Open thread for episode 23.12: Tracie & Jen


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  1. Adam litz says

    So I have a huge issue with Christians / theists giving me thier blessing or praying for my soul. I see it as a metaphysical attack against my personal beliefs. I have responded by calling them witches as they are performing rituals to ask a supernatural presence to influence my judgement against my will. Don’t get me wrong I don’t believe that people identifying themselves as a witch are evil im just using the reference to press the point. Just looking for some opinions on this view

  2. Brian Roston says

    Has this show ever had a caller from Divine Faith? The AJ Miller cult in Australia. Just curious, as I know someone who is into Miller’s teaching’s and I want to carefully provoke a reality check on this person…..I just want any thoughts I can gather on it before actually confronting them with reason. If there is an episode where this was covered, please steer me to that episode. Thanks!

  3. cobbler says

    Yazidi has a smaller number of members than judaism and have been on the receiving end of horrible treatment . not sure if that makes them better than jews or not
    jews not being bullies – they do a good imitation of bullies when pushing Palestinians off their land or out of their home buildings .
    christians not supporting war – i think that American Christians voted in millions in favour of pro war policies during War on Vietnam and a few others

  4. says

    There once was a little cult that sprang up in Judea during the Roman occupation. They were picked on and persecuted by Roman rulers and prevailing religious authorities alike, and their Scriptures even foretold that they would be hated.

    However, the little cult everyone hated was eventually adopted by none other than a Roman emperor, who made it law, grafted it onto existing Roman observances, and eventually the entire empire followed what was now a fully-fledged religion.

    Fast forward 1500 years and the once marginalised cult of Christianity has expanded its base from Roman Europe, through exploration, colonisation and conquest, throughout the Pagan world, both halves of the New World, the Antipodes, the Pacific islands and countless other lands.

    Proof positive that the Christian God is the real one and Mr Messianic’s mighty protector is a pitiful excuse for a deity.

    I mean, shit, if you’re going to argue from results and per capita achievement, capturing the attention of an Emperor and dominating Europe and the Anglophone world after humble beginnings as one of many Jewish cults formed under the sandal of Pagan Rome, Christians have you beat hands down.

    That Yahweh’s alleged “chosen” could only manage a small piece of land grafted on top of an existing nation, after a genocide and with the assent and ongoing assistance of the nations powerful enough to have ended a world war, and which land they keep through endless violations of human rights and international law, says very little about Yahweh that’s complimentary. That some of Yahweh’s mob excel in business and film is irrelevant. Australians, per capita, win way more Olympic medals than many other larger nations. Doesn’t mean Grud approves of our disproportionate priorities regarding athletic achievement.

    Not that I subscribe to bupkis about Yahweh at all, but the caller brought it up, so I went with it.

  5. buddyward says

    According to Sherwin, no matter the situation it will be evidence for god. Does not matter whether the Jews are being persecuted or the Jews are become leaders in business. These are all evidence for god. There are no situation where god is not proven and thus god cannot be falsified.

    Hmmm somehow I feel a little bit of deja vu.

  6. amuthan says

    Sherwin from Philly,

    Sherwin Stern was a prank caller. His youtube and twitter accounts are full of satire, parodies and trolling and he makes clear in a tweet that ‘Sherwin Stern’ is only a character and does not represent his real views.

    But if anyone else believed his arguments are valid, there are many examples of a destroyed people rising from the ashes stronger than ever and we wouldn’t want to say God helped them. The Japanese had two atomic bombs killing millions and yet everyone knows the economic miracle their country has experienced and we view Japan as living in the future. Germany is another example of a country that was resoundingly defeated but became an economic powerhouse. In addition, there are examples of individuals who have had abusive or unloved childhoods and became the king of music or whatever but we could never say that God helped them.

    And a country or a people’s success in one century may not be there in the next. Success can happen in cycles and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jews take the pedal of the gas when they reach a certain status and the Chinese and Indians take over.

    Amuthan.

  7. Ronald Kyle says

    @#2 Hank_Says says

    …[lots of excellent stuff]…

    Well said!!!
     

    The Zoroastrians existed long before Judaism — in fact Judaism is an off shoot of Zoroastrianism — and they were subjected to numerous bouts of persecution and near genocide… but yet they are still here and thriving and are even smaller of a group than their cultic branch called Judaism… so Ahura Mazda must be the true god not the false pretender YHWH.
     

    @#1 Cobbler says

    … [true stuff]…

    Well said!!!
     

    @#3 Buddyward says

    According to Sherwin, no matter the situation it will be evidence for god…

    Exactly!!! That is how it always is with those dupes…
     

    If only those dimwits would open the buybull and read the damnable stuff, they would realise that the celestial slave monger of the fairy tales called YHWH is the most evil persecutor and killer of Jews ever.
     
    That is why in the fables, the Jews kept time and time again and again trying to spit in his face and revert back to worshiping the much more loveable Baal.
     
    However, the celestial ethnic cleanser kept clobbering and massacring them until they finally gave up just like a battered abused wife in the end submits to her abusive husband and even blames herself when he batters her… or just like the victims of kidnapping eventually get into the Stockholm Syndrome and submit to and even love their kidnappers.
     

    ⬛ Leviticus 26:14-32 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;… I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes… I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children …I will send the pestilence among you… And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat…
    ⬛ Judges 2:14 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth
    ⬛ Jeremiah 3:1-11 …. thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD. …. as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. … thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed. … whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD. And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.

  8. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Ronald Kyle #5:

    Judaism is an off shoot of Zoroastrianism

    Citation needed.

  9. twarren1111 says

    @amuthan #4
    Yes, I went to his YouTube channel. Sherwin (the caller ID on the show said Boston, not philly) has over 600 videos posted using a bizarre, and for me, offensive ‘character’ that I think he think represents what autism is. Having one child with autism, and a niece with it too the same age as my girl, I found his ‘parody’ offensive bc it’s not at all what autism is like. He seems to think that altering his voice like he does and talking about the subjects that he talks about in the manner that he talks about the subjects is representative of autism. He is severely mistaken. And he’s been doing this for years. And if that isn’t bizarre enough, he has no content related to what he called the show about! His attempt to troll the show misfired (the hosts accepted his premise) bc we’ve heard his flavor of argument many times (especially with the angle of the ‘miracle’ of ‘fulfilled prophecy’ as evidenced by the establishment of Israel after WWII) as the proof for god.

    If any of the moderators see this: Sherwin Stern from Boston, the first caller, probably shouldn’t be allowed to call in again.

  10. Ronald Kyle says

    @#4 amuthan says

    But if anyone else believed his arguments …

    The strongest attestation to the sorry wretched state of humanity is that in the 21st century people believe that there is such a thing as the celestial slave monger of the fairy tales called the bible and that his favored above all of humanity mythical Sumerian illegal immigrant pimp did indeed manage within a couple of centuries to become a distinct race of people other than Sumerians or Canaanites or Assyrians or Egyptians or any other of the people in whose countries the cowardly pimp was an illegal immigrant.
     
    The appalling horridness of this is that even with all the knowledge of the sciences of biology, sociology, anthropology, genetic, linguistics, economics, and real history, even the congress of the scientifically most advanced state in the 21st century, gives a standing ovation when the fable of Esther is brandished amongst them to rile them into launching nuclear WMDs upon those nasty Persians who mistreated the impossible descendants of the mythical Sumerian pimp.
     
    Had any of those idiots managed to read past a couple of verses in the Buybull they might have paused for thought about how could 70 Sumerian individuals (Genesis 46:27) mostly males with their mothers and sisters manage to become a distinct race of people within 430 years of being slaves bought and sold and sired with all the other slaves from Egypt, Libya, Canaan, Assyria, Sumer, Nubia, etc. etc.
     
    How can any sane person with the slightest modicum of understanding of reality believe or accept that a group of seventy Sumerian individuals (brothers and their sister and their mothers and one father) could possibly by any stretch of ignorance and insanity interbreed incestually for 430 years (Exodus 12:40) while also being slaves and become a distinct race of people who are not Sumerians or Egyptians but rather utterly distinct from the rest of the human race.
     
    It is a dreadful shame upon humanity that dupes in the 21st century think that humans on three continents with phenotypes as varied as blues eyes with blond hair and pink skins to dark skinned Africans to Asians, are one “people” descended from a mythical Sumerian pimp and are exalted above all the rest of humans by the mythical pimp’s desert hallucinations of a celestial ethnic cleansing real-estate grifter.
     
    It is as Tracie kept repeating in this week’s episode… a testament to how religion vitiates human brains and scuppers reason and rationality.

  11. twarren1111 says

    @compulsory account #6
    Richard Carrier covers zoroastrianism in his talks quite well. It is a death/resurrection cult that predated Judaism. It started in Persia so the Jews got exposed after Babylon conquered them. I can’t recall right now the culture…was the empire the Hitites? Well, when the Jews where conquered they were enslaved and taken to Babylon and other cities in the Mesopotamia region. Here they got exposed to Zoroastrianism. Also, I think at this time that the Jews were still conflicted as to El vs El-shadai vs Yahweh and the “father” god they got exposed to while in exile helped settle the several gods down to Yahweh. This, btw, is probably where the Jews got exposed to Gilgamesh (later Noah) from the sumerians who predated the hitites. Then, Persia conquered. That really brought in Zoroastrianism. The Persians also did something right (which Rome later did too): they let all conquered people return to their homeland. Thus, the Jews went back to ‘canaan’ area, taking with them their new stories. There is yet to be any evidence that the Jews were ever in Egypt. It is thought that the expierence of being conquered, taken to Mesopotamia and then conquered by Persia and allowed to return to their homeland was used as part of their Moses stories.

    Anyway…I’m sure Wikipedia has this covered.

  12. twarren1111 says

    @rationality rules
    I saw your post last thread. In the USA it’s stats as in, “how did you do on your bio stats test last week”. I know you got that answer but I’m wondering: am I correct in thinking your British? I’m thinking you asked Americans the stats question Bc if we were consistent we would say maths and not math. And that then made me wonder: are you the content creator for the YouTube channel “Rationality Rules”? If so, I’m a fan.

  13. twarren1111 says

    @compulsory account
    I realize I haven’t answered your questions from last thread. I’ll respond soon.

    @monocle smile and I think @ronald Kyle
    I listened to you from last thread. I have a very bad habit of posting ideas that aren’t well formulated. 99% of the time, I am responding by finger typing on my iPad and, well, it’s just plain sloppy. The effect is that I don’t express myself appropriately while still posting long, complicated ideas, and when I get questions like compulsory account asked and comments from you two like I did (and deserved) I realized that if I’m going to lay out some broad, sweeping concepts, I need to use a keyboard and compose my ideas much better.

    Hence my, for me, brief comments tonight using my index finger and iPad. Going forward, my intent is to not show the disrespect I was previously when/if I want to express complicated things by taking the time to post those ideas appropriately.

    My apologies.

  14. twarren1111 says

    @chikoppi
    Thank you so much for what you did last thread.

    I learned so much from your style of communication.

    I laughed out loud so many times as jimmy just didn’t get it.

    And I forget who posted that sea lion cartoon but sweet jeebus! Talk about lack of insight from kafei. He just kept doing it! One of you even asked him if he meant one of his replies to be a parody and he still didn’t get it! I wet my pants! Not really, but that was profoundly amusing. Then I see last night like 80 more posts and he did it again and again.

    Jimmy Kafeifefe, the talking Sea Lion.

  15. twarren1111 says

    @compulsory
    Ok…it was the Babylonians (of course) that conquered the Hebrews. Nebuchadnezzar was the king. Around 500 BCE. They destroyed the first temple (Solomon). They took them to Mesopotamia. The Hebrews already have a well established written tradition by then. They are not monotheistic though. While in captivity, they get exposed to Babylonian religion. They start the idea that to explain why this happened was Bc they sinned against ‘god’. Persia (Darius I) conquered the Babylonians. The Persians sent the Hebrews back to Canaan/Judah/Israel with Zoroastrianism and mithra. Thus, the Hebrews get back, build the second temple and settle down to monotheism with Yahweh.

    Second temple destroyed 70 AD by romans.

    All of this is fundamentally why the Hebrews developed the concept of what explained their troubles was turning away from god. Hence the stories of Noah, sodom and Gomorrah, the Ten Commandments and golden calf with the exodus.

    And this transition from 3000 bce to 70 CE, their history of exile and how they borrowed all these ideas (syncretism) is why in the Old Testament you see the different story lines like why there are two creation stories and so on. A lot of the contradictions in similar stories throughout the Old Testament reflect how different classes of authors (priest vs judge vs prophet) tried to put their spin on things.

    A huge aspect of the development of Judaism was ‘the problem of evil’. The Zoroastrian bits helped with this bc Satan isn’t a thing in the OT. The original Hebrews had Baal (from El) as the ‘evil’ god, but eventually, after going to Babylon, El became El-shadai which became Yahweh and evil was bc man disobeyed Yahweh and was punished. Thus, the problem of evil was put on man.

    This then is how, around 70 to 150 AD the stories of Genesis were twisted into the concept of original sin and then the need for jeebus.

    Anyway…the bottom line is that monotheism came from the Zoroastrians via Persia with the god Mithra.

    Oh! A new Godzilla movie is coming out and Mothra is in it! And king ghidara!

  16. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @twarren1111 #9:

    Jews got exposed after Babylon conquered them.

    I’m aware of syncretism, Two pre-existing ethnic groups meet, share space… one religion absorbing new features from the other. That’s not what Ronald Kyle said.
     
    This is the second thread (previously 23.07) he has claimed “Judaism is an offshoot of Zoroastrianism”, which is to say ALL branches of Judaism rewound would converge on – and become identical to – one or more Zoroastrian branches. No other Hebrew group with independent history to receive influence. EVERYTHING that wasn’t an inherited Zoroastrian feature was invented whole cloth.
     
    He has not provided a source for that assertion. Instead, he rails against biblical maximalism.
     
    In the previous thread, he made a comparison to creationists for denying his specific common ancestor. He used the phrase “evolved variations upon Zoroastrianism”. Syncretism would be akin to horizontal gene transfer.

  17. Ronald Kyle says

    @#6 Compulsory says

    Citation needed

    If you were serious about that you would go do the research yourself… but much like when theists ask for proof of evolutionary theory you are neither willing nor able to do the research necessary.
     
    Besides… I already explained this in the thread for episode 23.07 in post #78 and post #76
     
    I suggest you go read Isaiah and Ezra and Nehemiah (Tanakh), and I&II Maccabees and I&II&III&IV Esdras in YOUR Catholic bible (Apocrypha) and then also real history about the Sumerian Empires and Canaanite Empire and Assyrian Empire and Persian Empire, and about The Hellenic Empire and about the early Roman Empire and the Hasmonean Dynasty.
     
    Here is a verse from Isaiah telling us that the Persian Emperor the High Priest of Zoroastrianism is the very MESSIAH of the god of the bible.
    ⬛ Isaiah 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to His MESSIAH, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him, and to loose the loins of kings; to open the doors before him, and that the gates may not be shut:
    כֹּה-אָמַר יְהוָה, לִמְשִׁיחוֹ לְכוֹרֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר-הֶחֱזַקְתִּי בִימִינוֹ לְרַד-לְפָנָיו גּוֹיִם, וּמָתְנֵי מְלָכִים, אֲפַתֵּחַ–לִפְתֹּחַ לְפָנָיו דְּלָתַיִם, וּשְׁעָרִים לֹא יִסָּגֵרוּ.

  18. Ronald Kyle says

    Ah and I forgot… here is a verse telling us that Nehemiah was the wine servant of the Persian Emperor and high priest of Zoroastrianism who would not deign to have a heathen non-Zoroastrian even touch his floor let alone his feet or pour his wine…
    ⬛ Nehemiah 2:1 And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.

  19. Ronald Kyle says

    @#15 Compulsory

    He used the phrase “evolved variations upon Zoroastrianism”. Syncretism would be akin to horizontal gene transfer.

    And ever since 500 BCE Judaism remained the same and has not changed at all??? Your understanding of evolution of linguistics and sociology and anthropology and real history is woefully deficient.
     
    And that is on top of your misconception that there was a Judaism at that stage that was even close to anything truly monotheistic.

  20. twarren1111 says

    And last post tonight:
    To all of you who tried with Jimmy last thread, you all tried. It was very beneficial for me to see all of your approaches. It was like you were all trying to talk to a anti-vaxxer who thinks everything is related to Q anon and the flat earth.

    He is not trolling.

    He’s broken.

    And y’all got him so close. He just couldn’t get his causality correct. Which was why my head exploded when he ended on Darth Dawkins.

    I thot for a moment chikoppi might get thru. But, then, beyond understanding, he typed: what’s P1 and P2.

    That time I shat myself. Not really, but it really stunned me. It was a teaching moment! But then he brings up Darth. Sweet jeebus. And it then was clear: he had his causality inverted (just like Dawkins does in his troll videos). The mystical experience is from our brain. It has nothing to do with anything outside our brain. And he couldn’t grasp that.

    But he again mis-represented what the 6 factor CME questionnaire developed by Roland griffiths is, he doesn’t understand what it’s measuring and why despite my in depth explanation, even using real world examples from oncology. He again twisted what Einstein meant by his childish/religion quote. And he enraged me when he twisted Carlo rovelli’s stance on theism. And it’s amazing how he links to videos that are appropriate such as the Johns Hopkins presentations and even a talk by Michael pollan but then, unbelievably, still mis-understands completely what these people say.

    And the whole reason is he is so wrapped up in his personal interpretation of psychedelia that he makes the same causal mistake. Instead of seeing brain to mind to mystical experience state and stopping he uses his pre-supp of ‘oneness’ acquired from the CME from dropping acid or mushrooms and adds in the concept that the CME he induced, which was only ever in his mind, and did his own syncretism: that his anecdotal personal experience is caused by an underlying theistic concept that can be roughly explained as what is ‘the truth’ behind all the worlds cults.

    But he’s simply got it backwards. It’s the humans who used the CME to create the idea of religion.

    Oh! That reminds me. Roughly, we developed agriculture 10,000 years ago and about 8000 years ago the first cities started. A recent paper (I can try to find it and I don’t remember specifics) suggests findings that support that we first went into cities and then religion started. The current most accepted idea was the other way around: we developed agriculture and religion and then formed cities.

    What is nice about the new evidence is that there is ample evidence for why we are wired to ascribe agency when agency isn’t there. Eg, ADD is thought to have arisen as an advantage bc when you’re tribe is hunting that mammoth that it’s better to notice those leaves rustling than not bc maybe a lion is in those bushes planning to get one of us before we get the mammoth. We are programmed to notice that limb branch snapping at night and wondering if it is a monster Bc it could be a monster. ADD, like many medical names is bad Bc we named it bf we understood it. My problem is not a lack of attention. My problem is I’m interested in everything. It’s attention overload disorder not attention deficit.

    Have you heard about the new Godzilla movie?

  21. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Ronald Kyle #16:

    “Citation needed.”
     
    […] go do the research yourself

    Get me started. Cite one scholar with that position.
     

    YOUR Catholic bible (Apocrypha)

    You’re tilting at imagined crypto-theists again.
     
     
    @Ronald Kyle #18:

    a Judaism at that stage that was even close to anything truly monotheistic.

    “Judaism at that stage”?
     
    If there was already an extant lineage that met Zoroastrianism to syncretize features like monotheism / etc, then Zoroastrianism wasn’t the root of Judaism.

  22. Ronald Kyle says

    @#14 twarren1111 says

    Anyway…the bottom line is that monotheism came from the Zoroastrians via Persia with the god Mithra.

    Precisely!!! As a very cursory summary I will elaborate a little.
     
    What most simpletons do not understand is that originally “Judaism” was never a monotheism but rather just a cult of one of the many gods of the Canaanite pantheon.
     
    Much like Christian missionaries from day 1 went out to proselytize their cult so did the Persian Zoroastrians and much like when Constantine lent his Imperial coffers to aide in the missionary efforts so did the High Priests of Zoroastrianism who also happened to be the Persian Emperors.
     
    Also much like the practice of Christian missionaries in reinterpreting local gods of the people they are proselytizing to and usurping them as saints or as misconceptions by primitives of Jesus himself, so did the Zoroastrians to the gods of the people they conquered.
     
