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God

September 21, 2010

Why Are Religious Claims a Target for the Extraordinary Claims Campaign?
Some comments on Supernatural Claims, Evidence, and the Burden of Proof

The Claim:

God (which takes many forms including Yahweh and Allah), is a supernatural creator and overseer of the universe with a variety of common attributes, most often including omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, and omnibenevolence.  God is often seen as the necessary source of morals.

The Evidence:

Many arguments have been advanced in an attempt to prove logically that such an entity must exist, but most are flawed, such as the argument of a first cause (explaining the existence of the universe by assuming the presence and action of an omnipotent being).

Even those arguments which might, at first glance, appear to have some merit do not stand up to scrutiny. The argument from fine-tuning of the universe (if the fundamental constants of physics were even slightly different from their actual values, life as we know it would be impossible: therefore God exists) is just a variant of the argument from design (this flower is so beautifully complex: therefore it must have been designed by God), which in turn is just a variant of the argument from ignorance (I don’t know the origin of this flower: therefore God created it).

The evidence and arguments against the claim of the existence of God are many, varied and convincing. For instance:

  • The claim is often made in the absence of any clear definition of “God”. This vagueness can be so extreme as to make the claim effectively meaningless.
  • When the definition is clear, various claimants provide different and often mutually contradictory (and sometimes self-contradictory) definitions. Consider the three major monotheisms. Orthodox Jews claim that they are the chosen people of God and await their Messiah. Christians assert that the Messiah has already come, in the form of Jesus who is both god incarnate and “Son of God”. Muslims say Muhammad is God’s last and greatest prophet but not himself God. Devout Christians, Jews, and Muslims view their own beliefs about God to be absolutely accurate and correct, but that the others are (at best) severely misguided. These three belief systems cannot all be right, but they can all be wrong.
  • The god-hypothesis is unfalsifiable. An hypothesis is meaningless if nothing could ever disprove it. The definition is frequently changed to avoid the possibility of falsification.
  • All major forms of god-belief originated as mythologies invented centuries ago by scientifically illiterate societies. Some beliefs have survived (Yahweh, Christ, Allah, Vishnu) while others (Baal, Aphrodite, Zeus, Thor) have not.  But all these beliefs are equally unsubstantiated.
  • The god-hypothesis is the quintessential example of philosophical idealism. It is a claim based not on observation but on the idea of something. Ideas of “God” certainly exist, but that does not imply that “God” does, any more than the ideas of fairies or elves make them realities.
  • The occurrence of what the religious call “evil” is incompatible with the hypothesis of an infinitely good, omnipotent, and omniscient god.

Conclusion:

God is a mythological construct invented by humans. The hypothesis of his, her, or its existence is unsupported by any evidence, fraught with logical contradictions, and – in cases where God is said to intervene in the world – often incompatible with solidly established scientific knowledge.

This entry was authored by David Rand

Links:

“Realism and Religion: A Physicist Examines the Basis for Belief” Rothman, Milton.

“The Scope of Atheism” Smith, George H.

Wikipedia Page on Arguments Against the Existence of God

Wikipedia Page on the Existence of God

Arguments Against God: Atheological Arguments for Atheism

Arguments for Atheism on Infidels.org

Arguments Against the Existence of God on Freethoughtpedia.com

Arguments Against the Existence of God on WordIQ.com

The One Minute Case Against the Existence of God

The One Minute Case for Atheism

What is Atheism Rand, David

261 Comments leave one →
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  3. January 15, 2013 2:04 PM

    This really is the 4th posting, of urs I read.

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    Require Extraordinary Evidence” the very best.

    Take care ,Jasmine

  4. Hammiesink permalink
    May 19, 2011 11:12 AM

    “Is it your assertion…”

    Keep in mind that this is Aquinas’ assertion, not mine. I am not convinced by Aquinas, but what I AM convinced of is that atheists who claim “there is no evidence for God” are more often than not completely unaware of the arguments or have distorted understanding of them. My ONLY assertion is: “You have no right to claim that there is no evidence for X if you would flunk a quiz about the arguments for X.”

    The creationist claims that there is no evidence for evolution, but when pressed they have never heard of ERVs, transposons, and other genetic proof of evolution.

    The atheist claims there is no evidence for God but when pressed they do not understand Aquinas at all and have usually never heard of Leibniz or the PSR.

    “I understand this to suggest that there are components of gravity which we do not fully understand (or at least which I do not fully understand). Is it your assertion that this is god ??”

    Some members of the series we do not fully understand, correct. But the argument is that you cannot proceed to infinity in a series of concurrent (chained) causes, that physical chain is a string of concurrent causes, and that the first member must be pure act.

    Checklist:

    1. Concurrent causes can’t go to infinity? Check.
    2. Physical change is a string of concurrent causes? Check.
    3. The concurrent chain must terminate in an engine? Check.
    4. The engine must be pure act, and not potential? Check.
    5. Physical things are only potential? Check.

    To dispute the argument, you would need to show how one of these is incorrect. (5) is probably the point to set your sights on, but I have no idea how you would go about doing it. It needs to be pure act, with no potentiality, and thus physical particles won’t fit the bill.

  5. Bodski permalink
    May 19, 2011 9:38 AM

    Hammiesink

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, I am enjoying this discussion. There is lots in your writing which I disagree with or do not fully understand (I expect that the same is true the other way around), however, it is not my intention to pick apart your writing, simply to focus on the proof of the existence of god.

    I wrote:

    “if you wish to consider gravity to be god then”

    Your response:

    “Gravity is impotent without the existence of mass/gravitons/etc, and thus is only potential. It depends on something else for it’s actuality. Whatever drives everything must be capable of causing change but not changeable itself, and thus cannot be physical, because physical things are changeable. ”

    Whilst I do not necessarily agree with this statement, it does provide a useful basis for further exploration. I understand this to suggest that there are components of gravity which we do not fully understand (or at least which I do not fully understand). Is it your assertion that this is god ??

  6. Hammiesink permalink
    May 12, 2011 9:04 AM

    “you can take ths right back to the Big Bang. ”

    No, because the Big Bang no longer needs to be around for the series to work anymore. The Big Bang would thus be accidental, not essential. The ice cube would still freeze even if the universe were infinitely old. Aquinas assumed the universe could be infinitely old, and all his arguments work either way. In fact, the Third Way assumes an infinitely old universe.

    It’s vertical, not horizontal.

    “if you wish to consider gravity to be god then”

    Gravity is impotent without the existence of mass/gravitons/etc, and thus is only potential. It depends on something else for it’s actuality. Whatever drives everything must be capable of causing change but not changeable itself, and thus cannot be physical, because physical things are changeable.

    “I’m not sure that I understand what you mean by “pure actuality” nor do I understand why the motor must be “pure actuality””

    Something that drives all motion and change, but is not itself capable of being changed because it has to be the first member of the series. As you saw in the diagram, the match’s potentiality is actualized by the hand, the hand’s potentiality is actualized by the muscles, and so on. The first member must necessarily be actuality and not potentiality, otherwise nothing would work at all.

    “This appears to contradict your assertion in the video described above (ice is actuality vs physical things are only potential)”

    For the ice’s potentiality to become actual, it must be actualized by something else; otherwise it remains only potential. Think of the turning gears of a clock. Each gear has the potential to turn, but to actually turn requires them to be moved by the next gear. In similar vein, water can “turn” like the clock gear, but only if actualized by cold air. And the same applies to cold air.

    “motion must have been on-going infinitely.”

    No, because if we go back in time then we are talking about accidentally ordered series and no longer essential ones. The past no longer needs to be around for the ice to freeze. The universe could have popped into existence fully formed two minutes ago, no Big Bang and no expansion, and the water would still freeze.

    “Nothing in this summary points to the esixtence of a god”

    All Five Ways only work in conjunction. From the first you get something non-physical and pure act, from the second something whose very essence is existence, from the third a necessary being, from the fourth a perfect being, and from the fifth an intelligent being.

  7. Bodski permalink
    May 12, 2011 7:41 AM

    @Hammiesink

    I hope that this isn’t rude, but I have used some of your examples to show where I think that we have some disagreement – or at least where I remain confused / unconvinced. Interestingly (or not) ths also shows how I (independently of Dawkins) thought that this in some way related to the Big Bang.

    Your quote:

    “When the ice cube freezes, it’s only because of the cold air acting on it. But the air is only cold because of the freezer compressor acting on it. But the compressor is only working because of the electricity acting on it. And so on. Take away any single member of the series, and the cube won’t freeze.

    Like the gears of clock.”

    To change your example slightly:

    When the ice cube melts, it’s only because of the hot air acting on it (providing energy to increase the temperature and cause the molecules to move more freely). But the air is only hot because of the sun acting on it. But the sun is only providing heat because of the chemical reations on-going witin it. And so on – you can take ths right back to the Big Bang. Take away any single member of the series, and the cube won’t melt.

    Like the gears of a clock.

    Your quote:

    “If gravity is pulling a rock down a hill, then gravity is one of the “gears.” Take gravity away and the rock won’t move. But gravity is dependent on the gravitons or the mass particles of the planet; take them away and no gravity. But the mass particles are dependent upon the weak force or strong force (or whatever); take them away and no mass particles, no gravity, no moving rock, etc.

    Take away any member of the series, and the rock doesn’t roll.”

    Again, in my original response, I said that “if you wish to consider gravity to be god then, although this god does not have the human charcteristics descrtibed in the various religious texts, it will satisfy these first three agruments.” Again, this takes us back to the Big Bang.

    You might find this link interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqc9zX04DXs

    I have added my questions to your summary below:

    You can think of it in bits:

    1. Essentially ordered series requires a “motor”

    See below.

    2. Physical change is essentially ordered series

    As I understand your explanation, we may be experiencing either an accidentally ordered series (which requires no original ‘motor’ since motion has always been on-going) or may be an essentially ordered series in which case the original motor may well be Big Bang (or a combnation of this and gravity created at the Big Bang).

    3. Therefore, physical change requires a “motor”

    I think that we are agreed on this for now.

    1. The “motor” must be pure actuality

    Hmmm, from your video “Water has the potentiality to become ice, when it does it becomes actuality.” I’m not sure that I understand what you mean by “pure actuality” nor do I understand why the motor must be “pure actuality”. Could this not all be satisfied by the Big Bang and the creation of gravity ?

    2. Physical things are only potential

    This appears to contradict your assertion in the video described above (ice is actuality vs physical things are only potential)

    3. Therefore, the “motor” must be non-physical

    See above.

    So, what Aquinas is saying is that at bottom level, underneath the quarks, is something non-physical and pure act which is the cause of all change and motion.

    Ok, I understand that that may be what Aquinas is saying, however, could this all be satisfied by the explosion in Big Bang and the force of gravity ?

    At this point, I am some way from being convinced that this first argument holds any water. Please feel free to respond where I may have misunderstood. The key points for me are as follows:

    1) For any motion to happen there must be either a first motion or motion must have been on-going infinitely.

    2) Given the deep time involved (14bn years), we may consider either that there has always been motion (always in terms of human history) or that it was created initially by (or in) the Big Bang.

    3) Nothing in this summary points to the esixtence of a god (in the sense we understand god today).

    Peace.

    Bod.

  8. Hammiesink permalink
    May 11, 2011 9:03 AM

    “I don’t think that your video dismisses the idea that we could be part of an accidental series and if we are (as I suspect, using your terminology) this does not require any god in a sense that we understand god to be. ”

    I think I am going to redo the videos, because I don’t think I explained it well enough.

    The First Way is describing any PRESENT physical change. You’re right, we are part of an accidentally ordered series as far as time and the universe goes. But what Aquinas is talking about is CURRENT physical change.

    When the ice cube freezes, it’s only because of the cold air acting on it. But the air is only cold because of the freezer compressor acting on it. But the compressor is only working because of the electricity acting on it. And so on. Take away any single member of the series, and the cube won’t freeze.

    Like the gears of clock.

    If gravity is pulling a rock down a hill, then gravity is one of the “gears.” Take gravity away and the rock won’t move. But gravity is dependent on the gravitons or the mass particles of the planet; take them away and no gravity. But the mass particles are dependent upon the weak force or strong force (or whatever); take them away and no mass particles, no gravity, no moving rock, etc.

    Take away any member of the series, and the rock doesn’t roll.

    You can think of it in bits:

    1. Essentially ordered series requires a “motor”
    2. Physical change is essentially ordered series
    3. Therefore, physical change requires a “motor”

    1. The “motor” must be pure actuality
    2. Physical things are only potential
    3. Therefore, the “motor” must be non-physical

    So, what Aquinas is saying is that at bottom level, underneath the quarks, is something non-physical and pure act which is the cause of all change and motion.

  9. May 11, 2011 6:18 AM

    If there is a god, why did he/she/it make me a secular humanist?
    Lamborghini truck

  10. Bodski permalink
    May 11, 2011 6:17 AM

    @Erik

    Unfortunatley, I have some pressing matters which will distract me from the research you suggest. I do intend to come back to this at some point soon, however, cannot do so at this time due to the likely time involved.

    I will continue to discuss with Hammiesink as I can do this without the in-depth research you suggest is necessary. If I haven’t got back to you by the end of the month, please feel free to give me a prompt – I do check the site for comments often.

    Peace.

    Bod.

  11. Bodski permalink
    May 11, 2011 6:07 AM

    @Hammiesink

    Thanks for the link, I watched your video a couple of times. There are a number of elements which I am unsure of from the video, however, in terms of proving the existence of god (or otherwise), I can summarise this in respect of the difference between what you describe as an accdental series and an essential series.

    From your video, I understand this to be as follows:

    An accidental series is one which is on-going and may be infinite. In simple terms, there must either have been a start to movement or movement must be on-going and have been on-going forever, however, it does not require any ‘thing’ to continue to exist in order to power the movement.

    Paraphrasing the example of humans you used: I must have a father who must have a father who must have a father and so on. This must happen infinitely or have had a start point, but I may become a father to my child without the continued existence of my ancestors. This movement continues without the originator or source (or in the absence of such originator, continues as it always has).

    An essential series is one which cannot be infinite and must have a source. Your example, this time of a carriage, is again useful. A carriage without power will not move unless it is pulled, if it is pulled by another carriage then there must ultimately be a powered engine at the front which is causing this movement.

    Please advise if I have misunderstood.

    Based upon the above, I have two relevant questions:

    1) Does the accidental series require a first mover ? (I think not)

    2) Is it possible that we could be part of either an accidental series or an essential series ?

    I don’t think that your video dismisses the idea that we could be part of an accidental series and if we are (as I suspect, using your terminology) this does not require any god in a sense that we understand god to be. As I stated previously, if we say that gravity caused the first movement and call gravity god then this will suffice, however, this is not really what we understand to be the concept of god.

    I look forward to your reply. I am happy to agree that We could either be existing in an accidental series or an essential series and move onto the next of his ‘ways’ if you think that is best or alternatively for you to clarify any misunderstandings I have.

    Peace.

    Bod.

  12. May 10, 2011 10:24 PM

    @Bodski

    You asked for something that would be extraordinary evidence. The series related to this link: http://bibleapologetics.wordpress.com/the-book-of-daniel-320/ dissects arguments against the historicity of the book of Daniel, to support the claim that it was written in 539 BC and not after the events it prophecies about (which occurred around the 300’s-200’s).

    Why is it relevant, and extraordinary? Well, if a book written hundreds of years before a series of events accurately describes the succession of empires for the next 500 years, what explanation can possibly suffice except for Divine Revelation? (or time travel). Thus, if Daniel is really written in the 500s, then it is a strong argument for the Divine origin of Scripture.

    Please be aware that analyzing historicity of the Bible is a very tedious process and you shouldn’t expect a magic bullet, but be committed to the time it will take to look at all the evidence and the rebuttals to arguments against the Bible.

    Thank you for offering to take an open-minded (albeit skeptical, which is A GOOD THING as long as your skepticism is an approach to research and not a belief in itself) look at an example of extraordinary evidence for the Divine origin of the Bible. I hope that you follow through and take an honest look at the link I gave (and the other related links…there were more, but this was one I remember finding particularly impressive when I read over them).

    Cheers

  13. greame permalink
    May 10, 2011 11:42 AM

    Hammiesink

    Wonderful! Thanks. I’ll have to check out your video when I get home, and I will responde in kind.

  14. Hammiesink permalink
    May 10, 2011 11:13 AM

    graeme,

    I did, in fact, do just that. See my last comment.

  15. greame permalink
    May 10, 2011 11:03 AM

    @Hammiesink

    I would think the same thing as when you simply said “Proof? Aquinas’ argument”

    If you aren’t going to put any effort into presenting the argument, then I’m not going to put any effort into showing you why it’s wrong. Had you actually presented it, with your own argument on why you think it was valid, then I certainly would have analysed and responded to your argument with my own.

  16. Hammiesink permalink
    May 10, 2011 11:01 AM

    Bodski,

    Like I said, the First Way (and the Second) have absolutely NOTHING to do with the beginning of the universe or the Big Bang. Aquinas thought it was not possible to prove philosophically that the universe was finite.

    I made a video to explain it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmpw0_w27As

    Dawkins gets Aquinas as wrong as Dembski does evolution.

  17. Bodski permalink
    May 10, 2011 9:23 AM

    Erik

    Whilst we disagree on whether or not the bible is flawed, I hope that I will be able to politely pint out a flaw in your argument which we may be able to agree on.

    If I understand your comment correctly, you are asserting that because there are a number of verifiable truths in the bible we may consider this to be proof that the other elements are also true. (please let me know if I have got that wrong).

    Proof is a curious and difficult subject. Very few things can be fully proven and are really only done so by mathematicians. Even the idea that I am sat in my living room typing this comment cannot be proven in any absolute sense.

    Let us consider something which is proven: Fermat’s Theorem. If a book about Fermat’s Theorem was written explaining in a truly verifiable manner the mathematical proof of the theorem also contained a statement that there is a god, should we consider this to be proof of god’s existance ? I think not.

    Any discussion about the accuracy of the bible or otherwise would be me attempting to disprove the ‘divinity ?’ of the book, but this section isfor those who choose to do so to provide extraordinary evidence for the existance of god.

    To date I have seen no such extraordinary evidence, however, if I am missing something, please feel free to point it out to me.

    Peace.

    Bod.

  18. Bodski permalink
    May 10, 2011 9:13 AM

    Rightyho, let me try to respond to Aquinas’ 5 ways without reference to Pref. Dawkins text.

    The first three are essentially saying that something must have started things, therefore this is what we understand to be god. Is that correct ? My initial thought on this reminded me of a discussion between Prof. Dawkins and Prof. Hawkins where Dawkins asked if there was a god.

