RD Extra: Orme vs Shieber Debate – Does The Christian God Exist?



For this RD Extra, we give you a lengthy debate on the existence of the Christian god. Arguing in the affirmative is apologist Jared Orme of Conversion Points Radio and in the negative, Justin Schieber. Reasonable Doubts wants to thank Jared for the time and effort he put into this exchange

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  1. Pat says

    Without having listened to the debate yet, it seems a silly and pointless debate topic. The Christian God is said to exist outside of time, outside of space, and outside of logic and the laws of nature. Therefore, any argument against the existence of this God can be easily countered by simply asserting that God chooses to hide, and nothing we can do can reveal him.

    In fact, many mainstream Christians embrace the non-provability of God, asserting that faith is belief in the absence of evidence, and if there were any evidence then it would not be faith, and that God wants us to have faith, rather than knowledge. And many fundamentalists openly reject all knowledge, regarding it as somehow evil.

    Of course, we atheists consider it all bunk. But any debate is really just going to amount to the affirmative side invoking the Bible and making false assertions about nature, while the negative side tries in vain to counter the mountain of false claims, which fundamentalists are experts at spouting so rapidly that there is simply not time to answer them all.

    When arguing with fundamentalists, I find it more productive to agree with their nonsense (young Earth, no evolution, etc.) but assert that the world was created not by the Christian God, but rather by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which I then support with the wildest non sequiturs I can dream up, and concluding with “The FSM must be real because there’s a beer volcano in heaven.” I have yet to encounter a fundamentalist that has an answer to this, maybe because they all argue from a set list of nonsensical talking points, and they don’t have any talking points yet against Pastafarianism.

  2. Park says

    This debate was pretty disappointing. There was a lot of philosophical onanistic when Justin’s path should have been pretty clear cut. What’s his face noted in his opening remarks that his arguments were foundational for his belief and every one could have been destroyed easily, such as attacking the fallacy of the teleological argument or argument from experience. If I remember correctly each of the three points was based on a common logical fallacy so it would have been nice to hear a clean rebuttal shutting each one down as incoherent logically and then letting the other fellow flounder until he got to ” we’ll you just got to have faith” which would have been a resounding defeat, but instead there was a lot of supposing the nature or motivations of god, which ended up lending credibility to his opponent and got quite tedious on a personal level. Euthephroes dilemma was a good pick but didn’t get followed through on, was described after introduction in a way I found to somewhat confusing, and then was dropped altogether. You know you’re in trouble when your opponent says they’re excited to hear you acquiesce on a point; does “please continue mr Romney” ring any bells? All in all this seemed like a good opportunity to attack some pretty common arguments on a larger and more diverse stage than usual but seemed to be a dog chasing its own tail in the end. Better luck next time Justin.

  3. thegoodman says

    Evidence? None.
    Popular vote? Christian God loses in a 5:1 landslide.
    So its settled then.

  4. JimT says

    Overall, this is why philosophy has been getting a bad press lately. It really felt like a bunch of rubbish being spouted on both sides about questions we can’t seriously consider answering in any sane way, yet. We may get closer to meaningful interpretations of the first mover paradox if we keep exploring and examining the world, but I don’t think we’ll do it from the couch alone.

    I really did enjoy Justin’s brilliant gambit to sacrifice the argument from morality. To do that and take down ALL other arguments with it was great fun. And it was just as fun to see Jared just completely miss this. I guess that was all he could do to maintain his arguments.

    But all in all, a non-substantive debate, with both side talking past each other far too much and neither really holding sensible positions.

    Jared was particularly infuriating with his argument from experience. Just stating baldly that christianity clearly has the best explanation for all religious experience – basically, “we’re following the true god and everyone else is following false gods”. Of COURSE christianity is going to say this, regardless of whether it’s true or not, it’s going to be said, stories are going to be created around it, it’s just plain. Other religions can and do say the same thing. Justin tried to press the point, but ineffectually, he wasn’t clear enough about what he was asking and gave no examples to clarify it, he left open the easy misinterpretation which Jared took full advantage of to dodge the question.

    All this talk about great making properties to maximal extent and so forth is just masturbation. Why is this not just one religion saying that it’s bigger than another religion? Big surprise, christianity, whilst fighting for mindshare against other religions (something some other religions didn’t really have to do, hence don’t have these attacks and defences) said that its god is not just the most powerful, it’s the MAXIMALLY powerful possible, hah, beat that! Using it in any argument is giving it far to much credit.

    If you look at christianity as a human made story and examine its claims based on what it would be likely to say just to survive against other religions, it matches perfectly. It’s just dross and rubbish.


  5. bribase says

    I’m only about 18 minutes in and I have to ask, why did you bother debating him? His three foundational arguments are not only paper thin; they aren’t even updated to remove the contradictions they contain. His first one, essentially the KCA still includes it’s argument from special pleading. His fine tuning argument assumes that teleology can be drawn from the fact that this is a universe in which life is possible, which can be defeated with a simple reductio ad absurdum (cars are designed to explode, houses are designed for house fires because they are possible). The third is simply an Ad populum.

    It’s not that he’s willing to make such bad arguments that’s the problem, it’s really his perogative. It’s more that he thinks that these arguments are largely unchallenged. It shows quite clearly that he is either ignorant of the discussion or he is unwilling to give ground to challenges. Back to listening.

    I’m anticipating Justin making short work of the arguments so far.

  6. johnwolforth says

    In “Proving History” Richard Carrier lays out how to have a discussion about things that can’t be proven. His first rule (paraphrasing) is that both sides must agree to be reasonable. You rightly point out the difficulty of that with fundamentalists. However, if we just leave it, if no one ever put these arguments up on the internet or in books, what kind of world would we have? I certainly would not have discovered atheism in my little town.

    The people that RD and others are reaching are those who are not satisfied with answers from people like Jared, but aren’t ready to abandon their religion. (There are also a few who believe that by listening to Jared, they can become better debaters, but then determining Jared is wrong. These are happy accidents.) These arguments require knowledge of physics and logic and involve big questions like “where did everything come from and why are we here”, questions that physics hasn’t answered. To simply dismiss them is not helpful.