    Just like finches isolated on islands or in valleys tend to evolve as different species of finches, the local chapter of Zoroastrianism in Judea became isolated there once the Persian empire was extirpated by Alexander the drive by conqueror.
     
    And when this local chapter of the Zoroastrian mission became cut off from its main headquarters it was left to evolve on its own track and slowly became early versions of Judaismsssss.
     
    But up until then the cult was really just an ELITE cult and did not include the “peoples of the land”
    ⬛ Ezra 9:1-2 ….the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass
     
    Then another evolution occurred when the Hasmoneans of 160 BCE who were much like the Taliban — the similarity is uncanny down to being aided initially by a foreign power (Romans) to counteract another foreign power (Greeks) and then forced to flee to caves by the same foreign power that aided them to conquer the region.
     
    Those Hasmoneans much like the Taliban went around enforcing their interpretation of the cult upon the peoples of the region at pain of death and installed a theocratic kingdom for themselves… until the Romans ousted them eventually around 60 BCE due to them being way to zealous and treacherous to the Roman hegemony. For a while they persisted, hiding in caves and carrying out terrorist raids against the Roman legions, but eventually they were annihilated.
     
    But their 100+ years of Taliban like zealous imposition of their version of evolved Zoroastrianism — now called Judaism due to this kingdom being based in Judea — became more of a religion of normal “peoples of the land”, but not outside of the small fleeting kingdom the Hasmoneans created.
     
    Over the next century Judaismsssss (e.g. Pharisees and Sadducees and Essenes etc. etc.) evolved even further and out of the version that won out (Pharisees) Rabbinical Judaism emerged and later in the 1800s CE onwards other variations in isolated regions in Europe evolved and that is how we have the various Judaismssss we have today.

    .

  23. Ronald Kyle says

    @#22 Compulsory says

    Get me started. Cite one scholar with that position.

    Given your proclivity to quoting stuff from Quora, why don’t you go there and find out what you can find??? You seem to be all too happy to go to Quora and get quotations from there to defend your Catholic Church… so why don’t you see what they say about the subject??? Don’t you think they have something other than defenses of the Catholic Church??

  24. twarren1111 says

    One more post bc I just saw RK and CA posts

    1. Nebuchadnezzar took Hebrews to Babylonia circa 590 BCE
    2. The first 5 books of OT were written during Persian period which was 538 to 332 BCE
    3. It was Cyrus (not Darius) of Persia who allowed Hebrews to return to Jerusalem region circa 540 BCE
    4. Prior to the first sacking of Jerusalem there is little evidence that Hebrews were monotheistic.
    5. Evidence Yahweh married: there is no evidence yet that shows monotheism existed or was beyond a limited minority either in Judah or Israel, the two main states of the Jewish people in the Bible. For information regarding the diversity of gods in ancient Israel and Judah, see: Stavrakopoulou, Francesca, and John Barton, eds. 2010. Religious Diversity in Ancient Israel and Judah. London ; New York: T & T Clark.
    6. In fact, excavations throughout modern Israel commonly reveal the existence of other gods. In particular Asherah (or Astarte), was worshiped, likely in conjunction with Yahweh, the Jewish god. While the Jewish Yahweh god may have been the main god, it appears other gods were worshiped and accepted by much of the Jewish population. Perhaps one of the starkest indications that monotheism, if it existed at all, would have been limited a very small minority of Jews. During the 8th century BC, archeologists have found evidence that suggests that Yahweh was married or coupled with the goddess Asherah. For information about this inscription, see: Ruether, Rosemary Radford. 2006. Goddesses and the Divine Feminine: A Western Religious History. 1. paperback print. Berkeley: Univ. of Calif. Press, pg. 74.
    7. We see soon after this period a greater emphasis on Yahweh, while other gods are now depicted in a negative light and Yahweh is mentioned as the only god. In other words, the theology began to be monotheistic by at least after the period of the exile in Babylon. This could be due to the fact that the main temple to Yahweh in Jerusalem was destroyed, negating any way to properly worship the god. Regardless, what is clear is monotheism only began to obtain greater traction after the destruction of the temple to Yahweh in Jerusalem. For indication of monotheism during the post-Babylonian exile period and its predecessors see: Schneider, Laurel C. 2008. Beyond Monotheism: A Theology of Multiplicity. London, [England] ; New York: Routledge.
    8. Perhaps also critical to these developments were other religious changes occurring to the Near East from the period of the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BC) and later. This period introduces a new god, Ahura Mazda, to the wider Near East. While this may not seem significant, this god began to be associated with the emerging religion of Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrianism eventually (i.e., this is unclear how this religion develops or when it develops its main tenants) becomes the earliest faith which depicts a single good god fighting an evil deity (Angra Mainyu) in a great cosmic struggle affecting the whole world (i.e., a universal faith). Furthermore, this good vs. evil struggle is also depicted in the eventual resurrection of the dead during a judgment day on Earth, where the good go to a type of heaven. What this suggests is that Judaism, or at least very likely Christianity, may have been influenced by Zoroastrianism’s concepts of good vs. evil, as the major tenants that Christianity adopts, such as the concept of God vs. Satan and judgment day, were already present in Zoroastrianism. For information about Zoroastrianism see: Boyce, Mary. 1996. A History of Zoroastrianism. 3rd impression, with corrections. Handbuch Der Orientalistik. Erste Abteilung, Der Nahe Und Mittlere Osten, 13. Bd., Religion, 1. Abschnitt, Religionsgeschichte des Alten Orients, Lfg. 2, Heft 2A. Leiden ; New York: E.J. Brill.

    Please note all these references ARE NOT BIBLICAL. With that being said, generally, all these dates are in the Bible. To wit: when RK used Ezra to point out Cyrus, that’s when I knew I remembered wrong and thot it was Darius. It was Cyrus. And I recalled he was Persian.

    Thus, Judaism did not become monotheistic until about 530 BCE at the earliest. This just shocks people. All the Torah is made up and twisted from the trauma of exiles. The key is that the Hebrews wrote shit down and most importantly spent like 2000 years writing laws. Yes, they had to revamp after each temple loss, etc but the point is when u look at a map the region of travel is clear. Now imagine a diaspora happening where already they had started writing down not only their folk tales but also rules. Keep revamping.

    Thus, the first time Jews and Judaism and Yahweh exist as we know it today is around 540 BCE. You can’t really use the word/idea of Jew and Judaism until that time.

    And it is directly descended, is an offshoot of, evolved from, Zoroastrianism.

    Baal later became beelzebub. There’s no Satan or hell in OT. Satan was NOT in eden. Satan was invented circa after 70 AD. Hell too (from hades, Pluto of course)

    Demons in OT didn’t mean then what we do now.

    Anyway, bottom line is Zoroastrianism is the start of monotheism and Judaism would not exist without it Bc it came from it.

    Thus sprake Zarathustra

    And that’s

  25. twarren1111 says

    There’s delay in posts so now I see why compulsory account is confused.

    If you took a time machine to Canaan and landed 800 BCE this is what you would see:
    1. Polytheism. EL, EL-shaddai and YHWH. You’d see YHWH was married to Astarte. Astarte is fertility god. You’d have then four idols in an alcove in your house. At least.
    2. There would be NO BIBLE BOOKS. THEY DONT EXIST. You’d have the Vesta which is the Zoroastrian ‘bible’
    3. If an Egyptian came to your village, they’d have all their gods since about 1500BCE. The Egyptian would consider themselves ‘the old world’ and you, the Canaanite as the ‘new world’
    4. Things chug along. Solomon (no evidence he existed but prob did) builds first temple in Jerusalem circa 550 or so. You now have Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Two kingdoms. Jerusalem is the holy city. You really aren’t ‘jews’ yet. You really aren’t Judaism yet. You are Hebrew. You are Semitic. Like the Babylonians. The Persians and Egyptians aren’t semites.
    5. Nebuchadnezzar from Babylon starts fucking with you and finally destroyed Jerusalem and takes you to Babylon.
    6. Cyrus from Persia (Iran) defeats babylonians and sends you back to Canaan.
    NOW FOR THE FIRST TIME CAN YOU NOW CALL THE HEBREWS LIVING IN CANAAN (aka Israel and Judah) jews who practice Judaism. Only now do you have the OT.

    SO….the Hebrews go from polytheists and after being exposed to Zoroastrianism become monotheistic Judaic/abrahamic jews circa 540.

    This means the Muslims don’t even realize how wrong they have their theology. The didn’t arise until 700 AD/CE!

    So, Islam evolved from Judaism which evolved from Zoroastrianism which then gets us to that nature paper and the the Neolithic age I linked to in that Nature paper in post #21

    Thus, it was NOT horizontal gene transfer but vertical gene transfer. And the tree splits after Judaism first to xianity circa 70AD and then later in 700AD the Islam branch grows. The trunk is polytheism to Zoroastrianism to Judaism (and that’s like 300,000 BCE based upon graves) to 600 BCE for Zoroastrianism to 540 BCE for Judaism to the first branch of xian and second branch of Islam.)

  26. twarren1111 says

    Now you can see why god commands the Jews, around 540 BCE in Exodus “thou shall have no other gods before me”.

  27. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @twarren1111 #28:

    I see why compulsory account is confused.

    No, I am familiar with all that you’ve posted.
     
    @twarren1111 #25:

    Judaism did not become monotheistic until about 530 BCE at the earliest.

    Sure.
     

    All the Torah is made up and twisted from the trauma of exiles. The key is that the Hebrews wrote shit down

    Note the group you’re centering here.
     

    You can’t really use the word/idea of Jew and Judaism until that time.

    With the qualifier that there were “Hebrew” population(s) present, sure.
     
    Also note that you were using phrases like “other gods were worshiped and accepted by much of the Jewish population” earlier in the same comment with no risk of misunderstanding.
     

    [Judaism] is directly descended, is an offshoot of, evolved from, Zoroastrianism.

    My point, as it has been since the previous thread, was that THIS is a misleading statement.
     
    And I do not recall having seen Zoroastrian-centric framing before, hence my interest in a citation. I’m genuinely curious about sources that argue that.
     
    I’m less interested in massaging semantics around the statement (“monotheistic Judaism as we know it today”).

  28. Ronald Kyle says

    @#25 twarren1111 says … [excellent stuff]…
    Excellent!!! 👏👏👏👏👌👌👌👌✔✔✔✔
     
    That is what happens when one stops defending the claptrap of the Catholic Church and other boughs of the worship of the desert hallucinations of a mythical Sumerian pimp, and lifts the pall off of one’s brain to look at real history and real facts not fairy tale distortions of history and science and sanity.
     
    The mythical Sumerian pimp’s desert hallucinations have been the longest running vitiation of humanity’s real history and knowledge… but hopefully by the 25th or 26th century people will be able to look back at the dark benighted eras of the previous 2500 years and sigh with relief at how we managed to avoid utter destruction… much as I look back at my youthful idiocies and wonder how the hell I ever survived to be here today despite my hapless misadventures each one of which could have killed me.
     
    A fairy tale about a mythical Sumerian cowardly PIMP who hallucinated in a desert that he is the chosen of a celestial slave monger and that the land in which he was an illegal immigrant will be given to him by this celestial ethnic cleanser in exchange for the tip of his penis and the penises of his SLAVES and descendants… and 4 billion people in the 21st century think this is historical fact….the maker of the universe elected a lying cowardly PIMP above all of humanity because he gave him the tips of his and his slaves’ penises…. this is an appalling miserable slander upon reason and rationality. 
     
    Thomas Paine ―

    The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.

  29. twarren1111 says

    @CA
    in my post #28 you can see why what RK posts in #16 at the end with the quote from Isaiah: you can see exactly why Isaiah is calling Cyrus the messiah. Why would a Jew call the Persian Cyrus the messiah? Bc king Cyrus let the people go home. Why? Bc Cyrus knows he’s going to get more taxes out of the jews the happier they are.

    Then, circa 400 BCE its Alexander the Great that defeats Darius of ‘Persia. Indeed, he conquers into the Indus Valley to the east and all the way into Egypt and that ends the pharaohs. After Alexander dies his empire is divided up into 4 parts and taken over by 4 of Alexander’s generals. This is when the Ptolemaic dynasty starts in Egypt. Eventually, the Greeks fall to Rome. Pontius Pilate in Israel/Judah. Cleopatra is last of the Ptolemy heirs in Egypt and then Egypt becomes Roman of course.

    Cool stuff.

  30. says

    First of all, thank you to the folks above who pointed out the possible call trolling. I have alerted our producer and we will look into it and alert the screeners if warranted.

    I want to say I am a *little* confused, because without going back, I recall the first caller, on the miracle of Jews existing, spoke quickly (we talked over each other a lot), and the caller who identified as having autism presented with a quite stark stammer. I’m not sure if the posts above are confusing two callers, or if I missed some cross over between the two calls. But that aspect of the two posts above was confusing to me.

    Either way, I don’t want trolls on the line, and certainly find it even more objectionable if they’re mocking autism. I also, believe it or not, find it objectionable when they mock theists, pretending to be theists, because they then undermine the legitimacy of what ACA is trying to do wrt public outreach, and it’s a shame that an atheist would be so hostile to other atheist attempts to help the community. I find all of it completely disturbing.

  31. Ronald Kyle says

    @#29 twarren1111 says

    Now you can see why god commands the Jews, around 540 BCE in Exodus “thou shall have no other gods before me”

    It is not just that …
     
    ⬛ Exodus 15:11 Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods?
    ⬛ Exodus 18:11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods:
    ⬛ Exodus 22:28 Thou shalt not revile the gods
    ⬛ Deuteronomy 10:17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords.
    ⬛ Psalm 86:8 Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord.
    ⬛ Psalm 96:4 For the Lord … is to be feared above all gods.
    ⬛ Psalm 97:7 Worship him, all ye gods.
    ⬛ Psalm 135:5 Our Lord is above all gods.
    ⬛ Psalm 136:2 O give thanks unto the God of gods.
    ⬛ Psalm 82:1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty, he judgeth among the gods.
     
    In fact that last one (Psalms 82) is a description of how YHWH staged a coup d’état and took over as the top god of the pantheon of gods.
     
    Also have a look here at how the mythical Solomon the supposed wisest man that ever existed with the gift of DIVINE WISDOM given to him face to face by YHWH himself and yet he, with all that wisdom and direct knowledge of YHWH, builds temples right next YHWH’s for Asherah and Baal and Molech etc. from amongst the gods of the Canaanite Pantheon of gods.
     
    ⬛ 1 Kings 11:5-8 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites… Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.
     
    And you mentioned earlier the wife of god well here she is right in the very bible itself…
     
    ⬛ Jeremiah 7:18 – The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.
    ⬛ Jeremiah 44:17-18 – But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.

  32. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Ronald Kyle:
    There’s no need to drown the blog in bible verses. All I’m asking for is a scholarly citation with Zoroastrian-centric framing. Show me that that wasn’t another of your pet narratives.
     
    Not “Zoroastrianism likely played an influential role” in the trajectory of “Ancient Judaism”, as twarren1111 cited in #35.

  33. twarren1111 says

    @#36 heicart
    Possible troll
    Thank you Tracie
    It was the first caller, Sherwin from Boston
    He had the argument about the historical troubles of the Jews contrasted with their current success proves god
    At the end of the call he plugged his YouTube channel. He specifically said to check out his thoughts on religion and politics. So, I did that. What he has uploaded to his YouTube channel is consistently bizarre and unrelated to atheism or theism. The issue I would see from your viewpoint is that I don’t think how he used his time on his call was inappropriate. Perhaps one could cite his unwillingness to ‘listen’ when you pointed out his fallacy but that happens every theistic call. The issue is when you check out his YouTube channel.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/LiberalSherwin

    A nice ‘out’ would be if your production staff has a ‘watch list’ where if he calls in again the host could be forewarned. A video he posted just around the time the show aired (https://youtu.be/Bh5DHVIfunk) had a comment from someone who, like me, was from the show calling him out. He says in reply to the comment that “you have your facts unclear, sir! I destroyed those bitches! In fact, I’m going to probably call in again next week. I think Matt dilahunty is going to be on next time. He’s going to be in for battle of his life!”

    It was then that I checked out his channel and, well, it’s disturbing to me.

  34. Ronald Kyle says

    @#34 twarren1111 says

    Bc king Cyrus let the people go home.

    In fact if you read Ezra and Nehemiah carefully you will realize that this is a lie… I have written quite an essay on the whole LIE… but in summarry… if you look at the time line the people who purportedly returned home would have been in their 80s and 90s assuming they survived the journey as slaves to Babylon in the first place and were at most 10 or 20 years old at the time and then survived the journey back in their 80s through the desert and fending off brigands.
     
    Moreover, if you read Ezra carefully you will see that it is an utter lie that Zerubbabel and decades later Ezra and decades later Nehemiah could have been anything other than Zoroastrian missionaries sent to proselytize and govern the “people of the land” (Ezra 9:1-2).
     
    I suggest you read Ezra and Nehemiah … not very long… will take you an afternoon… see if you can spot all the lies and dissimulations going on… if you cannot I can post my essay here if you wish it.
     

    Why? Bc Cyrus knows he’s going to get more taxes out of the jews the happier they are.

    Yes… that is true… but it would be a lot better for his coffers if he tricks them into thinking that the colonialist governors he is sending to rule over them and collect the taxes are their own kin and kith returned after 140 years (the bible says 70 but I disasgree with proof) of slavery freed by the SAVIOUR MESSIAH the Emperor of Persia.

  35. twarren1111 says

    @CA#38
    Lol! I just knew you were going to focus on the subjective wording of the conclusion! That’s actually what reassured me so that the site was legit. But, if you read the body (which is where I cut and paste from) the link is pretty clear.

    But, alas, i am the one making the claim…I first learned about the Zoroastrianism data from Richard carrier. Hence, I should be able to get you some evidence.

  36. says

    @CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    Just for moral support. I understand what you’re asking for, and would also like to see it. I don’t see why producing the citation is so difficult–your request is neither confusing or difficult to respond to if such citations exist. I wouldn’t mind also seeing it. And folks making the claim should have easily provided it by now.

  37. twarren1111 says

    @#40RK
    yes, I see your point. Also, weren’t life spans 40 years? So….they must have been in exile for more than a generation?? Plus, I got hints that the Jews were sent/fled/etc to other localities at the time and not just Babylon.

    It was funny when I watched more of the show. The caller David was a theist that is struggling and talked about how he’s reading the Bible and how awful god is. After he hung up, Jen offered that kings are her favorite books and the reason is that the history is correct with archeology. She then mentions Nebuchadnezzar and the babylons….

  38. twarren1111 says

    @#36 heicart
    Oh! I was confused in that I didn’t read your comment correctly. I didn’t know an there was an autistic caller to the show! (I’ve not watched the whole show yet)

    The first caller, Sherwin, I think, appeared to be a ‘legit’ caller.

    It’s when I went to the YouTube channel he plugged that you have to see what he does in his videos in the name of parody of autism that is, to me, not cool. Then, you see he has about 600 of these videos posted. Then, when you check out the comments to the video he posted yesterday, in the comments, that he plans on calling in next week. He just doesn’t seem honest and I’m just letting you know…

  39. Ronald Kyle says

    @#42 heicart says

    Just for moral support

    You tribalism is noted …
     

    I wouldn’t mind also seeing it

    You could have asked me directly … could you not? Instead of posting tribalism stuff and asking for it in such an offensive way… no???
     
    I suggest you read the thread… and follow the links given…
     

    folks making the claim should have easily provided it by now

    I did not want to provide it because the one doing the request has in the past not acted honestly and in good faith and I do not feel like helping him out by educating him because he will only do chicanery like this:
     
    @#38 Compulsory says

    There’s no need to drown the blog in bible verses. …

    When we are talking about the bible and Judaism and how it was not a monotheism and I give proof of it with biblical verses, complaining about posting biblical verses as “drowning the blog” is a clear sign of chicanery and lack of desire for honest exchange … which is exactly what he did many times before.
     
    This is shenanigans similar to when theists ask you to prove evolution is true in a post and then when you give them some stuff they tell you to do it in your own words in a paragraph.
     