    In response, Hawkins isn’t definitive on whether there is a god or not, however, does explain that the earth was essentially created by the force of gravity. Whether you believe this or not is unimportant, what is important is that what we consider to be the start (the big bang a few billion years ago or creation a few thousand years ago or other) need not necessarily be caused by god. Although as Prof. Hawkins does point out, if you wish to consider gravity to be god then, although this god does not have the human charcteristics descrtibed in the various religious texts, it will satisfy these first three agruments (clearly I am paraphrasing).

    The fourth point, graduation of being is a strange argument for me. If we are to believe that something must be hottest and everything degrees of closeness to that hottest thing, why jump to goodness and every other perfection being what we call god ? Why not say that all things are degrees of redness and that which is most red we call god ? Or stick with that which is most hot being god ? Or even that which is most evil is god ? I think that this is an essentialism argument which is generally not held true any more.

    The firth point, argument from design, assumes that ‘We see that natural bodies work toward some goal, and do not do so by chance’. I do not agree with this assertion and do not think that in light of the mountain of evidence to support the process of evolution that this provides an proof, however, that point may best be discussed further on the page regarding creation.

    Graeme kindly amended my definition to say that evidence must be tangible / verifiable. I was quite careful to limit my input here as I am keen to assert what the site is about in terms of evidence rather than my own personal perspective. From this site….

    3. What is Extraordinary Evidence?
    Evidence should be proportional to the claim being made. For mundane claims that do not radically alter our understanding of the world as built up from hundreds of consistent tests and pieces of data over many centuries, less evidence is required. It’s the difference between saying “I have a pet dog” (mundane claim that doesn’t require a lot of evidence to believe) vs “I have a pet dragon” (extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence)

    Nothing in Aquinas’ arguments suggests to me that extraordinary evidence has been provided and to my mind (although not to all minds) no real evidence has been provided.

  19. Hammiesink permalink
    May 10, 2011 1:03 AM

    graeme,

    What would you think of someone who copies and pastes Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box as an example of the problems with evolution?

    Same goes for Dawkins and philosophy. He mangles Aquinas as badly as any IDist mangles evolution.

    Aquinas is talking about a string of CONCURRENT causes, down deeper into reality, not back into the past. Aquinas thought it couldn’t be proven that the universe had a beginning.

    Here. I made a video to explain the First Way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmpw0_w27As

  20. greame permalink
    May 9, 2011 9:35 PM

    Since Hammiesink didn’t bother to actually PROVIDE Aquinas’ arguments, nor state why he thinks they are evidence, I simply copy and paste a response as to why they are not evidence for anything.

    The five ‘proofs’ asserted by Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth
    century don’t prove anything, and are easily – though I hesitate to
    say so, given his eminence – exposed as vacuous. The first three are
    just different ways of saying the same thing, and they can be considered
    together. All involve an infinite regress – the answer to a
    question raises a prior question, and so on ad infinitum.
    1 The Unmoved Mover. Nothing moves without a prior mover.
    This leads us to a regress, from which the only escape is God.
    Something had to make the first move, and that something we
    call God.
    2 The Uncaused Cause. Nothing is caused by itself. Every effect
    has a prior cause, and again we are pushed back into regress.
    This has to be terminated by a first cause, which we call
    God.
    3 The Cosmological Argument. There must have been a time
    when no physical things existed. But, since physical things exist
    now, there must have been something non-physical to bring
    them into existence, and that something we call God.

    All three of these arguments rely upon the idea of a regress and
    invoke God to terminate it. They make the entirely unwarranted
    assumption that God himself is immune to the regress. Even if we
    allow the dubious luxury of arbitrarily conjuring up a terminator to
    an infinite regress and giving it a name, simply because we need
    one, there is absolutely no reason to endow that terminator with
    any of the properties normally ascribed to God: omnipotence,
    omniscience, goodness, creativity of design, to say nothing of such
    human attributes as listening to prayers, forgiving sins and reading
    innermost thoughts. Incidentally, it has not escaped the notice of logicians
    that omniscience and omnipotence are mutually incompatible. If
    God is omniscient, he must already know how he is going to intervene
    to change the course of history using his omnipotence. But that means
    he can’t change his mind about his intervention, which means he is not
    omnipotent. Karen Owens has captured this witty little paradox in
    equally engaging verse:
    Can omniscient God, who

    Knows the future, find
    The omnipotence to
    Change His future mind?

    To return to the infinite regress and the futility of invoking God
    to terminate it, it is more parsimonious to conjure up, say, a ‘big
    bang singularity’, or some other physical concept as yet unknown.
    Calling it God is at best unhelpful and at worst perniciously misleading.
    Edward Lear’s Nonsense Recipe for Crumboblious Cutlets
    invites us to ‘Procure some strips of beef, and having cut them into
    the smallest possible pieces, proceed to cut them still smaller, eight
    or perhaps nine times.’ Some regresses do reach a natural
    terminator. Scientists used to wonder what would happen if you
    could dissect, say, gold into the smallest possible pieces. Why
    shouldn’t you cut one of those pieces in half and produce an even
    smaller smidgen of gold? The regress in this case is decisively
    terminated by the atom. The smallest possible piece of gold is a
    nucleus consisting of exactly seventy-nine protons and a slightly
    larger number of neutrons, attended by a swarm of seventy-nine
    electrons. If you ‘cut’ gold any further than the level of the single
    atom, whatever else you get it is not gold. The atom provides a
    natural terminator to the Crumboblious Cutlets type of regress. It
    is by no means clear that God provides a natural terminator to the
    regresses of Aquinas. That’s putting it mildly, as we shall see later.
    Let’s move on down Aquinas’ list.
    4 The Argument from Degree. We notice that things in the world
    differ. There are degrees of, say, goodness or perfection. But
    we judge these degrees only by comparison with a maximum.
    Humans can be both good and bad, so the maximum goodness
    cannot rest in us. Therefore there must be some other maximum
    to set the standard for perfection, and we call that
    maximum God.
    That’s an argument? You might as well say, people vary in smelliness
    but we can make the comparison only by reference to a perfect
    maximum of conceivable smelliness. Therefore there must exist a
    pre-eminently peerless stinker, and we call him God. Or substitute
    any dimension of comparison you like, and derive an equivalently
    fatuous conclusion.
    5 The Teleological Argument, or Argument from Design. Things
    in the world, especially living things, look as though they
    have been designed. Nothing that we know looks designed
    unless it is designed. Therefore there must have been a designer,
    and we call him God. Aquinas himself used the analogy of an
    arrow moving towards a target, but a modern heat-seeking
    anti-aircraft missile would have suited his purpose better.
    The argument from design is the only one still in regular use
    today, and it still sounds to many like the ultimate knockdown
    argument. The young Darwin was impressed by it when, as a
    Cambridge undergraduate, he read it in William Paley’s Natural
    Theology. Unfortunately for Paley, the mature Darwin blew it out
    of the water. There has probably never been a more devastating
    rout of popular belief by clever reasoning than Charles Darwin’s
    destruction of the argument from design. It was so unexpected.
    Thanks to Darwin, it is no longer true to say that nothing that we
    know looks designed unless it is designed. Evolution by natural
    selection produces an excellent simulacrum of design, mounting
    prodigious heights of complexity and elegance. And among these
    eminences of pseudo-design are nervous systems which – among
    their more modest accomplishments – manifest goal-seeking
    behaviour that, even in a tiny insect, resembles a sophisticated heatseeking
    missile more than a simple arrow on target.

    – Richard Dawkins.

    What else yah got? Pascals wager? Ray Comforts Banana argument?

  21. Norman Beall permalink
    May 9, 2011 5:00 PM

    To pray means to think. Faith is the substance and the evidence of the words of a story.

    So, if you think about it, you will find the evidence of the words of a story. you will know if the story is true because life itself has the evidence or if the evidence is only in a persons story.

  22. greame permalink
    May 9, 2011 4:51 PM

    @Erik,

    Another flawed argument.
    “This is a testable claim. It relates to the real world.
    We test it by going to Greece to see if a Mars Hill exists.”
    Is the fact that New York exists, evidence that Spider-Man, too, exists? Not at all. Same with all the other “thousands” (so you claim) of geographical or other historical references. They have nothing to do with providing evidence for divinity.

    “it becomes a fallacy of begging the question when one would question the spiritual claims made in the text. If the authors are completely trustworthy in every area other than religion, why would you doubt their trustworthiness regarding religion”

    Trustworthy, again, has nothing to do with it. If I can test the claim myself, by going to Greece to see Mars Hill, then fine, I will accept it. If I can not see for myself, then no, I will not accept it. It’s really not that hard.

    “Since everything the Bible says that can be tested reliably continues to be shown demonstrably true”

    Again, simply not true. Jesus says that if you pray for something, and you are faithful enough, you will recieve. Please see http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  23. Norman Beall permalink
    May 9, 2011 4:33 PM

    God is a materialist, the matter is his work, all his work which God created and made.

  24. Norman Beall permalink
    May 9, 2011 4:28 PM

    Universe is a confusing word, some use it to describe what is eternal, others use it to describe how matter is currently manifest and claim the universe began at the time of the big bang.

    Universe is ALL THAT BE for ALL eternity, significance is of the big bang.

  25. May 9, 2011 4:06 PM

    >>>>Randy claims that the bible is evidence for the existance of God. This is not true, the bible is simply a book. I could equally write a book with one sentence “There is no god”.

    Let’s analyze your claim {“The Bible is not evidence for the existence of God.”}

    If you mean that the Bible in and of itself doesn’t prove God exists, then you’d be correct, but what you really mean is that the Bible does not PROVE God.

    Evidence is simply tangible matter or conceptual relationships that can be analyzed for data and interpreted to support a position. The Bible certainly qualifies as an actual object that exists, can be analyzed, and contains information that can be turned into data to be analyzed, which can be interpreted to support a position.

    You used the Bible as evidence for your own claim, in fact.

    Claim: God does not exist.
    Claim: Because the Bible can’t prove God exists.
    Evidence for Claim: The Bible is a book.

    The Bible is a book. But there are many books in the world. The existence of books doesn’t disprove God.

    There’s an underlying assumption that you haven’t made clear. Perhaps the assumption is that books can’t unequivocally demonstrate that what they say is true without relying on outside evidence in conjunction with its statements.

    In that case, we simply have a misunderstanding.

    The Christian claim was never that the Bible in and of itself proves that God exists. It is nonetheless evidence, but more evidence is needed in order to formulate a convincing proof.

    The Bible contains information that can be analyzed. The data we retrieve from the physical Hebrew/Greek scrolls is in the form of English language, and we can turn it into an interpretation, such as:

    {The Bible claims that there is a location in Greece known as Mars Hill}
    This is a testable claim. It relates to the real world.
    We test it by going to Greece to see if a Mars Hill exists.
    [http://www.sacred-destinations.com/greece/athens-areopagus-mars-hill] This is also evidence.

    We can now interpret these two pieces of evidence to reach the conclusion that the Bible accurately describes that a place called the Areopagus exists. It couldn’t be made up by someone in the desert, but must’ve been written by someone familiar with that location.

    Further, we find that Paul quotes a Greek poet in referring to the Cretans, showing that whoever wrote Titus was familiar with their philosophy and culture.

    By finding dozens, then hundreds, and even thousands of references to ancient civilizations’ societies, texts, military, religion, etc we begin to find that the Bible is a very trustworthy document when it touches on historical subjects.

    The above paragraph is not here given in a proof, since its own veracity needs to be demonstrated to you first, and it is much easier for you to do the study yourself. When you do, you will reach the conclusion that the Bible is trustworthy in its historicity.

    Since everything the Bible says that can be tested reliably continues to be shown demonstrably true, it becomes a fallacy of begging the question when one would question the spiritual claims made in the text. If the authors are completely trustworthy in every area other than religion, why would you doubt their trustworthiness regarding religion?

    It is at this point that many honest scholars of history have given their minds over to God, after having searched for the Truth and found the alternative to be indefensible, therefore God must be the answer.

    I hope that this will help you in your personal search for truth.

  26. Hammiesink permalink
    May 9, 2011 11:09 AM

    graeme,

    If the evidence must be tangible and verifiable, then you are essentially saying: “materialism is true.” And so you are begging the question against the theist. Your argument comes down to:

    1. Materialism is true
    2. Therefore, theism is false

    “Aquanis’ arguments have been proven to be flawed a long time ago.”

    What was proven flawed, exactly?

  27. greame permalink
    May 9, 2011 11:06 AM

    What bodski left out was that evidence should be tangible and varifiable (or at the very least falsifiable). Aquanis’ arguments have been proven to be flawed a long time ago.

  28. Hammiesink permalink
    May 9, 2011 10:56 AM

    OK.

    Evidence for God: see Aquinas’ five arguments.

  29. Bodski permalink
    May 9, 2011 10:17 AM

    Hammiesink

    Evidence: that which proves or disproves something

    In this case, evidence would be that which proves the existence of god.

    Peace.

    Bod.

  30. Hammiesink permalink
    May 9, 2011 9:30 AM

    Define “evidence.”

  31. Bodski permalink
    May 9, 2011 6:58 AM

    *Sigh*

    18 Comments since I last wrote here. In the first of these, Randy claims that the bible is evidence for the existance of God. This is not true, the bible is simply a book. I could equally write a book with one sentence “There is no god”. They would have equal value in terms of evidence. All of the other comments are arguments rather than presentation of evidence.

    This site is about evidence (the clue is in the title). Debate in a psuedo-intellectual sense about the existence of god between two opposing views is available all over the net,however, that is not the purpose ofthis site. Only evidence will enable one party to change their view.

    Clearly, many religious people do not need evidence and they prefer faith (arguably, they choose to ignore contradictory evidence), however, this site is about evidence. Importantly, it is not about providing evidence that god does not exist, it is about providing evidence that god does exist (of which I am yet to see any).

    Whether the bible is riddled with contradictions or perfect does not prove that god exists. For some it may prove that the bible is not the word of god, however, that is not important – the onus is on those who beieve in god to provide evidence.

    Whether the evidence for evolution is perfect or not is irrelevant, that is an argument againt the bible, this site is about evidence (in the case of this page for the existence of god).

    The plethora of comments here have failed at every opportunity to address this point.

    *Sigh again*

    Evidence for god – please discuss

    Evidence for or against evolution – not here

    Evidence against god – not here

    Peace.

    Bod.

  32. May 5, 2011 9:52 PM

    >>>>>>Lol. And I find it amusing how the religious can’t see that these books, bible, koran, torah, whatever, are simply fairy tales from an earlier age when people knew nothing about the universe.

    Assuming for the sake of argument that people at that time didn’t know basic things such as that the earth is round (which can be derived from watching ships disappear on the horizon), GOD, were He to exist–which is the entire question up for discussion–then His knowledge would not be limited by time. No matter at what point in time He reveals Himself, His knowledge will still be perfect. It’s surprising to note that atheists can’t understand this simple logical observation.
    So the thing to do is not to reject the Bible because it was revealed a long time ago, but to research it to see if it indicates that it imbibes fallible ideas that were prevalent then but false. To avoid doing so and still reject it is beyond foolish.

    >>>>>The hoops they’ll jump through to avoid the simple logic and reasoning.

    You can’t get away with this hand-waving remark when you observe that there are many obviously very smart individuals that believe the Bible. This is not an acceptable conclusion.

    >>>>>It kind of a love/hate. It makes me laugh, but it makes me cry at the same time.

    If only you knew.

    >>>>>>And sure, it’s not hard to simply “accept” these books as truth if you don’t CARE about whats true or not.

    But many if not all of us care deeply. Nice strawmanning, though; it lets you avoid thinking rationally about your opponents.

    >>>>>I’ve read it through. I’ve understood it.

    Based on the fact that you reject it, I disagree with you. You haven’t proved that you understand it at all, especially considering your terrible examples of ‘contradictions’ which bespeak your unscholarly approach.

    >>>>Has it ever occured to you that someone could see exactly what you and that book say/mean, and still not accept it?

    Indeed, and the main reason for that is pride. Many smart atheists simply don’t WANT the Bible to be true, so they attempt to come up with any reason they can to make it look ridiculous so they don’t have to think about the Bible being true.

  33. greame permalink
    May 5, 2011 8:40 PM

    @Erik
    I also find it amusing how you attack me in that last post, and none of the points that are being discussed.

  34. greame permalink
    May 5, 2011 6:08 PM

    @Erik,

    Lol. And I find it amusing how the religious can’t see that these books, bible, koran, torah, whatever, are simply fairy tales from an earlier age when people knew nothing about the universe. The hoops they’ll jump through to avoid the simple logic and reasoning. It kind of a love/hate. It makes me laugh, but it makes me cry at the same time.

    And sure, it’s not hard to simply “accept” these books as truth if you don’t CARE about whats true or not. I’ve read it through. I’ve understood it. Has it ever occured to you that someone could see exactly what you and that book say/mean, and still not accept it?

  35. Norman Beall permalink
    May 5, 2011 4:34 PM

    Einstein is one stone, Newton another a real heavy weight, a stone is a witness, dash your children against them.

  36. May 5, 2011 4:13 PM

    greame, it is amazing the lengths to which you go to avoid accepting the plain meaning of the text. It’s nowhere near as hard to understand as you’ve made it. I’m impressed. And you’re horrible at exegesis. Study the grammatical-historical method–it’ll do you good.

  37. greame permalink
    May 5, 2011 10:43 AM

    @trainman

    Sigh. I, personally, find this back and forth about the bible to be a waste of time, as no reasonable person will take the bible as actual EVIDENCE (which is what this site is based on), but I’ll indulge you.

    1) “good to all” contradicts “dash them against the rocks”. I don’t care what they did or deserved. “mercy over all of his works” would have to include the bad guys. Police code does not state for them to have mercy over all the criminals.

    2) You and I seem to have a different understanding of the word ‘dimension’. I’ll take the scientific definition as a direction in which something can move. He certainly is a god of war! He’s just a trumped up version of Ares, god of war anyways. I didn’t say if something has property X then it can’t have property Y, but then why would you call yourself I AM OF PROPERTY X explicitly. Or I AM OF PROPERTY Y. If he is a god OF peace, then he is an opposite of war. He is if OF war, then he is the opposite of peace. This is like an interracial child claiming, “I AM BRITISH!” when in fact he is half British and half, I don’t know, Russian. The way it’s stated is misleading and deceitful. (Or just plain wrong)

    3) Please reference where in the bible it says that Heli is Mary’s father? Is Jesus not supposed to be of the line of King David to fulfil the prophecy? Please reference where it says that Mary’s line is of this decent. I don’t think that it does say that, which would leave it up to interpritation. But it’s been a while since I read through the entire book, so if you can point me to it I will gladly look it up.

