstrated. Until a supernatural realm can be shown to be possible….I will happily sit on the side lines and wait for more evidence. You go right ahead and assert your genie, pedo prophet, and winged flying donkey dragon camel exist and are the answers to all mystery…enjoy it if it brings you comfort.

  280. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @ t90bb
    I’m sure I’ve seen it get well above 400 posts. It’s likely this thread’s gone on overlong because there was no episode last week, hahaha.

  281. says

    The problem is all down to how I convince you that the life you observe around you is not natural. That gravity is not natural.

    You can’t convince us that the natural world is not natural fucktard. That’s why they call it “natural”. Unless of course you now want to redefine natural. This is the dumbest Samism yet.

  282. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    t90bb
    Please don’t. Please don’t use “retard”, “tard”, etc., as insults or pejoratives.

  283. Loveromates says

    Even if you convince me of the existence of a higher power, I fail to see how it has to be the god of the Koran. I have read some inspirational books that mention God. Those books may sound New Age, but they seem to make more sense than the Koran.

    If the point you are trying to prove is that God exists, I may accept that. Now tell me why should I need to believe that this god of yours favors Arabic language? Why should I accept your prophet’s words about god over the teachings of Guru Nanak or Bahá’u’lláh?

  284. SamFromUK says

    @Lovero,

    “Even if you convince me of the existence of a higher power, I fail to see how it has to be the god of the Koran. I have read some inspirational books that mention God. Those books may sound New Age, but they seem to make more sense than the Koran.”

    Great question. I think you should read the other books and compare them. See which ones make sense both in the objective reality and subjective reality. Other books I’ve read don’t fit in with our reality, they don’t provide any claims we can test with science. If you find such a book and it all makes sense both scientifically and subjectively then great, follow it. If you’re still not sure then carry on investigating.

    It’s just plain silly to say that there are thousands of gods so they can’t all be right therefore you just ignore them all. It’s perfectly logical that one of them is the correct god. There are many theories in science, you don’t say they can’t be all correct therefore you ignore all of them. You look at each theory and see which one works the best with current observations.

    I would say start off with the Quran, Gospel and Old Testament (in that order) because these books all refer to the same God and there is a long history of their existence and they have billions of followers. The Gospel confirms the OT and the Quran confirms the Gospel and OT. Once you read the texts you’ll learn that even though there are billions of followers they don’t apparently practise what the believe – but that’s not your problem it’s theirs.

  285. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “It is worthless, because the discussion can’t go fucking anywhere. If something can’t be falsified why believe in it at all?”

    Not necessarily. If that is the truth than it is what it is.
    The discussion can go somewhere. You just need to think of ways of how you can test whether certain things are true. For example you could use prophecy or maybe make things form before your eyes with apparently no explanation or maybe demonstrate talking animals.

  286. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 314

    Not necessarily. If that is the truth than it is what it is.
    The discussion can go somewhere. You just need to think of ways of how you can test whether certain things are true.

    Troll jegus man, no. The whole point behind falsifying something is to determine whether or not it’s real. If it can be falsified it can be proven false. If not, the status of said falsity can’t be determined. Hence it’s truth value is unknown, and if we’re playing in the realm of things that can’t be disproven, well then let me tell ye about the Green Sun, the Furthest Ring and Sburb. It’s got just as much evidentiary support
    Yer point about prophecy is vapid and if ye were to experience someone manifesting something from aether or a talking animal, well that right there is an observable phenomenon that can be STUDIED!!!!
    But moving on…
    Actually no. I was going to address some shit in yer reply to Loveromates but there’s no point. That ye’ve called into the show a couple times and gotten eviscerated and have engaged with numerous people over 3 threads that I can think of and still think that’s anything approaching proper methodology is fucking incredible. Running under the assumption that yer not a Poe and that what ye’ve written here is an accurate reflection of what ye ACTUALLY believe, I’m astonished that ye can still speak about “testing with science.”