    And since you opted to not ask me directly and instead decided to exercise tribalism, I will not bother to give you anything unless you ask for it politely… so if you are truly interested then ask me directly and politely.

  40. Varkey says

    Side-tracking slightly, I was watching the Godless Bitches episode with Sid Hall (that Jen recommends at the start of this episode), which talks about seeing privilege. At 23:40 in that episode Tracie talks about a deaf person getting abuse for using a disabled parking spot. It reminded me of the Channel 4 documentary One Killer Punch, where a man was killed (manslaughter) for using a disabled parking spot (his wife is disabled, and was in the store).

    Rushing to judgement and violence (which should be used as a last resort and not for vigilante justice), especially for men should be examined more I feel in schools and society, and non-violent communication/resolution should be encouraged/taught.

    Here is the part in One Killer Punch, at 17:40 – 26:35 that I am referring to:

  41. Wiggle Puppy says

    Jonathan from Dallas sure sounded like a guy who has called several times in past years (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKtOj8Tup20) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOmfoBBDvPU) with pathetic attempts to try to get validation for an unfalsifiable god that makes him feel good. And then, at the end of the call, to try and equate Christian supremacists trying to impose their religious beliefs on everybody with LGBT advocates who just want people to be able to make their own personal decisions without fear of persecution or harassment… wow.

  42. Paul Money says

    Did Tracie really cite Buddhism as a non-violent religion? Buddhist on Muslim genocide in Myanmar? Nationalist Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka? WW2 Japanese Buddhists? Thailand? I grant that the precepts are non-violent but that isn’t the way it always works in practice.

  43. Varkey says

    The Bible in many parts, and other religious texts also show this lack of proportionality and non-violent communication and resolution.

  44. dhbirren2 says

    I’m really surprised you two didn’t jump down the throat of the so-called “Sherwin Stern” for beginning his call with comments about your looks. You should have completely destroyed him right there.

  45. Wiggle Puppy says

    @MS 51:

    Yeah, when “agreeing with somebody else” is blasted as “tribalism,” we’re in some weird territory.

    I’m not sure what to make of this “exploding with volcanic fury at the slightest bit of disagreement” thing.

  46. says

    @dhbirren2

    >I’m really surprised you two didn’t jump down the throat of the so-called “Sherwin Stern” for beginning his call with comments about your looks.

    I tend to let a thing slide if it’s not relevant (not that it’s not 100% off-putting). I do a similar thing in text exchanges/debates. If someone keeps inserting something that is irrelevant, comments on my looks, saying they’re a big fan of the show, trying to goad by using inflammatory language, I just focus on their points and leave it alone. It’s similar to me as a tantrum. Folks who regularly watch the show/participate in our forums, realize it’s not appropriate/recognize the foul. And I can either make it about that, or I can just not give it any attention to feed off of.

    I’m not saying that a dressing down isn’t warranted, but I generally try ignoring bad behavior first, to see if it will resolve. If someone persists, then yes, it should at least be pointed out, and then the person asked to proceed with their points.

    Kind of similar to the guy who kept insisting he was making a “choice” to believe. It’s inflammatory language. Anyone who watches the show knows we don’t accept that framing–and I think the way the caller pushed it, it was almost begging for us to be distracted by it. I don’t think it would have been wrong to go down that path wrt how Jen started to call it out. But I knew that would be a five-minute or more distraction to appease whatever he needed to prove with his “choosing to believe” refrain–when that wasn’t even his topic.

    Some things just–and it’s personal to me–don’t warrant attention. And sexist commentary on the show falls into that for me. Brush it off and continue on.

    Again, not to say you’re at all wrong. I just handle it differently generally.

  47. twarren1111 says

    @heicart
    I think the stutter/autism caller was Cam at the 1h22m mark. That’s not who I was worried about. So, the info I gave in #39 is the correct person. I may be over-reacting but…I’m not very easily offended…at all…I think what gets me is that the words he is using, as you listen over time, you realize he’s using words and sentence structure that are incongruent with the speech impediment/topics he’s trying to use as subject matter. You realize he’s badly faking lower intelligence. Then, he’s saying he’s autistic but the voice modulation he’s using has nothing to do with autism. He then mugs for the camera repeatedly in different videos but it’s obvious from his appearance he doesn’t suffer from some congenital genetic defect. Then he’s covering topics like “pee desperation” which he defines as he gets sexually excited when females have to urinate but no bathroom facilities are available. I’m not naive but…well…that’s just not a thing. That’s not a paraphilia. In another video he has a Hitler mustache for some reason. And he’s got over 600 of these videos with like 1500 subscribers and I don’t see many comments on the videos. So…when I heard his call his voice was clearly accented like Boston or something like that as listed when he called into the show but he didn’t have the voice modulation that he uses on the videos. So it was very incongruent. And then you have those comments he made about calling in again which then made me think he thought he was trolling with his call…I don’t think he realizes how common his type of apologetic is. I think Jen intuited when he kept using first person pronouns when talking about Jews that he really didn’t ‘sound jewish’. She asked him if he was a Jew. Interestingly, he said he was a messianic Jew. But, you know, I’m a recovering southern baptist, grew up in Tampa Bay Area and being a medical/life sciences professional I’ve worked, know, socialize with a lot of people of faith…and, well, I’ve never heard a Jew express themselves that way about their history bc that is just not the way they think about their history. Like I’ve posted above in the discussion about Zoroastrianism and monotheism, it is a clear part of Judaism theology that the reason god let awful things happen to the Jews was that the people were disobeying god. And the bad things stopped when they repented. That’s just, well, read the fucking Bible! So, his argument is just not one a Jew, whether they were messianic/Jews for Jesus or not, it’s just not an apologetic a Jew would use. And now that I think about it…a lot more Muslims call in than Jews…it just all doesn’t add up.

  48. III says

    @dhbirren2 – I’m pretty comfortable with confrontation, but I usually just ignore comments like this; I’m (genuinely!) curious about what you think would be a pithy response. I may use it!

    In this particular case, as it seemed to be intended to do the double duty of awkwardly putting down Matt… I think it would have been a waste of airtime to dwell on it.

    @Ronald Kyle – there is a gap between how you believe you are presenting yourself – and how you are actually coming across. FYI.

  49. says

    @Paul Money
    Thanks for the examples. I knew about war like behavior in the past, but not modern Buddhism. I guess it’s everywhere.

  50. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    Just finished Johnathan’s call and wow is this dude dishonest. He’s a believer “by choice”? C’mon now, that’s not how it works. Tracie and Jen should have really nailed him on this because this misunderstanding (willful or not) was the basis of his entire call. And then he concedes that his belief is irrational, yet still asks why his belief is inferior? He gave himself away at the end with his anti-trans rant and implying that “secularism” also imposes on people.

  51. says

    @Ronald Kyle:

    Honestly, you have no business referring to anyone else as offensive. You’re probably the least civil person on the blog and the most likely to post a ton of irrelevant garbage while insulting people and completely missing the point.

    That’s the main reason I have been so “offensive” as to not engage you directly. From what I’ve seen from observing your interactions with others, there is no benefit to it.

    Additionally, let me add that when I was asked to check on potential bans for other posters, John came on, and without you even being called out–chose you specifically to warn. You’re opacity is frustrating to other posters generally, and it’s obvious to everyone here, except you, apparently.

    Rant away–I won’t put myself through trying to communicate with you. It’s rarely worked for others, and I’m not so proud as to imagine myself being any more capable than the other quite-capable folks who are regulars here.

    Let me also add a comment about the grotesque level of entitlement you displayed here, to think you can be such a hostile and unfriendly person to so many people, and then complain about *them* not engaging *you*–as though you’re entitled both to treat people like crap and still expect their association. If your treatment of others is nothing to write home about, most people will happily not engage you–and that’s their absolute right to make decisions about what they put up with, and from whom. You aren’t owed any other private citizen’s attention, engagement or association. None of us are.

  52. twarren1111 says

    Too funny! At around the 1h30m mark, Vitaliy-PA brings up string theory and the hosts recommend he post here bc we’ll engage. Oh, yes, Vitaliy from PA! We’d love to discuss the claim that string theory, or QM, or whatever scientific hypothesis you want is proof of god!

  53. Lamont Cranston says

    Wiggle Puppy says in #47:

    Jonathan from Dallas sure sounded like a guy who has called several times in past years (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKtOj8Tup20) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOmfoBBDvPU) with pathetic attempts to try to get validation for an unfalsifiable god that makes him feel good. And then, at the end of the call, to try and equate Christian supremacists trying to impose their religious beliefs on everybody with LGBT advocates who just want people to be able to make their own personal decisions without fear of persecution or harassment… wow.

    Perhaps it is the same person.

    The conversation with Johnathan in Dallas did tend to confirm something I have speculated about for some time.

    My speculation is that someone can have a rational belief in a god without proof that a god exists and independent of whether a god actually exists. I know this flies in the face of the accepted line that we don’t “choose” our beliefs and that a belief in a god without evidence of its existence would be irrational.

    Please understand I am still an agnostic atheist. That has not changed. I just see how someone like Johnathan might come to the position he is in and have it be for rational reasons independent of the actual existence of a god.

    To summarize Johnathan’s position, which may be a bit of a disservice, his life was not going well and he decided, or chose to believe in a god and in relation to that choice his life is arguably better than it was to the point he is sticking with that choice for now.

    First, Johnathan was in complete agreement that the existence of a god cannot be proven at this time with the information, evidence, or lack of evidence. However, that is not why he is a theist.

    His current position is rational because he discovered that his choice to believe has resulted in a benefit for him. His continued belief is now the rational outcome of his improved situation. Of course this cannot be used as proof of the existence of a god to even himself nor anyone else.

    His belief would be completely irrational if the result of his belief had not led to some improvement. However, it did lead to an improvement and it would actually be irrational to step away from that until he knows or is willing to test what the result would be for him.

    In a sense this may be the placebo effect, but this is not to be underestimated. The placebo effect is very real and can have very real results. They are not always just cases where people “think” they are better for having tried something. They actually are better even though the exact mechanisms are not fully understood. In cases like that it would be irrational to stop the placebo if it is producing real results even if they are for unknown actual reasons.

    I am a troubleshooter by nature and understand that sometimes to make something better it becomes necessary to choose to believe that a problem is in a certain place and fix that thing without actual evidence and then see if the outcome justifies the belief and choice. It’s not the preferred approach, but when nothing else is working it can be the most rational thing to do (versus doing nothing which would actually be irrational).

    The danger, as was demonstrated right at the end of the call, is when this belief for personal reasons leaks into being the kind of belief which gets extended into the personal lives of others (when he broached the whole transgender issue).

    His concern was with regard to transgender young people under the age of 18 and how it would be abusive to have or allow such “children” make changes with regard to gender issues. Indeed I am struggling how to put this in the most objective way I can. Why? It’s because I know a number of people who were dealing with the transgender situation while they were significantly under the age of 18.

    I remember one young man who was about 14 when came to one of his first PFLAG meetings with his parents. I’ve never seen a young man with such a crushed spirit in my life. I’m not sure he said anything at all during the meeting. Yes, he was born female but his parents were allowing him to express himself as male. This young man had actually told his parents when he was about 5 that he was really a boy. What was making matters worse as he became older was that he was quite aware of the changes to his body that he was dreading with each day. He desperately wanted medication to inhibit certain hormones and to start others so that he could be who he felt he was inside.

    Over the next few months I saw this young man’s personality express itself as he was finally able to hold his head up and talk to people who understood what he was going through. He had the additional complication of having his sexual preference be for males while his sexual identity was also male. Yes, he transitioned from a heterosexual female to a homosexual male. Not something hardly anyone would actually “choose.” He simply was what he was and felt what he felt with a body that was betraying him.

    ABC followed his story over a period of several years culminating in a presentation on TV. I don’t believe the video is available, but the story is here https://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=3077906&page=1 (note, names in the article are not real). I have not seen him in years but talked to someone recently who ran into him and his mom who were coming through town (the family moved several years ago). He is in his 20’s now and doing just fine.

    This can be contrasted with other situations I know of first hand where trans-guys have been thrown out of their homes (and sometimes worse) by parents with religious beliefs not unlike those of Johnathan. Indeed even the most seemingly innocuous religious beliefs can too often be a slippery slope.

    Lamont Cranston

  54. says

    >His current position is rational because he discovered that his choice to believe has resulted in a benefit for him.

    If his claim was “believing in the existence of a god made me feel better”–then it would be rational. As it is, it’s not rational to say “I believed in god, and felt better, therefore a god exists.” It may be understandable, because we understand fallacies and how the mind can make meaningful connections where there are none. But it’s not rational as a result, simply understandable.

    Another good example is a person I know whose father-in-law hates anyone who appears to be Korean, because he was tortured in the war in a prison camp in Korea. It is not rational to associate the suffering at the hands of some people, with others who had nothing to do with it, simply because you think they have the same eye shape. But do I *understand* why he’s hateful to these other people who did him no harm? Yes. It’s understandable, but not rational, if rational means “based on or in accordance with reason or logic.”

  55. Lamont Cranston says

    heicart says in #62:

    >His current position is rational because he discovered that his choice to believe has resulted in a benefit for him.

    If his claim was “believing in the existence of a god made me feel better”–then it would be rational. As it is, it’s not rational to say “I believed in god, and felt better, therefore a god exists.” It may be understandable, because we understand fallacies and how the mind can make meaningful connections where there are none. But it’s not rational as a result, simply understandable.

    I will have to go back and listen again to be sure, but I did not recall him ever saying that his belief and subsequent life change meant that therefore god exists. I did recall him saying that the existence of god cannot be proven. All I recall hearing was that he did observe that, for him, choosing a belief in a god appeared to result in him having a better life but I do not recall him offering an explanation for how or why this happened.

    I would admit that concluding the change in his life was actually evidence for the existence of a god would be wrong and that such a belief itself would be irrational. I just don’t recall him making that leap. Perhaps I missed something that you heard.

    What I am saying is that I can see how someone may rationally stick with a belief that cannot be proven true under the circumstances where the belief seems to provide a benefit for reasons that are not fully understood.

    Again I reference the placebo effect. In this case someone chooses to take a pill. He has been led to believe the pill might help some malady. The person not only feels better, but then actually does become objectively measurably better (this does happen in some medical trials). He may rationally choose to continue taking the pill even though he has no actual evidence that the placebo contains any real medicine and he may even continue having a good effect. In this case his continued belief in the pill is rational (his belief in the pill, belief in god), but to conclude the pill contains a particular medicine (god) without further evidence would be irrational.

    The person has reached a rational conclusion that his belief in the pill is warranted based upon the results without fully understanding why this has occurred. The belief in the pill may have simply allowed his system to heal itself through mechanisms we still don’t understand, but the effect is real even though there is no medicine.

    Again I agree with you that if he said, therefore god exists, that would be irrational.

    Lamont Cranston

  56. Ronald Kyle says

    @59 Tracie says

    John came on, and without you even being called out–chose you specifically to warn

    So you were not at all interested in the information… you were just patting your congregation member on the back to console him for having had his ignorant hide thrashed with facts.
     
    And … oooh… I am shaking in my boots at your infantile despotism and self-inflicted false grandeur you pathetic pissant.
     
    With your couple of posts above you have finally proven to me that you are nothing more than yet another irrational piddling wretch?
     
    You and your pathetic congregation of insignificant gnats think that your worthless substitute church means anything to me other than a diversion to prove that even though you and your ilk pretend to be skeptics, you really are nothing but pathetic dupes substituting the religious psychological support groups you were rejected from for the equally irrational one you have fashioned around yourselves with your tribe of bullies and despot wannabes and cowardly sycophants.
     
    Your tribalism and irrationality has proven to me that your forum is nothing but an “atheist” church with exactly the same kind of heinous characters that one tends to find in religious churches… your and John’s empty despotic threats matter as much as the toenails I threw in the rubbish a few hours ago.

  57. bodbod says

    Haha that’s some crazy shit. You do a better hatchet job on yourself than anybody else could possibly come up with!

  58. Lamont Cranston says

    heicart says min #62:

    Another good example is a person I know whose father-in-law hates anyone who appears to be Korean, because he was tortured in the war in a prison camp in Korea. It is not rational to associate the suffering at the hands of some people, with others who had nothing to do with it, simply because you think they have the same eye shape. But do I *understand* why he’s hateful to these other people who did him no harm? Yes. It’s understandable, but not rational, if rational means “based on or in accordance with reason or logic.”

    I would agree that this would be understandable but irrational. Why? This is because it is actually known with certainty that some present day Koreans absolutely cannot have been responsible for his torture. Therefore his feeling about those people would be irrational. However, having such feelings with regard to older Koreans who actually could have been involved in such things could indeed be rational even if rather unwarranted.

    Interestingly enough Koreans have similar (even if irrational) feelings about the Japanese. I did not understand this until having visited the palaces in Seoul. I never understood before how often the Japanese had conquered and devastated Korea. Did you know this irrational feeling prevented the sale of Japanese built cars in Korea? However, you could actually buy the US built versions of Japanese cars over there.

    Lamont Cranston

  59. indianajones says

    @65 and 66. He’s not even really warmed up yet. Go check out the first 3-4 threads for this year, where you can see where I get variously called a Nazi, weasel, vile, scum. cockroach, parasite, with pin worms in my nether regions. And that was just me, and not the worst of his behaviour.

    The guys default behaviour is abusive. The only thing that has modified it, at all, is a firm whack on the nose with a rolled up newspaper. Certainly never a hint of contrition. Consider that AFAIK he has yet to make a single point/post without insulting someone or other. Of course, you might enjoy the ‘energy’ he brings to the place, but I don’t.

    Anyway, the point is that none of that was sufficient for a ban hammer. I agree with you but it is with resigned acceptance, and with no expectation. Unfortunately.

  60. III says

    Personally, I never thought Monty Python’s Dirty Fork sketch was all that funny… but I guess some people do.

  61. Claywise says

    A couple calls touched on the idea of why humans behave the way they do, why God is portrayed as a violent fuckpig (my words) in the Bible, and so on.

    I just finished reading Hector Garcia’s really intriguing book, “Alpha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression,” and I think he makes a remarkably tight case that human-imagined/created gods are the way they are, generally, because of evolutionary pressures. He’s an evolutionary psychologist, and I know some people are bothered by that inchoate field, but I think he makes a really strong case that God, particularly the Abrahamic God, is just an alpha male primate.

    At any rate, worth reading.

  62. Heretical Ryan says

    Based on his last few posts, it seems like Mr. Kyle really wants to get banned.

    If that’s the case, we should oblige him.

  63. Heretical Ryan says

    Ill @69

    Personally, I never thought Monty Python’s Dirty Fork sketch was all that funny… but I guess some people do.

    I tend to agree. But they can’t all be the Parrot Sketch 🙂

  64. John David Balla says

    This is an opportunity for the ACA to demonstrate how it governs. To leave this “as is” would not be consistent with the ACA’s principles as I understand them. While we strive to be tolerant by taking into account important moral metrics such as fairness, equity, and empathy, that doesn’t give anyone license to be a serial troublemaker.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, rate the benefit of having this individual on this blog. Then do the inverse. There’s your answer.

  65. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’d be in favor of one more explicit warning first, a warning that a banning is imminent unless behavior is changed.

    Even then, I might endorse the Wikipedia approach of a finite term ban, like a month, instead of an indefinite ban.

  66. paxoll says

    Ronald really needs some professional help, I think some mandatory time out on the forum would be helpful. To repeat myself

    you have demonstrated some very peculiar behavior here that seems very angry, manic, ocd, and borderline in one way or another.

  67. says

    RK needs a break – more accurately, the comment threads do. The relevant content he posts is eclipsed by the hair-trigger verbal abuse and walls of Scripture – hell, anyone skim-reading comments could mistake him for an unhinged apologist troll (not that the reality is a great deal better).

    I’ve watched AXP and lurked/casually commented since Matt D had hair. I wouldn’t be surprised if RK’s apparent need to crush and belittle anyone who disagrees with him (including hosts and mods!) discourages other casuals and lurkers away – frankly, I’m surprised he’s lasted this long.

    +1 vote for the sin-bin.