  7. johnwolforth says

    Justin; I like this format, but it does make it more challenging for the listener. Since you are sitting down, listening to a recording, no doubt using rewind a lot, and working through the logic, we have to do that also. Not quite as fun as listening to the regular show with all the Monty Python jokes. However, I thought it was a good match. That is, your Trinity solipsism thingy is a good counter to someone who believes Augustine is still right.

    Without going into the philosophical details, I think he really lost when he said “Satan is the god of this world”. Your argument forced him into that sort of reasoning after you took away his argument that the universe appears to have some well maintained design. Remembering how I thought as a liberal Christian, I would have just thrown up my hands and said this was a wacko fundamentalist who can’t make a good argument.

    You don’t address the more slippery arguments of Christians who don’t believe in hell or demons, but why would you, he didn’t present any of those. Nor did you address the existence of demons, but demons are only required to explain why we need God, so your arguments already covered that. BTW, there are no modern liberal arguments for the existence of God, mostly they just avoid the issue and say you can imagine God however you want and Jesus is cool and it’s more about the community. But that’s a different debate.

  8. Andrew EC says

    Okay, having listened to the entire debate, it seems to me that Justin went in with (and successfully executed) a single strategy: to point out that the justification Christians give for the problem of evil — the, “Oh, you couldn’t possibly understand if God has sufficient reasons for throwing tornadoes at orphanages” defense — prevents them from making *any* claims about God with certainty, because obviously if morally sufficient reasons exist for God to murder infants, then logically sufficient reasons exist for God to lie.

    So on that score, good job, Justin. Not enough atheists are out there pointing out this fundamental inconsistency between Christian doctrine and Christian apologetics.

  9. kantalope says

    I lol’d when Jared said (paraphrase) ‘you will understand that the Christian god is right when YOU experience the christian god as being right.’

    There is just no way to tell who is having an honest interaction with an honest god and who is having a dishonest interaction with a dishonest god and Jared grants this in the first phase when he says that the god experiences of conmen and madmen will just be discounted – but never gives us anyway to judge other than if it is a christian experience it is good and if it not it is bad. I believe that is classic begging the question.

    While I was a little disappointed in Justin using his first timeslot just to testflight his new argument (per rd-extras a little while back) – I understand the effort is going towards improving the argument. Justin is right – god is changing/but god is unchanging seems like a contradiction – Jared gets out of it by saying that god has a different timesense but he could have gone with almost any variation on: God: “watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat”. I don’t see a way for Justin to escape the magic answer or a simple shrugging. That god is one mysterious dude. ‘Most perfect’ just doesn’t mean anything other than a chance to beg the question. If god thinks that a platypus is perfect…well then it is.

    Can anyone explain why a universe that is overwhelmingly hostile to human survival is fine tuned for humans?

    If the universe did not have humans in it (which it didn’t for most of its existence) would it still be fine tuned? If the universe had banged and then crunched in the first moment and popped back into non-existence would it have been any less fine tuned for that outcome?

    anyway fun to listen to — and I really didn’t need any more coverage of the popapallooza.

  10. lancefinney says

    I’m only 18 minutes in (to the end of Jared’s intro), but I’m really shocked at how inept Jared seems to be. He wraps up his intro by saying that he thinks his arguments have made the existence of the Christian God certain. I don’t see how he can say that since none of his arguments give any way to distinguish between a Christian God and any other Creator. Even if his arguments were good (they aren’t), there’s nothing in them that couldn’t be used to “prove” Allah or Zeus or even just a caretaker Deistic God.

    But his arguments aren’t good. The Argument from Contingency has all the problems we’ve discussed over and over about the hypocrisy that the universe can’t be self-caused but God can. The Argument from Fine Tuning is just the Sharpshooter Fallacy writ large (and he even used that analogy himself). And the Argument from Personal Experience was so bad as to claim that Muslim experiences are proof of Christianity too (without explaining, of course, why the opposite direction doesn’t work).


  11. Andrew EC says

    Lance — I have to agree I was pretty stunned to hear Jared claim that “Christianity claims that all of those other [religion’s] gods *do* exist.” I’m pretty sure that makes him a minority of one on that score. (Isn’t that what got Christians in so much trouble with the Romans two millennia ago?)

  12. Curt Cameron says

    I’ve listened to the whole thing now, and Jared’s arguments for God were just pathethic.

    Justin, I get the feeling that you’ve got this new highly-philosophical toy that you’re wanting to try out. However, I think your side in this debate would have been better served just by pointing out how inane Jared’s points were. To people like me (I’m smart and educated but not a professional philosopher), the debate was not very accessible. When every other sentence includes words like “epistemically” and “ontologically,” my ears just glaze over and my brain goes numb trying to follow you.

    Even your idea of divine “solopsism” (as Jared called it) was argued like I would expect only in a journal of academic philosophy. You could express it much more compactly and with eighth-grade words pretty easily, I think.

    That’s my $0.02 – dumb down the language and don’t be afraid of straight talk.

  13. Cylon says

    Justin, I’m a little disappointed that you didn’t rake Jared over the coals harder over his completely unsupported assertion that Christianity has more explanatory power for the experiential argument than all other religions. He just kept throwing that out there as if it’s completely self-evident, but you didn’t really take him to task over how huge an assumption this is.

  14. lunaticus says

    Interesting debate – at times great, and at times infuriating as Jared seemed to jealously guard against letting the debate move away from Christian terminology and concepts on any topic, (citing the Bible as an authority without justification was something you might have called him out on).

    I got an inkling from the way you presented your problem of evil that you were up to something, and it was pretty satisfying – at least from my perspective – to see Jared walk right into that. It’s not every day you get to see one of those very fundamental inconsistencies in theistic thinking exposed in such dramatic fashion, though it seemed to me that it all went right over Jared’s head, as he seemed genuinely self-congratulatory in his closing statement over having “defeated” the problem of evil.

    Like others, I was pretty astounded at Jared’s third argument. Was there even an argument there? His initial statement was certainly just a bald assertion without supporting argument or evidence, and even his later defense was no better, which was shocking because this was the only argument he presented which addressed the actual topic of the debate – the CHRISTIAN god. “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” seems like an adequate defeater – debate over.