  287. t90bb says

    SAM…..

    i was raised christian..have read the entire old and new test…..and later read the qran………total bullshit. laughably stupid. sure if you desperate to believe in something like sam you can twist your “subjective” experience to make the book of sky genie and the pedo prophet that flies on winged donkey/camel seem SPOT ON!!! LOL…….the BIBLE and the Qran are the best tools in converting people to atheism…..most have never read them. …..HEY I THOUGHT I WAS GONNA GET VISITED NY THE PEDO PROPHET AND HIS FLYING WINGED CAMEL DONKEY LAST NIGHT!!!! disappointing!

  288. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    I’m really surprised, I thought you were one of the more intelligent atheists.

    If for example you are a character in a video game and that is only where you can exist, how can you determine if you are in a video game? You can’t falsify it while you’re in the video game. You can’t exist outside the video game otherwise you seize to exist. But the someone outside the video game can show you things to test out in the video game so you can test whether they are true. Now you will never ever know if you really are in a video game but you can do the tests given to you and make a decision to trust the person outside of the video game.

    So the discussion goes from falsification to finding tests which you can do in your video game that will convince you that the person is telling you the truth. The person could be lying but you will never know this and it will just have to come down to trust.

    Unless you can think of another way then that’s the only way I can think of getting past the falsification evidence. You have to accept that somethings simply cannot be falsified.

  289. SamFromUK says

    @t90bb,

    Look at your behaviour. You weren’t intended to be a believer. The Quran and Bible clearly states that some people will never get into heaven and looking at your behaviour I am learning why.

  290. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 317

    I’m really surprised, I thought you were one of the more intelligent atheists.

    Sorry to disappoint.

    If for example you are a character in a video game and that is only where you can exist, how can you determine if you are in a video game? You can’t falsify it while you’re in the video game. You can’t exist outside the video game otherwise you seize to exist. But the someone outside the video game can show you things to test out in the video game so you can test whether they are true. Now you will never ever know if you really are in a video game but you can do the tests given to you and make a decision to trust the person outside of the video game.

    Yes I’m familiar with the whole “we’re all in a simulation” thing and while this line of inquiry is interesting, I stand by it ultimately being worthless. OK, cool. We’re living in a projection. Now what? We’re still forced to play by the rules of the game. There may be a programmer out there somewhere but until there’s proof of it there’s no reason to believe it any more than countless other hypothesises.

    So the discussion goes from falsification to finding tests which you can do in your video game that will convince you that the person is telling you the truth. The person could be lying but you will never know this and it will just have to come down to trust.

    Yer in a room with a million things that can’t be falsified, only one of which is true. Ye select one of them for any reason ye like, but alas it’s not Allah and the Koran. For argument’s sake it’s Yi-sun and the Conquering King. Now ye’ve got this explanation for what’s behind the curtain in yer hand, is it the right one? It can’t be proven false. Do ye just discard it because it’s not the truth ye were looking for? What justification do ye have for Allah over Yi-sun when they’ve both got the same truth value? See where I’m going with this?

    Unless you can think of another way then that’s the only way I can think of getting past the falsification evidence. You have to accept that somethings simply cannot be falsified.

    I’m perfectly fine with the idea some things can’t be falsified. The problem is when people start making truth claims about said things, especially when their reasons are as ridiculous as the ones ye’ve presented thus fart.

  291. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    “Yer in a room with a million things that can’t be falsified, only one of which is true. Ye select one of them for any reason ye like, but alas it’s not Allah and the Koran. For argument’s sake it’s Yi-sun and the Conquering King. Now ye’ve got this explanation for what’s behind the curtain in yer hand, is it the right one? It can’t be proven false. Do ye just discard it because it’s not the truth ye were looking for? What justification do ye have for Allah over Yi-sun when they’ve both got the same truth value? See where I’m going with this?”

    Sorry you’re getting confused. You’re not testing whether Yi-sun or Allah is the explanation. What you’re testing is the claims made by Yi-sun and Allah are true or now.You need to see what kind of tests they are and what are the significance of those tests.