  68. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    Count me in the ban column for RK. I’d be ok with a temporary timeout but I won’t take a bullet for him if you guys want him gone for good. Ditto for Jimmy/Kafei. Even though he can be fun to chew on it’s probably time to move on from him. He’s probably made over 500 posts here in 2019 alone and we still understand very little about his position due to his uncanny ability to be completely incomprehensible.

  69. RationalismRules says

    @buddyward #76
    Out of interest, you can actually link directly to a post in a thread, if you wish. If you right click on the red date & time info (under the username) and use “copy link location” you get a link to that specific post.

    Having said that, I’ve just noticed that Killfile appears to mess with it. It’s not landing correctly on pages where I have blocked comments. (Damn you Kovfefei, even when I have you blocked you still find a way to irritate me!)

  70. larpar says

    I’ve seen a lot of people visit here and shit all over the floor. First time someone has shit on floor, berated the host and continue to shit on the floor and shit on the host.
    He has been warned before. Off with his head! (metaphorically of course)

  71. RationalismRules says

    @Ronald Kyle #7
    I am interested in your claim that Judaism is an off shoot of Zoroastrianism. Can you please direct me to some sources that support this claim?

    Thank you.

  72. says

    >I would agree that this would be understandable but irrational. Why?

    Because he wasn’t being discerning. He is now prejudiced against anyone who looks remotely Japanese, Chinese, Korean, etc. If you need a better example, then let’s try one less complicated:

    A child shuts her hand in a door. She cries and strikes the door in retaliation. I “understand” her response. But it’s “irrational.”

    A person who believes a god exists without having any evidence a god was involved in what happened to them–I understand how their brain is making a meaningful connection. But no causal relationship has yet been demonstrated.

    You may already be aware of this–so don’t take this as an assumption you aren’t aware of it, but it’s fallacious to say “after this, therefore because of this”. This is what the caller is doing. It’s like saying the rooster crows and then the sun comes up, therefore the rooster crowing raises the sun. Because causal events so often precede effects they cause, our brains make these associations even when they are don’t exist. He is falling for the idea that he felt better after he believed in the existence of a god, therefore god caused the better feeling. But there is no actual demonstration of any causation–or even that the cause he’s crediting exists.

  73. says

    For folks here. I haven’t seen RK’s response. I actually didn’t read past “offensive” in his original post to me–because what’s the point? I did see how several folks have replied to it. I’m recusing since I’m involved. But at the request of so many regulars, I have alerted John again to come and check the blog–again, without benefit yet of even seeing RK’s reaction, although I’m sure I’ll be every bit as surprised with it as I am impressed. I leave it to John to determine what to do, as he was the one who issued the original warning to RK of his own volition–and I’m just not personally bothered by the ill-tempered opinions of some internet random. I honestly do, however, feel for other folks here who have to deal with him here (or in real life–can you even imagine?), and I absolutely understand why it turns what could be interesting conversation at this forum into frustration for anyone trying to engage–which, again, is why I haven’t until today. He’s boorish and entitled. Either is intolerable when they’re the totality of someone’s personality; but when they’re combined, why even bother?

  74. RationalismRules says

    @twarren1111 #12
    Thanks for responding.

    I’m thinking you asked Americans the stats question Bc if we were consistent we would say maths and not math.

    … you might very well think that; I couldn’t possibly comment. 😉
     

    …are you the content creator for the YouTube channel “Rationality Rules”?

    No, just a coincidence. I like what I’ve seen of his channel, even though he copied my username. (joke)

  75. buddyward says

    @RationalismRules #79

    Yeah, I tried using the URL behind the post date but it failed when I tested it. So, instead of giving people the wrong URL, I am trusting that they are able to follow very simple instructions. 😊

  76. t90bb says

    I found Jonathans call absolutely fascinating,,,…….I wish he would join us here to discuss as there is more I would love to flesh out…..

    Recognizing that fact that creating a special and potentially imaginary friend can be calming, is rational it seems to me. Using the calming influence to completely justify the belief your potentially real “friend” actually exists is not….AND I am not sure he made that claim. He at least once admitted that his belief was “irrational”.

    Sports now uses various methods of mental imagery to improve performances. Athletes and performers are often taught to visualize themselves performing flawlessly and effortlessly. They do this repetitively and somehow the imagined actions get filed away in the brain and the brain confuses these with actual physical history and it seems to build confidence and calmness in the athlete.

    If imagining you are not alone in any circumstance brings you a sense of peace….and you find it overall beneficial I don’t see a downside. Just make sure you pay for two when you go to the theater, right?

    But this is what I was thinking after the call…….

    How did he come to choose (if that is even possible)?? Is it more accurate to say he allowed himself to pretend, or act “as if”? Was he encouraged by another who he now also has found a kinship with??? Does he go to a church now??? Has his belief allowed him to find community??? Perhaps he was lonely and unable to connect with others and sharing this belief with others has benefitted him socially and that has made a or the difference.

    What else may have changed in his life during this period??

    Also….he should be reminded that just as he feels that he can freely choose to believe in god…….why should anyone else not simply choose to believe in the bible or q’ran. If those books make others feel better that is that fine too? And what if these books, while bringing comfort also teach bigotry and hate???

    If Johnathan finds belief brings him comfort…..and there is little to no downside….then that’s cool. I am glad he feels better. We are all different. Matt often talks about the slippery slope…..that if we allow ourselves to believe something that we know is not rationally justified it is likely it will bleed into other areas of our life. I think I agree….

    This kind of thing is very prevalent in 12 step programs were you are encouraged to create your own god, or version thereof. You will often hear in the rooms of AA that “I would rather be happy than right”.

    Some of us seem to have a higher tolerance of the unknown than others. Some need to create there own version of reality completely as an aid to dis-ease of not having answers to seemingly important questions.

    In Jonathans case it might be a combination of several factors. We all. as agnostics/atheists hear theists pound the drum that says without god we cant have purpose or meaning in our lives. That is undeniable false to me because I am an exception. However, it appears clear that many fellow apes find themselves apathetic and rudderless. Belief in, and community that a god figure creates (real or imagined) does give them a sense of clarity, purpose, solidarity, and safety.

    Nutball Jordan Peterson would surely argue that the god Jonathan thinks of is “real to him”. But that’s another rabbit hole for another day.

    I found the call fascinating including that last twist regarding transgenderism. I do wish him well and I am glad he is doing better!!!

    One last thing…..it would seem that Jonathan has little in common with like 95 percent of the theists I know…..other than the belief a god exists. Most believe in a specific god, with specific traits, and specific expectations. I suspect he as about as much to bicker over with nearly all theists as he does with agnostic/atheists. If he can convince other believers to be as benign as he appears to be regarding his belief, I would appreciate that. Good luck there.

    P.S. Ron Kyle….C’mon dude! I love ya but geez! Please clean it up because I do like much of what you bring. I want you to stay here so behave! I have taken your back several times before but you are making it harder so PLEASE stop!

  77. Cousin Ricky says

    I just can’t get past Johnathan’s claim that he chose his belief. My mind doesn’t work that way, and I cannot fathom how other minds can do so. But more than one person has expected me to actively choose to believe in a god or an afterlife, and I cannot get through to them that I simply cannot choose what I believe. This would indicate that they believe that they can choose or have chosen their beliefs themselves. Are they really choosing their beliefs, or do they just think they are choosing their beliefs?

  78. t90bb says

    ohh btw……does anyone think Jonathan might be interested in a complete mystical experience?? (T90BB ducks quickly).

  79. t90bb says

    88. Cousin Ricky

    I agree with you. I don’t think I choose my beliefs. I may allow myself to pretend or act as if I suppose…….but I don’t choose my beliefs and like you cant see how that works for anyone.

  80. buddyward says

    I think there is a bit of confusion in Jonathan’s part with regards to “choosing” to believe. Based on his description it seems like he chose to try a specific method of alleviating his suffering and when he experienced relief he attributed the results to a god and that is when he started believing.

  81. says

    Jonathan probably chose to practice certain religious activities, chose to act as if a god was there, but I can’t take seriously his claim that he chose to believe – that is, that he made a conscious decision to be convinced of something. Unless he has some unique ability to convince himself, by his own volition, that certain things are true, I’m resolutely sceptical. I suspect his use of the word is idiosyncratic; had I been hosting today I might’ve gone down that wombat hole, but I don’t blame T&J for not doing so.

  82. Daniel Ocean says

    “Choosing” to believe is a big point of contention among Christians I’ve found. Many Calvinist denominations don’t believe in free will at all. But when I was raised as a Christian I was, in fact, taught that you do CHOOSE to believe in God – not just choosing to follow him. This is because many Christians believe that God’s existence is merely self-evident which why we consistently hear the “look at the trees” argument. In their view if it’s evident that God exists yet you do not believe that he does then it is because you’re choosing not to believe.

    Of course, this doesn’t really reconcile with the studies we’ve performed about decision making: it’s difficult to say that we choose our own actions let alone our own beliefs. Honestly, I’m really surprised how many Christian callers agree with Matt when he says that you don’t get to choose what you believe.

  83. Ray says

    I wonder if Jen ever gets tired of Tracie interrupting her and talking over her? Just an observation.

  84. says

    @93 – the “God is self-evident and you’re choosing not to believe” is a convenient scam for the adherent. Lets them off the hook entirely WRT providing good reasons to accept their theology – or so they’d think. After all, I could accept in theory that a god was self-evident but they’d still have all the work to do in terms of demonstrating that it was theirs.

    Also it appears that “believe” and “follow” are synonymous in some religious circles. Perhaps Jonathon is confusing the two – again, in hindsight I might’ve taken that tack and clarified the distinction were it my call, but t’weren’t.

  85. RationalismRules says

    @Cousin Ricky #88

    …more than one person has expected me to actively choose to believe in a god or an afterlife, and I cannot get through to them that I simply cannot choose what I believe

    You may already be familiar with the following approaches, but just in case you aren’t:

    – Ask them to choose to believe something absurd but relatively inconsequential eg, choose to believe that when you drop a pen, it will float gently down to the table, rather than falling at the speed of gravity.
    If they say “ok, I choose to believe that”, up the stakes to something that will have minor but annoying consequences for them – choose to believe that when you drop this glass of orange juice it will float gently down etc. etc. If they are unable to make that choice and to act on it, they might begin to understand your point.

    – Ask them about some belief that they used to hold but no longer believe in, like Santa Claus. Why did that belief change? Was it that they ‘chose’ to stop believing, or was it that they got new information?

    – The ‘Outsider Test’: ask them if a Muslim (for example) told them they should choose to change their belief to Islam, how would they respond? Even if this doesn’t move the dial at all on the ‘choice’ issue, hopefully it might at least help them to see why they should stop expecting you to ‘choose’ their particular belief system.
     

    This would indicate that they believe that they can choose or have chosen their beliefs themselves. Are they really choosing their beliefs, or do they just think they are choosing their beliefs?

    I don’t think you can choose what you actually believe about the real world, but I think you can choose to align yourself with an ideology. I suspect they may be conflating the two. ‘Choosing to follow Christ’ is a big thing in Xtianity. It is a choice, no doubt – the choice to live one’s life a particular way, or at least to aspire to that. I think a lot of people conflate their belief with that choice, it all becomes the same thing in their minds, whereas the clearer thinkers can see that those are two different things.

    The bible is big on branding belief as a choice – if it isn’t choice then the ‘free will’ argument fails, and there’s no basis for rewarding/punishing people based on their belief, which makes Jeebus redundant. That makes Xtians’ entire world view dependent on the ‘choice’ idea, so it’s going to be very hard to sway them.

  86. RationalismRules says

    @Daniel Ocean #93

    Many Calvinist denominations don’t believe in free will at all.

    That’s astonishing to me. Without ‘free will’ there is no way to justify god’s anger at Adam & Eve, and the whole Xtian narrative collapses.

    To be clear, I’m not arguing that you’re wrong. I don’t know anything about Calvinism, and logical thought process have never dissuaded Xtians from any belief, however bizarre.

  87. says

    @t90bb

    ohh btw……does anyone think Jonathan might be interested in a complete mystical experience??

    Pardon me, but I couldn’t but overhear. I would like to have a civil conversation about your statement.

    @Daniel Ocean

    “Choosing” to believe is a big point of contention among Christians I’ve found. Many Calvinist denominations don’t believe in free will at all. But when I was raised as a Christian I was, in fact, taught that you do CHOOSE to believe in God – not just choosing to follow him. This is because many Christians believe that God’s existence is merely self-evident which why we consistently hear the “look at the trees” argument. In their view if it’s evident that God exists yet you do not believe that he does then it is because you’re choosing not to believe.

    The semantics involved in all of this is even more interesting when you point out this very distinction between free will/no free will. I also like the distinction between “explicit” and “implicit” atheism. It says more than simple a “lack of belief,” in that the “explicit” definition of atheism involves the conscious rejection of theistic claims. The ability to consider them, and from there accept them or reject that claim which the newborn baby cannot do, likewise people with traumatic injuries or severe dementia, etc. or in some cases of amnesia, people will return atheist or theist when they were previously otherwise. However, if atheism is simply defined as a ‘lack of belief,’ then it becomes an umbrella term that becomes useless at defining someone’s particular stance. For instance, Steve McRae doesn’t identify with theism or atheism, neither does Neil deGrasse Tyson. They’re empirical agnostics.

    Of course, this doesn’t really reconcile with the studies we’ve performed about decision making: it’s difficult to say that we choose our own actions let alone our own beliefs. Honestly, I’m really surprised how many Christian callers agree with Matt when he says that you don’t get to choose what you believe.

    Calvinists believe that whether you accept God or not will be your destiny, so if you end up accepting God, then you are vouchsafe a place in heaven, however if you deny God, you are predestined to a hell. So, before all this happened, there were already those who were destined to sin and so therefore destined to hell, likewise, those who were destined to ascend to heaven in the Calvinist view. Then, there’s the people who turned somewhere during their lifetime. It’s also called Divine providence or Perseverance of the saints emphasized in the five points of Calvinism.

  88. says

    Hey, a whole Kavfeifei post without mentioning fucking Brahman or Alan Watts. Someone buy the lad a Slushie.

    Btw, @t90bb, damn you for getting his attention.

  89. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @RationalismRules #97:

    I don’t know anything about Calvinism

    I posted a summary of Calvinism’s T.U.L.I.P. theology back in 22.24, including a ReasonableDoubts podcast.

  90. twarren1111 says

    @#98 kafei
    Ok…Kafei, that was funny
    To t90bb and Hank_Says: in post #98 when Kafei is responding at the beginning to t90bb, his “pardon me, but I couldn’t but overhear. I would like to have a civil conversation” is a direct quote of what the sea lion is saying to the couple from the first few panels comic…the ‘civil conversation’ is hyperlinked to an animation of the comic.

    @rationalismrules, compulsoryaccount and heicart
    I’ll respond to the Zoroastrian/Judaism thing for Ronald Kyle tomorrow. I’m exhausted right now…

  91. Lamolnt Cranston says

    heicart says in #82:

    >I would agree that this would be understandable but irrational. Why?
    Because he wasn’t being discerning. He is now prejudiced against anyone who looks remotely Japanese, Chinese, Korean, etc. If you need a better example, then let’s try one less complicated:…

    Traci, did you think I was disagreeing with you on this point, because I wasn’t. After the “Why?” I went on to explain why I agreed with the understandable, but irrational conclusion.

    With regard to Johnathan, I did go back and re-listen to the call. I still did not hear him say that because he chose to believe and because he had a beneficial outcome that there is a god. He simply never said there is or must be a god and never said a god caused his beneficial outcome. What I got from the call was that his “belief” had some bearing on the outcome, not whether or not there was a god who caused his beneficial outcome.

    I further once again agree that it would be irrational for Johnathan to use his beneficial outcome to conclude that there is a god.

    I think there is a subtle point that I am failing to communicate. There is a difference between “choosing to believe” something and whether or not that “something” is true or not. Johnathan established that he chose to believe as a bit of a last ditch experiment if you will. He never said a god exists and all he knows is that he appeared to get some benefit from the belief.

    Once again, this is no different than the placebo medicine where the belief in a medicine (belief in a god) produces a real benefit even though there is no actual medicine (no actual god).

    What I heard was that Johnathan knows that he can’t prove that a god exists. There are over a thousand years of failed attempts that pretty well cinch this . He also knows that it is not possible to prove that a god does not exist. It does not take long to figure out that proving a negative doesn’t work very well. That’s why I am an agnostic atheist. I am not satisfied that there is proof for either existence or non-existence of a god (I can’t find god guilty of existing, but I also can’t find god guilty of not existing).

    All I am saying is that Johnathan has a rational reason to stick to his belief (it helps him) even though his original reason for starting his belief was no more than an act of desperation.

    Lamont Cranston

  92. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Wait… what? Did Kafei just link to a sea lion comic animation, while sea-lioning? Is he joking? Is he revealing that it’s all an elaborate troll?

  93. says

    But I don’t think even a career troll could muster the tens of thousands of words in defence of fuck-all that Covfefe has mustered.

  94. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @EL #103
    The link to the sea lion comic seems like a joke to me. He used the language from the comic in the last thread and I called him out on it. He probably thinks a little self-deprecation will get us roped in again.
    @Hank 104,105
    He’s a true believer in perennialism. He’s also a Jordan Peterson apologist, Rupert Sheldrake enthusiast, New Age woo guzzler and believer in “other ways of knowing”. Rest assured that he’s not a troll; he’s a great example of crank magnetism.

  95. indianajones says

    @LC I think I get what you are trying to say. Late in my atheism and more importantly skepticism journey as a dumbshit 20 year old, I joined the navy. And as a sailor I was thinking at the time (and you know memory sucks yada yada) that all the cool kids were superstitious. I mean, they absolutely were. Therefore, I should be superstitious. I resisted it, in much the same way as I resisted a tattoo that I would have regretted by now. Because even when I wasn’t very good at skepticism I came to the conclusion that it was bullshit. But it was very tempting.

    I think that belief CAN be a matter of choice, but only if one chooses not to examine closely. I think the choice in general comes down to that. I do believe in/that gravity as does everyone. But in that example it is because every toddler ever is choicelessly forced by hard, harsh, bruise inducing, physical reality to examine it. Right? Johnathan, et al, does not have that immediate pain etc inducing consequence. I think that that is a difference that is significant when talking about whether it is possible to choose beliefs.

  96. says

    >I still did not hear him say that because he chose to believe and because he had a beneficial outcome that there is a god. He simply never said there is or must be a god and never said a god caused his beneficial outcome. What I got from the call was that his “belief” had some bearing on the outcome, not whether or not there was a god who caused his beneficial outcome.

    Belief is acceptance of a proposition as true. He claims he believes a god exists. To me his points were clear:

    I choose to believe (ie, it’s true a god exists)
    He then went on to witness about that believe (that it’s true a god exists) changed his life.

    The two things seemed, to me, to be related in his head, because he certainly kept tying those together in his conversation.

    I may have misunderstood him. That’s the best I can offer. But he seemed focused on the beneficial outcome and kept saying it was tied to his belief (that a god exists is true).

    He laid out “I choose to believe” (belief = acceptance of a proposition as true), and let me explain my story to you about why… fill in his tale about his life change.

    I still read that as him saying that his changed life is support for his claim that it’s true a god exists.

    I don’t really get how that’s unclear to others. But if it is, I’m willing to say it’s ambiguous in some way I don’t see, and leave it at that. I certainly can’t say without access to his inner mind, that I didn’t misunderstand something.

    >I think there is a subtle point that I am failing to communicate. There is a difference between “choosing to believe” something and whether or not that “something” is true or not.

    Belief is the acceptance of a proposition as true. So yes, I fail to see a distinction. No matter how I label getting to belief, when I call X a belief, I’m asserting I accept that it’s true.

    >What I heard was that Johnathan knows that he can’t prove that a god exists.

    That’s not relevant to belief. I can say “I believe my partner is cheating on me, but I can’t prove it.” What I’m saying is that I accept it’s true my partner is cheating, but I can’t demonstrate it. Admitting my acceptance of a proposition as true is not founded on good evidence or reason is no less a claim it’s still true as far as I’m concerned.

    Maybe I’m just not familiar with your use of “belief”?