    I found Jared’s account of timelessness to be pretty confused, (is god timeless, or is it in a separate time, or a second dimesion of time (???) within our spacetime? That last assertion was perhaps the most bizarre moment of the debate). I also find that the “timeless, spaceless, eternal cause” arguments like Jared’s, (or WLC’s and others’), are pretty fragile. When WLC defends timeless causation, he says something along the lines of “god makes an eternal decision to create the universe of space-time.” But even if you grant the theist that something could exist that was timeless, spaceless, and in some kind of eternal state of instantaneous causation, why isn’t an eternal, timeless, spaceless quatum vacuum event (or whatever) just as plausible as an eternal, timeless, spaceless mind-without-a-brain? Which is more parsimonious?

    Overall, good job, despite some annoyance over talking past each other a bit at times; sometimes there’s no helping that.

  15. David Inman says

    Listening to Jared’s “arguments” for the existence of God is just painful. He sounds not just naive, but painfully uninformed in the topics he claims to be talking about. I did many double takes at my phone listening to his incoherent rambling. Fine-tuning arguments always make me want to guzzle antifreeze, but his were orders of magnitude worse than the usual fare.

    Justin, I don’t think you get off the hook here, though. Your divine solipsism argument is, I think, weak and obtuse. It can be gotten around by positing additional characteristics to God, denying or dodging characteristics that are necessary for the argument to work (and which are not necessarily widely accepted in lay Christianity or even priestly and theologically sophisticated Christianity). You could’ve made much more direct, stronger attacks for the non-existence of the Christian God, and I think you wasted a lot of time and rhetorically weakened yourself by leading with such a lackluster and niche argument.

  16. says

    When I heard Jared in his opening statement say that his arguments were foundational, and his second argument was the teleological argument from fine-tuning, I was really hoping for a demolition. I admit, I was frustrated that some very core problems of the fine-tuning argument weren’t addressed. It’s not logically sound in the least, and it’s very, very far from mandating anything. I think the ploy to get God’s intentions out was interesting, but ultimately far less effective against Jared’s second argument than just straight deconstruction would have been. Part of the reason it bugs me, I think, is I actually wrote about it a month or so ago (amid some pet pictures) at my blog.

    The most pertinent part is:

    Particles and fields will either interact or not interact (electrons and positrons interact in a big way, electrons and dark matter don’t interact). As these (non-/)interactions continue, particles/fields disperse. Eventually, these (non-/)interactions will lead to semi-stability.

    Stability does not require the same stability we have now. As energetic (and awesome) as the universe is, it’s somewhat tame. If dark matter weren’t dark, that would mean the vast, vast majority of the universe would interact with all the stuff we currently see. A universe potentially 500% more energetic than it currently is. Semi-stable, but crazy energetic. Therefore, the semi-stability of the universe is not surprising, it’s inevitable. This would mean that for any given physical constants, homeostasis will eventually be approached and a degree of semi-stability will be reached.

    This is not inconsistent with our ideas of the early universe. Everything was so hot and crazy that the interactions we rely on now weren’t possible (mostly because there weren’t really elements yet). As the universe expanded, cooled, and particles/fields continued to interact, a degree of homeostasis was reached so that here we are.

    Let’s assume, for the moment, that homeostasis can’t be reached. If the universe were unstable, it would be unsustainable. So, the universe would eventually cease to exist (explosion, implosion, space itself ripping apart in an epic ripple of cataclysm, whathaveyou). Then, what would happen? Well, if the universe rips itself apart/implodes/explodes, it ceases to be what it was and potentially becomes a new universe. Maybe that one will work. If it doesn’t, then it kills itself again (and again and again) until it lands on something that sticks around long enough for someone to argue that while they agree with the website that counters a proposition found on YouTube, that person could have agreed with it much more and will decide to bitch about it on his blog.

    So, the fine-tuning argument doesn’t just fall apart because the leap from semi-stability to deity is illogical, it falls apart because stability shouldn’t be a surprise.

    Using the Problem of Evil to take care of Contingency I guess doesn’t bug me, particularly, but fine-tuning is so full of holes I’m disappointed it wasn’t completely dismantled.

  17. Ernst says

    Jared’s approach left a lot to be desired, especially his third argument from “explaining power” and his refusal to explain why only the Christian religion can fulfill the CAG and TAG gods. At first I thought Justin wasn’t pushing this point strong enough but on a second listen it became apparent to me that Jared really was just thick-headed on this point: “the other religions worship demons and Satan while Jesus busts ghosts”. Wow.

    Like many others have said, I’m not much of a fan of the “attack the TAG at its own level approach” but the “skeptical theism” attack more than compensated, and Jared’s taking this knockout blow as a victory was especially enlightening.

  18. says

    I do want to say that Justin structuring his arguments so that the defeat of one bolsters the others was very clever. It would have been even more impressive if Jared had realized it, too, but alas. (Which is probably also part of why I wanted a crushing blow.)

    I do think Jared pointed out a few logical missteps, but they were actually addressed and corrected/clarified, which I consider more than was done regarding the critiques of Jared’s arguments which seemed addressed but not corrected.

    I’m not sure I would handle myself as adroitly, but this (mostly) polite debate and format has me actually thinking about seeking someone to argue with in a similar fashion if for no other reason than to sharpen my skills.

  19. gshelley says

    Well, I tried to listen, but the introduction from the believer was painful. When he started with “Something got the universe going and that must have been an un-caused thing outside the universe, I knew it wasn’t going to be well thought out reasonable arguments, but when he brought in Anthony Flew, there was no chance it was going to get better, so I gave in.

  20. Legion says

    “Negative Energy” does not exist. Energy isn’t a “something”, as you can’t have a box full of energy. Energy is a measurement of motion. There can be nothing less than no movement.

    Dragging in the “Hitler” argument is an act of desperation. Offering the two options of killing Hitler as a baby or permitting him to proceed with “evil” acts is a false dichotomy. There were numerous types of interventions could have occurred.

    The argument that there had to be a causal agent before the universe came into existence is flawed in a couple of ways. Time was created when the universe started, there was no “before”. The laws of physics also came into existence as the universe came into existence. It is in the universe where physics requires a causal action for every reaction. Without time or physics the laws of physics are not applicable.

  21. John S says

    Super disappointing debate, not because of Justin’s performance, but because of the blatantly obvious lack of ability in his partner.

    No disrespect intended, Justin, but this was like watching Mike Tyson box with a baby. Surely you can get better-qualified debate opponents? This guy was a joke.

  22. Ernst says

    Also, Jared’s “negative energy particles interact with positive energy particles such that the positive particles change but negative particles don’t change … It’s physics” argument was especially baffling to me.