    4) lol. The trinity has got to be largest contradiction of divine being I’ve come across. He’s one god, but he’s actually three gods. He’s three gods, but he is one god. Sounds more like a Star Trek episode then the all powerful creator of the universe to me. Even if all three of them were the same, are they equal parts? Are they a hierarchy? Who’s in charge? Which one is the most powerful? If they are the same being, then neither would be greater then any of the others. So yes, this is a contradiction.

    5) How are they not describing the same event? They are both talking about the creation of man and of the animals etc. No, we don’t need to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone, especially the men who wrote the book. One specifically says that God created the animals, and THEN created man. The other specifically says that god created man and THEN created the animals. This is a contradiction.

    6) Lost in translation. Number mix up. Fine. I’ll accept that. But it just goes to support my point that the text has been altered and translated so many times that we cannot say what in it is original and what is not.

    7) Well okay. So god wants us to gain wisdom, so that we can increase our sorrow? And once we have obtained the “wisdom of the wise” god will destroy it? This doesn’t surprise me. The men who wrote the bible don’t want people to learn anything new at all in case discover how fraudulent the book is. It’s the same as the story of Adam and Eve. God does not want us to gain knowledge or we will be punished, banished from Eden. Any god who wants to keep its creation ignorant is not a loving god. Which leads to another question, if eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge gave Adam and Eve the ability to see what is right and wrong, that would mean that they did not have this knowledge beforehand, and that they would have no way of telling that it was wrong to eat the apple. So god punished them for something they couldn’t understand. What a guy.

    8) I don’t understand your reply. Did god create the fowl from the waters? Or did he create them from the ground? Which is it? Why would god need to create the birds (that includes the bats right?) AGAIN? Once you’ve created something, it’s already there. It exists. Why is he creating them again? Just as he created men twice. This doesn’t make any sense. I might also ask why god was able to create the sun the moon, planets, stars, land, water, animals and man from nothing but willing it into existence, but then he needed to take one of Adams ribs to create woman?

    You have already admitted several times that the bibles words come from men. Fallible men who obviously didn’t understand very much. So which parts of the bible were written by men and which by god? Was it all written by men? Then why think at all that any of it is written by god?

  38. trainman permalink
    April 29, 2011 7:32 PM

    greame,

    “Why would he do that?? For that matter, why would he give humans the genes for producing tails?…”

    You’re talking about common descent, I’m not. I was talking about origin of life, design in nature, as it relates to the existence of a designer, or God.

  39. trainman permalink
    April 29, 2011 7:27 PM

    greame,

    #1. The LORD is good to all, in that he is righteous and just. In the case of Jer. 13:14, those people deserved to be punished. We wouldn’t say that a police officer is good because he upholds the law but he is bad because punishes those that break it!

    #2. Believe it or not, God’s character has more than one dimension, while he is a God of peace, when peace is in order; he is also a God of war, when war is called for. These first two are elementary school logic. The fact that an object has property X does not preclude it from also having property Y.

    #3. Because Jesus was born of a virgin, Joseph was not his biological father. Therefore, it was important for the writers to demonstrate that both Jesus’ legal lineage (thru his father – Matthew) and his biological lineage (thru his mother – Luke) traced back to Abraham, making Jesus the true fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. As for Joseph mentioned with two different fathers, he doesn’t have two different fathers, rather, men in ancient times often regarded their sons-in-law as their own sons, thus, in tracing Mary’s lineage, Luke refers to Joseph as Heli’s (Mary’s father) son.

    #4. The concept of the Trinity is certainly not something that is easily described, however it is well documented and extensively researched. In fact the research and scholarly activity in this area has had the benefit of contributions from many more minds than other theories, such as evolution for example. Verses representing two different sides of the trinity equation: separate entity and a single entity aren’t a contradiction. I don’t doubt that it’s hard to understand and some may not accept it, but the Bible is consistent in the presentation of the Trinity so it isn’t a contradiction.

    #5. Again, you’re making the assumption that both of these are chronological accounts of the same event. There is nothing in the second text to suggest that it is a chronological account, therefore we must give the writer the benefit of the doubt that this was a restatement of the creation account.

    #6. There are several possible explanations for this, I’ll just name one: There was a total of 40,000 stalls of horses for 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen. Of these 40,000 stalls, 4,000 were stalls which housed 1,400 chariots and an unknown number of chariot horses. The remaining 36,000 stalls housed an unknown number of horses for the 12,000 horsemen.

    #7. Not sure if you even read what you pasted here. There is no contradiction. PRO 4:7 simply says that wisdom is very important and one should seek it. ECC 1:18 says that with wisdom, comes sorrow and grief. This doesn’t say you shouldn’t seek to obtain it!? And 1CO 1:19 says that He will destroy the wisdom of the wise… This does not say that one shouldn’t try to obtain it, or that it won’t come without it’s challenges, just that He will take it away.

    #8. Genesis 1:20 is speaking about the creation of birds on the 4th day throughout the whole world before Adam was created, while Gen 2:19 is clearly speaking about God’s formation of every kind of bird AGAIN (after the creation was complete (see verse 1) in a specific place called the garden of Eden so Adam could see them all and name them. Both verses describe different times and different situations. Reading the text from right to left and top to bottom would help!

    Obviously 8 isn’t enough! It’s clear from what you’ve cut and pasted, and what others have written, that there is significant ignorance in regards to studying and analyzing ancient literature. We have to be very careful to understand historical texts from the context in which they were written and we shouldn’t allow our own prejudices/contexts to affect what we’re trying to understand. In the case of the Bible, these are words written two to three thousand years ago, when genealogies were recorded differently than we do now, inventories of wealth and possessions were recorded differently than we do now, even historical events were recorded differently than we do now. It is completely uneducated to take the simplistic view that your writer has taken, and I can assure you that any other “contradictions” that you can cut and paste will fall prey to the same issues.

    “This is simply not true. The gospels of the new testament were written no less then 50 years after Jesus supposedly died (but didn’t die).” Not sure where you’re going with this?? By this same logic, Homer didn’t write the Iliad, because the last copy we have was written in the 10th century AD, yet scholars have dated the authorship of the Iliad 1700 years earlier around 850 BC. Homer wrote the Iliad, it was passed down thru an oral history, and manuscripts surfaced over 1000 years later. In the case of the Gospels, they MAY have been passed on as an oral tradition for 10 or 20 years, but were soon transcribed into hard copy. In the case of Luke, if Luke was the author, he didn’t die until 84 CE, so he could have easily had his work written down under his own direction.

  40. greame permalink
    April 29, 2011 11:20 AM

    @Trainman said: “intelligent designer could have placed the same structure in more than one mammal group”

    Why would he do that?? For that matter, why would he give humans the genes for producing tails? Not to mention that there are still humans born today with tails. Or a useless apendix which can get infected and kill us? Why give us wisdom teeth which don’t fit in our head? Or a useless pair of second eyelids that do nothing, but which we see present and active in animals that do go underwater for large amounts of time? Why would he give whales the genes for making legs? Look at a whale skeleton and you’ll see. They have vestigial leg bones. Not to mention all the other piss poor “designs” in biological creatures that make no logical sense, but only make sense when you look at them in terms of change over time, ie evolution.

  41. Hammiesink permalink
    April 29, 2011 11:10 AM

    “Besides which, I don’t necessarily disagree with common descent–I disagree with the origin of life thru evolutionary mechanisms.”

    That’s fine. The arguments from ERVs are only about common descent; they have nothing to do with the origin of life from non-life.

    Common descent is close to indisputable at this point.

    Atheists go too far, however. They infer from evolution that there is no design in nature. This may or may not be true, but evolution may have the effect of actually confirming final causes: the idea of nature being directed towards ends or goals. ID theorists look too small and make God a tinkerer who steps in every once in awhile. Final causes would make God sovereign over all of nature, as I think he should be if such a being existed.

    See Aquinas’ Fifth Way for more, if you’re interested.

  42. greame permalink
    April 29, 2011 10:57 AM

    @ Trainman
    “The Bible is not “riddled” with self-contradictions, if you believe this to be so, then you should be able to list at least 10 or 20. Please do so.”

    Oh boy! Okay, lets see. (I will admit, I am copy and pasting these. But they are right there in the bible in black and white)

    1) PSA 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

    Contradicts:

    JER 13:14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.

    2) EXO 15:3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

    Contradicts:

    ROM 15:33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

    3)MAT 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

    Contradicts:

    LUK 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.

    4)JOH 10:30 I and my Father are one.

    Contradicts:

    JOH 14:28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

    5)GEN 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
    GEN 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image,

    Contradicts:

    GEN 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
    GEN 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field,

    6) 1KI 4:26 And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.

    Contradicts:

    2CH 9:25 And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.

    7)PRO 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

    Contradicts:

    ECC 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
    Which also contradicts:

    1CO 1:19: “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

    8)GEN 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

    Contradicts:

    GEN 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air;

    Is 8 enough? I can keep going if you’d like.

    @ Trainman “Many of the Bible’s authors were eye witnesses: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were all disciples of Jesus who had close personal contact with Jesus for his entire ministry. Paul (who wrote half the new Testament) was witness to almost everything he writes about. King David was a witness to his own life, which constitutes much of Psalms, Samuel was a witness to the events he describes.”

    This is simply not true. The gospels of the new testament were written no less then 50 years after Jesus supposedly died (but didn’t die). The book may read as if they were right there, but again, there are books that are written in the first person and take place in the year 50 million AD. Do you believe that they are eye witness accounts? Cite: For example, suggested dates for the writing of the Gospel of Matthew range from as early as A.D. 40 to as late as A.D. 140. This wide range of dates from scholars indicates the subjective nature of the dating process. Generally, one will find that the presuppositions of the scholars greatly influence their dating of the Gospels

    @Trainman “Funny you should bring up “eye witness” and then go on to talk about evolution. Has anybody writing about evolution witnessed the evolution they write about?”

    No one claims to have witnessed evolution in the past, but we have measured it via the fossil record and measuring of the layers of earth over millions and billions of years. There are many examples around TODAY of evolution taking place, the easiest example, as noted by Darwin, the Galapagos Islands, specifically the giant turtles, if you’d like to look into that.

    Trainman said: The fact that people living 3000 years ago believed that pi was 3, and not 3.14… just indicates they were a primitive civilization. There were many things that they did not correctly understand about nature

    Thank you! You’ve just supported my point that the bible was written by primitive men, and is not the set in stone word of the divine creator of the universe. You say yourself; the bible was written by men. Primitive men. If they could get something like pi being 3 wrong, because they know little to nothing about the world they live in, do you not think that it’s possible that for the rest for the book, the same logic is applied?

    Trainman said: The Bible does not describe the earth as being flat. Please provide a reference. Because the one you are probably referring to describes the earth as a round disc or sphere–hardly a reference to a flat earth.

    Okay. That is not the reference I was thinking of, regarding disks. In Daniel, the king “saw a tree of great height at the centre of the earth…reaching with its top to the sky and visible to the earth’s farthest bounds.”

    There is no centre of the earth (unless this tree resided in the molten core of the planet). And any tree, no matter how tall, would not be visible from the “farthest bounds of the earth”. A tree even a million miles high in North America would never be visible from Australia. This implies a flat earth. Also:

    Matthew 4:8 says, “Once again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their glory.” Again, this is impossible on a spherical earth. For this to be true, the earth would need to be flat.

    Trainman said: In fact just the opposite. The Bible was the first document to posit a round earth,

    Please provide a reference.

    Trainman said: The story of the sun stopping is a miracle, but that doesn’t prove anything, other than the fact that the “creator of the universe” can manipulate the universe he created as he wishes, including laws of momentum, etc.

    Sigh. And once again, I was asked to provide scientific evidence against the bible, which I provided, and now you come back and say “But god doesn’t need to obey science!” This is logical nonsense.

    I’ll come back to reply to your other points shortly, as I am short on time.

    I’ll end by paraphrasing a quote from whom I don’t remember the original author

    “How many times in my life have I seen nature diverge from her course? Never. How many times have I seen men lie, cheat and steal or be misinformed or deluded? Every day. When I hear stories of a miracle, should I expect that nature has suspended her laws? Or that the reporter tells a lie?”

  43. trainman permalink
    April 29, 2011 10:56 AM

    “the odds of this happening with 3 billion base pairs and seven viruses is literally impossible.”

    You’ve got to love how an evolutionist resorts to probabilities as proof, when those probabilities point at the result they want, but when the probabilities point away from evolution, they go silent.

    Hammie, the proofs you suggest, do not prove that we evolved from chimps, an intelligent designer could have placed the same structure in more than one mammal group. Evolutionary theory depends on much larger coincidences than this.

    Besides which, I don’t necessarily disagree with common descent–I disagree with the origin of life thru evolutionary mechanisms.

  44. Hammiesink permalink
    April 29, 2011 10:34 AM

    Trainman,

    “there is little support to give this theory credibility, when we get to the molecular level”

    With molecular biology, evolutionary theory was confirmed to almost mathematical certainty.

    For example, in the DNA in your cells right now, you have several remnants of viruses called endogenous retroviruses that deactivated and became embedded. Each one is unique. On a genome of 3 billion base pairs, you share at least seven of them with chimpanzees. Seven. In the same place, in the same order, the same species of virus. These can ONLY be passed via inheritance. There is no way two organisms could be infected with the same seven viruses, in the same spot, in the same order, completely separately from one another.

    Not enough for you?

    Consider transposons. These are viruses that cannot even leave the genome at all because they lack a protein coat. So the ONLY way for them to be passed along is by inheritance. You and chimps share several of these as well; the same species of transposon, in the same places on your genome, in the same order.

    Before you protest that two species could have been infected conincidentally with the same virus, the odds of this happening with 3 billion base pairs and seven viruses is literally impossible. And not to mention that transposons CANNOT EVEN LEAVE THE GENOME.

    Not to mention the fact that molecular biologists have found similar common viruses in other animals species, but they only match up within the family trees as would be expected.

    So, I hate to tell you this, but your ancestors were chimp-like animals.

    All this is not to say that atheism is confirmed. The article at the top makes so many logical fallacies it should be embarrassing for the person who wrote it.

  45. trainman permalink
    April 29, 2011 9:30 AM

    Greame,

    The Bible is not “riddled” with self-contradictions, if you believe this to be so, then you should be able to list at least 10 or 20. Please do so.

    Your arguments do not constitute disproval of the Bible. In fact your post represents nothing more than conjecture and untruths.

    Many of the Bible’s authors were eye witnesses: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were all disciples of Jesus who had close personal contact with Jesus for his entire ministry. Paul (who wrote half the new Testament) was witness to almost everything he writes about. King David was a witness to his own life, which constitutes much of Psalms, Samuel was a witness to the events he describes. Funny you should bring up “eye witness” and then go on to talk about evolution. Has anybody writing about evolution witnessed the evolution they write about?

    The fact that people living 3000 years ago believed that pi was 3, and not 3.14… just indicates they were a primative civilization. There were many things that they did not correctly understand about nature, and the fact that the Bible records this only adds to its credibility. (Remember it wasn’t the creator measuring the circle, it was a person.)

    The Bible does not describe the earth as being flat. Please provide a reference, because the one you are probably referring to describes the earth as a round disc or sphere–hardly a reference to a flat earth. In fact just the opposite. The Bible was the first document to posit a round earth, long before the scientists got around to it, pardon the pun.

    The story of the sun stopping is a miracle, but that doesn’t prove anything, other than the fact that the “creator of the universe” can manipulate the universe he created as he wishes, including laws of momentum, etc.

    It’s easy to talk about the theory of evolution, because one can hide behind the many definitions of the word and posit that the theory has been proven. However, when were are talking about Darwinian evolution, which is what is being referred to here, there is little support to give this theory credibility, when we get to the molecular level. Darwin’s own writing stipulates a simple cell, that he couldn’t see inside of because the electron microscope hadn’t been invented. However, now that we can examine the molecular structure of the cell, evolution comes up wanting. Since bio-chemistry’s arrival (about 40 years) we have seen almost no credible evolutionary theory on the creation of the cell and it’s structures. As an example, the cilium motor (used throughout the body to propel sperm, move mucus, etc.)–10,000 papers published in bio-chemical journals, and do you know how many dealt with the evolution of such a fundamental building block of the human body? Two. And in reading those two papers, they don’t present any theory for the evolution of the cilium, they simply talk about how hard it must have been to evolve. What about blood-clotting. A pretty important function that evolutionary theory should be jumping all over to describe. Do you know how many papers published in peer-reviewed journals deal with the evolution of the blood-clotting process? Zero.

    Back when we didn’t know the details of bio-chemistry, evolution was an adequate theory, but based on what we know today, evolution simply cannot stand up to our reality as a credible explanation of the origin of life.

  46. greame permalink
    April 29, 2011 8:40 AM

    @Randy

    “Now I give you evidence”
    As I mentioned, the bible is evidence for nothing except that between 1500 and 2000 years ago some people wrote down some stories. The fact that it is considered the holy book of millions of people does not mean that it is correct. The bible is riddled with self contradictions, infomation that we know today to not be true, and none of it’s authors were eye witness’. Even if they were, it would still not prove that the information contained in the book is true.

    “Isn’t that a better foundation than an evolutionary guess?”
    Absolutely not. And evolution is not a “guess”. I’m assume you misunderstand the word “theory”.

    “Maybe try giving me some scientific evidence to disprove the Bible”
    I believe it’s in KINGS, but I might be wrong, I’ll look up the exact referance, that its said that pi (used as the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter) is 3. This is scientifically wrong. You’d think the creator of the universe would know how to measure a circle. The story of the sun stopping in the noon sky is scientifically impossible. For the sun to stand still in the sky, the earth would have to have stopped rotation on it’s axis. If, somehow, that were actually accomplished, everything on the surface of the planet that wasn’t bolted down would have continued in it’s forward momentum of 1600 km/h (i.e. everyone/thing would have been throw out into space). Not to mention that it would be impossible for the earth to start rotating again should such an event occur. Since we see that the earth is still happily spinning in its orbit, just as it has for billions of years, we can safely say that this never happened. The bible also implies a number of times that the earth is flat, and that the sun rotates around us. Again, things we know today to be incorrect. These are only a few examples of “disproving” the bible to be true.

  47. Randy Vanden Broek permalink
    April 28, 2011 6:04 PM

    So… there are a whole bunch of comments from people that ridicule the creationists for lack of evidence. Now I give you evidence and you only ignore it and beat around the bust.

    Simply that means you can’t support what you say!! If you support the idea, you can’t support the support. So … where is your concrete evidence?

    The Bible is clear about what the world was like during the creation.
    Isn’t that a better foundation than an evolutionary guess?

    Maybe try giving me some scientific evidence to disprove the Bible, if you can’t prove evolution? (by the way, there is none)

    I know there is a difference between evolution and the big bang. The big bang concerns matter and evolution is about life.

    Simply put, babble can’t replace or resist the Bible and its truth.