  97. says

    >He’s a believer “by choice”? C’mon now, that’s not how it works. Tracie and Jen should have really nailed him on this because this misunderstanding (willful or not) was the basis of his entire call.

    It was, in my view, intended as a distraction. Even after I pulled Jen back from going after it, he continued to stress and emphasize it. It was merely bait. And it wasn’t what he was claiming to call about. I did not want to go off topic on some caller’s manipulative agenda. It’s not that I’m 100% against derailing, but not for such low hanging fruit.

  98. says

    ANA @107

    No wonder his posts are rambling repetitive nonsense – must be hard to keep a thought straight when you’ll believe practically any old bullshit.

  99. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ Lamont 102:

    “All I am saying is that Johnathan has a rational reason to stick to his belief (it helps him) even though his original reason for starting his belief was no more than an act of desperation.”

    I think you might be served by just excising the word “rational” from the whole conversation. The AXP hosts tend to use the word in a stricter sense than you seem to be – while you seem to be using the word to mean that he is offering *some* reason, however weak, in the strict sense of the word, AXP tends to use it to mean “based in reason and logic.” And Jonathan’s argument isn’t based in reason and logic, because all kinds of people claim all kinds of beliefs about the efficacy of all kinds of mutually conflicting deities – or a lucky rabbit’s foot, or lucky socks – and the evidence that any of these things is actually having some kind of tangible impact in the world is lacking. So if the word is bothering you, then forget about it – the question is whether Jonathan has a good reason for his beliefs, and the answer to that sure seems to be “no.”

    @ Tracie 109:

    “I still read that as him saying that his changed life is support for his claim that it’s true a god exists. I don’t really get how that’s unclear to others. But if it is, I’m willing to say it’s ambiguous in some way I don’t see, and leave it at that. I certainly can’t say without access to his inner mind, that I didn’t misunderstand something.”

    I think hidden behind his presentation was the really common theist approach of trying to fight atheists to a draw – “well, I can’t definitely prove that god exists, but you can’t prove that god doesn’t exist, and my belief isn’t doing any harm, so please stop criticizing religion, okay?” The problem is that it can’t (as far as I know) be demonstrated that unjustified beliefs that don’t seem to harm people cannot, in fact, foster other unjustified beliefs that do, in fact, potentially harm people. In other words, one “innocuous” unjustified belief could help lead someone to accept a related, harmful unjustified belief. Jonathan himself was evidence for this, when, after several minutes of him insisting that his belief doesn’t harm anyone, the conversation took a weird left turn into anti-transgender territory.

  100. John David Balla says

    @heicart 110
    Choosing to believe may be a semantic problem.
    1) JOHNATHAN’S PROBLEM: Desperate to feel better, willing to try just about anything,
    2) JOHNATHAN’S HYPOTHESIS: Johnathan decides to try believing in god, “hoping” it will produce the desired result.
    3) RESULT: Subsequent to giving believing in god a try, Johnathan’s life improves, and as such, he concludes that believing in god is the cause of his improved disposition.

    Assessment. #3 provided the evidence Johnathan required in order to justify his belief in god. Without that outcome, Johnathan’s hypothesis would have been falsified. In this context, Johnathan’s approach can be considered rational. Of course, it could easily be found problematic in that he is assuming that #2 caused #3. What else could have been the cause and how did he rule out these candidate explanations? During the call, his mention of alternative explanations was conspicuously absent.

  101. t90bb says

    How is Jonathans situation regarding belief in gawdd any different than someone who chose to believe in a lucky rabbits foot???

    “At some point I decided to believe in the lucky rabbits foot”…..and it has brought me peace and confidence to face the world

    No doubt I selectively sift through my day looking for all apparent matters of chance that went my way…..self confirming the power of the rabbits foot.

    This is innocent enough as long as as a result I don’t start taking dangerous risks I would otherwise avoid based on the power of the rabbits foot.

    There is no doubt that the mind can be “tricked” and placebos do work (have an effect).

  102. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @Tracie #110
    Makes sense. My view is partially informed by his comments on the video (I didn’t watch live). His comments make him seem like a Dollar Tree copy of Jesse Lee Peterson.

  103. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    For those of you who haven’t looked at the YT comments, here’s an excerpt from one of Johnathan’s comments:

    Because the atheist position is naturally the female position. Women think in terms of the actee…taking deference to the things which are affected – the womb, the egg, mother nature. Men are the actor…the seed, the sperm, the creator. We act. I act with belief in things “unseen” because its the only way to make those things “seen”. This is the historical leadership role of men, and its my job to push us to “good”…which is God.

    This guy is a total wingnut and if he calls again let’s hope he drops the phony intellectual act so his true beliefs can be torn apart.

  104. says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic –

    That quoted part makes me laugh. I literally had to mentor a young man recently to be more assertive and learn to ask for what he wants and needs in life–while maintaining consideration for others. I explained at asserting oneself does not mean trampling others, but that when we are passive, we are allowing others to trample us (even if they don’t realize we’re being imposed upon).

    It was sort of a pep talk to say “Stand up for yourself”–because I believe in a self-directed life.

    I was never in that mindset as a Christian–because I believed that it was all about what god wanted, not what I wanted. I gave a talk recently about this very thing–that religion (Christianity in the West–especially authoritarian forms), believes it’s arrogant and sinful to self-direct your life and be the captain of your own ship. Here is the content from one of the slides I use in that talk:

    • “Would you feel the need to depend on God if you knew as much as He did? I think probably not… God gives us enough knowledge to know that He exists and that we are to surrender to Him.” https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/belief-+-trust-+-faith-bruce-ball-sermon-on-faith-general- 95508?page=2

    • “What He says we will do, where He sends we will go; Never fear, only trust and obey… there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” Classic Christian Hymn, “Trust and Obey” by John H. Sammis, 1887

    • “As you battle against sin, and while the same old sins continue to rise up against you, Satan tries to make you believe that these very battles are evidences of hypocrisy rather than a universal Christian condition.” http://www.challies.com/reading-classics-together/8-ways-satan-convinces-you-to-question-your-salvation/

    • Many sermons on being a slave/servant of Christ.
    • Lifesite News – The evils of agency.

    ***
    Conservative Churches are just factories that churn out Codependent masses.

  105. says

    Thanks to John for taking steps. Again, all I did was note that some folks here were asking for a review, and I reached out to John before I read RK’s responses to me. This was not a vendetta. And it also was not about me expecting privileges. I don’t expect anyone to put up with crap I’m not willing to put up with–here or anywhere else. The ban was not because he got ornery with *me*. It’s just that he was already warned, folks were asking for another review. I relayed that information, and upon review by the moderator who issued the warning, he was finally banned.

    I tried to handle this about as fair as I possibly could. Thanks to everyone for your patience.

    One thing I did want to update is that initially I thought RK was ranting incoherently, but then it dawned on me that he really seemed to have taken my paragraph about John’s initial warning as some sort of threat. I was baffled by his “shaking in my boots” comment, because I thought that was generally a response issued to someone who has threatened you (to alert them their threats aren’t scaring you). But I had not threatened him and had no idea what he was taking as a threat. The irony is that in reacting that way he actually made one of my points: He misses the point.

    My post paragraph about John was not to say I was going to report him to John (and I didn’t, in fact, until I came back and saw the calls for review). My context was “you’re horrible to people at the blog”–and the section about the past interaction with John was simply to point out “You’re so bad, in fact, that when we asked a moderator to come and review A DIFFERENT comment person–the moderator actually called you out specifically as a problem as well.”

    I wasn’t threatening. I was simply pointing out the utter lack of any self-awareness–that most folks confronted with *everyone* saying “Hey you’re a hostile person” would begin to realize *they* are the common denominator. But in RK’s case, it never failed that he consistently took the position he’d done nothing wrong, and all other parties were treating him unfairly. He just ended up, in the end, being one of those folks who wants to pile on the insult, criticism and hostility to others, but can’t take the slightest correction or suggestion–or in the case of this thread, request for citation–without melting down into an aggressive rant.

    In life, and I think it’s fair, the natural penalty for that sort of attitude and behavior, when it’s all the time, is that you lose friends and associates. That is supposed to be part of how we all learn to adjust our behaviors, language and presentations as people. RK has not learned it. I hope one day he does.

  106. Lamont Cranston says

    heicart says in #109:

    >I still did not hear him say that because he chose to believe and because he had a beneficial outcome that there is a god…

    Belief is acceptance of a proposition as true. He claims he believes a god exists. To me his points were clear: …

    I may have misunderstood him. That’s the best I can offer. But he seemed focused on the beneficial outcome and kept saying it was tied to his belief (that a god exists is true).

    Ahhhhhhhh, now I see how we ended up on different wavelengths.

    It all comes down to the definition of belief (i.e., belief = acceptance that a proposition is true). Unfortunately not everyone uses belief in this way and there are actually two definitions of believe and colloquial usage that can lead to this sort of misunderstanding. The other definition of belief is “holding to an opinion” where an opinion is “a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.”

    So one usage of believe is based upon being convinced of the truth of something while the other is holding to an opinion which does not require being convinced of its truth.

    An example of the other kind of belief would be someone who believes a certain race of people are fundamentally inferior. They simply cannot be convinced of the truth of that because there is no evidence that can be used to convince them. They are really holding to an opinion or viewpoint without a basis of fact or knowledge.

    Now in which way was Johnathan using the word belief?

    Johnathan said several things that led me to think that he is using the second definition rather than the first one. Jenn also seemed to notice the problem with what he said that first triggered me. When Johnathan said he “chose to believe” Jenn’s immediate reaction was that, “we don’t chose our beliefs.” She was exactly right IF you are operating with the first definition (acceptance of truth). However you CAN choose to believe something if you are expressing belief based on the 2nd definition (holding to an opinion not based on fact). So how do we tell which thing it is that they are trying to express?

    If Johnathan had said, “I came to believe that a god exists,” I think it would be clear that he was operating with the acceptance of truth definition and that was what he was expressing. However he said he “chose to believe” which triggered Jenn and triggered me as well. You don’t chose an acceptance of truth just as Jenn said. However, you can chose to have an opinion. So what if Johnathan had said, “I chose to hold to the opinion that there is a god.” This could be contrasted with someone who says something like, “I came to believe there is a god.” In that case “came to believe” expresses that the person has accepted something that has convinced them of the truth of the proposition (of course this doesn’t mean the reasons for being convinced are valid, but they have accepted them as true).

    When I put the “chose to believe” together with his later statement that, “I can’t prove there is a god,” I noticed something else. What he did not say is, “I cannot prove to you there is a god.” Generally if someone feels they have proven something to themselves and accept it as true they will say it the second way (basically I’ve proven this to me, but I know I can’t prove it to you). The way he said it leads me to think he doesn’t even accept that he has proven the existence of god to himself. Of course I could be wrong, but his statements all seemed to add up to the same thing.

    Again, I could be totally wrong, but I think there is a point to be made. When someone makes a statement that makes no sense to us with the definitions we are using, it is probably best to call a halt right there and try to figure out what it is they are really trying to say. I know when I used to hear hosts and co-hosts saying we don’t chose our beliefs it used to throw me a little bit until I realized that on the show the first definition of belief is consistently used. Unfortunately not everyone uses belief in that way and the alternate usage (opinion) is both accepted and common.

    I have been known to say on many occasions that both the written and spoken word is often only totally clear to the person writing or speaking it. I work really hard at trying to be clear in what I say (long time writer of technical material, articles and stories), and dealing with nuances and how they can be misunderstood is a never ending challenge.

    I hope I have clarified why we seem to be looking at the same things and having a different reaction.

    Lamont Cranston

  107. says

    >It all comes down to the definition of belief (i.e., belief = acceptance that a proposition is true). Unfortunately not everyone uses belief in this way

    Right–but in the context of belief in god–this is how it’s used. And I realized after my post that the caller himself talked about jumping off a building if you “believe” you can fly/float–as an example of a belief that he agreed would have dangerous results. So he seemed to be associating it with acceptance as true as well–as it would take quite a commitment to jump off a building.

    In theism, “faith” is huge–it means devoting one’s life to god and trusting god’s promises. Doubt is considered Satanic and sinful.

    If a person suspects a god exists, but does not accept it as true, that’s not a theist. Many atheists hold out that the existence of god is possible. What differentiates them from theists is that the theist holds it out as true.

  108. t90bb says

    So I heard Jonathan was posting on the YT board….so I checked it out….

    Assuming J from Texas is who he claims to be……I walk back most of the kind things I said on his behalf. He is a nutjob. There were warning signs on the call but I gave him the benefit. Hes comparing trans peoples “belief” that they are of a part sex to his belief in god……..”If a man can believe hes a woman because he/she/it says so…….then god exists if I say so…….”

    No john……god does not exist if you say so…….at best we will accept that YOU believe a god exists…..

    Perhaps the meds are still necessary.

  109. says

    >Assessment. #3 provided the evidence Johnathan required in order to justify his belief in god. Without that outcome, Johnathan’s hypothesis would have been falsified. In this context, Johnathan’s approach can be considered rational.

    1. He’d have to believe it before he was helped for the experiment to work.
    2. It’s still not rational, as there is no mechanism to demonstrate a causal connection. Merely saying it met his standards of evidence, therefore it’s rational, is not correct. If his standards are not rational, then meeting them doesn’t suddenly make it rational to believe.

    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00219266.1992.9655260

  110. t90bb says

    btw….meds or no meds…..god or no god…..jonathan still seems to be searching for something. This had the potential to be a real feel good story. NOT.

  111. t90bb says

    Why does it upset jonathan that transgender people exist and have a right to live the life they believe is correct and best for them? How does it harm him???? Like many theists jonathan appears to need CLARITY. It must be either black or white…..anything less makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure. Acknowledging nuance is dangerous to them because they may actually have to think and empathize with others.

  112. t90bb says

    And guess what…life to me is mostly about nuance. It does take me to places that can be unsettling or uncomfortable for a bit…..but that’s how we learn and grow imho. How fortunate we don’t live an existence where everything is black or white. How boring that would be.

  113. billkw says

    #6 amuthan The Japanese had two atomic bombs killing millions

    the bombs, less than 200,000 prompt deaths, not counting later cancers.

  114. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @John #117
    Thanks for that.
    @Tracie #118
    This guy Johnathan seems to have internalized that conservative misogyny to the max. If you have some time, check his YT comments (J From Texas). He’s definitely a Jesse Lee clone. This is why I was so pissed with his dishonesty on the call. He was trying to make it seem like you and him agreed on the general facts (we can’t know if a god exists), but that you just came to a different conclusion (believing vs not believing). Meanwhile, he didn’t think this through at all and just wanted an “in” so he could trash trans people on your platform. If/when he calls again he should help accountable for these comments because these represent what’s truly lurking behind the facade. I grew up in a moderate, northeast Catholic household where this vitriol just wan’t present at church or in the community so when I see this come up it just makes my blood boil.

  115. John David Balla says

    @heicart #123

    What I’m saying is very nuanced and calls for a better explanation. First, as you’ll see in the last two sentences of my post #113, I point out his error per…

    “What else could have been the cause and how did he rule out these candidate explanations? During the call, his mention of alternative explanations was conspicuously absent.”

    What’s interesting is that if you frame this in the scientific method, which is what I did in #113, the cause and effect gets trapped in inductive reasoning, and as such, and in that CONTEXT, it could easily appear rational because deductive reasoning is not being applied. To me, it’s a demonstration of how the scientific method can produce erroneous conclusions. I’m probably oriented to that line of thinking because I’m currently in grad school and am immersed in analyzing many peer-reviewed journal articles, and am noticing how the power of the hypothesis can lead to dubious or even false causalities. That said, rigorous training in research methodology I think is mandatory for this very reason.

  116. says

    @AtheistNotAgnostic

    He’s a true believer in perennialism. He’s also a Jordan Peterson apologist, Rupert Sheldrake enthusiast, New Age woo guzzler and believer in “other ways of knowing”. Rest assured that he’s not a troll; he’s a great example of crank magnetism.

    Actually, I see Jordan Peterson as a kind of person who’s here to invoke and initiate the divine masculine principle on Earth at this time. Alex Jones is actually a reptilian, and the Loch Ness monster is actually a submarine driven by Big Foot. Oh, and JP Sears is the most spiritual person on the planet.

    No, I’m joking. You actually have me pegged all wrong. I find Rupert Sheldrake’s perspective on atheism interesting. I’m not too sure I agree with him on morphic resonance, because I’m not sure I understand precisely what he’s talking about, but I nevertheless find the ideas interesting. That’s very different form just accepting all sorts of “woo.” I can’t relate to crank magnetism because I’ve always said you want to be open-minded, but not so open-minded that the wind whistles between your ears. I also don’t identify with the “New Age,” Perennialism is not “New Age,” it’s a very old perspective on the major religions which holds roots in Neoplatonism. New Agers may have adopted it as central to their movement, and while there’s some things I agree with, like for instance this effort to meld science and spirituality in the fashion that is going on at Johns Hopkins relative to CMEs, and I do see Jordan Peterson as a voice for that effort; he’s an advocate for the neuroscience of religion.

  117. Monocle Smile says

    @Kafei
    Hey, a post not full of the same screeds that you always post!
    LOL at that Sheldrake video. He’s clearly never actually explored counter-apologetics and his perspective on atheism seems to be informed purely by theist apologetics. The whole “dogmatic materialism” garbage is almost entirely a field of straw men; I doubt he’s actually ever met someone who actually holds the position he describes…because they barely exist. Sheldrake doesn’t seem to understand that polemics famous only in academia don’t capture what a certain population actually thinks and believes. He suffers from a sheltered, ivory-tower sickness.

    I do see Jordan Peterson as a voice for that effort; he’s an advocate for the neuroscience of religion.

    Do you really think that anyone here disagrees that what people call “religious experiences” are merely neurological phenomena? I don’t think you’ve ever understood the objections presented to you. I predict that you’ll get butthurt over my use of “merely” because you think these experiences are meaningful, which spectacularly misses the point.

  118. says

    >“What else could have been the cause and how did he rule out these candidate explanations? During the call, his mention of alternative explanations was conspicuously absent.”

    I don’t see how it’s relevant.

    If I assert that my rooster crowing makes the sun come up. And then I propose a test whereby if I observe this 30 days in a row, before I believe that proposition is justified, that’s no more rational. All it can prove is that one event happens after another event. It does ZERO to demonstrate any causal connection. It’s a fallacy. It’s based entirely upon “after this, therefore because of this.” It’s not wrong because I haven’t considered other options. It’s wrong because it’s literally a reasoning error–and that means it cannot, by definition be rational (ie logical). It cannot be both logical and a logic error.

    If I then go on to propose that “other” explanations or causes would make a difference, I’m heading into the “Argument from Ignorance” category–where his irrational belief is somehow rational if there aren’t other explanations available.

  119. says

    >Meanwhile, he didn’t think this through at all and just wanted an “in” so he could trash trans people on your platform.

    Yeah, that’s pretty shitty, I agree.

  120. John David Balla says

    His standard of evidence was admittedly of the rooster crowing kind. Well, not quite that bad, but close enough. He wasn’t interested in the truth, and seemed pretty clear about that. But he was interested in some degree of merit-based testing that could satisfy a “good enough” standard. “Satisficing” (correctly spelled) is the formal name for the “good enough” heuristic which is very common in System 1 cognitive thinking as advanced by Simon (Barros, 2010).

    Problem is, System 1 cognition is designed (metaphorically) for heuristic, low effort, low reflection decision-making. For a topic like this, however, conscious reflection, more thorough analysis, and greater intellectual horsepower, i.e., System 2 cognition (Kahneman, 2003) is what’s called for. Or so one would think.

    I’m currently exploring the possibility of the existence of a widespread System 1 bias which some people seem to favor over the more conscious, reflective, analytical, rational, and yes, slower and more difficult to process and reach decisions, or System 2 cognition. These two cognitive systems were developed by Kahnemann (2003) to help explain how people go about making decisions, the purview of the two, and the executive function that decides what system to use and when. Kahneman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002 for his work on bounded rationality, which includes System 1 and System 2 cognitive systems. For a nerd like you, you may find this stuff interesting.