    Does anyone have any idea what “physics” he was talking about? It sounded like he was making it up to me.

  23. Jon says

    Ernst- After a little bit of digging I found a reference to the “conversion theory” Jared mentioned. http://cds.cern.ch/record/466254/files/0009077.pdf?version=1 It is essentially a bunch of bs about how the big bang model doesn’t seem right therefore god. Needless to say, it is not an actual theory in physics.

    He followed this up with some rather impressive sounding words that don’t actually mean anything when put together, but it seems like he was attempting to reference tachyons. Tachyons are hypothetical particles in physics which travel faster than light and by doing so can violate causality. They are generally believed to either not exist or not be able to interact in any meaningful way with the rest of the universe.

    The funny thing is that instead of jumping to all of this pseudoscientific crap, he could have just pointed to photons to prove his point. Since photons travel at the speed of light they experience no time progression, but they still interact with the universe (although I don’t think anyone would say that photons are capable of intent).

  24. Ernst says


    Thanks for that. If that was what Jared was talking about then he’s lost on the physics end of the arguments as well.

    As for the timeless particles stuff, I thought Jared was trying to suggest that modern physics allows for timeless particles that interact with normal matter without themselves changing, that is a timeless, unchanging particle that can change matter … A literal god particle. Photons wouldn’t cut it because while they may not experience time progression and can interact with matter, they obviously can and do change.

    It tales a lot of nerve for someone with that kind of understanding to talk about how difficult his ideas are to understand.

  25. Jon says

    I see now what he was talking about. Conversion theory posits that souls are tachyons, and god is a super-tachyon that always travels at infinite speed. I suppose in this case god would be able to interact without changing himself. There are a myriad of problems that this leads to, but they have that one aspect accounted for.

  26. Vincent says

    I’m with Curt here in that I’m an intelligent, educated person and much of the time I had no clue what either of you was talking about. I would hear a stupid argument and see the gaping holes but after a response lasting several minutes I couldn’t tell if they had been addressed or not.
    It was frustrating that Jared twice tried to respond to the criticism about his experience proof and both times his response amounted to “oh yeah?”

    I really did like the whole “lack of intent necessary before action in a non-temporal perfect being” argument quite a bit. I think it could be worded more succinctly, but it was new to me and seemed quite clever.

  27. says

    I hate to be critical, but…

    I think Justin “won”, but then I’m sure there are theists who would think the same about Jared.

    I think I can sum up my issue with the debate with this: “Too much Hume, not enough Hitchens.”

    The argument that I think Justin was clearly going for, the one to show how Skeptical Theism undermines theistic arguments (and lots of theology) is a valid, strong point. The problem is that it doesn’t play well in a debate like this. It doesn’t hit with much rhetorical force, and it was only clear in exactly how this is a problem for Jared because I’m fairly familiar with the literature – and it still was hard to follow.

    If it were a written debate, or a series of exchanges on the moral argument, it would play wonderfully. The applicability of skeptical theism’s problem to the design argument is there, but it’s a very abrupt jump, and it’s pretty meta. I can’t imagine a friend of mine who is in the process of deconverting listening to this and really getting much from it.

    From a philosophical perspective, I got what you were trying to do, and I was able to glean what Jared was trying from my knowledge of theology, but this was a debate for insiders. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but I’m of the opinion that these sorts of things are at their most useful when it’s able to present something to help deconvert someone. You want to hit with some rhetorical force.

    As for some other feedback – maybe it’s my personal experience, but I think that the argument from perfection could be improved by adding some elements from the argument from hell to it. Basically, not only did god supposedly not maintain a “perfect” state of affairs, but he also created a world in which the “worst possible state of affairs” comes to fruition for a majority of creation; the Christian will have to affirm that hell is the worst possible state of affairs and that it exists.

    Basically, the argument from perfection and the argument from hell don’t need each other, but I think they’re stronger when mixed (IMO).

    The other criticism I have is that when responding to Jared’s rebuttal on perfection, you didn’t explicitly call out the hard questions – if perfection requires conflict, was god perfect before he created anything besides himself? You did make this point, but it was done by saying “I doubt Jared believes what is implied here” without calling out the issue explicitly.

    Of course you were trying to make other points, and I’m sure you guys had a time limit for each other that you were trying to meet – so a lot of this is a form of Monday Morning Quarterbacking on my part. So basically I hope you take this as feedback rather than harsh criticism.

    On a positive note, I love the tactic of throwing out an argument to draw an expected response and then using that to trap your opponent. It would have worked out with more rhetorical force if Jared had used the moral argument in some form, but I’m guessing time made him leave it out.

  28. Lausten North says

    John S: IMO, there are no better-qualified debaters. There are theists who don’t believe in demons, or even heaven in the traditional sense, or in virgin birth, and do accept the Big Bang, and who say they understand Lawrence Krauss, but they still believe God exists and use some version of the standard arguments. Who would you suggest? Plantiga? William Lane Craig? John Lennox? Tony Campolo? Search YouTube and you’ll find them using the same arguments as Jared. RD has already had Brian McClaren on as well as a couple local “liberal” radio show hosts. Those were just a different kind of frustrating.

  29. Justin Schieber says

    In my defense, I was lead to believe this guy had some sophistication to him. Clearly I didn’t look into it enough.

    If I do another debate like this, I will definitely try to find somebody who can offer an interesting challenge.

  30. John S says

    Lausten – agreed to some extent, it’s just that (I’m only familiar with Craig and Campolo) those guys, while being equally unfounded, are…. how should I say it? They’re at least more familiar with their own arguments; more well-versed in exactly why and how the things they are arguing follow the rules of logic and argumentation. In other words, they at least pay a little lip-service to the context and structure of the forum they are working in.

    It was clear that Orme had at best an incomplete understanding of his own arguments. To me, he sounded like a confused layman trying to explain arguments that he’d read about.

    Justin – please don’t take the complaints too harshly. It’s always nice to get the RD extras, and we all really appreciate the enormous effort that must go into them.

  31. Chickaloon says

    Justin – Like the the others in this thread, I think Jared’s arguments could have been countered much more simply, such as the fine-tuning argument: “Which is more plausible: Alligators were created perfectly by God to live in a swamp, or there were swamps and alligators evolved to live in them?”