    Yes both Yi-sun and Allah or any other deity could be made up. The ones that are made up will have a weak test or one that fails.

  292. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Yes both Yi-sun and Allah or any other deity could be made up. The ones that are made up will have a weak test or one that fails.

    I’m afraid I’m not the one confused here. Are ye sure ye grok what “falsifiable” means? Yer talking about failing a test that can’t be failed. Let’s say for the sake of argument that God exists and has an infinite ability to hide from detection. How do ye tell the difference between it and something that’s just not there? How can ye ever come to a truth claim over something like that?

  293. SamFromUK says

    You’re not testing for god who is undetectable. You’re testing the claims made by god which you can do in your reality.

  294. t90bb says

    SAM……I am entirely embarrassed by my behavior. As a token of my shame I went to the toystore and found a beautiful model of a winged camel donkey. I would like to ship it to you priority mail so you can pretend your pedo prophet is riding it around your room. Please contact me so it may be shipped. I hope this makes up for my terrible behavour. Piss be upon you…ooops peace! PEACE! peace be upon you!

  295. t90bb says

    @Sam – 317

    I’m really surprised, I thought you were one of the more intelligent atheists.

    the man who believes in a pedo prophet riding a flying donkey thinks hes in a position to evaluate intelligence……nuff said

  296. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    If we’re talking about the “claims of God within reality” then we’re not talking about something unfalsifiable. The point of this go round was when ye said “falsification is not always possible” and I asked “If something can’t be falsified why believe in it at all?” If we’re talking about manifestations in reality that can be tested then we’re not talking about things that can’t be falsified.

    Without segueing again, what is the point of believing something that by its very definition ye can’t attach a truth value to?

  297. SamFromUK says

    Yes we are talking about the testing of falsifiable claims by a god who is himself falsifiable. The question then becomes on how convincing/significant those claims are. If those claims are testable and significant then there is a reason to believe that the unfalsifiable god is true.

  298. t90bb says

    SAM……I am entirely embarrassed by my behavior. As a token of my shame I went to the toy store and found a beautiful model of a winged camel donkey. I would like to ship it to you priority mail so you can pretend your pedo prophet is riding it around your room. Please contact me so it may be shipped. I hope this makes up for my terrible behavior.

  299. paxoll says

    @Sam You say that we can’t falsify god, which is true and has been said a million times on this show. That is not the point of atheism, atheism is finding a rational reason TO believe, and not finding it. You say to test what this god outside the universe has told us, and that is a reason to believe. Well we have all done that, we have all read the scriptures and found not truth about the world that has been “revealed” to us from an outside god. We have found patently false things about the world. From how to treat women, and homosexuals to owning slaves. The revelation on these things by god have been flat out wrong. You say to test what god has revealed to us, ok go test Genesis 30:37 37 Then Jacob took fresh sticks of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the sticks. 38 He set the sticks that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, 39 the flocks bred in front of the sticks and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. See, we already KNOW that breeding animals in front of striped patterns does not cause them to have offspring with striped coats. So your god test fails. Everything you say fails.

  300. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam -326

    Yes we are talking about the testing of falsifiable claims by a god who is himself falsifiable. The question then becomes on how convincing/significant those claims are. If those claims are testable and significant then there is a reason to believe that the unfalsifiable god is true.

    How do ye connect the observable phenomena to the unfalsifiable thing? All they are is evidence of themselves. What ye seem to be doing here is trying to answer a mystery by appealing to a bigger mystery.

  301. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    The connection is via the testable claims. The claims need to be something extraordinary. Defying known laws of nature.

  302. Monocle Smile says

    @troll
    We’ve been down this road before, too. Every “testable claim” you’ve presented for your god has been either not demonstrably true or obviously false. Then you spent a good couple dozen posts repeating yourself like a spammer.

  303. SamFromUK says

    @paxoll,

    “We have found patently false things about the world. From how to treat women, and homosexuals to owning slaves.”