    Barros, G. (2010). Herbert A. Simon and the concept of rationality: Boundaries and procedures. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy,30(3), 455-472. doi:10.1590/s0101-31572010000300006
    Kahneman, D. (2003). A perspective on judgment and choice: Mapping bounded rationality. American Psychologist, 58(9), 697-720. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.58.9.697

  121. Lamont Cranston says

    heicart says in #121

    >It all comes down to the definition of belief (i.e., belief = acceptance that a proposition is true). Unfortunately not everyone uses belief in this way

    Right–but in the context of belief in god–this is how it’s used. And I realized after my post that the caller himself talked about jumping off a building if you “believe” you can fly/float–as an example of a belief that he agreed would have dangerous results. So he seemed to be associating it with acceptance as true as well–as it would take quite a commitment to jump off a building.

    With regard to “but in the context of belief in god–this is how it’s used,” that is how you or I would use it (we come from very similar backgrounds – except mine was yours on steroids), but that doesn’t mean every caller will use it in that way.

    Keep in mind the jumping off the building statement was with regard to what constitutes a dangerous belief. The caller clearly did not consider his belief the dangerous kind, but it was never made clear why he would say his type of belief was different. Was the thing that he thought made his “not dangerous” the “type” of belief (opinion, versus acceptance of truth), or the thing he was believing itself (his god was somehow a safe one?). This was not really established.

    We should always be aware that the way we approach things are inevitably colored by our biases which don’t necessarily match those of a caller. I’m just saying that it can be best to explore what callers actually mean by what they say rather than assuming too much. Keep in mind that I think you and the other hosts do an amazing job at handling such calls in real time with no advance warning of where a call is going.

    In theism, “faith” is huge–it means devoting one’s life to god and trusting god’s promises. Doubt is considered Satanic and sinful.

    Remember what I said about biases? I know your background. I lived it for a long time. I understand why you said this. This will not be true of every theist. Remember theism is just belief in “a” god. It doesn’t say which one, or what that god or religion requires. You are approaching this from the Church of Christ background which will not always be applicable. If you said, “In CoC Christianity “faith” is huge–it means devoting one’s life to god and trusting god’s promises. Doubt is considered Satanic and sinful,” I would totally agree with you. In other flavors of Christianity or non-Christian religions, not so much.

    If a person suspects a god exists, but does not accept it as true, that’s not a theist.

    Here is where I think caution is warranted. I’ve seen many hosts bristle over being told what an atheist is by a non-atheist. I think we are treading on the same territory when telling a theist what makes them a real theist or that they are not really a theist if they don’t believe in a certain way. Heck, for years I was in the business of convincing Christians that they were not true Christians so as to convert them to our version of Christianity. We routinely pried people out of the CoC for not actually adhering to the level of belief you stated to be necessary with regard to faith in the Christian god.

    By the way I am ashamed for having done what I did to people in the name of Christianity and have both apologized and put in a lot of time to do what I can to undo the damage I was a part of.

    Tracie, thank you for the time you have put into this and I am sure you have better things to do than go around and around any further on this subject. Again both congratulations and thanks for doing what you do so well.

    Lamont Cranston

  122. John David Balla says

    @135 Lamont Cranston,

    Well stated, Mr. Cranston. It’s comments like these that attracted me to this blog in the first place.

    My take on the “jump off a building” hypothetical was that it collided too much with reality. He seemed to be looking for a lighter, more forgiving, and less real reality, one that allows for enough wiggle room, or the “good enough” standard to allow for the beliefs he wants to accept in the first place. And in no small way, he was aware of his “good enough” standard and found peace with it. It’s also worth pointing out that his “good enough” standard can be very convincing to many. And I mention that because feeling good was Johnathan’s stated goal in the first place, and yes, people agreeing with you does tend to feel good.

  123. twarren1111 says

    @kafei
    Here is a study recently reported showing at a resolution scale far higher than achieved via fMRI of what/how hallucinogens invoke a complete mystical experience. And note that no relation to a perennial philosophy (I.e., aka as a hypothesis which can be stated as: all religions derive from a unifying experience of The Ground or The One) is or was needed to make this discovery.
    https://www.inverse.com/article/54359-hallucination-neuron-visual-cortex

    Oh, and btw the mammals used were mice. I guess you could twist this finding as to answer Einstein’s complaint about the persistence of the moon when he looks away as “yes, Dr. Einstein it is the mouse who continues to look at the moon that keeps it up there”, but that would be doing what you are doing (confusing causality)

    As another note: we are now discovering deep QM reasons for why there are 4 states for any observation, not binary false dichotomies. Chris Lee is a consistently accurate purveyor of translating difficult science to lay people’s understanding.
    https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/03/choose-your-own-facts-in-quantum-mechanics-you-kind-of-can/

  124. Lamont Cranston says

    John David Balla says in #136:

    He seemed to be looking for a lighter, more forgiving, and less real reality, one that allows for enough wiggle room, or the “good enough” standard to allow for the beliefs he wants to accept in the first place. And in no small way, he was aware of his “good enough” standard and found peace with it. It’s also worth pointing out that his “good enough” standard can be very convincing to many.

    I suspect this is a good possibility. I think it is true that many Christians (and possible other religions as well) are populated by people who warp (for the lack of a better term at the moment) their religion into something that is more palatable than the documentation of their religion presents. They kind of edit out the stories about how their god commits genocide, commands the killing of children, allows rape, etc. Instead they manipulate their god into being kind, loving, benevolent, wise, and all powerful despite what their holy book might actually say. They do create a “good enough” standard which they then think is their actual religious doctrine.

    To put it bluntly, these are the kind of Christians we used to have for lunch when we were convincing them they were not Christians at all. No we didn’t tell them all that bad stuff (we even lied to ourselves about all those things), but we always had a lot of other stuff we used to “convict” them of their lack of “faith” and failure to live up to “God’s standards.” Again, I am not proud of this; just stating as succinctly as I can the harm that we did in the name of Christianity. In the process we ran into a lot of people who had set up their own “good enough” standards because those made them feel good. We shredded those standards routinely.

    I don’t fault Johnathan for his placebo belief system that helps him be a better person, up to a point. The point is when that belief system begins to have an affect on other people beside Johnathan himself. Unfortunately I think this is an inevitable outcome of god based beliefs. You invariably end up thinking everyone should agree with your beliefs because “god wants them to.” That’s when things take a hard left turn just like it did at the end of that call.

    Lamont Cranston

  125. Chikoppi says

    @twarren1111 #137

    Alarm! Please consider moving discussion of this subject to the thread for the previous episode. It isn’t relevant to this episode and I think it’s best to not further encourage its sprawl across each week’s forum page. Thanks!

  126. Lamont Cranston says

    Wiggle Puppy says in #112:

    @ Lamont 102:

    “All I am saying is that Johnathan has a rational reason to stick to his belief (it helps him) even though his original reason for starting his belief was no more than an act of desperation.”

    I think you might be served by just excising the word “rational” from the whole conversation. The AXP hosts tend to use the word in a stricter sense than you seem to be – while you seem to be using the word to mean that he is offering *some* reason, however weak, in the strict sense of the word, AXP tends to use it to mean “based in reason and logic.”

    I apologize for not seeing and responding to this sooner.

    I think you are right. Even the word “rational” doesn’t always mean exactly the same thing to everyone. I do think there is some logic to what he did, but it may not be very sound. It’s slightly better than having your engine quit and deciding you should check the air in your spare tire though. He was actually trying to do something that he understood might just help. My bad. 🙂

    English can be quite challenging.

    Lamont Cranston

  127. John David Balla says

    @Lamont Cranston #138

    Matt often says that faith is the excuse people give when they don’t have a good reason.
    Now comes Johnathan with “Check out my good enough reason. It’s good enough for me. See. I’m not practicing faith!”
    Just imagine how many theists are really practicing good enough reasoning. We may in the 50th percentile (or higher).

    In that context, we can begin to understand why they see skepticism as way too extreme, including the likes of Jordan Peterson. I may find a rational life worth living, but again to paraphrase Matt, so do those 50 percenters. And it is that gap where I see no clear solution.

  128. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ JDB 141:

    “Matt often says that faith is the excuse people give when they don’t have a good reason. Now comes Johnathan with “Check out my good enough reason. It’s good enough for me. See. I’m not practicing faith!”
    Just imagine how many theists are really practicing good enough reasoning…And it is that gap where I see no clear solution.”

    The clear solution is to point out that if their argument works for every other religion, then it isn’t really a good reason, just a special pleading fallacy. If personal experience works for Johnathan, then it works for every other competing claim about the divine – so, it doesn’t, in fact, work.

  129. scepticus says

    Can I ask a question? I am an ex-theist, married to a theist. I am fairly literate on Atheism, logic, and reason. My spouse’s goto “evidence” used for belief in her version of the christian god, is that DNA is information and its complexity proves god. The emphasis is heavy on “information” and its improbability. I am hoping that others may have already encountered this, or a variant, that I can review. Can anyone direct me to any responses to this assertion? Preferably an Atheist Experience episode where this is addressed by Matt or Tracie, however any good source is welcome. Thank you.

    Is it appropriate that I ask this question here?

  130. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To heicart

    If I assert that my rooster crowing makes the sun come up. And then I propose a test whereby if I observe this 30 days in a row, before I believe that proposition is justified, that’s no more rational. All it can prove is that one event happens after another event. It does ZERO to demonstrate any causal connection. It’s a fallacy. It’s based entirely upon “after this, therefore because of this.” It’s not wrong because I haven’t considered other options. It’s wrong because it’s literally a reasoning error–and that means it cannot, by definition be rational (ie logical). It cannot be both logical and a logic error.

    If I then go on to propose that “other” explanations or causes would make a difference, I’m heading into the “Argument from Ignorance” category–where his irrational belief is somehow rational if there aren’t other explanations available.

    Apologies if I misread, and apologies if you know this already. This is a pet peeve of mine, and I want to take this opportunity to reach out to you. I suspect that you already agree with me, but I think your phrasing here is potentially problematic to some readers.

    How do you demonstrate causation? The cliche answer is a double-blind control-group experiment-group in the lab. What does that do? It attempts to do two things.

    1- It attempts to show that when A happens, then B always follows, and when A is absent, B does not happen.

    2- It attempts to find every other plausible explanation and account for them, e.g. keeping them the same for the control-group and experiment-group.

    This is how you show causation. This is the only way that you can show causation in a real, fundamental sense. This is what Hume calls “constant conjunction”.

    Now, if you are working in a context where you already accept that some particular things cause other particular things, then you can also show causation through a reductionistic approach, i.e. “I know that X causes Y because I know the reductionistic mechanism by which X causes Y”. However, that relies on prior work on the form that I mentioned above, which necessarily cannot be reductionistic in its ultimate explanation. In other words, mechanisms are reductionistic explanations, and reductionistic explanations rely on other explanations, and it cannot be turtles all the way down in our understanding of causation, and eventually we reach the level of our understanding which is “X causes Y, and I know this because of proper double-blind control-group experiment-group lab experiments. I don’t know what the mechanism is. There might be a mechanism that I don’t know, and there might be a mechanism that I will discover tomorrow, but I don’t know what the mechanism is, and yet I still know that X causes Y without knowing the mechanism behind it”.

    Consider any simple question of fundamental physics. Why do two electrons repel each other? How do they do it? Oh, the electric field. How does that work? What’s the mechanism behind that?

    The point that I’m trying to emphasize is that you do have to consider alternative explanations in order to show X causes Y. That’s what a double-blind control-group experiment-group lab experiment is. It’s the attempt to show a correlation in time plus genuine attempts at removing all possible confounding factors, e.g. accounting for all alternative explanations. That’s all it is.

    I’m trying to lead up to to a much broader point: Proper epistemology is Bayesian. By that, I mean this: When we say that some empirical claim is true, we only understand that in terms of alternatives. To say that something is true necessarily is to say that something else is false. I only understand what it means “the Sun will rise tomorrow” in the context of its alternative claims “the Sun will not rise tomorrow”. This goes hand-in-hand with the general positivist approach to scientific knowledge: For something to count as a scientific claim, it must be falsifiable. The idea that claims must be falsifiable is IMAO practically the same concept that claims must always be evaluated in the context of alternative claims. The standard idea of the “null hypothesis” is wrong – or at least incomplete; it’s a simple expedient, an approximation. The way that rational people truly behave is that they try to gather all plausible explanations, and they assign probabilities, levels of confidence, to each of the plausible explanations, so that the total sum equal 100%.

    For example, I might not know how many gumballs are in the jar, and without any other knowledge, I know that it’s about 50%-50% odds of the number being “even” or “odd”. I don’t know if it’s even or odd, which is just another way of saying that my estimation of the odds of the truth of both propositions is about 50%.

    In other words, what it means to be a rational actor is to do proper cost-benefit analysis, and that means being a gambler. Every action that you make is a gamble. You roll the proverbial dice with some expectation of the odds of each outcome, and you choose actions based on your probabilistic expectations – that’s what it means to do cost-benefit analysis.

    fin

  131. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Lamont Cranston #138:

    many Christians […] who warp (for the lack of a better term at the moment) their religion into something that is more palatable than the documentation of their religion presents.
    […]
    we used to “convict” them of their lack of “faith” and failure to live up to “God’s standards.” Again, I am not proud of this
    […]
    we ran into a lot of people who had set up their own “good enough” standards because those made them feel good. We shredded those standards routinely.

    For that to work, they had to have *already* accepted the book as their standard to qualify for membership. They had to accept your reading as legitimate, to have fallen short. Once confronted with its contents, they could try harder to conform, they could recoil and disavow Christian affiliation entirely, or they could stay affiliated but renounce that way of relating to the stories (with minimal change in behavior).
     
    If instead they’d really had a “good enough” standard of their own – one that they DID meet, no shame of misrepresenting themselves – they would’ve remained unimpressed by the thumping of non-authoritative texts. You would have had no leverage to drive them into the unkind beliefs.

  132. John David Balla says

    @EL #145

    What’s very interesting is how rational actors routinely and predictably make irrational decisions when conducting cost/benefit (or similar) assessments. These irrational errors seem to be sourced by psychological biases and preferences, some of which appear to be universal.

    Bounded rationality explains the real limits of the rational domain, including the emotive affects that compete and confuse rational discernment, plus the many heuristic errors we make each day unconsciously. Behavioral Economics, which is a fusion of psychology and economics is driving this research, since unlike classical economics, it takes into account that human beings are quite capable of behaving irrationally, and do so regularly. Full disclosure. I’m working on my Masters in BE.

    How is this applicable to whether a god exists? Because BE is interested in human choice and decision making in all applications and situations. But obviously, I’m biased.

  133. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To John David Balla
    Well said. No complaints. I was presenting a simplified version. Obviously I could go on for a while. You are correct that we employ many heuristics. For example, I did explicitly say “the null hypothesis” is one such heuristic, and it’s a fine and useful heuristic when employed properly.

    I agree that it’s also vitally important in the study of economics (and politics) to not pretend that humans are perfectly rational actors. I was also describing an idealized version that we should strive towards instead of describing actual human behavior.

  134. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Speaking of alternate ways of relating to the stories… Making the affiliation more about heritage than adherence – Cultural Christian. This recent quote came to mind.
     
    Video: GodlessBitches – 05.06 Sid Hall (6:13-7:34 of 1:02:45)

    I realized I didn’t *believe* in a zombie Jesus, a bodily resurrection. […] So I went to this Rabbi and said I’m thinking about converting to Judaism.
    […]
    He says, “Oh God man, I don’t believe the Exodus happened like Cecil B. DeMille, but I’m still a Jew.”
     
    And I said, “What do you mean?”
     
    He says, “Y’now. We don’t know what happened back then.” But he says, “That story of liberation is my people’s story. I had relatives at Auschwitz, and they didn’t talk about the Russians breaking through the gate. They talked about the Egyptians being thrown into the sea. That story belongs to me. No one can take it away. You need to find a way to make YOUR story – death and resurrection – work. And when you do that, you’ll be where you need to be.”
     
    He says, “We’ve got just as many problems as you do. Don’t convert to Judaism.”

  135. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    * I forgot to mention Sid Hall was taking a class in seminary at the time, hence the need to make the stories work. Didn’t mean to imply the rabbi said heritage should obligate individuals to carry on.

  136. RationalismRules says

    @SkyCaptain #100
    I’ve just had a quick tiptoe through the T.U.L.I.P.s (sorry, couldn’t resist).

    Under predetermination, nothing a human does can have any impact on whether they are going up or down, so heaven and hell cease to be punishment and reward and simply become ‘where god chooses to send you’. Which means the Calvinistic god sends humans to eternal torture just for the lolz, I guess. It’s the most openly psychopathic version of the Xtian god I’ve encountered so far.

    Something tells me the Calvinists probably don’t think about it that way, though. I bet they still think their god is ‘just’ and ‘good’.

  137. Varkey says

    At 1:22:50 one of the callers brings up Jordan Peterson, as seems to be unnecessarily common online!

    ContraPoints, as others, has a take on him I largely agree with. That is, he mixes in well established and well trodden self-help stuff with more controversial, questionable and more poorly evidenced and hand waving stuff like his take on gender and religion. It is a bit like Tracie says about wrapping poison in bacon, as in the Bible etc.

    Here is ContraPoints take I am referring to, especially at 3:00 – 5:40:

  138. Varkey says

    Also ContraPoints points out the strategy he uses of being vague ( and fancy sounding), and implying, and then claiming to be misrepresented when people try to pin him down on his poorly expressed and defined arguments.
    The part I am referring to is at 20:12 – 22:47 in the clip I posted above.

  139. says

    @twarren1111

    Here is a study recently reported showing at a resolution scale far higher than achieved via fMRI of what/how hallucinogens invoke a complete mystical experience. And note that no relation to a perennial philosophy (I.e., aka as a hypothesis which can be stated as: all religions derive from a unifying experience of The Ground or The One) is or was needed to make this discovery.

    Well, I don’t know why you’d think the Perennial philosophy would be associated with a psychedelic study done on mice. The studies I’ve referenced which highlight the Perennial philosophy are done on humans, and that’s why these states have been recognized to be consistent with the Perennial philosophy, because they find no distinction between what they’re inducing in modern volunteers and what’s been achieved throughout the ages by mystics of all the various major religions.
    https://www.scribd.com/document/377509912/ME-2017CurrTopBehavNeuro-WCover-Copy

    Oh, and btw the mammals used were mice. I guess you could twist this finding as to answer Einstein’s complaint about the persistence of the moon when he looks away as “yes, Dr. Einstein it is the mouse who continues to look at the moon that keeps it up there”, but that would be doing what you are doing (confusing causality)

    When Einstein said “childish analogy of religion,” he was simply referring to the notion of God as the personal deity that answers prayers, punishes or rewards you after you die, etc. That’s what he called the “childish analogy,” his understanding of God was more sophisticated than the “personal deity” often parodied by atheists as the so-called “sky daddy” which is even further parodied into the “Spaghetti Flying Monster.” He often invoked Spinoza when describing how he understood the divine.

    As per Chikoppi’s post at #139, if you’re interested into furthering a discussion on these topics, I can reply to you on the previous thread. Anyway, I’ll leave you with one last quote. Alan Watts once said, “Religion is not the pathway to know God.” Linked is a talk that brushes on these topics.

  140. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @Varkey #153

    Also ContraPoints points out the strategy he uses of being vague ( and fancy sounding), and implying, and then claiming to be misrepresented when people try to pin him down on his poorly expressed and defined arguments.

    Couldn’t agree more. JBP is the king of dog-whistling and setting himself up to be strawmanned. Take the “enforced monogamy” debacle. His MRA/MGTOW/Incel followers took it to mean “government enforcing monogamy and giving undesirable men wives” but when he was called out on this, JBP dodged by redefining the term to mean” socially enforced monogamy”, which is pretty close to current Western society. JBP wants to be a human Rorschach test so anyone can project their own views onto him, which leads to them agreeing with him and spending time/money on him. He’s clearly a smart man and I have to give him credit for building a huge following and monetizing it but the dude doesn’t really have anything interesting or new to add.