    His “shooting a bullet randomly” illustration seems to get causation backwards – a bullet was shot perfectly to make lots of pre-ordained things to happen. Or is it more plausible that wherever the bullet happened to land, it caused other things to evolve driven by the initial conditions?

    Getting wound up in the pointless argument about whether a perfect god can be motivated to do imperfect things doesn’t really get one anywhere, IMHO.

    But then again I’m not a philosopher :)

  32. Chickaloon says

    “Amen” to John S’ comment about appreciating these and the effort that goes into them by the way!

  33. conway says

    I gave up about 3/4 of the way through. Orme’s argument was essentially, “Well, duh!” It was annoying.

    I know a lot of big words too. Doesn’t mean I can prove Bigfoot lives in my basement.

    He had nothing. He couldn’t prove a god, never mind the Christian god.

  34. says

    I’ve only just gotten through the opening arguments by Jared, and it’s been really frustrating to listen to everything he’s said so far. I’ve lost track of the sheer number of problems with his argument, but I heard the following in his argument:

    — a complete lack of understanding of physics, astronomy, or probably a half dozen other scientific disciplines
    — the argument from incredulity
    — question begging
    — moving the goalposts

    I think the best thing I can say about the entire opening statement is that he didn’t devolve into using Pascal’s Wager (although he did come awfully close…)

    Justin, I’ve got to give you a lot of credit for having the patience to even be willing to debate him.

  35. Ben Y says

    I agree with the above comments.

    Any Reasonable Doubts podcast is better than food, but I don’t think its wrong to have high expectations and when it comes to picking apart theistic claims then I always hope to hear them shredded. I don’t think you quite did that this time.

    What grated most though was Orme’s continuous personal putdowns of non-believers. We just don’t understand… If only we understood it better then we would all be theists of course… We are just dust/we think of people as dust… In the magical Christian view they can describe anything, it is us who are limited and powerless… (talk about denying a level playing field – of course magic can describe anything if you don’t actually question anything).

    Conspicuously absent from any of Orme’s comments was any science. A bit of misinterpreted QM, but I prefer to take my QM from physicists not from theologians and the consensus among physicists is hardly on Orme’s side. He strayed very close to New Age beliefs in his misinterpretation of QM and his statement that we have to acknowledge that science states that everything is connected because of the Higgs field et al and that is what he means by God is just ridiculous bunk – if that is his level he needs to return to school. Again I like to take the meaning of the Higgs field from physicists and not from theologians intent on saying everything that evokes an emotion connected to their interpretation of God is evidence for their God.

    Without any science this just came down to who’s philosophical stick would fit in their definition of the God hole. Obviously I agree with the RD point of view. Orme’s circle dance around the shape of his own concepts was frustrating. ‘I need God to be like this so it fits in with what I believe about God’ pretty much sums it up. Words, words, words. Where is the rigour in that theology? For example he kept repeating that the universe must have a cause presumably knowing full well that we now understand that there are uncaused causes emerging just from their potential, but still just stating that that meant it was logical to jump to God. Really, given that without any maths Orme is just doing what kids do and plugging words together – we can tell he doesn’t actually know. He knows precisely the same as the rest of us (and I am willing to bet that he is amazed as the rest of us by sciences discoveries over the past 50 years – evidence that he didn’t know it).

    Since we do not know until science has discovered he is playing a game with himself and the rest of us when he claims to be able to deduce the birth of reality from his armchair alone – and I am not falling for it. God gets to exist for eternity because he is outside of time. But no natural condition that we don’t know about couldn’t possible do something similar because, well, my theology requires it. That is not a debate, thats stroking your mind to produce dopamine and concluding that since you got a dopamine response you were right all along (or worse, generating conspiracies that they were all against you if you didn’t convince).

  36. Ben Y says

    @ Counter Apologist

    “Too much Hume, not enough Hitchens.”


    Seriously though, since I didn’t say it enough in my first post, Justin did an admirable job attempting to bring some sophisticated philosophy in. I personally enjoyed the attempt to use that recent paper on atheistic morality and the holes in theistic morality. It just passed Orme by though.

  37. says

    I’ve gone back and forth with Jared on twitter and I’ve heard him on the Faith and Skepticism podcast. I am not formally trained in any “ology” but I can understand and research most arguments for and against the Christian God. I find Jared relies heavily and personal experience and on theologians. I was listening to an interview with Bart Ehrman and he made a comment about the vast majority of NT scholars are some form of Christian and agnostics and atheist like himself are not well represented. I think that says something about relying on scholars that presuppose your belief and Jared does this a lot. He also does a lot of special pleading. My 2 cents based on interacting with him.

  38. Stugehen says

    I appreciate all the time and work you put into this debate for us to enjoy free of charge. Though the philosophical terminology was at times hard to follow, it was a great exercise and opportunity to improve my understanding of such arguments and logic. I hope you continue to provide RD Extras when time permits, it always puts a smile on my face when I see another episode appear in my itunes subscription. .

  39. tommykay says

    I love Reasonable Doubts for the intelligent discussion of current events, and their solid foundation in science and research. Polyatheisism is so much fun.

    But every debate is hopelessly pedantic. Why not skewer this apologist twit in a direct sensible manner? God doesn’t exist because free will and knowledge of the future are logically exclusive. Won and done. The pervasive nature of mutually exclusive superstitions, in humans and animals, demonstrate people make gods. Not the other way around. Why does a merciful god allow16,000 children painfully die of malnutrition every day? And of course, the bible is self-defeating.

    Why is that so difficult?

  40. CJ says

    I am a long time fan of the show but this debate was hard to listen to. Listening to arguments based solely on syllogism and analogy without a shred of verifiable evidence is like listening to two people argue about who would win in a fight – superman or thor? Evidence and testability is what allowed us to move beyond aristotle’s model of concentric spheres. It is what allowed us to find out what truly caused leprosy (mycobacterium leprae) rather than sinfullness. It is how we came to understand that matter and energy are equivalent which fortunately has not been used on other humans since WW2. For the religious to say that evidence does not apply for belief in god is merely for them to acknowledge that for them to continue believing they are required to abandon the faculties they use to navigate every other aspect of their lives.

  41. johnwolforth says

    @John S. Okay, I agree the debater was not that great. I guess what I meant was, there aren’t better debates. William Lane Craig might be more adept at his presentation or Campolo might be more subtle, the underlying arguments haven’t changed since Augustine, Pascal or whoever created them.