    Sorry but what is false about that?

    “Then Jacob took fresh sticks of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the sticks. 38 He set the sticks that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, 39 the flocks bred in front of the sticks and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. See, we already KNOW that breeding animals in front of striped patterns does not cause them to have offspring with striped coats. ”

    That wasn’t a claim or test for mankind, it was something for Jacob to do at a particular time and place. Why not challenge the claim that mankind cannot create life from non-life?

  304. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    Ugh… @Sam – 330

    The connection is via the testable claims. The claims need to be something extraordinary. Defying known laws of nature.

    The same nature that isn’t natural? Because we’re all living inside the fever dream of God who can make anything happen at no time for no reason?
    Have we really gone all the way around on this shit again just to end up at “no explanation, must be God!”? The same God who we’ve already established is in some kind of nebulous zone where shit can’t be proven false? I mean if we’re already in said zone then the breaks are off and any kind of craziness is good!

    Look, maybe I’m still angry because The Last Jedi was fucking awful but I’m beginning to believe yer not arguing in good faith here and am running out of patience with silliness.

  305. SamFromUK says

    @Evil,

    it’s not “no explanation, therefore God”. It has to be specific claims. It’s not the same as saying that ALL mysteries in the universe are explained by God or are evidence of God. It has to be specific ones. I think at the end of the day even though mankind will never be able to create life from non-life atheists like yourself will never accept that as an evidence of God even though that claim is made in scripture. You will just accept that as a mystery of nature. Which is your choice.

    So let’s end it here. I had a nice try but I don’t think I’ll ever get my point across.

  306. t90bb says

    Yes Sam!!! end it please……call the show Sunday night and make your point..PLEASE!…..make your case for the winged flying camel/dragon/donkey!

  307. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    @Sam – 335

    So let’s end it here. I had a nice try but I don’t think I’ll ever get my point across.

    It’s not a problem of ye getting yer point across, it’s that nothing ye said has been satisfactorily compelling as a reason to believe. Many here are baffled as to why such reasons convinced ye in the first place, let alone that ye thought they might sound convincing to others.
    But I agree, let’s end it here.

  308. jigglefresh says

    @Sam
    ” Scriptures” of any kind are irrelevant to the point here, as they presuppose the very deity that they claim to be revelation from is real or even reasonable to consider. What many atheists are concerned with is why anyone would believe in a deity to begin with. Testing scripture is pointless until it has been demonstrated that any sort of deity exists or is even possible, in the first place. There is and has never been any demonstration (nor is there any reason to think) that anything like that is even possible, in the first place, let alone extant.

    And this nonsense about “humans will never be able to xyz”… please send me the specs to your time machine. Also, what humans can or can’t do, could ever or can never do, is basically irrelevant to anything in the universe, including whether or not some magical being exists.

    You are brushing past the main point that many posters are making. Your tacts are dishonest and trolly, if on purpose. If not on purpose, you need to start over. Completely wipe your brain and start with only evidence… actual evidence… measurable, testable, repeatable and independently verifiable evidence. Hint: “scripture” does not contain anything like that.

  309. jigglefresh says

    Btw, while I have been following along, my response to Sam was mostly aimed at his post at 335 and those most recently preceding. Err… Well, ugh. I guess you could put it anywhere.

  310. RationalismRules says

    @Sam
    Before you leave…

    It occurred to me that noone in this conversation has challenged you on whether the three key claims that you claim as demonstrations of god, can actually be found in the Quran. Everyone has been (correctly) focused on pointing out that they don’t demonstrate any such thing, and because the Quran is just another mythological ‘holy book’ nobody here is particularly interested in whether you represent it accurately.

    However, you are so frequently dishonest in your interactions here that it occurred to me that there is a good likelihood that the Quran doesn’t even say what you claim it says, and at best it will turn out to be interpretation, rather than specific claims.