  48. greame permalink
    April 27, 2011 9:45 PM

    (God is a mythological construct invented by humans) – And Atheism and evolution aren’t!

    The theory of evolution is our way of explaining what we see in nature. The word “light” is man made, but it still objectively exists in nature. Evolution is the same.

    (The hypothesis of his, her, or its existence) – God is not a He, She, of It. God is a Spirit, an omnipotent being.

    How do you know this?

    (Is unsupported by any evidence) – Have you ever read the Bible?

    Yes. The bible is not evidence for anything.

    (Fraught with logical contradictions) – I want to see how people can explain evolution! Evolution has not higher purpose for their so called “Big Bang” and life itself. Creationists see that there is a purpose to life.

    Evolution and the big bang are two separate area’s that explain two separate things. Laurance Krauss does a very good job of explaining the big bang in a way that any layman can understand. No, evolution does not have a purpose (especially developing human beings!). But I certainly have one. My purpose is to live the one life that I know that I have to the best of my abilities, doing the best I can to make sure that me and the ones I care about are taken care of, and doing what I can to ensure our society allows people to live their lives without oppression, rape, theft, murder etc. I have plenty of purpose in my atheistic life, thank you very much. And I don’t need a superstition to help me sleep at night.

    (In cases where God is said to intervene in the world – often incompatible with solidly established scientific knowledge) – Why do you not look at some of the wonders in this world? I have yet to be taught how the ribosome complex in the endoplasmic reticulum popped together out of an unorganized mess, and a ribosome is needed to make a ribosome, so that argument will not work either

    There’s many resources to learn about evolution and how it happens. I can make some recommendations if you’d like. While we do not know the exact conditions under which life started on this planet, we have experimental evidence that it can happen. Saying I don’t know, I think, is a million times more honest then saying, I know for sure that my specific deity is responsible.

  49. Randy Vanden Broek permalink
    April 27, 2011 8:08 PM

    I do not feel like explaining all the errors of this article, but I will just correct the ones in the conclusion!
    (God is a mythological construct invented by humans) – And Atheism and evolution aren’t!
    (The hypothesis of his, her, or its existence) – God is not a He, She, of It. God is a Spirit, an omnipotent being.
    (Is unsupported by any evidence) – Have you ever read the Bible?
    (Fraught with logical contradictions) – I want to see how people can explain evolution! Evolution has not higher purpose for their so called “Big Bang” and life itself. Creationists see that there is a purpose to life.
    (In cases where God is said to intervene in the world – often incompatible with solidly established scientific knowledge) – Why do you not look at some of the wonders in this world? I have yet to be taught how the ribosome complex in the endoplasmic reticulum popped together out of an unorganized mess, and a ribosome is needed to make a ribosome, so that argument will not work either.

  50. Bodski permalink
    March 29, 2011 7:23 AM

    Hec (et al)

    I think that this site hits one point very well, although the manner in which the various comments have been written seems to miss this point. (I confess to reading many of the posts but not all of them).

    It is (in terms of this site) pointless to look at the multitude of myths and how they may be contrived to have some purpose (we can argue that the Easter Bunny has a purpose to bring pleasure to children – but that doesn’t provide any evidence whatsoever of the existance of such a bunny).

    The point of the site (as I understand it) is to allow contributors to provide extraordinary evidence to support their extraordinary claims – be that in respect of the Easter Bunny, Zeus or Vampires… or in the case of this debate in respect of God.

    I see many comments but see none providing evidence.

    Peace.

    Bod.

  51. Hec permalink
    March 2, 2011 5:57 PM

    This site completely misses the point on every single item. I don’t need you to tell me Zeus, or the easter bunny, or vampires don’t exist. That’s childish nonsense. But the myths about them were created for a reason. How about we grow up and talk about the meaning behind these myths. What, in the real world, are they alluding to? What are they trying to teach us about our world?

  52. February 4, 2011 8:35 AM

    Reading Suggestion:
    In the last two issues of Free Inquiry magazine (Vol. 31, numbers 1 and 2), a two-part article by philosopher Andy Norman, entitled “The Unmaking of Wisdom”, criticizes the platonic method of requiring a “basis” for each and every assertion, no matter how obvious and unchallenged the assertion is. He presents an alternative way of reasoning, which distinguishes between two levels of strength of challenge to a given assertion. The article is somewhat difficult but a worthwhile read, and I think it is very relevant to the Extraordinary Claims principle which is the theme of this website.
    See: http://www.secularhumanism.org/fi/

  53. greame permalink
    February 2, 2011 4:48 PM

    Hammiesink said: Trying hard to suppress snarky sarcasm here: Wow! What an insight from that article! You mean if there are multiple conflicting and contradictory views of something, that not all of them can be correct?! Well I’ll be! The law of non-contradiction holds true!!!

    Hammesink said: “David Rand,

    “But nobody here (not me anyway) claimed that religious disagreements “prove” the inexistence of anything.”

    The article does. It says that there are many, varied, and convincing arguments against the existence of God, and then it lists some of them. One of them is the fact of religious disagreement.”

    greame said: you will see that it does not say that because there are many views means that it is false. It says that because there are many views not all of them can be correct.

    Article said: These three belief systems cannot all be right, but they can all be wrong

    Hammiesink said: . I’m a lover of logic. And I’m going to call out those who fail at it, theist or atheist.

    You’ll need to call yourself out then, my friend.

  54. BEALL permalink
    February 1, 2011 3:40 PM

    David Rand, you said

    “Tell me the last time a conflict between religions was resolved by experiment.”

    how about this, you tell me the last time you found a group which claimed themself to be a religious group and when you found them to be contradictory you quit referring to them as being religious?

    The mystery of God is without controversy as no truth contradicts any other truth. Those who show controversy in their beliefs are obviously not religious groups. Pretending groups are religious simply because they say they are shows only your own confusion. Try to uphold to a standard that is both good for the goose and for the gander.

    I won’t pretend any part of modern christianity represents christ even in the least, since from what i have found i find only contradictions and misinformation in their stories. I don’t even question this, i’ve already made the conclusion, they’re idol worshipers. period.

    if you can separate the nonsense from reality you’ll have a much easier go of it all.

  55. BEALL permalink
    February 1, 2011 3:09 PM

    @Hammiesink , you said

    “Especially atheists, because they are the ones who believe (often erroneously) that they have a monopoly on reason.”

    To make this claim completely throws out your ability to convince me you understand logic or reason.

    it is the ‘alleged’ theists who mostly claim to have a monopoly on reason, they use the verse in the bible that god gave them a sound mind to try to substantiate their claim also, which is simply preposterous. few and far between have i ever found someone who claims to believe in god ever admit they don’t understand reason and mostly they will even try to portray themselves as experts in it in some fanatical delusional way. and then when their logic shows no logic they’ll pull out the ol’ you’re not a real believer if you don’t understand LOL.

    orthodox wiki site says those not orthodox are either heretics or schismatics, how’s that for reason??? LOL

    no false accuser is a follower of Christ. conclusion: orthodoxy is not in any way representative of God and/or Jesus Christ.

    this stuff is just too easy.

  56. BEALL permalink
    February 1, 2011 2:46 PM

    sheesh, sorry people, i’ll have to start writing my posts in something else and only paste to this comment panel when finished, again, another unfinished post

  57. BEALL permalink
    February 1, 2011 2:45 PM

    Greame, you said

    “This right there is something that, even if none of the million or so people you ask about how long it took, is still measurable.”

    This claim is simply false. The task is complete, all investigation is over and all possible givens are already known, i’m sitting having a coffee, measure it then if it’s so possible. It would have been measurable if you were in attendance at the time of me doing the task, but it is not measurable any more whatsoever. No part of the scientific process can be used to quantify the 23 hours it took for me to complete the task. I ‘claim’ to know it took me 23 hours is all the info you have plus that a million people all claimed to have an answer for something they did not know. You don’t even know for sure if i even know it took me 23 hours, all you know is that i claim to know it did. I could be very well making it up, only I know for sure. Even if i could never do the task again in 23 hours no claim could be made that i didn’t do it in the 23 hours i originally claimed, the only thing one has to offer based on the 23 hours it took me to complete is their opinion, and when it comes to what is true, opinion is quite irrelevant and not part of any data set whatsoever where conclusions can be made.

    The amount of time isn’t actually called into question, what is being considered and what can be concluded on is the trustworthiness of your sources for your data.

    This same rigor must be used to consider the sources of data in theology also. what are they going off of? what actual knowledge do they have? and is that actual knowledge reflected in their data or is their data representative of only what it is alleged another has said. Without this absolute rigor a person is likely to get lost in the nuts, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men.

    you also said

    “A scientist is not just simply going to guess, as you seem to assume all those million people would do.”

    First, i didn’t assume they would guess. It is our data that allows us to make conclusions, and the rigor of the scientific process demands our conclusions be reflective only of our data. No where in the presentation of my example was it even suggested that i assume they would guess, the presentation of my example gave knowns, none of which can be, nor need to be, assumed.

    but your claim is simply false, since you’re attempting to hold to an assumption that cannot in any way be proven to be true, you’re making a statement that cannot be justified by any logic or reason. Your claim demands that it can be concluded that Hawking isn’t actually a scientist, since lately he’s made claims about things which are impossible for him to know(in other words he’s guessing), besides the fact that those claims actually contradict the current knowledge of the scientific community. And since you say “A scientist is not just simply going to guess” you only have two choices. 1) your statement is false or 2) Hawking is not a scientist. When you make absolute statements, you must be prepared to back them up absolutely.

    you also said

    “You completing a task (a physical process that took a finite and measurable amount of time) is no where near the same as the existance of god, whom no one has ever been able to measure, and if I were to guess, never will.”

    which is also false. the presentation of my example is exactly relevant to discovery of truth. an absolute standard must be established and all conclusions must only be reflective of data. and you not understanding the ruler by which to measure God, doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist, not does it in any way imply that God doesn’t exist either.

    You can’t miss God, it is his very being that is the fabric of all matter, we are to him as our dna is to us, we are in him and he in us just as we are in our dna and our dna is in us.

    this should explain to you why the bible says no man has seen God at any time, and why it also says that to see me is to see God. no man can see the fabric of matter, but at the same time to look upon matter we are indeed looking at the fabric that forms it, for without the fabric that forms matter no matter would ever possibly be seen.

    we may very well be flesh and blood beings, but at the fundamental level of matter, no flesh nor blood can be seen. A HUGE

    This same rigor must be used to consider the sources of data in theology also. what are they going off of? what actual knowledge do they have? and is that actual knowledge reflected in their data or is their data representative of only what it is alleged another has said. Without this absolute rigor a person is likely to get lost in the nuts, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men.

    Only a person who is inspired actually understands scripture, and yet, you would not know if a person is inspired, or not, unless you your self is inspired. No uninspired person can argue this fact, since if that person was inspired they would understand how it is true, since inspiration and the understanding of scripture goes hand in hand.

    The bible says inspiration gives understanding and that All scripture is given by inspiration. find one who is inspired and you will find one who understands scripture, it’s as simple as that. Until you complete this task, all your other arguments about God remain futile nonsense, for alleged believer or non-believer alike.

    @BEALL

    The problem with your argument is evident right off the bat. You are saying that you completed a task in 23 hours

    This right there is something that, even if none of the million or so people you ask about how long it took, is still measurable. You know what exactly you did and how long it took you. Just because a bunch of people guess at how long it took you, that does not mean that the task was not complete and that it took you a measureable amount of time.

    None of the million people were scientists then, because if they were, they would have investigated, the task for it’s completeness, and interigated you on how long it took you to complete. They would check to see if maybe you had done this task on video camera so they could measure how long it took you. They would gather as much info as possible before coming to a conclusion. A scientist is not just simply going to guess, as you seem to assume all those million people would do.

    You completing a task (a physical process that took a finite and measurable amount of time) is no where near the same as the existance of god, whom no one has ever been able to measure, and if I were to guess, never will.

  58. February 1, 2011 2:16 PM

    Hammiesink is right. It doesn’t matter if you’re making a negative claim. If you’re making any claim at all (rejecting a claim is equivalent to making the opposite of that claim), then you must have a good reason for doing so, or you are being irrational (even if you were right). To be rational, you must have a reason. There is no law of logic that places the burden of proof only on the positive claims. If that were true, then I could assert ‘You exist,’ and you would, according to yourself, insist that I prove it, rejecting my claim that you exist and refusing to offer evidence that you do exist because that’s a negative position. The problem with that is that by rejecting my position outright you are refuting your own position. Food for thought.

    All claims need justification, not just positive claims. The notion that negative claims have no burden of proof is nothing more than an atheist cop-out to avoid having to face the reality that their negative claims have no justification.

  59. Hammiesink permalink
    February 1, 2011 12:53 PM

    Graeme,

    “It says that because there are many views not all of them can be correct.”

    Trying hard to suppress snarky sarcasm here: Wow! What an insight from that article! You mean if there are multiple conflicting and contradictory views of something, that not all of them can be correct?! Well I’ll be! The law of non-contradiction holds true!!!

    Sorry. I failed.

    It’s not you I jest, it’s the horrific and embarrassing article above.

    “We are rejecting your claim that god does exist.”

    I don’t make that claim. I’m not a theist. I’m a lover of logic. And I’m going to call out those who fail at it, theist or atheist. Especially atheists, because they are the ones who believe (often erroneously) that they have a monopoly on reason. I believe it’s a result of dealing with fundamentalists all the time. If you box against little kids, you will probably feel you are the best boxer in the world. Overconfidence is the result. Until, of course, Mike Tyson comes along.

    “I could claim to you that I have an invisible, floating dragon in my garage. Is it up to you to disprove that it’s there? (That’s what you are saying when you say that it’s up to us to prove there is no god.) No. It’s up to me to provide the evidence that it’s actually there.”

    If I claim that the dragon is not there, then I am making a knowledge claim and I do indeed need to justify it.

    Think if you were born just a few seconds ago, and are hearing the dragon claim for the first time. You would have no way of knowing whether it was true or not. For all you know, there may be such invisible fire-breathing creatures. Or there may not be. You have no way of knowing.

    But once you learn a bit about the world, and evolution, and how biology works, you can stack up some rational justification to make the claim that the dragon does NOT exist.

    What you (and Carl Sagan) are doing is cheating by coming to the table with this knowledge already in place, without even realizing it. If called upon to make a case against the dragon, you could do it: we have a good working knowledge of how biology works and being invisible isn’t something compatible with ordinary cells; we have a good idea of the family tree of life on earth and there is no “dragon” branch.

    The dragon believer could then make his case: it’s hot in the garage; there is a hitherto unknown branch of the family tree of life; special dragon cells are invisible.

    And each case would be weighed. But the “does not exist” side still has to make a case. They don’t win by default.

    Most of the atheist arguments above are fallacious. The problem of evil is the only real argument made.

  60. greame permalink
    February 1, 2011 12:20 PM

    I could claim to you that I have an invisible, floating dragon in my garage. Is it up to you to disprove that it’s there? (That’s what you are saying when you say that it’s up to us to prove there is no god.) No. It’s up to me to provide the evidence that it’s actually there. (As in us asking you to provide the evidence for god)

    I didn’t think this was a hard concept to grasp.

  61. BEALL permalink
    February 1, 2011 12:18 PM

    sorry people, that last post wasn’t complete again, i dunno why sometimes my notebook posts posts without me knowing.

  62. greame permalink
    February 1, 2011 12:12 PM

    @hammiesink
    “You are indeed making a claim”

    No, we are not. We are rejecting your claim that god does exist. The burden of proof is on you. There is a big difference.

  63. greame permalink
    February 1, 2011 12:02 PM

    @Hammiesink
    “The article does. It says that there are many, varied, and convincing arguments against the existence of God, and then it lists some of them. One of them is the fact of religious disagreement. This is illogical”

    As I pointed out already, if you read it carefully you will see that it does not say that because there are many views means that it is false. It says that because there are many views not all of them can be correct. And that it’s possible (not certain) that they are all wrong.There is nothing illogical about that.

  64. greame permalink
    February 1, 2011 11:58 AM

    @Hammiesink
    “Yes! Exactly! Just because people disagree on something, does not mean there is not an objective truth out there. The main article here thinks that we can conclude “not-x” because of disagreement over the nature of x.

    This is not logical, captain.”

    But the argument is flawed to begin with. Comparing a person completing a task, is something that can be measured. To compare it to the existance of god is illogical, as it can not be measured. And again, I am not saying just because people disagree that this concludes that “x” didn’t happen or doesn’t exist. What I’m saying is that people can guess at anything at all. Guesswork is in no way evidence for anything at all. So to argue that because there are many different guesses out there, doesn’t mean anything to me. Or to any skeptic. It does not provide any evidence whatsoever for the claim being made. There may be an objective truth out there as you say. But if there is no way to measure it, repeat the process, see what the outcome is, then I have no reason to even consider the idea. I don’t want to have to go back to the dragon in the garage. It’s down there somewhere if you want to read it.

  65. Hammiesink permalink
    February 1, 2011 11:40 AM

    graeme,

    “You know what exactly you did and how long it took you. Just because a bunch of people guess at how long it took you, that does not mean that the task was not complete and that it took you a measureable amount of time.”

    Yes! Exactly! Just because people disagree on something, does not mean there is not an objective truth out there. The main article here thinks that we can conclude “not-x” because of disagreement over the nature of x.

    This is not logical, captain.

  66. Hammiesink permalink
    February 1, 2011 11:38 AM

    David Rand,

    “But nobody here (not me anyway) claimed that religious disagreements “prove” the inexistence of anything.”

    The article does. It says that there are many, varied, and convincing arguments against the existence of God, and then it lists some of them. One of them is the fact of religious disagreement. This is illogical. There is no argument you can construct that would allow you to derive that conclusion from that bit of information.

    It doesn’t even weaken it. If you think it does, I would like you to show me the logical rule of inference that does it.

    “…atheists are under no obligation to prove or disprove anything. The burden of proof is on theists.”

    Anyone making a knowledge claim is under an obligation to justify that claim. If someone is claiming that God does not exist, as this article does, then they need to justify that. You are indeed making a claim, here: “God-belief remains a nonsensical and childish vestige of humanity’s prescientific age..”, a statement synonymous with “God does not exist.” If you think God is a vestige of humanity’s prescientific age, then clearl you do not think God actually exists. Hence, you are making a claim and you need to justify that claim. Otherwise, you are being irrational.

    Most of the justifying reasons for thinking that God exists that have been presented here have been fallacious:

    Genetic fallacy: “a line of ‘reasoning’ in which a perceived defect in the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence that discredits the claim or thing itself.”

    Argument from ignorance: “There is no evidence for p.Therefore, not-p.”

    Chronological snobbery: “a fallacy of reasoning in which the claim is made that if belief in both X and Y was popularly held in the past and if Y was recently proved to be untrue then X must also be untrue.”