  42. Justin Schieber says

    @CJ, I’m not really sure what you mean by the word ‘evidence’. Only 3 of the 6 arguments used in this debate were a priori – the rest argued from what was claimed as ‘evidence’. My problem of evil was also an evidential argument that took concepts internal to Christianity to argue for a dissonance.
    Granted, the apparent fine-tuning of the Cosmo constants and the fact that Christians have weird experiences might not be good evidence for what my opponent believes in but it is still data that can be interpreted and explained in support of a particular hypothesis.

  43. says

    @Tommy Kay

    The relationship between free will and foreknowledge is a big debate and it is not as easy as one might think to show a formal contradiction. The pervasive nature of religious belief in mutually exclusive religious traditions does nothing to Christianity is false – That is not to say it can’t be useful in certain contexts.

  44. says

    Thank you for responding, Justin.

    Very respectfully, I suggest that using syllogism to prove god’s existence is like cutting a shadow with scissors. The sharpness of the scissors is irrelevant. The following approach is the one I would have used. It does not offer mathematical perfection, but it is less ineffective.

    “On the subject of whether God exists, we must first define which god we mean.

    I assume we agree that fire is not a god. Or the Moon. The Moon and fire were worshiped by every early civilization, but today we understand these were superstitious myths.

    We get the names for all seven days of the week from gods, or celestial bodies once worshiped as gods. Nobody would seriously practice Frigg’s day or Tyr’s day or Thor’s day, because we know they are Norse myths.

    How about the Roman gods Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto, Mars, Mercury and Venus? These gods were once so important that the most prominent celestial bodies were named for them, but nobody believes in them today because they are obviously myths.

    Who does not know the names of Apollo, Poseidon or Zeus? These Greek gods were worshiped eight centuries before Christ, yet we still know their names today. But no sensible person worships them now, because they are certainly myths.

    Today, nearly a billion people believe in the Hindu monkey god Hanuman, the elephant-headed god Ganesh, and Shiva with his extra heads and arms. Do we disagree that these are anything but myths?

    There are literally thousands of gods we agree are plainly mythical. Literally every early civilization had multiple god-myths: the Armenians, Aztecs, Babylonians, Celts, Chinese, Egyptians, Etruscans, Finns, Germans, Greeks, Hindus, Hittites, Hungarians, Incans, Intuits, Japanese, Koreans, Malaysians, Mesoamericans, Mesopotamians, Mongols, Norse, North Africans, Persians, Polynesians, Romans, Slavs, Sub-Saharan Africans and many others. These groups had numerous separate religious traditions, each with multiple independent gods. That these are purely myth we do not disagree.

    So far, together we reasonably conclude that these gods are myths based in superstition, and that none really ever existed. Gods have been invented by man throughout recorded history on every continent. They believed in their gods as certainly as you believe in yours. Like yours, these phony gods came with centuries of tradition, miracles, ancient writings, and billions of believers. No civilization has ever existed without gods, all made up by man.

    So, there are only two conclusions possible: either billions of people since the beginning of time made up gods that we agree never existed, but yours is real. Or, the same superstitious psychological mechanism that made all those myths made yours, too.”

    While this does not have the mathematical purity that Jared and Justin hoped for, it is exactly the kind of practical approach that sensible people use every day to deal with the unknown.

  45. says

    RD superbly demonstrates/promotes critical thinking and is an immensely valuable resource. I encourage further RD extras. This one, though … . I never expect a theistic argument that is not dependent on presupposition; the next time I encounter one will also be the first. Headliner apologist debate professionals, like the oily W. L. Craig or the simply odious D’Souza, know their own material — and that of their opponents, in their own limited fashion — to a degree unfortunately not even closely approached by Jared.

    Jared opened directly with special pleading that his argument does not rely on presupposition because he is able to cite a long list of other apologists who say it is a given that reality requires a creator. So there.

    At that point I clicked forward to locate Justin’s rebuttal. Unfortunately, what I found instead reminded me of a midnight dormitory debate between philosophy majors haggling over solipsistic nuts and bolts, reminding me why I dropped philosophy as a minor midway through Logic. Fascinating mental exercise for some, to be sure, but also the reason many skeptics find philosophy, unfortunately, sometimes not so useful in countering theistic nonsense.

    Even Cy Young pitchers have bad innings from time to time. Please keep the RD Extra’s coming, Justin. They are appreciated.

  46. Vincent says

    Since the thesis was “the Christian God exists” I think a fun strategy to oppose it would be to select a mutually exclusive god, say Vahigugu of Sikhism, and prove that he exists using the exact same arguments Christian apologists use to prove the Christian god exists.

  47. Vincent says

    I typoed the name of the Sikh god. (and I don’t have any special character keys) My apologies.

  48. Ernst says


    I would guess that Jared’s main response to that kind of argument would be to mention the “explaining power of Christianity” plus some mention that those gods exist but are really demons/satan.

    Jared was never pressed in the debate to clarify exactly what he meant by this explaining power. He seemed to believe that it was so obvious that it was barely worth mentioning, but I have no idea what he’s talking about because as far as I’m concerned Christianity fails miserably at explaining anything about the world we live in.

  49. says

    The Apologist begins with the bold assertion of possessing “three undefeated arguments”. This extraordinary claim made me hopeful of having my intellect challenged to its limits, but then the Apologist uses the same old arguments that have already been postulated and disproved countless times before.

    To illustrate my point, Victor Stenger wrote a book dedicated to refuting the fine tuning argument (The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us, c2011), so why is this argument still being used?

    Perhaps Douglas Adams debunked the fine tuning argument best when he said:

    “Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, “This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!” This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it’s still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for. We all know that at some point in the future the Universe will come to an end and at some other point, considerably in advance from that but still not immediately pressing, the sun will explode. We feel there’s plenty of time to worry about that, but on the other hand that’s a very dangerous thing to say.”

    [Quote Source Link]

    Many thanks for a great podcast,
    Andrew Antaro of the Great White North!

  50. CJ says

    Thanks for taking the time reply Justin. I will try to explain.