    So I did a little searching, and in no time at all I found the following verse from the Quran that tells about a human creating life from non-life:

    3:49
    And [make him] a messenger to the Children of Israel, [who will say], ‘Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of Allah . And I cure the blind and the leper, and I give life to the dead – by permission of Allah . And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses. Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are believers.

    Jesus, who this refers to, is definitely a human, not a god, in the Quran, so this account contradicts your number one claim that “Only God can create life from non life, no humans can do it.”

    Oh dear! (or, as you love to say, Lol !)

  311. Bruce Smith says

    Sam wrote:

    I think at the end of the day even though mankind will never be able to create life from non-life

    It occurs to me that doctors / engineers can do something that no god demonstrated an ability to do. Doctors / engineers can make a man with an amputated leg, walk again. A prosthetic is used but I’ve never heard of a god achieving the same thing.

    Also, I can do something that no god has been reported to do. I can cause a rainbow to appear at will, when it isn’t raining and the sun is shining. I use a garden hose, but I can demonstrate this ability on demand. Can a god do that?

    You seem to think that since man can not spontaneously create life (yet), that’s evidence for a god. I’ve shown 2 things that man can do that apparently a god can not. By your logic have I shown that a god does not exist or have I shown that I am a god?

    There are countless things man has demonstrated an ability to do that no god has ever been reported to do. The evidence is all around you. Can a god reply to this blog posting? Has a god ever replied to a blog posting? I have.

  312. RationalismRules says

    @Bruce Smith

    Doctors / engineers can make a man with an amputated leg, walk again. A prosthetic is used…

    This story from September, about growing bone in the lab is another step forward beyond prosthetics. It has already been used in the repair of a dog’s leg, and is about to move into human trials. It’s getting more and more likely that we may eventually achieve the goal of regrowing human limbs.

    However I cannot support your blasphemous assertion that you can make rainbows. You are ignoring the obvious fact that whenever water droplets are released into the air a unicorn breathes them in, instantly activating its bowels. Voila, a rainbow!

  313. paxoll says

    @Sam, if you don’t find the things God commands to do in scripture to be morally wrong such as stoning adulterers and homosexuals, or owning slaves then your bias is beyond help. If your excuse for everything that is patently false in the scriptures such as the flood, genetics, living inside a fish is “god magic” then please leave this forum. This is a place to have discussion not listen to you preach insanity.

  314. Bruce Smith says

    RationalismRules says

    This story from September, about growing bone in the lab is another step forward beyond prosthetics

    So god can’t or won’t heal amputees but perhaps eventually humans will. We may become more caring and more powerful than any of the gods with respect to healing amputees.

    However I cannot support your blasphemous assertion that you can make rainbows. You are ignoring the obvious fact that whenever water droplets are released into the air a unicorn breathes them in, instantly activating its bowels. Voila, a rainbow!

    I’ve been converted. I now see that it couldn’t possibly be any other explanation. I just had to believe in order to know the truth. 😉

  315. amuthan says

    Dear SamfromUK,

    We would be more respectful of your position if you said you believed in a God. But you say you believe in God of the Quran which is worse.

    The God described in the Quran allows beating of wives (Quran 4:34) for god’s sake.

    The most respected Hadith, Sahih Bukhari , states that Mohammed had sex with a 9 year old girl (Sahih Bukhari Volume 007, Book 062, Hadith Number 064) which is why child marriage is allowed in Islamic countries (see Council of Islamic Ideology Mohammad Khan Sheerani in Pakistan).

    Countless ex-Muslims have exposed and debunked the fake ‘scientific miracles’ in the Quran all over youtube.

    What we find incredible is that someone educated and brought up in the UK is prepared to accept the Quran is the perfect word of God without even having a little 1% doubt, as we should about everything written in medieval times. Or are you amongst those significant number of Pakistani and Bangleshi Muslims in the UK who are not well educated?

  316. vjscope says

    This comment is for the last caller in episode 21.50:

    I have yet to hear any impressive scientific claims from the Quran. Ancient Greeks figured out the shape and the size of the Earth, so I don’t see why Muslims couldn’t have known about it, or also figure it out, ~1000 years later.