    Both of these are defects in reasoning, and if you hold to them, then you really should consider re-examining your reasoning on these issues.

  67. greame permalink
    February 1, 2011 11:31 AM

    @BEALL

    The problem with your argument is evident right off the bat. You are saying that you completed a task in 23 hours

    This right there is something that, even if none of the million or so people you ask about how long it took, is still measurable. You know what exactly you did and how long it took you. Just because a bunch of people guess at how long it took you, that does not mean that the task was not complete and that it took you a measureable amount of time.

    None of the million people were scientists then, because if they were, they would have investigated, the task for it’s completeness, and interigated you on how long it took you to complete. They would check to see if maybe you had done this task on video camera so they could measure how long it took you. They would gather as much info as possible before coming to a conclusion. A scientist is not just simply going to guess, as you seem to assume all those million people would do.

    You completing a task (a physical process that took a finite and measurable amount of time) is no where near the same as the existance of god, whom no one has ever been able to measure, and if I were to guess, never will.

  68. BEALL permalink
    February 1, 2011 11:11 AM

    David Rand, you said

    “The fact that there are so many different versions of theism does indeed greatly weaken the possibility of any of them being true because they often contradict each other.”

    This statement is simply false, it is a claim without logic and reveals your complete disregard to reason.

    For example: I did a task and it took me 23 hours to complete. For this example we have a million people all being aware that i indeed did complete the task albeit none of them knowing exactly how long it took to complete the task. So, we asked those million people the time it took for me to complete that task, and all of them answered but not one of them answered 23 hours. Them all giving an incorrect number to the amount of time it took for me to complete the task in no way weakens the possibility that i did that task whatsoever. All it reveals is people are answering a question with an incorrect answer rather than actually saying “I don’t know”. It reveals only information about the people giving the answer and reveals nothing whatsoever about me who actually did the task. It reveals you should not regard even one of those million people whatsoever, we know those million people who gave a number actually had no clue about the time it took to complete the task. It reveals you MUSTClaiming any of your data actually relates to me whatsoever truely only shows your own inability to hold the data to it’s own standard and reveals you mixing information that must not be confused.

    , it doesn’t negate the fact even one little bit that i indeed did the task and that it took me 23 hours to do it.

    your proposal seems to state that since those million people all have an incorrect answer that must mean i did not complete the task and/or i didn’t do it in 23 hours, since not one of the people you asked said i did it in 23 hours. there is no scientific method by which to go by for you to make your claim, no part of the scientific method would provide you with a route to make any conclusion. the only resource you have at your disposal is to ask me how long it took me to complete the task. when my answer is known what comes to be known is that 1 million people are all wrong. those who claim to know my time but have a wrong answer we can deduce as they have falsely made up their position of knowledge claiming to know something they do not know.

    for you to pretend to have some insight by the scientific method to make any conclusion outside of what is actually known is for you to not actually understand the scientific method even in the least.

    for you to make the preposterous claim that the task was not completed in the 23 hours simply because 1 million people are wrong is simply preposterous and completely lacks logic and reason.

    you seem to pretend that anyone who ‘allegedly’ studies theology is a theologian. like young-earth creationists for example. they’re not theologians, they don’t study theology, they abide their time by pretending to study theology all the while really only studying what is false interpretations of words they believe they understand from a book.

    don’t mix true theology, which is the study of all things which are, with those who falsely call themself theologians, which more likely is nothing more than stories with no greater relevance than dr seuss or mother goose.

    you may pretend that simply because someone went to a school and got a theology degree that that makes that person a theologian, when i don’t nor will i ever. all that makes that person is is knowledgeable in what someone claims a person or group of people is alleged to believe in our past/present.

    i do not consider a person with a degree in theology a theologian, nor will i ever. you can pretend they are if you like to, but that would only mean they fooled you
    Religious apologists often claim that belief in god is so widespread that there must be something to it. But the origin of theisms in ancient mythologies provides a simple, ordinary, indeed obvious explanation for a phenomemon — god-belief — that believers try to ascribe to a complex, extraordinary and fantastical invention: “God”

    The fact that there are so many different versions of theism does indeed greatly weaken the possibility of any of them being true because they often contradict each other. The only way to avoid this is for theists to agree on some kind of generic theism, but they cannot even agree on a common version of Christianity or of Islam. We even had two Christians in this forum who could not even agree on whether “God” is supernatural or not. This is completely different from disagreements in science, which motivate further research and are often resolved by experiment or improved models. Tell me the last time a conflict between religions was resolved by experiment.

    But nobody here (not me anyway) claimed that religious disagreements “prove” the inexistence of anything. On the other hand, the problem of evil does constitute a logical proof of the inexistence of an infinitely good, omnipotent, and omniscient god. But that is icing on the cake, because atheists are under no obligation to prove or disprove anything. The burden of proof is on theists.

    The main point here is that the god-hypothesis is so vague, ill-defined and self-contradictory that THERE IS NOTHING TO DISPROVE! In order for there to be a real hypothesis, theists would have to come up with an assertion about “God” which is
    [1] falsifiable; and
    [2] not yet falsified.
    The first point means that theists must provide a test which, if it failed, would disprove their assertion. Then, at least, we would have a something to discuss.

    But all assertions of theism are either far too vague to satisfy [1] or, whenever sufficiently clear, fail [2] miserably. The classical example in the context of Christianity is eschatology: Jesus said that the end of the world would arrive during the lifetime of his contemporaries, and that was certainly a falsifiable assertion — which was indeed falsified by its non-occurrence. But Christians rarely talk about that, except to relocate the end into the future at every failure. Changing the rules every time has the effect of making eschatology non-falsifiable.

    God-belief remains a nonsensical and childish vestige of humanity’s prescientific age, comparable in value to belief in the tooth fairy. But unlike the latter, god-belief is far from innocuous.

  69. February 1, 2011 7:56 AM

    Religious apologists often claim that belief in god is so widespread that there must be something to it. But the origin of theisms in ancient mythologies provides a simple, ordinary, indeed obvious explanation for a phenomemon — god-belief — that believers try to ascribe to a complex, extraordinary and fantastical invention: “God”

    The fact that there are so many different versions of theism does indeed greatly weaken the possibility of any of them being true because they often contradict each other. The only way to avoid this is for theists to agree on some kind of generic theism, but they cannot even agree on a common version of Christianity or of Islam. We even had two Christians in this forum who could not even agree on whether “God” is supernatural or not. This is completely different from disagreements in science, which motivate further research and are often resolved by experiment or improved models. Tell me the last time a conflict between religions was resolved by experiment.

    But nobody here (not me anyway) claimed that religious disagreements “prove” the inexistence of anything. On the other hand, the problem of evil does constitute a logical proof of the inexistence of an infinitely good, omnipotent, and omniscient god. But that is icing on the cake, because atheists are under no obligation to prove or disprove anything. The burden of proof is on theists.

    The main point here is that the god-hypothesis is so vague, ill-defined and self-contradictory that THERE IS NOTHING TO DISPROVE! In order for there to be a real hypothesis, theists would have to come up with an assertion about “God” which is
    [1] falsifiable; and
    [2] not yet falsified.
    The first point means that theists must provide a test which, if it failed, would disprove their assertion. Then, at least, we would have a something to discuss.

    But all assertions of theism are either far too vague to satisfy [1] or, whenever sufficiently clear, fail [2] miserably. The classical example in the context of Christianity is eschatology: Jesus said that the end of the world would arrive during the lifetime of his contemporaries, and that was certainly a falsifiable assertion — which was indeed falsified by its non-occurrence. But Christians rarely talk about that, except to relocate the end into the future at every failure. Changing the rules every time has the effect of making eschatology non-falsifiable.

    God-belief remains a nonsensical and childish vestige of humanity’s prescientific age, comparable in value to belief in the tooth fairy. But unlike the latter, god-belief is far from innocuous.

  70. BEALL permalink
    January 31, 2011 12:28 PM

    Hammiesink, yes, the conclusions are indeed misleading and made without reason.

    The conclusion should be such that it points to a belief system actually being about God or not. In this it would make no error.

    I could take the catholic church and review it’s belief system and based on that conclude if what they believe has anything whatsoever to do with God or not.

    The bible says a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

    if i find the belief system of the catholic church to be double minded, and i do, this reveals to me, according to the standard they claim to uphold, that they’re unstable in the ways of God. they’re not a religious group, they’re a group which falsely refers to them as being religious, their beliefs are based on flawed interpretations of words they think they understand from a book.

    nothing else about this group nor their belief system even crosses my mind, their belief system about God and Jesus Christ is without reason nor of sound mind. period. by their own standard they discount themself. them not holding to their own standard in no way implies i’ll pretend they do, because i won’t, and i don’t.

  71. greame permalink
    January 31, 2011 12:26 PM

    @Hammiesink
    Sorry, roont is me. I forgot which site I was logging into.

    I see your point, and agree. However your comparison to QM is not correct and doesn’t give any weight to your argument.

    Also, the argument above does not say “because there are many interpritations, then x is false”, it says “because there are many interpritation, they can’t all be correct, but they can all be wrong.”

  72. January 31, 2011 12:25 PM

    So many fallacies, so little time.

  73. Chris permalink
    January 31, 2011 11:57 AM

    “religion is a word that defines the study of things which are true”

    Sure.

  74. BEALL permalink
    January 31, 2011 11:47 AM

    Chris, you said

    “If there was only 1 religion in the world then I think it would be a good case FOR the existence of a god.”

    and actually, it is true, there is only one religion upon this planet. the fact that so many groups falsely refer to themself as religious groups doesn’t change a thing, since all they’re doing is falsely referring to themself as being religious groups. but just because they refer to themself as being religious groups doesn’t mean they are religious groups, since they’re not religious groups but only falsely referring to themself that way.

    religion is a word that defines the study of things which are true. by this measure alone it should be quite obvious as to who those are who are falsely referring to themself as being a religous group when in fact all they are are groups which believe the incorrect interpretations of words they think they’ve come to understand from a book. idol worshippers is really what we have. don’t let them fool you is about all i can say.

  75. Hammiesink permalink
    January 31, 2011 11:46 AM

    BEALL,

    “This argument cannot be used to conclude God does not exist. ”

    That is all I wanted to point out. This article says that it does conclude that. The article is fallacious.

    “one cannot by any reason come to know the earth is spherical via a fortune cookie.”

    Again, I agree. But because something is learned by unjustified methods does not mean that the claim is false. The article presents it like it an argument against the existence of God.

  76. BEALL permalink
    January 31, 2011 11:20 AM

    There is an argument that can be upheld.

    If your belief of God is correct, then all other belief systems about God which differ must be false.

    If another person’s belief of God is correct and your beliefs differ from that others, then your beliefs of God must be false.

    For you to be correct, you must either KNOW God, or KNOW God does not exist.

    Pretending like you KNOW when you do not KNOW, is a sign of a mental health issue.

  77. Chris permalink
    January 31, 2011 11:19 AM

    Hammiesink,

    Of course you are correct, out of the hundreds of arguments against the existence of God it is not the best or most valid. It is an interesting point though.

    There is a perfect god who one day created some human beings. This perfect god wanted these human beings to know about him and worship his perfectness, so using his perfect abilities he perfectly communicated with them to let them know about his perfect existence.

    There have been thousands of religions within these groups of human beings and all of those religions speak about a God or Gods that are massively different than the gods in other religions. There is little consensus between these religions.

    It does leave you doubting the idea of an ultimately perfect “God” who wants us to know about him.

    If there was only 1 religion in the world then I think it would be a good case FOR the existence of a god.

  78. BEALL permalink
    January 31, 2011 11:15 AM

    The argument that all forms of god-belief originated as mythology commits the genetic fallacy: “a line of ‘reasoning’ in which a perceived defect in the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence that discredits the claim or thing itself.” If someone learns that the earth is spherical via a fortune cookie, you can’t then conclude that the earth is NOT spherical because of the non-justified way this person came to this belief.

    this claim includes a logical fallacy. one cannot ‘learn’ of something and that that something come to be part of a ‘belief’.

    to learn of something is to come to know, one cannot by any reason come to know the earth is spherical via a fortune cookie.

    this claims fails during presentation, it cannot be said to be used to represent any claim.

  79. BEALL permalink
    January 31, 2011 11:08 AM

    “The argument that many religious believe different things, and so therefore God does not exist, does not follow any logical rule of inference.”

    This argument cannot be used to conclude God does not exist. It can be used however to conclude a person’s belief system is a belief system based on flawed beliefs as to who and/or what God really is.

    A person must be absolutely sure what they believe is true and absolute fact according to what/who God is, or their belief system is based on fallacy and fails all rules of logic and reason.

    the bible refers to those who hold belief systems such as these are those who suffer from strong delusion.

    God didn’t create our earth 6000 or so years ago, those who belief he did are delusional. They need an education not enabling, pretending they could even possibly hold a belief in Christ is also delusional. they’re idol worshipers believing in misinterpretations of stories, nothing whatsoever to do with the truth of God and/or Jesus Christ.

    Life is but time and chance(evolution) like the bible says.

    began with the big bang as that is when it is that God spoke his ALL MIGHTY WORD.

    Deuteronomy 4 32 ¶ For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and [ask] from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been [any such thing] as this great thing [is], or hath been heard like it?

    Psalms 62 11 God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power [belongeth] unto God.

    a person either goes with the truth and that’s what they believe, or their belief that lies are true are delusional.

    you’re right or you’re delusional, pick one, you can’t be both. and if you think you’re right, then take a look at the other billions of people on this planet who don’t believe like you. the world’s a pretty screwed up place. delusional people thinking they’re so sure they’re right.

  80. Hammiesink permalink
    January 31, 2011 10:55 AM

    greame and roont,

    Regardless of the usefulness of QM, I’m ONLY talking about the following argument:

    1. If there are many conflicting interpretations of x, then x is false
    2. There are many conflicting interpretations of x
    2. Therefore, x is false

    This is the argument that is made in the list of “many, varied, and convincing arguments against the existence of God.”

    This is not an argument. Name the rule of logic that allows you to derive that conclusion from those premises.

  81. greame permalink
    January 31, 2011 10:49 AM

    “The argument that many religious believe different things, and so therefore God does not exist, does not follow any logical rule of inference. Quantum mechanics has 12 different interpretations, with some almost religious adherents. Should we therefore conclude that quantum mechanics is false?””

    Without an understanding of quantum mechanics, we would not have invented transistors and capacitors, which are used in every electronic device today. Without knowledge of the electron, which is at the subatomic level, where quantum mechanics takes over from regular mechanics, then we would never have invented the electronic display, which led to CRT displays, which led to the purely digital displays that you are probably reading this on. So, we may not fully understand quantum mechanics yet, but it works. Do you think we should throw it out?

  82. roont permalink
    January 31, 2011 9:04 AM

    “* The argument that many religious believe different things, and so therefore God does not exist, does not follow any logical rule of inference. Quantum mechanics has 12 different interpretations, with some almost religious adherents. Should we therefore conclude that quantum mechanics is false?”

    Yes, but quantum mechanics makes measurable and accurate predictions and descriptions about the universe that we live in. We therefor have reason to take the theory into consideration and continue to test with it. Just as when Einstein predicted that a star would be measurably offset in position during an eclipse when he was working out his theory of relativity. AFAIK, the church nor even just the idea of god has made any accurate predictable descriptions of something that we can see in nature.

  83. Hammiesink permalink
    January 30, 2011 5:00 PM

    Most of the “many varied and convincing arguments” that are offered against the existence of god are fallacious.

    For instance:

    * The argument that many religious believe different things, and so therefore God does not exist, does not follow any logical rule of inference. Quantum mechanics has 12 different interpretations, with some almost religious adherents. Should we therefore conclude that quantum mechanics is false?

    * The argument that the god hypothesis is falsifiable is not true. Arguments for the existence of god include arguments from the beginning of the universe, for objective morality, for the fine tuning of the universe. If any of these premises could be shown to be false, then the god arguments would be falsified. The reason the arguments are still arguable is because the jury is still out on many of these things.

    * The argument that all forms of god-belief originated as mythology commits the genetic fallacy: “a line of ‘reasoning’ in which a perceived defect in the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence that discredits the claim or thing itself.” If someone learns that the earth is spherical via a fortune cookie, you can’t then conclude that the earth is NOT spherical because of the non-justified way this person came to this belief.

    * The argument from evil is the only real argument in this bunch, and indeed may very well be close to proving that theism is false.

    Interesting that so many fallacies can come from people who pat themselves on the back about how “rational” they are.

  84. January 14, 2011 1:07 PM

    Bryan, you said


    Yes, Christ did say, what you do to the least of these is what you do to him. That simply implies that actions against the “least of these” are the same as actions against Christ.

    you also said


    That does not imply that “the least of these” are Christ or that Christ is “the least of these” or that Christ is the same as “the least of these” or that “the least of these” are the same as Christ. To make that claim would be extraordinary, and I’d put it up on my own site about extraordinary claims requiring some evidence.

    the first part reflects my example in my post, this second part is accepted as givens considering the first part. it seems you’re telling me something i already knew considering my previous post. i’m wondering why you’re doing that.

    also, use the KJV. i don’t pretend just because a book has the word Bible stamped on the cover it’s Scripture. and nothing in your posts show Christ as divine, since Christ was a human being just like you and me. i explained the I and my father are one as it is true for all humans, you again only offered opinion with no evidence to justify your claim except your arguing for the side of christians like you’re pretending they’re right HAHAHA

    and what you claim the bible was written for is actually quite false, you’re making it up.

    The bible was written as a record of observable events which are not bound by any generation of mankind, but can be observed by all mankind throughout all time. Like the 4 corners of the earth, not north, south, east, and west, but the tetrahedron of euclidean geometry, the non-reducible particle of three dimensions. I need not live at the time of the compass to understand this, all i need to do is be alive and make the observation.

    Christ said all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, which means the words that are written are understood by finding an appropriate observation, not an observation that existed in our past, but an observation that exists even to day, even throughout all the generations of mankind, since this is what Holy Scripture is, which is actually different than Scripture, but that’s another story for another time.

  85. January 14, 2011 12:52 PM

    David, you said i’m not a theist in the classical sense, when really you should have said i’m not a theist in the modern sense. and since modern theists disagree and have no standard, i’m glad you don’t liken them to me.

    You also claimed it was my opinion God is not a supernatural creature, when it’s not actually opinion at all, all beings are natural beings, this is simply fact. To argue that the supernatural exists simply because people believe it does is simply nonsensical: millions upon millions of people believe the earth is only about 6000 years old, even if billions of people believed this it still wouldn’t be true.