  141. says

    @155 not only that but JBP’s happy to lie down with reactionary all-purpose bigots like Dennis Prager (of Prager Youtubeversity infamy), doing his little informercial about how college professors want to destroy Western civilisation, only to whine like a r/incel when, say, Cambridge (of actual university fame) disinvites him to their party after they actually research him, or when he’s lumped in with any number of deplorable hard-right groups of points of view. This is a man who’d walk into a nuclear reactor then complain when people point out when he starts glowing.

    Must be hard for an arch-conservative, authoritarian Christian apologist/climate troll/gender creationist/Swiss Army Reactionary/humourless carnivore/Jungian fantasist with violent urges who craves fame at almost any cost, but also academic credibility to exist, well, at all, much less in a world where some people actually pay attention to your words.

  142. Monocle Smile says

    He’s clearly a smart man and I have to give him credit for building a huge following and monetizing it

    I don’t give credit for appealing to the shitlord corner of the internet.
    Also, you must mean “monetized” past tense, seeing as the genius left Patreon because they booted SargonofAkkad for using racial slurs. “Free speech” is King and terms of use agreements be damned, I guess. Unless you decide to pen criticism of Prof SurfnTurf, in which case he’ll threaten a lawsuit.

  143. AtheistNotAgnostic says

    @MS #157
    Too bad that rank hypocrisy doesn’t matter to his crowd. He’s just like Ben Shapiro in that regard. Free speech on college campuses only matters for me, not the BDS/pro-Palestine people that I don’t like. Big government sucks, except for the military. The list goes on and on.

  144. Varkey says

    Another oh so clever right wing troll for publicity type. The bit I mean is, say, at 3:25 if you can’t be bothered to listen this guy:

  145. Varkey says

    Again, side-tracking, the green new deal is I believe a non-binding resolution to fight climate change. It is aspirational. Having more kids, as this guy suggests, is not a particularly clear solution, especially if future generations have the same attitude. I think some are okay just waiting for the rapture – maybe I’m being harsh.

  146. says

    The issue with Johnathon’s call is that there’s mixed views coming from the hosts. For instance, Tracie said during Johnathon’s call that she would like to see an effort towards the freedom from state and religion so that even religious people can practice religion legally without being interfered perhaps by a larger religious group. Tracie seems to make an argument for the harmony of individuals in being able to practice whatever they want, whether that’s a particular religion or whether they want to be an outspoken atheist, etc. Then, other hand and on other episodes, you have Matt Dillahunty who says that he would like to get rid of religion, especially Christianity. That’s very different than what Tracie expressed in the last episode of The Atheist Experience. Tracie said that most Christians are benign, they’re not politically motivated, they might even be out there doing good things, but it’s the ones that want to change laws and infringe on people’s rights which she feels is the very reason The Atheist Experience exists. If there were no religious people infringing on people’s rights, then there’d be no reason for the TAE according to Tracie.

  147. speedofsound says

    Religion is the bane of humanity. One of the most important things we are poised to do right now is to understand the nature of what we are and what our brains actually do. The Woo will never get right with that. They must be hammered down with reason until they understand.

  148. Monocle Smile says

    @Kafei

    The issue with Johnathon’s call is that there’s mixed views coming from the hosts.

    That’s a feature, not a bug.
    Also, if you think THAT was the issue with Jonathan’s call, you have problems.

  149. says

    @Monocle Smile I have no doubt that Johnathon has watched the show before. Perhaps he called in thinking Tracie held more of Matt’s position which is to banish this “bane of humanity” from existence. That’s the issue I was referring to, maybe he didn’t realize he’d have a host he’d end up agreeing with, unless Tracie’s ultimate goal is to rid of religion from the face of the earth, as well. It doesn’t sound like it though. Unless Tracie would be so gracious as to clarify her stance on that relative to Matt’s position of “let’s just get rid of it all.”

  150. paxoll says

    @Lamont, Heicart
    I think christian religions almost universally have at their core the religious tenet that you must believe that Jesus is the messiah in order to go to heaven. This is the struggle that christians (and arguably all religious people) have that is precisely why we see all the problems we do. Christians are living pascals wager every minute which is why they feel it is such a good argument. They are in a constant effort to make themselves believe and mostly don’t, which is why there is this big fear of hell and death for them. I think Lamont is onto a good way to look at it with bayesian probability, except people are using made up probabilities that don’t add up to 100%. They have a pyramid of belief that is completely contingent on a belief they don’t actually have but the beliefs that are built on top is enough for them to feel the bottom must exist. The christian parable of the house built on sand is amazingly well put, and christians know that everything they believe to be true hinges on one thing and they cannot admit that they don’t believe or have good reason to believe for that to be true. We know all bayesian probability fails if your starting probability is zero, but people have a hard time pulling out individual beliefs and considering them separate from the whole as well. They say they believe because they have a collection of beliefs that require that belief to be true.
     
    It would be like having a million little facts about Santa that you believe are true, but can’t make that connection they they are only true if Santa is real. This can be really summed up by watching Blake Giunta that Matt debated. He has this collection of beliefs and he just has to convince himself that the smallest possibility that a god exists is an actual probability, which makes his belief rational. I think Lamont you are wrong in people having different definitions of belief, I think they very much have the same definition they are simply using it wrong to express themselves in a way that is going to protect their position. This can be either intentional or an unconscious defensive measure from cognitive dissonance. You can either deal with this defensive mechanism, pin down what the word belief means, apply it directly to claims and ask for evidence, or you can recognize it, and go around it and try to get at the root of the problem from a different point. You can pull apart the house built on sand board by board, or you can try to point out the foundation is sand, different approaches for different people.

  151. scepticus says

    @ 167 Paul Money
    No, her “DNA is information/language, which can only come from a mind, thus proving my god exists” is not the core reason for her beliefs. Its just the only assertion she falls back to that I haven’t heard of or thought about yet. I imagine its a line from Lee Strobell or J Warner Wallace since she gains a lot of her talking points from those two sources. Thank you so much for the link, Paul Money! I will watch it now.

  152. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ Kafei 162:

    “The issue with Johnathon’s call is that there’s mixed views coming from the hosts.”

    The only thing common to all atheists is that they lack belief in a god. On many issues, there are necessarily going to be nuances that distinguish one host’s view from another’s. The reason the show has rotating hosts and co-hosts – and guests – is to allow a variety of perspectives to be expressed. The lack of dogma is a good thing, not a bad thing.

    “Perhaps he called in thinking Tracie held more of Matt’s position which is to banish this “bane of humanity” from existence.”

    It isn’t the hosts’ fault if a caller called in with a preconceived assumption about what they would say, and was thrown off that they said something different.

    “Unless Tracie would be so gracious as to clarify her stance on that relative to Matt’s position of “let’s just get rid of it all.””

    I’m not sure that you’ve accurately described Matt’s position, but Tracie should be free to express her own position without having to reference another host.

  153. Lamont Cranston says

    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says in #147:

    If instead they’d really had a “good enough” standard of their own – one that they DID meet, no shame of misrepresenting themselves – they would’ve remained unimpressed by the thumping of non-authoritative texts. You would have had no leverage to drive them into the unkind beliefs

    Logically this would seem to be the case except for one thing. Many who kind of have their own “good enough” standard of Christianity have as part of their “good enough” standard that they are following the teachings of the Bible. They take the position that the Bible is God’s word, This worked well for them until we (who read and memorized large sections of the Bible), used the Bible itself to show them that they were not even close to following what they claimed was their standard.

    Very few Christians of any flavor actually read and know much of anything in the Bible short of Johah being swallowed by a big fish (whale), Moses parting the Red Sea, and the Charlie Brown version of Jesus. By contrast we had memorized verse by verse exactly what we wanted them to see for themselves in black and white in their very own Bible to get them to the conclusions we wanted them to reach (i.e., they were not a Christian, and we could help them become one). We would convince them with their own Bible that they were currently on their way to Hell and instilled a sense of desperation into them. Like I say I am not proud of this, but we were ruthless.

    We had a series of “studies” we did with people (typically 8 to 10) that were designed to break people down and then rebuild them the way we wanted. Indoctrination, coercion and manipulation at its most infamous.

    I am so glad I am not that person anymore.

    So the only place where we had no leverage was if the person’s “good enough” standard was not in relation to Christianity at all. Then the Bible was of little use. It’s about like trying to use the Bible to convince an atheist that there is a god. 🙂

    Lamont Cranston

  154. Monocle Smile says

    @scepticus

    DNA is information/language, which can only come from a mind, thus proving my god exists

    All three assertions are wrong.
    – DNA is not a language. It’s only “information” in the sense that anything is information. DNA is a catalytic macromolecule. It does not communicate with enzymes. All DNA-related processes are mere chemistry.
    – Information does not “only come from a mind.” Information comes from processes. Snowflakes are my favorite example here.
    – If both of the first assertions were true, it does not prove that any particular god exists or any god exists.

    Lee Strobel and J Warner Wallace are both liars for jesus, Strobel professionally so. I cringe when people cite shameful shills as authorities.

  155. Bluestar says

    I’m glad Ron Kyle is gone. His last post describing all of “you” as a church, a congregation….weird, so weird. He seems to have a thing about feet as well….for the hell of it I looked at a number of his past posts…..”toenail scraps, naked feet washing orgies”… appear within his writings frequently. He also comes across as angry and frustrated. I don’t know what someone like this adds to interesting discourse. I enjoy reading most of the posts here, learning about everyone’s view points. When I see anger or frustration, or rage….often without any cause for such….I just don’t feel good about it. Like it or not, we are all here together. Why not make the most of it?

  156. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ scepticus

    Yeah, the whole approach of this argument is to define “information” really vaguely and then equivocate, creating a circular argument. The key is to pin proponents down on definitions. If you define “information” as only coming from a mind, then you can’t claim that DNA is information, because there’s no evidence that DNA came from a mind. And if you insist on defining DNA as information, then you can’t claim that all information only comes from minds, since again, there’s no evidence that DNA came from a mind. You don’t get to have both at the same time – you have to actually demonstrate that DNA did, in fact, come from a mind, and not just argue by analogy.

  157. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Lamont Cranston #171:

    They take the position that the Bible is God’s word, This worked well for them until we (who read and memorized large sections of the Bible), used the Bible itself to show them that they were not even close to following what they claimed was their standard.
     
    Very few Christians of any flavor actually read and know much of anything in the Bible

    That’s what I meant in my first paragraph.
     

    For that to work, they had to have *already* accepted the book as their standard to qualify for membership. They had to accept your reading as legitimate, to have fallen short. Once confronted with its contents, they could try harder to conform, they could recoil […]

    My point was that they were already taught to think that way *about* the text. They just didn’t know much of what the text said, until someone like you came along with highlights. It needn’t weigh so heavily on you for ‘breaking and rebuilding’ them.
     

    the only place where we had no leverage was if the person’s “good enough” standard was not in relation to Christianity at all.

    Maybe this would be clearer… Did you flip any Unitarian Universalists? Anyone with ‘liberal theology’ (sects that preach through hermeneutics filters)? Or with the take that sermons are a “non-binding tradition of recycled Bible motifs selected and spun by each generation into novel then-relevant messages”? I’m unfamiliar with the Quaker theologies, but there’s emphasis on personal revelation.

  158. RationalismRules says

    @scepticus
    There was a lengthy debate about DNA as “complex specified information” with an ID proponent named Joey on the blog ep 21.16. It starts around post #73. Here’s a link that should get you there.

    I haven’t reread the thread, so I can’t vouch for the quality of the argument, but from memory it was quite detailed.

  159. Lamont Cranston says

    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    the only place where we had no leverage was if the person’s “good enough” standard was not in relation to Christianity at all.

    Maybe this would be clearer… Did you flip any Unitarian Universalists? Anyone with ‘liberal theology’ (sects that preach through hermeneutics filters)? Or with the take that sermons are a “non-binding tradition of recycled Bible motifs selected and spun by each generation into novel then-relevant messages”? I’m unfamiliar with the Quaker theologies, but there’s emphasis on personal revelation.

    Whether we “flipped” any of those I am not sure. I certainly was not involved in any such as that. We predominantly dealt with people who at least had a vague or better leaning toward Christianity even if they might have categorized themselves as a NONE with regard to what religious affiliation they might have had.

    Lamont Cranston

  160. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Lamont Cranston #177:

    We predominantly dealt with people who at least had a vague or better leaning toward Christianity even if they might have categorized themselves as a NONE

     
    Lamont Cranston #138:

    their god […] being kind, loving, benevolent, wise, and all powerful
    […]
    We shredded those standards routinely.

    That they weren’t driven further into none-hood, by either the book itself or the salesmanship, is rather terrifying.

  161. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    / That was more an idle reaction than a furtherance of our conversation. I don’t think I have anything else to add.

  162. jabbly says

    @Varkey – I’ve not watched that much of Jordan Peterson in action but he does come across as both playing to his audience and being more interested in ‘proving’ he’s right rather than actually being right. There does also seem to be an undercurrent of trying to goad his opponents into an emotional reaction so that he can claim the moral high ground.

    I do wonder just how much of what he says he even believes himself.

  163. Varkey says

    @ jabbly 181
    Yes. It feels like a superficial popularity contest with him, and his fans then jump on board and post the Jordan Peterson obliterates type vids, and mock his ‘opponents’, while giving him a pass. Not a very productive use of peoples’ time, imo, other than those interested in sneaky debate tactics.

  164. Ian Butler says

    In these trying times of war, climate change, dogma and, yes, Donald Trump, I can at least take refuge in knowing that Ronald Kyle finally got kicked off of this blog. A month or two late, but better late than never.

  165. Lamont Cranston says

    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says in #178:

    Lamont Cranston #138:

    their god […] being kind, loving, benevolent, wise, and all powerful
    […]
    We shredded those standards routinely.

    That they weren’t driven further into none-hood, by either the book itself or the salesmanship, is rather terrifying.

    Yes it is terrifying. It was a multilevel marketing approach (think Amway). We sold others, as well as ourselves, a product that wasn’t really there. We managed to rationalize our way around all the problems to even convince ourselves everything was OK. It wasn’t until much later that I understood that some of the rationalizations really were not rational.

    Lamont Cranston

  166. twarren1111 says

    Zoroastrianism, monotheism and Judaism
    At first I was a bit surprised to find how…erratic…the primary scholarship is on ancient religion. But, once I got over the shock, I started to realize how ‘logical’ it was that the literature was so fraught with contradiction: theism. For example, scholars who are writing about the influence of Persian (i.e., Iranian) religions on christianity and/or judaism can have a bias in which they will readily deny any influence or minimize the influence. There are also scholars who cannot accept that Moses most likely did not exist, which as far as I can tell was a hypothesis exposed as early as 1993 and by 2013 was the consensus. Lastly, there are fundamentalists in judaism, christianity and islam that cannot accept that concepts held in their teachings arose from anywhere but from an abrahamic source.

    I started off perusing wikipedia and it is critical that a multitude of terms be searched. For example, judaism, first temple, second temple, origins of judaism, mithra, Zoroastrianism, jewish history, and monotheism will all have statements regarding Zoroastrianism.

    In a previous post, I had cited a webpage that had references that were all book chapters. Unfortunately, the status of the literature is such that, unlike what you now see in ‘hard’ sciences, is that not much of it is accessible via the internet. Thus, Compulsory Account, RationalismRules and heicart all asked that better citation(s) be provided.

    First, a few statements about Zoroastrianism:
    1. In these ancient times (eg., 3000 BCE to 600 CE) to the roman period, deities were regional entities associated with a local people/land. It was the custom that when you entered a new land, you recognized (perhaps worshiped) the local gods along with your own gods. This is also had the romans handled the issue as well. This is not a disputed fact.
    2. There is disagreement as to when Zoroastrianism started. Some scholars find evidence to 3000 BCE, some to 500 BCE with many citing 1000 BCE as to its origin. It’s primary sacred text is the Vesta.
    3. There is a vigorous argument as to if Zoroastrianism is dualistic or monotheistic. The reason for the dispute is that it is clear that Zoroastrianism did not have a ‘problem with evil’ because the vesta describes two ‘lesser’ deities who represent good and evil. Part of the religion, specifically its eschatology (how it describes end-times or apocalyptical teachings) is that good will over come evil. It is also clear that the sacred texts describe Zoroaster (aka Zarathrusta) as the primary god. Thus, this is why some will argue that it was the first, ancient monotheistic religion and others will argue that it was more henotheistic. Please note, however, that when you read enough of the papers, one gets the impression that those who adamantly reject the monotheism label are those that demand that either judaism and/or islam is the origin of monotheism.
    4. Zoroastrianism contains ideas regarding angels and demons, resurrection, the triumph of good over evil, and other features that when one hears about them remind greatly of tenets held in abrahamic faiths.
    5. Zoroastrianism is cited as the dominant world wide religion (I think they are excluding the Far East, of course) from approximately 1000 BCE until 650 AD
    6. Of note, Mithra is a lesser angel associated with Zoroastrianism and Mithracism is cited as the most common ‘mystery religion’ in the roman empire until about 400 AD
    7. A key date to remember is the Babylonian (Iraq) exile (Nebuchadnezzar) which was very close in proximity to Persia (Iran).
    8. While the first 5 books of the OT (the mosaic texts) have no archeological support, books such as Kings (I and II), Ezra, Daniel, etc do have archaeological correlates. For example, nebucchadnezzar, Cyrus, Darius are all mentioned appropriately in the bible. Remember too, that Daniel was a captive of Persia (specifically Darius, who was conquered by Alexander the Great) where he was interpreting dreams and in the lions den (though please be aware that most OT scholars see Daniel as a forgery that was written hundreds of years after events using ‘hindsight’ to conveniently make his prophecies look good.
    9. It is clear that ancient, pre-exile judaism was polytheistic. As Dr. Carrier stated on one of his talks, all pagan religions were trending towards a henotheism/monotheism.
    10. Thus, many scholars have noted that when one considers the exile in Babylon, then the take over by Persia with the return of the jews to the Canaanite region, when one considers how the syncretism works, etc, that it is very likely that Zoroastrianism influenced judaism, christianity and islam to a great degree and that henotheism/monotheism was one of these influences.
    11. There are a number of scholars who have made this connection. One of the most vocal is Mary Boyce who has written a voluminous history of Zoroastrianism though it is noted that she had not finished the third book in her trilogy before her death and many other authors have derided her work, though it appears that these arguments are influenced by underlying theistic biases as opposed to intellectually honest argument.

    The three ‘best’ sources I could find (other than wikipedia and of course excluding sources I could not access without paying)
    1. I found using the follow google search “scholarly articles for Zoroastrianism, monotheism and judaism” yielded the ‘best’ results.
    2. The most current and complete paper I could find was a master’s thesis. The university is Trinity Western University which is an accredited christian university in Canada. His thesis supervisor and second reader are easily found by googling their names, are both full professors, and whether they are theists or not appear to have appropriate credentials clearly outlined on their university web pages. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/80295737.pdf
    3. This is an entry in the Jewish Encyclopedia http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/15283-zoroastrianism
    4. For the third link: http://michaelstausberg.net/old_site/Texts/Stausberg%20Study%20of%20Zoroastrianism%20NUMEN%2055.pdf

    Overall, it appears that Zoroastrianism was a dominant religion of Persia that for several hundred years (perhaps even a thousand years, e.g., 550 BCE to 550 AD (mystery religion) was in an ideal place and time to influence many religions of the levant.

    Of note, it appears the primary reason for the downfall of Zoroastrianism is that Islam, coming from Iraq and Saudi Arabia and Israel demanded that there is but one god and this lead to the final suppression of the religion to the point where it is estimated to be observed by about 200,000 people today.

    It is interesting to note that Judaism also has the ‘one god, but Allah’ concept as outlined in all forms of the ten commandments. Christianity of course has the ten commandments but more importantly has the concept of Jesus and the holy spirit to identify as ‘the true’ monotheism.

    I see why Dr. Carrier is so grumpy now about biblical scholarship.

  167. dontpanicdent says

    @ twarren1111 (#39)

    Thank you for your research into Sherwin Stern and thank goodness for your curiosity– it helped to enlighten many of us, I see. Just wanted to add my thanks.

    I viewed a couple of his short videos, too, and even looked at his blog, going so far as commenting on his feminist take of “The King and I.” His blog is entitled ‘The Smartest Man Since Jesus Walked the Earth,’ so that says a little something, maybe….