    It is not hard to figure out that moon reflects light. It has darker spots and phases. These couldn’t be easily explained in any other way. You don’t even need to make the vague translation argument. It isn’t impressive either way.

    Some Muslims claim that the Quran describes water cycle in great detail, when it really just says that Allah sends rain and that water evaporates. I checked all of the verses they gave me. See if you can spot any impressive facts:
    “Do you not see that Allah sends down rain from the sky and makes it flow as springs [and rivers] in the earth; then He produces thereby crops of varying colors; then they dry and you see them turned yellow; then He makes them [scattered] debris. Indeed in that is a reminder for those of understanding.” Surah Az-Zumar [39:21]
    “And We have sent down rain from the sky in a measured amount and settled it in the earth. And indeed, We are Able to take it away.” Surah Al-Mu’minun [23:18]
    “And We have sent the fertilizing winds and sent down water from the sky and given you drink from it. And you are not its retainers.” Surah Al-Hijr [15:22]
    “Do you not see that Allah drives clouds? Then He brings them together, then He makes them into a mass, and you see the rain emerge from within it. And He sends down from the sky, mountains [of clouds] within which is hail, and He strikes with it whom He wills and averts it from whom He wills. The flash of its lightening almost takes away the eyesight.” Surah An-Nur [24:43]

    Even a child could write this information down! (Here are some more and they all say the same thing: Surah Al-A’raf [7:57], Surah Ar-Ra’d [13:17], Surah Al-Furqan [25:48-49], Surah Fatir [35:9], Surah Ya-Sin [36:34], Surah Al-Jathiyah [45:5], Surah Qaf [50:8-9], Surah Al-Waqi’ah [56:68-70])

  317. The Dancing Vegan Atheist says

    So this is more of a general comment:

    I have wondered if, “deep down” (an admittedly unclear term), everyone believes in a higher power/meaning or a god OR if “deep down,” we are all atheists.

    Then I came to the following conclusion, which may or may not be correct — so please comment, as I am curious to see what others think:

    All people are both rational and irrational.

    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems we all have both logical and illogical tendencies.

    Also, we seem to have two sides to us, those being the reasonable side and the base/instinctual/”gut” side.

    Now, am I making two distinctions here (rational vs. irrational and reasonable vs. primal), or is it really just one distinction?

    Anyways, I love this show.

    Tracie (sp?), you are a great host in general and a great role model to young women out there. You speak your mind. You are out there trying to make the world a better place.

    And all the hosts seem to have the best of intentions and to really care about helping audiences lead better lives through the means of skepticism, critique, free thought, and so on.

    With Compassion and Love to all — especially those who are still under the spell of religion. I hope one day we can all be free of our “chains” so to speak.

  318. RationalismRules says

    @Dancing Vegan

    I have wondered if, “deep down” (an admittedly unclear term), everyone believes in a higher power/meaning or a god OR if “deep down,” we are all atheists.

    – Why assume everyone is the same, at any level? Just because it’s ‘deep down’ doesn’t automatically render us all homogeneous.
    – The question seems to suggest that we can hold beliefs that are different to the beliefs we think we hold. This makes no sense to me. Belief is solely a product of the mind. How could a mind deceive itself about what it believes?

    Perhaps a better question is “have humans evolved with a susceptibility to ‘higher power’ beliefs?”. If that’s something you’re interested in exploring, AXP did a show a couple months back with Mitchell Diamond as guest co-host, exploring this question. You can find it here: AXP Episode 21.36. You’ll also find other links of interest on that page.
     
    Re rational / irrational: yes, all humans are irrational at times. We are subject to our emotions, and sometimes we act in response to those, rather than from thought.

  319. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @RationalismRules #350:

    The question seems to suggest that we can hold beliefs that are different to the beliefs we think we hold. This makes no sense to me. How could a mind deceive itself about what it believes?

     
    Article: Adèle Mercier – Religious Belief and Self-Deception

    Believing something, and believing that one believes something, are not the same thing.