    You also say my view is non-standard which is completely ridiculous, it is the study of theology which has no standard, and this should be obvious by the hundreds of DIFFERENT claims made about a single creature(God). If you took a catholic preist and got him to do a baptist God test, using his catholic answers he’d fail and vice-versa with a baptist preacher using his answers to do a catholic test. They’re failures outside of their own little belief system since it is modern theology that lacks any standard, and not me. for my view to be called non-standard you MUST KNOW what those who wrote the words of the bible believed and what christ himself believed or maybe you know God and no what i believe isn’t true; you can’t pretend simply because one group believes something that that’s what those who wrote the words of the bible believed or that that’s what christ believed.

    Some people claim the bible has a young earth while others claim the bible speaks of an old earth: i can see no ‘standard’ in this whatsoever, pretending they have a standard would be you pretending.

    So what/who is God. Well, we’re living beings and he is also a living being, we’re human beings and he’s an eternal being, not a human being but a being all the same. humans are formed by the fabric that forms all matter, the being of God is that fabric of matter, we are to him like our dna is to us. we are in him and him in us like we are in our dna and our dna is in us. To understand how we are one with matter is to understand how we are one with God which is why Christ said “I and my father are one”, not because he is God(because he isn’), but because humans are beings one with the fabric of matter.

    The conclusion we spoke of is false. It could be correct to say the beliefs of a specific group are false and cannot be considered to be true, but to pretend that that group is actually a representative of God himself is incomprehensible and complete and total lunacy, unless of course you have proof that that group and NO OTHERS are actually representative of God you know. If someone other than you told me about you, it would be unreasonable for me to claim they are representing you as the person you know yourself to be. It would be unreasonable for me to claim to KNOW they’re representing you as the person you are, i could only claim to know things about you that i myself know because of my own personal experiences with you and not by any standard of what someone else told me. I could only claim i know what they told me, which doesn’t in any way imply i now know something about you, especially to the point of me arguing with another about what i’ve been told. If i met someone else that knew you and they told me something which contradicted what the other told me, i’d likely dismiss both claims as only stories and not as anything that can be said to be representative of you even in the least, i would be fine to dismiss their claims outright until i met you for myself and cleared it up, i wouldn’t argue with another that either of the claims are true since what is true is the claims are things i simply was told, which in no way implies they’re true about you even in the least. For me to argue either one of the claims as something i know about you would be me showing my own ignorance and stupidity.

    When a person finds conflicting claims about something(you or God for example), they should dismiss them both and consider them only stories until they find the truth out for them self. The parable of the tares is about exactly this.

    You also say there is no evidence for God, which is simply false. However, i don’t expect you to have that evidence, i’m actually cool with it even if you don’t, since those who don’t have the proper evidence for God shouldn’t actually believe that he exists. Those who claim to believe God exists but don’t have the proper evidence for him are those who the bible refers to as workers of iniquity, idol worshipers is all they are. If one understands the words of Christ one would understand the evidence that is required, to not understand the words of Christ means you probably don’t understand what evidence one should even have for the existence of this other being.

    God is a being, another form of being humans can learn to communicate with, which we all will in a day to come, the same as we’ll understand how to communicate with other beings outside of our own species. To communicate with another form of being is evidence quite enough of their existence, you not understanding that mode of communication in no way can imply that other being doesn’t exist, it does however show you don’t understand how to communicate with that other form of being, but nothing besides this.

    Christ said to break bread and to do it in remembrance of him, and as he also said he is the bread of life, to break bread means to share life, and to do it in remembrance of him, as he said he is the truth, means to keep the truth always in mind.

    so share life and keep the truth always in mind. the truth is as simple to understand as 2+2=4.

  86. Bryan permalink
    January 14, 2011 12:51 PM

    @normall bean,

    Yes, Christ did say, what you do to the least of these is what you do to him. That simply implies that actions against the “least of these” are the same as actions against Christ. That does not imply that “the least of these” are Christ or that Christ is “the least of these” or that Christ is the same as “the least of these” or that “the least of these” are the same as Christ. To make that claim would be extraordinary, and I’d put it up on my own site about extraordinary claims requiring some evidence.

    The divinity of Christ??? You want some verses:

    John 1:1, 14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. [14] The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

    John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.”

    John 14:9-14 “Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

    That should suffice. Keep in mind that the Bible was written with the expressed purpose of proclaiming the divinity of Christ, so any system of belief (cult) that attempts to use the Bible while rejecting Christ’s claim of divinity is going to have an uphill battle all the way and will be suspect from the outset.

    David, you said i’m not a theist in the classical sense, when really you should have said i’m not a theist in the modern sense.

    I’d go one step further than David and say, you’re not a theist in any sense.

    Anyways, I’m going to resist the temptation to engage you any further, as this website is hosted by the CFI for discussing their topics, not yours or mine. So if I fail to answer any more of your posts, its not for lack of a rebuttal.

  87. January 14, 2011 12:33 PM

    Bryan, i used words found in the bible, do a search, you seem to be representing yourself as someone who thinks they know something, pretending like what you said the bible says is actually true, when you didn’t even use any references nor words found in the bible but only wished to convey your opinion all the while thinking it means something to me, when it does not.

  88. January 14, 2011 12:31 PM

    Christ said what you do to the least is what you do to him. So those who claim children are not perfect are those who claim Christ is not perfect. When a person says that they believe Christ is perfect and yet children are not perfect that’s them rejecting Christ, God, and the bible. this isn’t actually that difficult, actually even the simplicity in Christ. For the most part Christianity rejects the perfection of a newborn child, that should tell you that for the most part it is Christianity itself who rejects Christ. To view modern Christianity as a representative of Christ is without reason, incomprehensible, and complete and utter stupidity.

  89. Bryan permalink
    January 14, 2011 12:30 PM

    “This is simply false, the bible reveals those who believe in the supernatural are those who are covenant breakers and without understanding as their heart is far from him.”

    I’m not sure what kind of a cult you are mixed up in, but if you would care to provide a reference from scripture to support this claim, I would be happy to discuss it. Otherwise, you’re just making things up.

  90. January 14, 2011 12:24 PM

    Bryan, God sees those who share true love and who share the truth of our existence with children as those who worship him and share in Christ, don’t be confused by idol worshippers who falsely call themself religions, they don’t actually understand what it means to worship God or to share in Christ, if you think they do they’ve got you fooled.

  91. January 14, 2011 12:06 PM

    Bryan, first, did you miss my message that my post wasn’t supposed to be posted?

    but besides that you said


    @normall bean

    “…all beings are natural beings, this is simply fact.”

    There is absolutely nowhere that the God of the Bible has revealed, or represented himself as a natural being.

    This is simply false, the bible reveals those who believe in the supernatural are those who are covenant breakers and without understanding as their heart is far from him. Our heart exists in the natural world as no part of our human being is supernatural. To claim God exists in the supernatural is to claim your heart is far from him. For God is love, and as love is part of our human character it is a natural affection. Also, the anointing we have received of him is to be our teacher, and as it is life that is the anointing we have received of him that abides in us, it is how much life is your teacher is how much you abide in him.

    you also said


    Unless you are rejecting the Bible, you have no basis to make this claim.

    this is quite a ridiculous claim to make LOL, one group of christians claim the bible speaks of an old earth while another group of christians claim the bible speaks of a young earth. It’s like you’re pretending only because they claim themself to be christians they’re not rejecting the bible, when in fact one of those two groups MUST BE rejecting the bible, when you figure out which one of these two groups is rejecting the bible let me know, or quite possibly both groups reject the bible, but just because they’re groups with numbers in the hundreds of millions doesn’t mean they’re accepting the bible, that’s for sure, one of these two groups FOR SURE rejects the bible, and all the theologians that accept that groups claims also reject the bible, and in all reality, those theologians shouldn’t be theologians at all, they should work for mother goose or doctor seuss.

    you also said


    “…modern theists disagree and have no standard.”

    Many, many modern theists agree on the vast majority of the Biblical literature. Keep in mind, a difference of opinion on style of worship or a difference of culture does not in any way imply a difference of opinion on theology.

    this is complete idiocy, truth does not depend on opinion, no ones opinion ever changed anything that is true ever. Read Job, the guy with the opinion is heard, but NEVER addressed, in other words, when it comes to the truth deal with facts and keep your opinions to yourself.

  92. January 14, 2011 12:04 PM

    Bryan, first, did you miss my message that my post wasn’t supposed to be posted?

    but besides that you said

    >>
    @normall bean

    “…all beings are natural beings, this is simply fact.”

    There is absolutely nowhere that the God of the Bible has revealed, or represented himself as a natural being.
    <>
    Unless you are rejecting the Bible, you have no basis to make this claim.
    <>
    “…modern theists disagree and have no standard.”

    Many, many modern theists agree on the vast majority of the Biblical literature. Keep in mind, a difference of opinion on style of worship or a difference of culture does not in any way imply a difference of opinion on theology.
    <<

    this is complete idiocy, truth does not depend on opinion, no ones opinion ever changed anything that is true ever. Read Job, the guy with the opinion is heard, but NEVER addressed, in other words, when it comes to the truth deal with facts and keep your opinions to yourself.

  93. Bryan permalink
    January 14, 2011 11:56 AM

    @humesghost

    “If all possible explanations of a phenomenon require extraordinary claims for which extraordinary evidence does not exist, then the appropriate position to take is “I don’t know”. “

    When you can logically and rationally prove that statement, I’ll be happy to accept it. But just saying so isn’t going to cut it.

    I disagree entirely. If the evidence suggests the requirement for an extraordinary phenomenon to bring the universe into existence, and if there is extraordinary evidence in the Bible and the person of Jesus Christ, then it is entirely conceivable to accept the existence of God.

    (I stated that the Bible was extraordinary evidence, and you will notice that the Bible didn’t make CFI’s list of claims. I would suspect this is because of the Bible’s unparalleled authenticity in the realm of historical literature, the astounding number of actual manuscripts available today (thousands of times more than any other document) and their near perfect agreement with one another, not to mention the Bible’s unmatched success as publishing material–if the Bible were included in the NY Times bestseller list, it would take first place every day, every week, every month and every year, as the number one most widely sold book on the planet. You can understand why the CFI didn’t want to put that “extraordinary” claim up for debate.)

    Certainly, accepting an extraordinary claim requires faith, but that does not make it irrational or illogical.

    And there is nothing that says your claim of ignorance is any more intelligent than a claim of faith based on evidence. In fact, a claim of faith based on evidence would appear to be more intelligent because it accounts for the extraordinary evidences of the Bible and the person of Jesus Christ, which a claim of ignorance does not.

  94. humesghost permalink
    January 14, 2011 11:34 AM

    >>If you can’t make the claim, then you’ve supported my point that there are no ordinary claims >>about the origin of the universe, only extraordinary claims, and therefore the category has no >>meaning.

    Bryan, even if you are right that there are no ordinary claims about the origin of the universe, that doesn’t offer any justification for believing that God exists. If all possible explanations of a phenomenon require extraordinary claims for which extraordinary evidence does not exist, then the appropriate position to take is “I don’t know”.

    The category certainly still has meaning: there are countless ordinary claims that we make every day, for which we may have ordinary evidence. In contrast to these, claims about the origin of the universe are extraordinary. So, if there isn’t sufficient evidence to support one of these claims, we are better off basing our lives on the things we can settle, rather than on arcane beliefs in supernatural beings.

  95. Bryan permalink
    January 14, 2011 11:19 AM

    @normall bean

    “…all beings are natural beings, this is simply fact.”

    There is absolutely nowhere that the God of the Bible has revealed, or represented himself as a natural being.

    Unless you are rejecting the Bible, you have no basis to make this claim.

    “…modern theists disagree and have no standard.”

    Many, many modern theists agree on the vast majority of the Biblical literature. Keep in mind, a difference of opinion on style of worship or a difference of culture does not in any way imply a difference of opinion on theology.

  96. January 14, 2011 11:06 AM

    hmm, sorry about my last post, that wasn’t supposed to be posted, how do i delete it? lol

  97. Bryan permalink
    January 14, 2011 11:05 AM

    @Andy,

    Now you’re not even paying attention to what has been said numerous times on this blog.

    “You seem to be suggesting that we shouldn’t ask for that evidence. This is exactly what we should be saying and this is the point of this site.”

    Never, ever did I suggest we shouldn’t ask for evidence. In fact, I’ve asked numerous times for evidence supporting an ordinary cause for the universe.

    You can’t hide behind the “you prove that yours is right” fallacy. I could say the same thing: “you show me your evidence that there was a natural cause for the universe”. The point is it can’t be proven from any side because we are not talking about something that is within the “provable realm” (the natural world).

    But again–and read carefully–my point is not about proving that God created the universe, my point is that such a claim is no more extraordinary than any other claim about the origin of the universe.

    Once again, if there is an ordinary claim regarding the origin of the universe, please make it. If you can’t make the claim, then you’ve supported my point that there are no ordinary claims about the origin of the universe, only extraordinary claims, and therefore the category has no meaning.

  98. Bryan permalink
    January 14, 2011 11:02 AM

    @Andy,

    Now you’re not even paying attention to what has been said numerous times on this blog.

    “You seem to be suggesting that we shouldn’t ask for that evidence. This is exactly what we should be saying and this is the point of this site.”

    Never, ever did I suggest we shouldn’t ask for evidence. In fact, I’ve asked numerous times for evidence supporting an ordinary cause for the universe.

    You can’t hide behind the “you prove that your’s is right” fallacy. I could say the same thing: “you show me your evidence that there was a natural cause for the universe”. The point is it can’t be proven from any side because we are not talking about something that is within the “provable realm” (the natural world).

    Once again, if there is an ordinary claim regrading the origin of the universe, please make it. If you can’t make the claim, then you’ve supported my point that there are no ordinary claims about the origin of the universe, only extraordinary claims, and therefore the category has no meaning.

  99. January 14, 2011 10:51 AM

    David, you said i’m not a theist in the classical sense, when really you should have said i’m not a theist in the modern sense. and since modern theists disagree and have no standard, i’m glad you don’t liken them to me.

    You also claimed it was my opinion God is not a supernatural creature, when it’s not actually opinion at all, all beings are natural beings, this is simply fact. To argue that the supernatural exists simply because people believe it does is simply nonsensical: millions upon millions of people believe the earth is only about 6000 years old, even if billions of people believed this it still wouldn’t be true.

    You also say my view is non-standard which is completely ridiculous, it is the study of theology which has no standard, and this should be obvious by the hundreds of DIFFERENT claims made about a single creature(God). If you took a catholic preist and got him to do a baptist God test, using his catholic answers he’d fail and vice-versa with a baptist preacher using his answers to do a catholic test. They’re failures outside of their own little belief system since it is modern theology that lacks any standard, and not me. for my view to be called non-standard you MUST KNOW what those who wrote the words of the bible believed and what christ himself believed; you can’t pretend simply because one group believes something that that’s what those who wrote the words of the bible believed or that that’s what christ believed.

    Some people claim the bible has a young earth while others claim the bible speaks of an old earth: i can see no ‘standard’ in this whatsoever, pretending they have a standard would be you pretending.

    So what/who is God. Well, we’re living beings and he is also a living being, we’re human beings and he’s an eternal being, not a human being but a being all the same. humans are formed by the fabric that forms all matter, the being of God is that fabric of matter, we are to him like our dna is to us. we are in him and him in us like we are in our dna and our dna is in us. To understand how we are one with matter is to understand how we are one with God which is why Christ said “I and my father are one”, not because he is God(because he isn’), but because humans are beings one with the fabric of matter.

    The conclusion we spoke of is false. It could be correct to say the beliefs of a specific group are false and cannot be considered to be true, but to pretend that that group is actually a representative of God himself is incomprehensible and complete and total lunacy, unless of course you have proof that that group and
    the bible says to believe what your eyes have seen, before two or three witnesses every word is established. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, to me, this is pretty clear. i don’t believe peoples outlandish stories, i believe what’s real, the truth before my very eyes. i understand the difference between things people believe and the things people can know to be true, and it is things we can witness and share are the things which are true.

    Christ said to break bread and to do it in remembrance of him, and as he also said he is the bread of life, to break bread means to share life, and to do it in remembrance of him as he said he is the truth means to keep the truth always in mind.

    so share life and keep the truth always in mind. the truth is as simple to understand as 2+2=4, i really don’t understand why people don’t get this.

  100. Andy permalink
    January 10, 2011 8:52 PM

    > #2. Are you certain there isn’t a God? Of course not! Do you have faith that there isn’t a God? Sounds like it? So we’re both people of faith!

    I don’t believe that I know why what we are calling the “singularity” exists. You do, you believe you know. Yours is a faith position, not mine, I don’t know.

    When someone believes they know something about the nature of the creation of this “singularity” then It is perfectly reasonable to say “..and what evidence do you have?”. This is especially true when they say that they know the reason it was created, that some kind of intelligent being created it, and that this creator has a plan for humanity and can read our minds. You seem to be suggesting that we shouldn’t ask for that evidence. This is exactly what we should be saying and this is the point of this site.

    When someone says “I don’t believe in the [insert uncaused hypothesis, e.g. ‘GOD’] hypothesis”, then it’s a perfectly reasonable stance, unless you can show evidence to the contrary. The onus of proof is on you.

  101. Bryan permalink
    January 10, 2011 8:07 PM

    @Andy,

    “Bryan, you seem utterly convinced of the existence of a God, even though :

    > It is entirely conceivable that there is a God behind the singularity. And as you pointed out, neither you, nor I, nor “Mr. Hawkins”, nor Mr. Hawking can speak with certainty on this subject.

    If you can’t speak with such certainty then why are you utterly certain of it?”

    Two points…

    #1. Can you please point out to me where I stated that I was certain of the existence of God?

    In fact if you will actually read what I wrote previously, you will see that I acknowledge explicitly that any claim about the cause (or lack thereof) of the singularity requires faith.

    We can’t be certain about what specifically caused the singularity, but we can be certain that something had to act, in some fashion, in some dimension, in some context, in order to bring the natural world into existence. I have faith that this was God.

    #2. Are you certain there isn’t a God? Of course not! Do you have faith that there isn’t a God? Sounds like it? So we’re both people of faith!

    If you’ll re-read the more recent posts from this blog, you’ll see that the issue I have isn’t so much does God exist, or can God exist. Without rewriting the argument I’ve written several times earlier, my position is that the idea of God existing as the mover behind the singularity is no more extraordinary than the claim that the singularity caused itself or existed eternally. In fact, any claim about the universe’s existence (and I believe clearly the universe exists) is going to rest on a supernatural force or a natural one that violates all the natural laws. Either way, the claim will be “extraordinary”, and therefore the category has no relative meaning in regards to this issue and we don’t need any “extraordinary” evidence.

  102. Andy permalink
    January 10, 2011 7:07 PM

    Bryan, you seem utterly convinced of the existence of a God, even though :

    > It is entirely conceivable that there is a God behind the singularity. And as you pointed out, neither you, nor I, nor “Mr. Hawkins”, nor Mr. Hawking can speak with certainty on this subject.