    But first let me say how frustrating it is to hear philosophers, theologians, and new age types to co-opt the terms of particle physics and try to use them to support their views or claim that science has now confirmed their views. It hasn’t. My guess is Jared can not do even the most basic equations that describe quantum mechanics. Nor does he quote any theoretical physicist who has come to christianity as a result of his mathematics. Yet he uses terms like ‘negative energy’ , like that means anything, and conjectures about space time and dimensions. And he quotes from some text supposedly affiliated with the Stanford Philosophy department about how ‘robust’ and ‘undefeated’ philosophical arguments are even in the face of such science. Scientists do not turn to philosophers to explain the relevance of their craft, though philosophers seem to have no problem doing the reverse – that is, while unable to do the science themselves, they claim to understand its full significance and implications more than the scientists.

    But let me get to the point about evidence. I am a physician. And the way we come to know anything about medicine is through a testable hypothesis that peers have the opportunity to disprove. And any model that is worth considering must be disprovable. It is useless to say you have a potion that ‘cures diabetes’ but only works ‘sometimes’. It is incumbent upon Jared to explain what his model of god is and how it interacts in the world. If his model of god is one that is not detectable in any reliable and repeatable way and this is just excused as being ‘outside of space and time’, than any such god is irrelevant to life here. But I think he wants to think such a god does interact in the world, but he does not want to risk that with any conjecture that is subject to evidence and review. I have a standing offer to all of my physician colleagues and friends, some of whom are believers, and that is I would welcome any case of miraculous healing they care to offer provided they submit such a case for peer review and attend academic conferences and make changes to the standard of care based on such intervention. I would gladly help my patients with prayer if I thought it could work. But it doesn’t. And my colleagues have not offered one such case. Ever.

    Healing is a large part of the christian tradition, and many of the ‘miracles’ of jesus involve healing, and so my profession is ideally suited to test this model. I often ask my believing friends if god heals the sick, and usually they are vague in their answer. Usually they mumble something about ‘god healing through doctors’. Which also describes how horseshoes heal. Nevertheless, I do find it useful to ask them why god did not heal Madeline Neumann. She was the 11 year old girl from Wisconsin who died (I think in 2007) when her parents would not take her to the hospital but insisted on prayer which failed to save her from diabetic ketoacidosis. These were parents with faith. They believed. And all of their scriptures taught them that healing through faith is entirely to be expected. Jesus told them specifically that if you ask anything in his name, believe it to be yours, and it will be given to you. (John 14). Anything. Especially such selfless prayers such as those for a sick child. And the girl died. Why did not god act? Well, some might argue from ‘free will’. Except that Jesus violated free will all the time in his ministry. If jesus gave his followers magic afternoon snacks (Mark 8, Matthew 15), and magic wine to keep the party going at a wedding (John 2), then healing a sick girl is no more a violation than such parlor tricks. And when they claim the ‘humble’ argument saying something to the effect that ‘we mere humans cannot possibly know etc etc’, that belies the fact that they believe whole heartedly that god is somehow still ‘good’. In fact, they claim to know ‘god is love’ (1 John 4:8). In other words, they absolutely think they know about god despite their claims to be ‘a speck of a speck’ of dust. This is an argument from emotional manipulation. When a contradiction to their god based world view confronts them, they offer a version of ‘i don’t know’ followed by claims of humility. Therefore, if you oppose them, you must be arrogant.

    Ultimately, it is the believer who has to articulate their view of god and provide a way we can test it in this world. And we never get that. We get rationalization. For anything. Even polar opposite outcomes. Child is abducted and the parents pray for safe return. If the child is found, then god saved the child through his grace and brought it back to the family. Child’s body found 2 weeks later dismembered? God wanted another angel. The unifying theme here is the believer will be able to come up with any rationalization that is comforting to them. And it is why Jared can keep going on with nonsense about fine tuning, design, multidimensions, pantemporal beings, etc. He never says one thing that can be disconfirmed. And he thinks that makes his argument strong. It doesn’t. It makes his argument such much useless, self gratifying, tripe.


  51. CJ says

    One other thing about Madeline Neumann. What is especially sad about that case is that she would have been easily saved by modern medicine. Easily. Her clinical presentation would have been recognizable and treatable by a medical student. That’s how basic it was. All she needed was IV fluids and an insulin drip and she would be here today.

  52. Rick K. says

    I went to Jared’s website and looked up his “three undefeatable arguments”, then proceeded to defeat all three in under 10 minutes. They are all very much the same that I’ve heard on other podcasts, and didn’t really bring anything new into discussion. I decided to pass up listening to the debate, and the comments above indicate that was the wise thing to do.
    Justin, I hope you are able to refine your particular argument over time. I guess that’s why you felt the need to do a debate, so you could try it out and see how it would work against someone who thought he had the believer’s position down pat.

  53. Frank Keefe says

    Atheists always try and refute WLCs argument that objective morality only comes from God…Ive looked at many many atheist websites especially P Z Myers and the posters including the owners of such sites use the most vile expletive ridden personal ad homin attacks againsts Dr Craig and other apologists like Dr John Lennox which just proves Craig is right.Atheism means you aren’t constrained to argue and debate rationally the best way to get over your points is by the most vicious means available Craig 1 atheism 0….. I await the tirade to prove my point

  54. Lausten North says

    How very kind of you to come and provide us with your commentary Mr. Keefe. I am aware of some of the behavior you speak of and have attempted to comment on the offenders. I believe I have made some progress and have high hopes for a future where we will all be able to find common ground, but we must continue to be patient.

  55. Ernst says

    Mr Keefe,

    The only argument even closely resembling an ad hominen tirade that I can see here is yours.

    Atheism 1 Keefe 0

    How about you try something substantive instead of vague references to comment sections in blog posts?

  56. Judd says

    Frank, there are bad apples in every barrel. There are people on both sides (apologists and counter-apologists) who resort to personal attacks and expletives to try to win the argument. However, these are redundant because there are plenty of others who argue convincingly without needing to resort to these tactics.

    Although I swear a lot in real life (I’m trying to change my ways), I do agree that being uncivil or offensive in an intellectual debate is a decidedly weak rhetorical technique.

    Anyway, there are certainly no shortage of Christians who also apparently don’t seem to be “constrained to argue and debate rationally” Have a look at ffrfcrankmail on Youtube for some examples:
    Best regards,


  57. Scott Forschler says

    I agree with a common theme expressed here: Orme was clearly a lightweight, who doesn’t realize he is one. I say that not because I disagree with him; there are simply far better apologists for the Christian position than his, and he simply made one bold assertion after another with no evidence, and no serious acknowledgment of what Schieber’s objections & arguments were, let alone any serious attempt to address them.