     

    Virtually all religious beliefs are second-order beliefs, mistaken for first-order beliefs. One canonical way to believe that you have a belief that you don’t really have is to believe that you hold a belief that turns out to be contentless or empty, that is, about nothing.
     
    Children are in such a situation when they think they believe in (the existence of) Santa Claus. Mister Claus does not exist for beliefs to be had about him.
     
    Whatever children believe when they think they believe “in Santa Claus” is not a first-order belief in some thing or person, but a second-order belief. Either it is a second-order belief about themselves: they believe that they have a particular belief about a particular person, when in fact there is no such belief to be believed, for want of any person for this belief to be about; or else at best, a belief in Santa Claus is a (false) second-order belief that a certain concept – the concept of a red-suited jovial fat old man from the North Pole who delivers gifts to children in a flying-reindeer-driven sleigh by climbing down chimneys – is singularly instantiated in the world.

     

    Another canonical way to believe that you have a belief that you don’t really have is to think you believe something that turns out to be too ill-formed even to count as a belief.
     
    Just to illustrate, imagine if someone claimed to believe that slithy toves gyre and gimble in wabes, say, because they read it in a book presumed written by an authoritative author, much like we may believe that E = mc^2 even though we don’t really understand it.
    […]
    Most people who claim to have religious beliefs have scarcely ever analyzed the contents of their belief, and indeed are reluctant to do so even when prompted. Ask a theist pointed questions about God, or about the concept of God, and you end up with non-answers: at the end of the line will invariably be things we really can’t understand, concepts that are not only beyond comprehension but essentially mysterious, and so on. So their first-order beliefs have referents they can’t refer to, and their second-order beliefs can’t be of the sort that are about concepts, since the concepts about which they would purport to be are themselves undefined, indeed purposefully so. The concepts making up their belief are essentially vacant.

     
    @The Dancing Vegan Atheist #349:

    we seem to have two sides to us, those being the reasonable side and the base/instinctual/”gut” side.

    There’s no need to create a dichotomy. We are creatures with anatomy that imperfectly approximates artificial models of ‘reasonable’ decision making, including shortcuts, priorities, and trade-offs that can go awry. Brains are plastic. The approximation can be improved with training and practice. ‘Instinct’ is whatever your brain has been habituated to do over the course of a lifetime with the blunt but malleable tools your were born with.

  320. RationalismRules says

    @SkyCaptain
    Thanks for the quote and the link, but I’m not persuaded by Mercier. I can see the sense of second-order beliefs in terms of other people (“I believe you believe..”) but not on oneself. I just don’t see any way that “I believe I believe…” is not redundant.
     

    One canonical way to believe that you have a belief that you don’t really have is to believe that you hold a belief that turns out to be contentless or empty, that is, about nothing.

    That is not ‘believing that you have a belief that you don’t really have’, it’s having a belief and then learning that the belief was wrong. Mercier is drawing an arbitrary distinction between false beliefs about existent things and false beliefs about the existence of something. There is no good reason for drawing this distinction.
     

    Another canonical way to believe that you have a belief that you don’t really have is to think you believe something that turns out to be too ill-formed even to count as a belief.

    This is a more interesting point, but I still don’t buy it. ‘Too ill-formed to count as a belief’ – by whose standard? It’s just another arbitrary distinction – that there is some particular level of understanding / coherence required for a ‘first-order belief’ to qualify as a belief. However, if something is so incoherent as to not be an actual belief, ‘believing one believes in it’ is equally incoherent, as Mercier goes on to point out (apparently without realizing she has just destroyed her own argument):

    Even purporting to have a second-order belief about the concept of slithy toves is empty since the very concept about which one is purporting to have a belief is itself undefined.

     
    I do accept that one can hold a belief without being aware of it, at the subconscious level (this is her first point in the article). But that is not a case of thinking you believe one thing while actually believing another – it’s simply a case of not having directed conscious thought at the issue.

  321. says

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