    If you can’t speak with such certainty then why are you utterly certain of it?

    The existence of the God that you believe is as likely as the existence of any other “uncaused” causes anyone could care to imagine, of which there are an insane (infinite?) number of possibilities. To suggest that the “first cause” is a decent argument for the “God” hypothesis, is to also suggest that the “first cause” argument is also a good argument for any of those infinite possibilities of uncaused causes, including those possibilities that exclude any type of God. It isn’t. It begs the question why even argue for the particular “God” hypothesis or suggest that it is somehow a plausible explanation?

  103. Bryan permalink
    January 10, 2011 4:00 PM

    Please, Andy, tell us how the universe came into existence, or tell us how it has existed eternally. Until you can do this, then the first cause argument is entirely valid.

    “Does it even make logical sense to talk about a first cause? By definition, a cause comes before an event. If time began with the universe, “before” does not even apply to it, and it is logically impossible that the universe be caused.”

    If time began with the universe, that does not mean that something could not have existed before it existed. It just means that the sequencing of this prior event is not subject to our time constraints. However it does not mean that it is not subject to some other sequencing construct. Essentially, you’re delving into semantics about how we describe events or occurrences, prior to the existence of the universe and time.

    His name is Stephen Hawking (not Hawkins), and yes, I’m aware of his recent book. I should make you aware that this book represents his thoughts on the subject. His thoughts and theories on this particular subject have not been proven–they’re simply his thoughts.

    As you said yourself…

    “Modern physics has established that our universe is inflating and at some point in its history there was a very dense “point”. It has not established what happened “before” that point, including if time existed before then or not. It may be beyond us to ever look beyond that point due to the laws of physics.”

    So far it is beyond us to look past the point of the singularity, or even at the singularity. It is entirely conceivable that there is a God behind the singularity. And as you pointed out, neither you, nor I, nor “Mr. Hawkins”, nor Mr. Hawking can speak with certainty on this subject.

    No matter what you may have read, no matter what perspective you come from, no matter how many books Stephen Hawking has written, the only things that have been proven with certainty are the natural/physical laws that govern our universe, and they can be found in:

    – Isaac Newton’s laws of classical mechanics,
    – Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity,
    – Boyle’s law of gases,
    – the conservation laws,
    – and the four laws of thermodynamics.

    (They cannot be found in the original material in Mr. Hawking’s new book.)

    And there is nothing in these laws which would prove that our universe didn’t have a first cause. Until such time as you, or someone else, can establish a new law that would definitively prove that our universe didn’t have a first cause, then the idea of a first cause is 100% a legitimate idea that is supported by scientific research, as we know it.

    You can write all the disparaging remarks you want about those that disagree with you:

    – “…then you are seriously delusional (which we all know anyway).”
    – “The fact that you lay on modern science as if it helps you in anyway is sickening,…”
    – “…creationists have always thought like that.”

    But it won’t make your argument rational or reasonable. It will only cause the reader to question why you have to resort to these tactics if in fact your position is really logical.

    “Just to spell it out for you Bryan and others who think you know what you’re talking about : MODERN PHYSICS DOES NOT SAY THAT THE UNIVERSE HAD A FIRST CAUSE.”

    Again, you’re getting into semantics. Our understanding of the laws of physics and nature provide us with a template for understanding the cause and effect relationship between matter and energy. Based on these laws, we can determine what causes energy to transform into matter, and vice versa. “We” (certainly not me personally) have used this understanding to trace events back to the point of the big bang. The “cause-and-effect” relationships that point to the big-bang are not known facts, but they represent the best efforts to describe the origin of the universe and this theory is the most widely accepted today. That being said, the “cause-and-effect” relationships that we can speak about end at the point of the big bang or the “singularity”. Scientifically speaking, we only know of “effects” that are brought about by causes.

    Until such time as someone proves otherwise, it is therefore 100% rational and scientific to expect that the “effect” of the singularity also had a cause. The onus is on the proponent of an uncaused universe to describe why a universe–that is governed by laws that require causes–was itself brought into existence without the need for a cause. The proponent that claims that the natural universe itself needed a cause in order to come into existence is presenting a theory that fits with the established constraints of the physical and natural world. (Undoubtedly, if that first cause is God, then the physical world is unable to describe or understand it, and yes this option requires faith, but so does any option, so it’s a moot point.)

    MODERN PHYSICS CAN’T SAY ANYTHING DEFINITIVELY ABOUT A FIRST CAUSE BUT MODERN PHYSICS ABSOLUTELY REQUIRES SOMETHING TO CAUSE THE EXISTENCE OF MODERN PHYSICS.

    To simply say that because we can’t accept or reconcile the existence of an uncaused cause, that there could not have been one, is not scientific by any stretch of the imagination. Science that dismisses possible outcomes before properly evaluating all possibilities is no science at all.

    Andy et all, if science had already disproved the possibility of the existence of a God, we would all know about it. It hasn’t. That’s the end of the story.

  104. Andy permalink
    January 10, 2011 1:21 AM

    >This is exactly what modern physics research has identified! That the universe had a beginning, and therefore it was caused. The big question is what caused the universe? This is the cause we haven’t been able to identify.

    Modern physics has established that our universe is inflating and at some point in its history there was a very dense “point”. It has not established what happened “before” that point, including if time existed before then or not. It may be beyond us to ever look beyond that point due to the laws of physics.

    There are also several hypotheses, such as alternate dimensions of time or an eternally oscillating universe, that allow a universe without a first cause.

    Have you not read what one of our greatest modern scientists, Steven Hawkins, says about the beginnings of our universe? He believes, based on the latest Modern Scientific thinkings, that a universe can exist without a god, that something can come from nothing.

    If you think modern science points towards a god then you are seriously delusional (which we all know anyway). The fact that you lay on modern science as if it helps you in anyway is sickening, although not surprising, creationists always like to think that the latest science and the science “just about” to be discovered points to their position, creationists have always thought like that.

    Does it even make logical sense to talk about a first cause? By definition, a cause comes before an event. If time began with the universe, “before” does not even apply to it, and it is logically impossible that the universe be caused.

    Just to spell it out for you Bryan and others who think you know what you’re talking about : MODERN PHYSICS DOES NOT SAY THAT THE UNIVERSE HAD A FIRST CAUSE

    Do I have to go on Bryan?

    I’m out of here.

  105. Bryan permalink
    January 9, 2011 6:51 PM

    @Andy

    “If you accept that something can be uncaused, then you must also accept the possibility that the universe can be uncaused.”

    And if you accept an uncaused cause, then you accept the supernatural, you just don’t want to call it God.

    “The first cause argument is a childish one, It’s tiresome that creationists still use it.”

    In case you are under the impression that the above constitutes an intelligent and rational argument, let me point out that it certainly does not!

    The first cause argument deals with concepts and laws of nature that most children couldn’t hope to appreciate or understand, it is anything but childish. And just because those who disagree with it have been unable to rebut it, does not make it tiresome–timeless maybe.

    Re-read your statement: “If you accept that something can be uncaused, then you must also accept the possibility that the universe can be uncaused.”

    This is entirely incorrect. The universe is not uncaused. This is exactly what modern physics research has identified! That the universe had a beginning, and therefore it was caused. The big question is what caused the universe? This is the cause we haven’t been able to identify.

    Again Andy, if you think the claim of a God is extraordinary, by all means, point out an ordinary claim for what caused the universe–or fly in the face of all scientific laws and claim that the universe was uncaused. Either way, you’ll also be making an extraordinary claim.

  106. Andy permalink
    January 9, 2011 1:03 AM

    @Bryan

    You believe the universe must have a first cause, because hey everything must have a first cause right? You believe god was that first cause. If I were to then say ‘what caused god?’ you’d say something along the lines of ‘He he is an un-caused cause by definition’. At which point you have accepted that something can be uncaused. If you accept that something can be uncaused, then you must also accept the possibility that the universe can be uncaused.

    To say “God did it” is not an explanation, because it is not tied to any objective evidence, besides being obviously ridiculous.

    The first cause argument is a childish one, It’s tiresome that creationists still use it.

  107. Bryan permalink
    January 8, 2011 6:13 PM

    @David Rand

    “…there are alternate explanations for many of the things which believers often attribute to god.”

    David, one of the most fundamental things attributed to God is his role as the first (uncaused) cause.

    By all means, provide us with one of these claims, or “alternate explanations”, about the first cause (or origin of the universe) that is not extraordinary? Either that, or deny a finite universe and provide the ordinary evidence to support that claim.

  108. January 8, 2011 2:06 PM

    @BEALL: If god, in your opinion, is not a supernatural creature, then you are not a theist in the classical sense of the word. You really need to define what you mean by the word “God”. Of course, all believers in god need to define what they mean because there is so much variation, but you in particular need to do so because your view is particularly non-standard. If god is not supernatural, is he/she/it therefore a being of flesh and blood, like us? Or a being of energy? Or what?

    Also, drawing a conclusion based on a lack of evidence is a legitimate thing to do if the claim for which evidence is lacking is extraordinary. For example, if someone claimed to be the reincarnation of Napoleon Bonaparte, but offered no evidence for that assertion, then we would be fully justified is rejecting that extraordinary claim. Similarly, the god-claim can be legitimately rejected because there is no evidence for it, and there are alternate explanations for many of the things which believers often attribute to god. Even when no other explanation is available, the god-hypothesis ultimately explains nothing: rather, it merely displaces the unknown and adds complexity (because how does one explain “God”?).

  109. BEALL permalink
    January 5, 2011 6:04 AM

    God(if he exists) is a supernatural creator???

    Now, i’m a believer of God, and I don’t believe God is a supernatural being, as a matter of fact, all beings are natural beings, God included. No human without proof will convince me otherwise.

    The big bang was not a supernatural event. No supernatural creator can be said to exist.

    And then you go on to make a conclusion based on this lack of evidence??? i mean, really??? LOL

    The conclusion you should have made is that since no understanding to the formation of matter has been found to date no claim about the existence of God can be made, also it can be said that what you have learned has not lead you to believe that God, as a living being, actually exists.

    If me as a layman is trying to explain to you about FM and all you have is an AM radio, you can’t conclude FM doesn’t exist simply because i can’t explain it properly and you don’t have a device to detect it. To make this conclusion reveals a complete lapse of logic and reason.

    God does exist and we are to him as our dna is to us.

    the knowledge of good and evil is the understanding of the difference between that which is inherent to matter from that which is not.

    when a person gains their sight in the bible it’s not physical it’s spiritual. when a person gains their hearing in the bible, or has their ear restored whole, what have ya, it’s because they’ve come to hear the truth, not because they were once physically deaf and now can hear.

    the bible requires spiritual discernment, this is pretty easy stuff, not fantasy nor delusion.

    people can believe what ever they want, but if they believe lies to be true they’re simply wrong, also they suffer from strong delusion like the bible says. but this world sure has a lot of enablers, people to weak to tell others they’re wrong and that their lies are corrupting children. Psychology/psychiatry is totally messed right up.

    people who believe the earth is only about 6000 years old don’t need fantasy museums, they need an education.

    the bible does say what one does to the least is the same as doing it to Christ. really this means those who lie to children about life might as well just have lived 2000 or so years ago, lied to the face of Christ, and joined in the crowd yelling to crucify him.

    to break bread means to share life, to do it in remembrance of Christ means to keep the truth always in mind.

    don’t lie to children about how matter, the earth, or how mankind came to be, lest you be on the wrong side of the truth, which means you’re on the wrong side of Christ and God plain and simple.

  110. Bryan permalink
    January 4, 2011 4:03 PM

    Well it was good bickering with you greame. Certainly gave me more of an appreciation for the opposing position.

    That being said, my challenge still stands:

    If you want to prove to me that claims about the origin of the universe need not be extraordinary, then by all means, make one that isn’t.

  111. greame permalink
    January 4, 2011 2:40 PM

    Sorry. I can’t bicker on this board anymore. It makes my brain hurt. However, that’s probably just as much my fault as anyone opposing my position. We’re all the same amount of stubborn. When neither party is willing to give an inch on thier position the whole argument is meaningless.

    Best of luck Extrordinary Claims!! I’ll be donating when I can scrape up a respectible amount of money, and I can not wait to see these ads up in Toronto’s busses, subways, and station!

  112. Bryan permalink
    January 4, 2011 1:33 PM

    greame,

    Carl Sagan made reference to extra-terrestrial’s as the source of life/design/intelligence in his fiction work Contact. I’m not saying that this was a scientific claim of his, I’m simply pointing out that to infer that the universe isn’t a closed system is a way of avoiding the issue of the first cause, by pushing it into another universe or dimension, which is about as scientific as claiming that aliens did it.

    I don’t see your logic here. If I were to make the extraordinary claim of… a dragon in my garage. Would that mean there must necessarilly be an ‘ordinary” claim? of what? a dragon on my front lawn instead?

    No, in this case an ordinary claim would be that there is no dragon in your garage. We’ve all had experience with garages that do not contain dragons, therefore that would be an ordinary claim–no one would question you for proof that there is no dragon in your garage.

    However, the first cause of the universe does not relate to this example at all, because, as I mentioned, we’ve all had experience with dragon-less garages. No one, on the other hand, has had experience with un-caused causes. Therefore any claim regarding the beginning of the universe is going to have to deal with something outside of our natural laws. As such, the claim of God is no more extraordinary than the claim of no God.

    If you can’t understand this line of reasoning, there’s not much more I can do to help you.

    If you want to prove to me that claims about the origin of the universe need not be extraordinary, then by all means, make one that isn’t.

  113. greame permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:43 PM

    “Very nice post David in which you perfect the art of creating an opposing argument and then defending against it. The reality is David, that it wasn’t the “Christians” (although I don’t know how you know exactly the religious beliefs of each of the posters, but we’ll set that aside) who shifted the focus to the Bible.”

    I put up my argument. And I defended it. It is not my fault if all those opposing my opinions just put thier fingers in their ears and go LALALALALALAL I don’t understand it and I don’t want to understand it and I don’t want to even try to understand it GODDIDIT!

  114. greame permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:34 PM

    Yes, I steered the comments towards the bible. Because to me, that is the ONLY thing that would ever, ever come even close even be considered any sort of evidence for god. It is the only thing in existance to have any sort of claim and to be an actual physical thing (you know, like physical evidence) that would have any standing. And then at the same time I tried to point out how poor this evidence actually is.

    “Saying the universe isn’t a closed system is about as brilliant as Carl Sagan saying the intelligent code in DNA was brought here by aliens.”

    Bryan, please tell me where you read this? I have read all of Sagans books and many of his papers and I never came across this perticular claim. If you could point it out to me that would be great thanks.

    “you can only label the theory of a God as extraordinary if there is also an ordinary claim for the same issue.”

    I don’t see your logic here. If I were to make the extraordinary claim of… a dragon in my garage. Would that mean there must necessarilly be an ‘ordinary” claim? of what? a dragon on my front lawn instead?

    “And it appears that now that the Scriptures have been adequately defended, we’re flipping the debate back again”

    I don’t see where you adequately defended the scriptures. Because you point to more loonies saying “The book is right! the book is right!” that does not prove anything.

  115. greame permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:22 PM

    “If there is a god, why did he/she/it make me a secular humanist?”

    Why, for the same reason that he would put fossil and geological evidence that the earth under our feet is 4.5 billion years old, and yet write in his book that it was 6000. For the same reason that during the flood, he would have Noah travel across the entire planet and collect 2 (or 7, i forget which) of all 10 million or so speices of life, and then have them deposited back exactly where they came from, for the same reason that in the one book that he has, the ONE thing that MIGHT, POSSIBLY be considered evidence, he made it batshit crazy, contradictory and wanted to make it SEEM as if it was written by primitive men of an ignorant age. To test the beleives faith of course!!

  116. December 31, 2010 1:05 AM

    If there is a god, why did he/she/it make me a secular humanist?

  117. anon permalink
    December 23, 2010 9:59 PM

    “Many arguments have been advanced in an attempt to prove logically that such an entity must exist, but most are flawed…”

    I think you meant to say *all* are flawed

  118. Bryan permalink
    December 21, 2010 1:52 PM

    Very nice post David in which you perfect the art of creating an opposing argument and then defending against it. The reality is David, that it wasn’t the “Christians” (although I don’t know how you know exactly the religious beliefs of each of the posters, but we’ll set that aside) who shifted the focus to the Bible.

    If you read through the blog posts, you will see that posters defending the existence of God:

    [a] Provided strong evidence to suggest that there is a God (a first cause). And contrary to what you may think, this is a very strong argument, that is supported by the laws of thermodynamics. If the universe isn’t a closed system, then we have the same first cause issue with the system that our universe is inside of, etc. Saying the universe isn’t a closed system is about as brilliant as Carl Sagan saying the intelligent code in DNA was brought here by aliens.

    [b] Then posters identified the fact that no one has an iron clad theory about the origin of the universe, and demonstrated that the claim that we came from nothing, or something natural “we don’t know about” is just as extraordinary a claim.

    It was at that point that those attempting to refute the existence of God began to attack the Bible:

    Brian Ritter permalink
    December 10, 2010 5:55 PM

    It just occured to me that, following the logic of the bible, god hates relegious people.

    greame permalink
    December 11, 2010 6:31 PM

    For Erik Walker and all the other bible thumpers out there, I’ve got a challenge for you. … Find me one sentence, just one sentence, not taking into consideration anything before or after it, that could NOT have been written by a man (or woman) in the first century who would think a wheelbarrow is advanced technology.

    And it appears that now that the Scriptures have been adequately defended, we’re flipping the debate back again, “You cannot have divinely inspired scripture without first having a divinity. But no-one here has even begun to prove the existence of a divinity.”

    The premise of this website is very clever. Setup the debate to make “no God” the status quo, or default, and make the claim of a God appear to be extraordinary. However, the fact remains, neither position can claim the status of default. Both have to be proven and defended.

    On the issue of the first cause, you can only label the theory of a God as extraordinary if there is also an ordinary claim for the same issue. If there are no ordinary claims, you have no basis to select one of the competing extraordinary claims and single it out as being unfounded and akin to leprechauns and vampires.

    Since you are so adamantly opposed to extraordinary claims, I would like to know, what is your “ordinary” claim about the origin of the universe–this being a claim that doesn’t require “extraordinary” evidence, and would most certainly have ordinary evidence at its disposal.

  119. December 20, 2010 8:57 PM

    The purpose of this page and this forum is to address the extraordinary claim of the existence of god. However, the subject has been diverted to the question of whether the Christian bible is divinely inspired. The latter claim depends on the former but goes much, much further. Here is one possible chain of hypotheses which could be followed in an attempt to prove the divine nature of the bible. (As the First Cause argument has been discussed here, I start with it.) Each step depends on the previous steps being proven.