    I was going to consider listening to the entire episode a complete waste of time, until Schieber laid out his argument that if we are going to presume that God could be justified–for reasons unknown to us but against all apparent evidence–in performing or allowing horrible crimes, then surely God could be *at least* as justified in lying to us, again for reasons unknown, which eviscerates any possible argument from revelation. I’m surprised that I can’t remember hearing this argument ever put in just this way before, because in a sense it is perfectly obvious, and also quite devastating.

    This argument may only work against those, like Orme, who rely heavily on the “god’s mysterious purposes” strategy to address the problem of evil; but this argument may actually get used quite a bit, and may become my new preferred central argument for arguing against any “revealed” religion involving an omni-God. Well put, Justin Schieber–and thanks for rescuing an otherwise wasted episode!

  58. says

    While I guffawed to hear the fine tuning argument (and all of Jared’s rhetorical hand-waving), I think the thing that bugged me most about this debate was Jared’s unrelenting smugness, as exemplified by statements such as, “If atheists understood theistic arguments and were able to explain them, they’d be theists, right?” Laughs. “So it’s very comforting that the atheists don’t necessarily know what the theists are talking about.” I applaud Justin for keeping things so professional, when Jared was being such a condescending dick.

  59. says

    A expert air max advisor with experience in Melanesian culture should be engaged to develop a suitable management/administrative structure for that efficient operation from the KTA. This may contain roles and duties, accounting and budgeting, office tools specifications, operating techniques and the development of regulations to govern the operation in the KTA, landowners/clan leaders and trek operators.

  60. andrewviceroy says

    I’m really enjoying listening to Justin become ever more fluid and concise over time. Great job!

    “…I don’t think anyone would say that photons are capable of intent”- Jon

    Yeah, the whole ‘conversion theory’ angle was new to me. It still belies the temporal necessity of thought though, regardless of the particle. Sounds like a really fun can of worms that will probably be laid to rest by Strauss or Carroll or Stenger once theists are pressed to decryptify exactly what they mean and *how it works*.

    Any argument about “perfection” with theists from here to eternity is destined for equivocation. Jared was going for ye old ‘perfection requires imperfection to show perfect resolution’ argument, but as Justin implied, this is necessarily at the cost of ‘perfect preservation.’ I also really liked how Justin turned the conflict requirement into a divine attribute requirement- clever.

    Theists never fail to upset me when they imply that gratuitous suffering might have ‘character building’ properties; that the three year old who dies of bone cancer might make mommy a better Christian. Again, Justin was so right to take the path he did and simply use it in an epistemic way. Turning arguments around, especially skeptical arguments, can be rewarding. Jared mentioned when Law did that against Craig with a moral argument, disingenuously implying that Law actually believed the argument to be successful (enough to believe that there was both a good and evil god).

    If I were to choose three arguments against the Christian god myself, I would probably choose:

    1. The argument from inelegance- evidenced by a crappy salvation plan that is remiss in being accessible to most humans.

    2. The ‘mystery element’ argument- if salvation is based upon behavior, why are we (and more importantly, Christians) left with our epistemic dicks in our hands concerning what is right and true. Why is there a ‘mystery element at all? Why not show us what’s at stake without ontological uncertainty and let us decide whether we want to follow god or reject him (putting salvation where it should be: in the realm of ethics, not the realm of guessing)?

    3. The argument against human free will- amply evidenced at this point to show subconscious priming/motivation/even long term goal planning, a la the work of people like Yale’s John Bargh. While the absence of free will might work with deism or some eastern versions of theism, it’s a tough squeeze into Christianity without radical alterations.

    And if I could do 4…. The argument from moral ignorance- the Christian god is ignorant of *the experience of sinning* and is therefore, not omniscient. This has implications for the ability to empathize and thus relate to humans. Being tempted to sin and sinning are not the same experience. Nor can sin be experienced vicariously.

  61. andrewviceroy says

    One more thing: if conflict is a necessary attribute or condition for either ‘perfection’ or just to glorify god (sorry two year olds who died of painful diseases along the way), then conflict will exist in the afterlife as well. Heaven just gets better and better! Enjoy!

  62. andrewviceroy says

    Oh crap, I missed the closing remarks! Two words can sum up Jared’s defense of ‘not speck of dust’ Christian epistemology in comparison to ‘speck of dust’ atheist epistemology: SPECIAL PLEADING. Somehow, because Christians have objective spiritual value, THEIR epistemology is veridical… and yet, somehow, THEY CAN’T LINE UP ON THEIR THEOLOGY. Does he not see this or does he think WE don’t see it? Christians are simply NOT evidenced to have any special access to knowledge. Sorry.

  63. says

    I didn’t enjoy this debate. I didn’t expect much from the apologist, but I really get annoyed at the mental masturbation that Justin tends to do. The problem of evil is one of the weakest arguments for atheists. The argument still leaves room for an evil god that just says he is good. Just because a Christian gets the characteristics of his god wrong, does that mean his god doesn’t exist? This is like saying George Washington doesn’t exist because he didn’t cut down the cheery tree. Congratulations, you got him on a technicality. Big fucking deal.

    And saying something is all-good is nonsense statement anyway. Why waste time with it?

  64. flynn says

    Just got through the whole thing. At one point I had to pause and goggle for a while. Justin used the case of a parent setting a child on fire as an example of gratuitous evil. Jared repeatedly dodged the question of whether any evil can be gratutious, but suggested that he doesn’t think that anything that happens falls outside the divine plan. He replied to Justin’s horror story with the example of a petulant child who doesn’t want to do chores but really the parents are making that rule for the child’s own good. So…anything a parent does to their child is OK? Anything anyone does at all is OK because it’s part of the plan? What possible grounds does one have for morality in that case? If everything that happened in the past was part of the plan, what should my attitude toward the future be?

    Re: Legion

    Dragging in the “Hitler” argument is an act of desperation. Offering the two options of killing Hitler as a baby or permitting him to proceed with “evil” acts is a false dichotomy. There were numerous types of interventions could have occurred.

    Yeah, no shit. Telling that he can’t think of one way for his god to intervene besides wiping people out.

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