    I just don’t know if that something is that he’s off his rocker or if he’s just a profane parody actor, ala Miranda Smiles. He actually seems intelligent enough to know Jewish history well and to be able to write up a coherent critique of a beloved play via the lens of feminism, as one would for a sociology class. If he’s for real, he’s just an extreme example of the Dunning-Kruger effect, eh? If not, he’s just a rather ungifted and profane character actor.

    I’m interested to see if he actually gets on the show next week and how he’ll bypass the screeners after his YT vid announcement and other comments. Wonder what his ridiculous topic might be if he does manage to get on… He wouldn’t use the same one, right?

  168. Honey Tone says

    Twarren111 @ 185

    There are also scholars who cannot accept that Moses most likely did not exist, which as far as I can tell was a hypothesis exposed as early as 1993 and by 2013 was the consensus.

    Are you sure about 1993? Not 1893, or 1793? I find it stunning to think there was not scholarly debate about Moses’ historicity until just a few years ago. And if it became consensus in just 20 years, that alone demonstrates how weak the historical record has been all along.

  169. Honey Tone says

    Sorry about the blockquote error, which should have ended at the first paragraph. Looked right in the preview.

  170. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @twarren1111 #185:

    there are fundamentalists in judaism, christianity and islam that cannot accept that concepts held in their teachings arose from anywhere but from an abrahamic source.

    That was not the problem on this thread. It wasn’t about who gets first credit for modern Jewish *monotheism*. Aside from fundamentalists, the syncretic ‘horizontal gene transfer’ of concepts between two extant cultures is not at all problematic.
     
    Ronald Kyle explicitly rejected syncretism. He said that Judaism was an offshoot of Zoroastrianism (and for some reason so have you). He said Zoroastrian missionaries invented Judaism and foisted a bespoke variant ON the Hebrews. (RK #25)
     
    As opposed to Hebrews seeing features they liked during the exile and splicing them into their own religion.
     

    pre-exile judaism was polytheistic

    Here’s the problem. (CA #17, #32) Which people are you referring to in pre-exile contexts: Hebrews or Persians?
     
    If Zoroastrianism is to be called the ancestral root of Judaism full-stop, then in pre-exile contexts, you’re ONLY going to be referring to *Zoroastrian people*, not some Hebrew tribe they hadn’t yet met to colonize.
     
    This is what I meant by Zoroastrian-centric. I’m not aware of any scholars who argue for that framing (books, websites, etc.). I expect you’re only ever going to find historians centering Hebrew people who reacted to their neighbors.
     
    It’s not a question of whether Zoroastrians had any influence at all. You are of course going to find frequent mentions of that.

  171. twarren1111 says

    I see.

    I don’t understand how RK could reject syncretism.

    Many references were made that pre-Babylonian exile Jews were polytheistic; meaning true polytheism: Baal, El, Astarte, YHWH.

    And, it appears that an association is made that something exiled Jews learned, in the process of being in exile in Babylon and being exposed to their gods (some estimates of 750 different gods) and the neighboring ideas of Persia is that when they returned to Canaan/Israel/Judah is that they now had YHWH as their ‘only’ god.

    It also appears that from their exposure to these cultures plus with the strip of land that is Israel was a major thoroughfare between Egypt and the rest of the Roman Empire and near east, that the writings in the Torah reflect their syncretism of stories such Moses, Noah, etc. Indeed, ‘making up’ Egypt as the place of exile may have been a method of not raising suspicion as surely at least oral history among the Jews post-exile (second temple) would have kept the memory of Babylon/Persia intact. Then, later books such as kings, Ezra, Daniel, chronicles, Isaiah built upon events from their actual exile.

  172. twarren1111 says

    I think (and I’m not trying to pass blame) that the tone of the discussion led me to not read accurately what was being said. The Hebrews/jews/canaanites clearly existed and then were influenced heavily by their exile experience which they took back to Israel with them.

  173. patrickaalfs says

    Completely off topic but this is a story about a 19th century free thinker from my home town in Michigan and the controversy surrounding his grave.

    Controversial monument immortalizes atheist
    The Joseph Coveney monument in Buchanan, erected 23 years before his death in 1897, was very controversial. Among the passages etched in the stone are “All Christian denominations preach damnation.” Debra Haight / H-P Correspondent
    Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019. 6:10 pm | Updated: 8:26 pm, Tue Nov 15, 2011.
    By DEBRA HAIGHT – H-P Correspondent
    BUCHANAN – The Joseph Coveney monument in Oak Ridge Cemetery might be old and weathered, but at one time it was a major source of controversy in the Buchanan area.
    Coveney, an Irish immigrant, caused a great stir when he erected a monument in the city cemetery in 1874 that was engraved with phrases that a local newspaper called “slanderous … against Christianity.”
    To get an idea of what’s on the monument, near the top of each of the four sides have one of the following phrases: “Free Religion,” “Free Press,” “Free Speech” and “Free Thought”.
    Coveney’s freethinker ideas are expounded on other parts of the monument, some of which have been obliterated by time.
    “The Christian religion begins with a dream and ends with a murder” is one of the statements.
    Other inscriptions include “All Christian denominations preach damnation,” “The more priests the more poverty,” “The more religion the more lying,” “The more saints the more hypocrites” and “Nature is the true God, Science is the true religion.”
    Since he didn’t die until more than 20 years later, Coveney had plenty of time to enjoy the furor, History Center curator Robert Myers said.
    He included a biography of Coveney in his first volume of Berrien County historical sketches.
    “… He was certainly one of the more interesting characters in the area,” Myers said.
    “I would say his monument is one of the most unusual in the county. He liked to tweak people’s noses. I think he did it for the notoriety.
    “Buchanan residents were kind of horrified he put it up in the cemetery.”
    Myers said the monument was expensive.
    Coveney was very prominent, owned a lot of farmland and one of the wealthiest men in the Buchanan area.
    Coveney Road in western Buchanan Township is named after him.
    His son, John, is buried in a different part of the cemetery away from him in a plainly marked grave.
    Myers said the Detroit Free Press had a story about the monument, and the New York Times mentioned the monument when it ran a notice of his death in February 1897.
    The Times article is entitled “Death of an Infidel” and called Coveney “one of the most noted infidels in the United States.”
    The story noted he refused to renounce his beliefs on his deathbed.
    According to the article, the monument cost $3,000 and was inscribed with “some of the most sacrilegious statements ever uttered by mankind.”

  174. reniedo says

    I usually listen to The Atheist Experience podcast and find it amazing to listen to folks as to what they believe and why but most answers to why make little sense. I was raised without religion though my curiosity had to at least try church because so many of my friends did. My mother was raised in the church and her step father was a Mason, she was a Job’s Daughter and at one time the coveted spot of the Queen (?) of the Job’s Daughters. She decided not to indoctrinate her children but also never said no when I wanted to check it out. I went to Sunday School and asked too many questions and my mother was asked not to bring me back. I’m pretty sure she smiled at them. I attended church when I spent Saturday night sleep overs because it was a condition set by their parents. Each one was so different I would not be able to decide which one was the right one, so I decided none were. I would like to relate to the atheists that were once raised religious but are now free but I heard on one podcast that it’s not likely I could. I am free of religion and never had to deal with “breaking free”. I know the show likes theists so they can ask why they believe but I would like to hear from others, like Annie Laurie Gaylor, that were raised without religion and how are they are dealing with religious intrusion into their lives or if they even think about it.

  175. sherwinstern says

    This is Sherwin Stern who called the show last week regarding God and His promise to always take care of the Jews. A few different people have accused me of being a troll or being disingenuous in my belief in God. This is NOT the case! I am sincere! I am really a Messianic Jew. Just because I brought forth arguments you don’t agree with, it doesn’t mean I’m a troll. Just because I said things you got angry at, it doesn’t mean I’m a troll. Liberals need to stop labeling everybody who they don’t like as “trolls.” It’s a very weak thing to do and it ruins all your credibility. I would prefer to defeat somebody who presented good arguments and debated honestly, instead of dealing with idiotic slanderous claims. I want to defeat somebody at their very best in a debate. If your only line of defense is “Sherwin is a troll!” you’re just simply a moron, and I have very little regard for you.

    Furthermore, I didn’t appreciate the people who accused me of sexism. Nothing I said was remotely sexist. The joke I made at the start of the video was at the expense of Matt Dillahunty. I would’ve jokingly complimented about the “good looks” of any of the hosts of TAE (besides Matt) regardless of who was on. I would’ve said the exact same thing if the hosts happened to be Russell Glasser and John Iacoletti. I don’t actually find Jen and Tracie all that attractive. They’re pretty mediocre in the looks department. So, I definitely wasn’t hitting on them. I was just making a joke against Matt Dillahunty – the man who has become the face of the Atheist Experience. He’s definitely the most famous one on the show, so I wanted to get a little jab in against him before I went into my arguments. If anybody has the right to be mad at my joke it’s Matt. Perhaps I should’ve just skipped the joke and went straight into my argument, but there was nothing sexist about it. Stop accusing me of sexism. I’m really losing my patience with all you extreme FemiNazi’s who yell “sexism” at everyone. It’s just plain stupid and annoying.

    I’m also pissed off at the person who said I was running around with a Hitler Mustache. While it is true that I do frequently dawn a stunning toothbrush mustache, the reason behind it has absolutely nothing to do with Hitler. I made it very clear that I’m Jewish. The reason behind the toothbrush mustache is because I like emulating the classic look of Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin wore the toothbrush before Hitler. The toothbrush mustache was a very popular style in the early 1900s. I love the classic look of the old “Tramp” character in the Chaplin movies. I even wear a bowler hat in many of my videos, clearly indicating I’m emulating Chaplin, NOT Hitler. Chaplin mocked Hitler frequently. So it should’ve been clear the toothbrush style I wear is in admiration for the great Charlie Chaplin. I’m trying to be very patient with you SJW swine (Jesus does say to love your enemies), but my patience is running very thin. I’m not going to tolerate these bullshit slanderous claims of me acting like Hitler. It’s absurd. You assclowns who slander people ought to be ashamed of yourself.

    In closing, I’m not a troll. I would like to call in again this Sunday to have a good debate with Matt Dillahunty. If you prevent me from coming on, you’ll prove that the Atheist Experience has absolutely no credibility. You’ll have shown what I have expected for years – that beyond the veil of confidence you display on your show, deep down inside you guys are absolute pussies! I hope you prove to me and all your critics that you do indeed have integrity and courage.

  176. twarren1111 says

    @sherwinstern #194
    1. I am NOT suspecting you to be a ‘troll’ bc of the srgument you made for the existence of god. There are years and years of TAE posted on YouTube. Your argument has been made many times before. It is fallacious and as such each time, without new evidence, that a theist attempts to use is just a waste of time. A troll is someone who KNOWINGLY, ON PURPOSE, WITH INTENT makes the SAME fallacious argument. Doing this is what makes someone a troll.
    2. Pertinent to point 1, I ACCEPT and UNDERSTAND that you think your argument is valid. You revealed this by repeatedly trying to re-state it over and over despite being told explicitly why the argument is invalid per logic. This is not being a troll. This is being ignorant. You are ignorant when you use this argument.
    3. What raised suspicion as to your INTENT is when one goes to your YouTube channel and sees over 600 videos of you displaying a ‘character’ that has no relationship to autism or other cognitive development disorders saying things that are so devoid of causality that when one then views your behavior on the call, where you kept using an invlaid premise, that perhaps the impression that you were simply ignorant pointed to the hypothesis that your intent was purposeful.
    4. The issue is never the person. This is what is called an ad hominem. It immediately is invalid. Relationships are three things: two entities and how they interact. How they interact is the issue. The appearance, sex, or any other personal comment you make is thus inappropriate. To further define your invalid, fallacious ad hominem when you made your opening comment is that it falls under the sub-category of sexist or sexism. Bc you were the entity that made this ratio then the appropriate term to use for you is sexist.
    5. Your concept of ‘pee desperation’ you talk about repeatedly on your videos is sexist and/or sexism. Own it. It’s your channel.
    6. The swastika is an ancient mandrika used by Sanskrit and Swahili, to name two examples. It was then taken over by the nazi regimen in WWII. To then use that symbol and then complain that it has nothing to do with Hitler Bc it means peace in Swahili is a fallacy. Why? Bc the events of WWII REDEFINED the symbol. In a like manner, a white male in America or Europe who spouts sexist fallacies wearing a mustache like that is NOT a Chaplin homage. It is a frightened, misguided person trying to ‘trigger’ people Bc he thinks the issue is things like ‘SJW’ that are ‘swine’
    7. No one is stopping you from calling the show. We just don’t have super powers. Why do you think you’re a victim? But, in the interests of morality, and not wasting time/energy, please have a valid argument for the existence of god. If you try to use the ‘jews thrive therefore god’ argument again, you will be, at that moment, a troll.

  177. twarren1111 says

    Oh, I forgot Sherwin, what is a SJW swine? Where is your evidence that SJW are even a thing? Just because frightened white men on alt-right have an echo chamber between radio, tv, media and the internet where concepts like SJW, Pepe the frog, white replacement/genocide, Q anon, etc, etc are treated as if they are real, actual things does not make it so. That is the appeal to ‘popularity’ fallacy.

    So, could you please provide evidence as the existence, such as definition, studies validating the definition and data using the definition to prove hypotheses is used.

    Otherwise, please do not ever use those terms again. Once proven false, please shut up about it. Do you go around talking about the ‘Easter bunny swine’ every spring? Do you rail against Santa? Until you provide evidence, whatever you are referring to as SJW is as valid as jeebus and god. Get it?

  178. Monocle Smile says

    Welp, that’s about as strong a confirmation of trollhood as I’ve seen. 🙂

  179. indianajones says

    Yeah, here’s how it works @sherwinstern.

    When you open up with ‘stop calling me a troll’, you miss the point a little bit. You must realise that there are trolls who driveby and drop this sort of stuff. Like, all the time. Defend the arguments, and I cannot imagine a better group of people (I emphatically do not speak for the group, I just like to think I know it fairly well and may well be wrong any time I refer to a collective us/we in this post) who will attack the arguments better. Sure, if you are in fact disingenuous, we will pass judgement on you as a troll quickly. But not immediately. We care not if think our tactics are ‘weak’ or whether you label us as ‘liberals’ with all the baggage that brings in your mind. You came here, you were not sought out.

    Noting that you were accused of sexism and that you were thought of as a Hitler figure, surely this is not the first time you have come across this? After 600 odd youtube vids and commentary? Enough with the faux surprise. I encourage you to engage with the world as it is, not as you’d like it to be. Giving you the benefit of the doubt here, surely you realise that there are people who do exactly the same thing who are in fact out and out Nazis/misogynists/etc? And that, in fact, they use the exact same justifications (Chaplin fans et al) that you do? Principle of charity for our reaction here just a lil bit..

    From there, attacking us in terms of our integrity and courage is nonsense. It should be easy for you to take us SJWing pussified liberals in terms of the arguments. To rise above mere insult on your part as a tactic, and to ignore them if they are thrown at you. Surely you do not consider such ineffectual barbs worthy of your steel. Right? The facts, the logic, the evidence, and the reasoning. I await and am prepared to engage.

    Finally your characterisation of debate in terms of ‘defeat’ is eye rollingly silly. IMO. I would rather the point of debate to be an exchange and evaluation of ideas. The ‘combat’, if you will, to be a contest only in the sense that bad ideas don’t survive. For example: No one reasonably thinks that small pox should be unleashed again. And anyone who thinks it should, I feel free to point at, laugh at, and ridicule. And if they then say ‘Well, you are a SJW libtard pussy who has no credibility because all you do is label me a troll’ I respond with ‘lawlz’. Again, i emphasise that you came here. We get these insults all the time. We don’t care. Well, if you post 200-300 things to drown out any other conversation we will, but you haven’t done that.

    The point in a nutshell is this: Engage with the arguments and I promise that you will find similar engagement back. We are not perfect, there is going to be some bullshit, but only in exactly the same way as your initial post was too.

  180. dontpanicdent says

    That JP Sears link that Kafei posted in #130 (“Being Interviewed by a Skeptic – Ultra Spiritual Life episode 16”) is the most delightful parody I’ve seen in a while. Made me laugh just when I needed to. Clutched my forehead in disbelief while watching. I highly recommend it. Great way to release some stress.

    The deadpan delivery/faux sincerity induced absolute joy in me, but maybe I’m just beyond weird. Hope there’s more of this guy.

    Cheers.

  181. dontpanicdent says

    @Murat (#169)

    Mein Got!! How inconsiderate and self-unaware, let alone the legal and Constitutional conflicts! For a country that professes the Freedom of Religion, it sure does not translate into “freedom for all” to serve in government. This is beyond ridiculous. This is why we don’t want religion controlling the state.

    State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell actually represents the Freedom of Religion in action. If government allows such a freedom, from where does it expect future leadership to come? That conservative Christian leadership fears a Muslim representative only shows how little they themselves value the practice of separation of church and state; it exposes the fact that their religion predominantly informs their ideology/policy decisions, and that they expect others will do the same.

    This bothers me on so many levels– the separation of church and state issue, the freedom of religion hypocrisy, the lack of tact, the sanction of disrespect, the religious entitlement factor, the lack of awareness in leadership…

    From the video, it looks like the Democratic Leader of the PA House of Representatives Frank Dermody is on it, though (thank goodness). State Rep. Summer Lee, too.

    I will be surprised if I don’t see this topic come up on next week’s show– at least in the opening news announcements.

  182. dontpanicdent says

    #186 correction

    ‘…a profane *version of a* parody actor, ala Miranda Smiles,’ it should’ve read. Danke.

  183. dontpanicdent says

    @twarren1111 (#190)

    I found the supplemental materials you provided in #185 quite enlightening. Thank you. That thesis paper, especially, was in-depth and comprehensive.

    I think I should note that scholars are undecided about the actuality of the exodus from Egypt, but most are conceding that Hebrew Bible accounts could have happened as written. Apparently, it now goes, Pre-Israelite polytheism – 2000 BC; Moses, Revelation of Yahweh/monotheism (Kenite-Medianite hypothesis), Covenant with Yahweh, the Exodus, henotheism persists – 1500 BC; Hebrew (polytheistic) Bible written – 700 BC; Babylonian Exile – 590 BC; Persian Era, Hebrews return to Canaan, Exclusive monotheism (Zoroastrianism), Renewed Covenant with Yahweh, OT (revised Hebrew Bible), what we call Judaism today – 540 BC.

    Two things: Without the Exclusivism (a separate people, chosen by God) of monotheistic worship of Yahweh, the practice of Judaism or the concept of an Israelite wasn’t yet meaningful. Secondly, the Egypt exile and Babylonian exile shouldn’t be conflated; they’re two separate events a millennia apart and the latter doesn’t seem to be considered an allegory for the earlier, as we once thought. Just wanted to clear that up.

    Ultimate Conclusion:
    A) In no way can Judaism be thought of as an off-shoot (or creation) of Zoroastrianism. The millennia of polytheism to henotheism to finally get to true monotheism by the Hebrews could only, at best, have been influenced by Zoroastrianism from about 540 BC on, as you, twarren, confirmed.
    B) That being said, in only one sense could Z have “created” the Judaic religion in support of RK’s original claim: it likely introduced “exclusive monotheism,” thereby defining the Judaism we know of today. In only that framework would the claim be true.

    Great information you posted. Awesome research. It was all very interesting (and fun!).

  184. dontpanicdent says

    @ CA Sky Captain (#189)

    Twarren1111’s third link in #185 goes into the dearth of Zoroastrian research as of 2008, if you haven’t seen it yet. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a Zoroastrian-centric framework showcasing their influence(s) on the other major religions.

    Since they’re known to be in the right place at the right time (550 BC – 500 AD), most scholars think their influence on Judaism, Christianity and Islam likely, as you know, Something from their point of view to explain how heavily, though, is the question now.

    There just hasn’t been enough research on them, as far as I’ve learned, to give a definitive answer yet.

  185. dontpanicdent says

    Article VI of the Constitution, in hindsight, is probably a better argument for this incivility– ‘… no religious test shall ever be required for as a qualification to any office…’

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