    [1] Assert that the universe is of finite age and has a first cause.
    [2] Assert that that first cause is outside space and time.
    [3] Assert that that cause is a sentient agent, i.e. “God”.
    [4] Assert that all moral and ethical principles are of divine origin, i.e. have their source in “God”.
    [5] Assert that “God” is eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent.
    [6] Assert that “God” reveals his (sic) presence by revelation: i.e. by causing personal religious experiences and by intervening sometimes in the natural world — at least in the past — causing miracles by temporarily overriding the normally applying laws of physics.
    [7] Assert the particular tenets of the desired variant of theism, in this case Christianity. For example: the historical existence of Jesus known as the Christ, the divinity of Jesus, that Jesus was the son of god and also god himself, the holy trinity (i.e. add the “Holy Ghost”), the resurrection of Jesus, the redemptive power of Jesus, etc. Also assert the validity, at least metaphorical, of those events recounted in the Old Testament which are required by Christianity.
    [8] Assert that the Christian bible is the divinely inspired word of “God”, which is at least metaphorically true and perhaps literally true. In other words, assert that “God” in some way directed the authors of the bible to write what they wrote.
    [9] Finally, assert that the ecclesiastical authorities who selected the contents of what we now know as the bible, including some writings and rejecting others, were divinely guided in their choices.

    That is a whole lot of assertions, especially given that both [5] and [7] should each be broken up into several points, thus giving us many more than nine steps to prove the divine nature of the bible.

    Even step [1] is problematic and by no means proven. Invoking the Second Law of Thermodynamics, a favourite tactic of creationists, does not suffice because it only applies to closed systems (Is the universe a closed system? What if it is expanding and/or unbounded and/or infinite?), and, as observer has pointed out, thermodynamics is part of classical mechamics and does not take into account quantum effects or general relativistic effects (space-time curvature).

    Assertion [2] amounts to the existence of the supernatural. Assertion [3] completes the First Cause argument. If we can get to assertion [4] (or maybe [5]) then we have deism. Assertion [6] amounts to generic theism.

    Now there may be other sequences which could be followed in order to reach the desired conclusion. For example, steps [1], [2] and [3] could be replaced by some other attempt to prove god’s existence which might have fewer than 3 steps. But I cannot see how any of the subsequent steps could be avoided. Or maybe someone could come up with a proof which takes us directly to [5]. Good luck.

    So we have a suite of gratuitous assertions, each of which, when considered individually, is at best dubious and usually humungously improbable or impossible. When taken together they become ridiculously impossible. Some of the qualities of “God” contradict others, and the choice of Christianity over other variants of theism such as Islam is completely gratuitous. Many of the tenets of Christianity have very simple, mundane explanations which have nothing to do with “God”. The adoption of the trinity in the fourth century can be seen as a marketing ploy, facilitating the recruitment of polytheists. The choice of biblical contents in [9] was at least partly a question of power, allowing those who did the choosing to consolidate their doctrinal and political dominance and label their adversaries as “heretics”.

    So how is it that the subject of conversation here has been so diverted? Because it serves the purposes of a small number of over-zealous Christians who have infested this forum. They choose to avoid the extraordinary claim (the god-question) which is the subject of this page, because they are unable to address the arguments which refute it. They have therefore changed the topic, in the hope that we won’t notice that they have jumped way ahead without a shred of logical justification.

    You cannot have divinely inspired scripture without first having a divinity. But no-one here has even begun to prove the existence of a divinity.

  120. Bryan permalink
    December 20, 2010 12:01 PM

    “If one desires to call into question the reliability of the writings of the scriptures, then one would have to deny virtually everything written before Gutenberg in 1440″

    Why this specific date? I’m really just wondering. But there’s a difference between calling into question the reliability, and outright denial.

    The invention of the printing press … by Gutenberg … in 1440. Prior to the printing press, our historical records were almost exclusively copied by hand from one manuscript to the next. If one suggests that the Biblical record is unreliable because it was passed down through the ages via hand copying, then you’re also going to hold the rest of the ancient historical record to the same standard. So for everything prior to 1440, we’re going to have to question, did it really happen? How can be sure of the historical accuracy of Augustus Caesar, Constantine I, Charlemagne, Attila the Hun, etc. Maybe these are all fanciful accounts as well.

    Again, I have to question the credibility of a sense of logic that speaks with great certainty about events millions of years in the past yet calls into questions history as recent as 4000 years ago, for which we have written records.

  121. Bryan permalink
    December 20, 2010 2:08 AM

    @greame

    *************
    To post in italics, use standard HTML tagging: “[i] italicized text [/i]”. Except you use the less than () symbols/brackets as opposed to the square brackets.
    *************

    So if the silly rules were written for an ancient people in an ancient civilization, you see that clearly as you’ve just said, then why can you not take into consideration that maybe, just maybe, that the ENTIRE BOOK, the whole concept of god, was made up FOR THE PEOPLE OF THOSE TIMES.

    I can take that into consideration, and I have, as have many other people. But as I explained, the Bible deals with history beginning back in 4,000 or 5,000 BC right up until the first century AD. So how could what was written in 500 BC apply to the Leviticus audience that lived in 1500 BC? It can’t. It’s also for people who come after it is written. Would we say that only people from Darwin’s generation can read his book, and because you lived over a century later that it can’t apply to you? Of course not. And where would you get the notion that texts can only apply to the audience they are written to? Even if the legal substance of a text is for a specific time and place, it doesn’t mean that there is no value in someone from outside that context reading it. That’s kind of what historical analysis is all about.

    The whole bible is applicable today because the ancient historical record is applicable to understanding the completeness of God’s plan. The fact that there is an entire collection of books all saying the same truth, throughout several thousand years, is what makes the Bible so special.

    Step back and listen to yourself and you’ll see that you’re not even making sense anymore. Just think, if the only Biblical text that existed was a single verse such as John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son…” . We wouldn’t say that there is a clear plan for salvation and expect anyone to believe it. We wouldn’t even give it a second glance, because it existed in isolation. The very fact that the Bible is congruent throughout the OT and the NT is why people pay attention to it. That’s why Leviticus is still important. Not because we follow it’s rules, but because it reveals a consistent direction and message.

    As for a “citation on the reliability of the scriptures” my point was that this evidence is not in dispute. The ancient manuscripts are in museums all across the globe, we know the ancient languages that they are written in, and as such we can translate them and verify their accuracy. I had already provided an example and a reference elsewhere on this blog, but I can provide another here:

    The Isaiah Scroll (1Qls-a) has been dated to around 150 BC (carbon-14 dated between 335-324 BC and 202-107 BC, paleographical dating to around 150 BC). (http://www.allaboutarchaeology.org/dead-sea-scrolls-2.htm)

    “Of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, there are only 17 letters in question. Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling, which does not affect the sense. Four more letters are minor stylistic changes, such as conjunctions. The three remaining letters comprise the word LIGHT, which is added in verse 11 and which does not affect the meaning greatly. Furthermore, this word is supported by the Septuagint (LXX). Thus, in one chapter of 166 words, there is only one word (three letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission – and this word does not significantly change the meaning of the passage.”
    (Norman Geisler & William Nix, “A General Introduction to the Bible”, Moody Press, Page 263).

    Others have checked this claim, and while some findings may suggest a difference in the number of characters, etc. the bottom line is that no one finds a difference in the meaning.

    You can check here for a line-by-line translation of Psalm 138, comparing a Dead Sea Scroll manuscript and “modern” translations from around the time of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls: http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/31_psalm138.html.

    “My problem with the bible is that IT DOESN’T CHANGE. Perfect? Really? Do you REALLY want to use that word? No matter how much we learn and provide evidence for the opposite, gods word is gods word and it will never change. Do you think that we worship Einsteins theory of relativity…

    Not sure what this rant was to do with anything that I’ve been talking about. The Bible isn’t a scientific document so it wouldn’t require the updates and revisions that Darwin’s theory did.

    Yes, I’m quite comfortable using that word, or rather those three words IT DOESN’T CHANGE. Because it doesn’t. Just for the record, long before scientists figured out that the universe had a beginning, the Bible had already said it did. Ancient scientists were in disagreement with this, but the Bible wasn’t changed to adopt the understanding of that age, and subsequently, we’ve determined that the universe did have a beginning, the Bible’s remained the same. Pontius Pilate, who judged Jesus before he was crucified, was never mentioned in any secular ancient literature or historical artifacts for thousands of years, yet the Bible wasn’t amended with the name of an historical figure known to exist during the time of Jesus. In 1961, a stone (Pilate Stone) was discovered in Israel that referenced Pontius Pilate and confirmed that he would have lived when the Bible said he lived and been ruler of the Jews, providing further credence the biblical account of him. The Bible was never changed in the 2000 years that we had no physical proof of Pilate’s existence.

    Not sure of the direction that this discussion is going, but if you’re interested in debating the legitimacy of the Bible, it may be an exercise in futility. The Bible has been critiqued and dissected far more than any other literature ever has or will be (Darwin’s Origin of Species included) and it has stood the test of time. There is nothing that you’re going to come up with on this blog that is going to change that.

    The Bible is not an extraordinary claim…that’s why it’s not on CFI’s list.

  122. December 19, 2010 4:15 PM

    >>>>Lets take an example. The “virgin” birth. I have heard from many theists that this was in fact an error in translation, that the original Hebrew work meant “young woman” and not an actual sexual virgin. Would you say that is not a real consequence? Considering as we get prepared for the holiday season that so many Christians actually believe that Mary was in fact a virgin and that she was impregnated by god.

    If you were thinking for yourself, then I imagine you didn’t just stop there, but spent a few hours searching for possible explanations, refutes, and rebuttals, riiiiiight?…. No? Oh, too bad. Well, do make sure you do that in the future. Since your google browser appears to be broken, here are a few links for your benefit:

    http://christianthinktank.com/is714tense.html
    http://www.pleaseconvinceme.com/index/Was_Jesus_Really_Conceived_of_a_Virgin
    http://www.gotquestions.org/virgin-birth.html
    http://creation.com/the-virginal-conception-of-christ
    http://christianthinktank.com/fabprof2.html

    I pulled out all the stops. Hope you’re satisfied with the technical arguments.

  123. greame permalink
    December 19, 2010 11:46 AM

    “if we turned out to be right”

    I have absolutely no fear that you will turn out to be right. If by whatever chance I die and am sent to hell, for not kissing ass of a vindictive, psychotic, murderous god, that’s fine with me.

    Let me ask you, what if the Muslims are right? What if the Morons are right? How do you know? How can you tell? What would you do then?

  124. greame permalink
    December 19, 2010 11:40 AM

    And again Erik, I find it amusing that you take works and phrases like “think for yourself” and use them to your own extent. I am thinking for myself. That’s what I’ve been doing since I first read the bible. I read it, and I came to the conclusion that it was rubbish. Tell me now, how is that not thinking for myself?

  125. greame permalink
    December 19, 2010 11:36 AM

    Just for starters:

    “Other errors resulted from faulty writing, memory, and judgment, and still others from well-meaning scribes who thought they were correcting the text. Nevertheless, only a small number of these differences affect the sense of the passages, and only a fraction of these have any real consequences”

    Lets take an example. The “virgin” birth. I have heard from many theists that this was in fact an error in translation, that the original Hebrew work meant “young woman” and not an actual sexual virgin. Would you say that is not a real consequence? Considering as we get prepared for the holiday season that so many Christians actually believe that Mary was in fact a virgin and that she was impregnated by god.

    “It’d be a shame if we turned out to be right but because we didn’t spoon-feed you the information and insisted instead that you think for yourself, that you rejected it.”

    So you don’t want to have to spoon feed the information to me, who is questioning it, but I’m sure you have no problem at all spoon feeding it to little children who do not know any better or how to question what they are told. Very noble.

  126. December 18, 2010 7:16 PM

    >>>>Its not that I won’t accept your evidence. But I will not accept you simply saying something, or saying “go look it up”

    It’d be a shame if we turned out to be right but because we didn’t spoon-feed you the information and insisted instead that you think for yourself, that you rejected it.

  127. greame permalink
    December 18, 2010 7:11 PM

    “>>>>>Go look it up – IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I will not accept that.

    In other words: “There is evidence, but I will deny its existence.””

    Again, you misunderstand what I’m saying. Its not that I won’t accept your evidence. But I will not accept you simply saying something, or saying “go look it up”.

    (sorry for the fib in the last one. I will read your page before I’m back tomorrow)

  128. greame permalink
    December 18, 2010 7:08 PM

    “Fine. Have fun reading:

    http://bible.org/article/how-accurate-bible

    If you refuse to read it, but refuse to search for yourself, then there’s nothing I can do for you. Hopefully you’ll actually be open-minded and free-thinking and read the link for understanding.”

    THANK YOU. holy. was that so hard? Why could you not have posted this before when I asked for it? I don’t have time to read it right now, but I promise that I will before I post again.

  129. December 18, 2010 7:01 PM

    >>>>>Go look it up – IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I will not accept that.

    In other words: “There is evidence, but I will deny its existence.”

    >>>>>“there’s plenty of evidence to show that they weren’t”
    You keep saying this Erik, and have yet to back it up with anything.

    Fine. Have fun reading:

    http://bible.org/article/how-accurate-bible

    If you refuse to read it, but refuse to search for yourself, then there’s nothing I can do for you. Hopefully you’ll actually be open-minded and free-thinking and read the link for understanding.

  130. greame permalink
    December 18, 2010 5:44 PM

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, greame—please show that the scribes were inaccurate (there’s plenty of evidence to show that they weren’t)”

    Oh jeez. You are making the claim that they were accurate. You continue to show me that you have no understanding of burden of proof and that you twist your words around asking people for evidence AGAINST your claims, while not providing any evidence FOR these claims.

  131. greame permalink
    December 18, 2010 5:40 PM

    “The wealth of the evidence indicates that the scribes of 2000 years ago were incredibly diligent and accurate in their transcription of texts. Yet you would dismiss my entire argument based on the assumption that they weren’t? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, greame—please show that the scribes were inaccurate (there’s plenty of evidence to show that they weren’t)”

    “The existing Copyright Law in Israel originated in the 1911 British Copyright Law. It was applied to the British Mandate in 1924 and has been amended twice since.”
    -http://informationr.net/ir/6-4/paper110.html

    1911….

    “there’s plenty of evidence to show that they weren’t”
    You keep saying this Erik, and have yet to back it up with anything.

    Go look it up – IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I will not accept that. See my last long post? I made a claim (Einstein and Darwin didn’t know everything about what they are revered as scientists for) and I provided evidence, an corresponding opinion from a well noted scientist in a book that had been peer reviewed before publication, and which lists many references for it’s claims. You don’t understand how this works, do you?

  132. greame permalink
    December 18, 2010 5:27 PM

    “It makes no sense to say we have no need of the supernatural, when the entire book is written for the expressed purpose of worshiping the supernatural.”

    It makes perfect sense to me. I have no need of the supernatural, nor any book that not only acknowledges the supernatural, but forces people to worship it.

  133. December 18, 2010 5:24 PM

    >>>>As much as me saying “I throw stick in air. Stick will fall down” is an assumption.

    You can observe a stick, and incidentally, you can run a scientific test on the matter. But you can’t do that with your claim, so yours is a false analogy.

    >>>>>>If you are trying to claim that there was just as much prudence in determining plagiarism and authenticity in the year 200 then there is now then(or even 1800, or even 1500)… I’m sorry, nothing you have to say will mean anything to me, as you have clearly demonstrated your ignorance.

    The wealth of the evidence indicates that the scribes of 2000 years ago were incredibly diligent and accurate in their transcription of texts. Yet you would dismiss my entire argument based on the assumption that they weren’t? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, greame—please show that the scribes were inaccurate (there’s plenty of evidence to show that they weren’t)

  134. greame permalink
    December 18, 2010 5:19 PM

    me: “Also standards for copy’s/translations/editions were much more rigorous then they were in say, the year 200”

    Erik: “Sounds like an assumption”

    As much as me saying “I throw stick in air. Stick will fall down” is an assumption. Of course it’s an assumption, maybe the stick will be picked up by some alien tractor beam and never fall back down the ground, but i can safely say that it will most likely fall back to the ground.

    If you are trying to claim that there was just as much prudence in determining plagiarism and authenticity in the year 200 then there is now then(or even 1800, or even 1500)… I’m sorry, nothing you have to say will mean anything to me, as you have clearly demonstrated your ignorance.

  135. greame permalink
    December 18, 2010 5:12 PM

    ““books which point towards a new covenant, that is realized and perfected in the person of Jesus Christ. And the perfect completion of this new covenant (with respect to–and in exhaustive reference to–the old one) is expanded in great detail in the remainder of the New Testament””

    How can you say that is was PERFECTED with Jesus and the new testiment? When you yourself JUST SAID

    “Like any other ancient text, before anyone can begin to try and understand it, one must identify at least some of the following: who the writer is, when the writer is writing, what audience the writer was writing to, and if possible, determine what the objective of the writer is”

    You are blatantly and outright contradicting yourself. In the same post.

  136. greame permalink
    December 18, 2010 5:02 PM

    “I’ll give you citation when you can explain to me why the part of your comment in the ellipses rests on false presumptions and misunderstanding.

    Looks like Bryan may have already taken you to task on that matter”

    UGH! You still don’t get it Erik. Well, I guess it’s my fault for assuming you would.

  137. greame permalink
    December 18, 2010 4:59 PM

    (first let me say I hate using CAPS for emphasis, but I can’t figure out how to italicize, so please bear with me)

    “I’m afraid greame that your post illustrates an obvious ignorance on your part of reading and understanding ancient texts. Like any other ancient text, before anyone can begin to try and understand it, one must identify at least some of the following: who the writer is, when the writer is writing, what audience the writer was writing to, and if possible, determine what the objective of the writer is.”

    Haha. So you obviously didn’t catch the sarcasm in my post? I’m not a moron. I know that anyone following those rules today would be rather insane.

    Those texts were written AT THE TIME, for THE PEOPLE OF THAT TIME. THAT WAS MY POINT. So if the silly rules were written for an ancient people in an ancient civilization, you see that clearly as you’ve just said, then why can you not take into consideration that maybe, just maybe, that the ENTIRE BOOK, the whole concept of god, was made up FOR THE PEOPLE OF THOSE TIMES.

    “You asked for citation on the reliability and accuracy of the Biblical texts… There are more manuscripts of the Biblical texts, then any other ancient text in the history of mankind. The manuscripts from the Dead Sea scrolls (dated to 150 BC) are available in museums all across the globe (they’re even available online), and their comparison to manuscripts from over a millennium later yields deadly accuracy.”

    I well know there are many many many books about the authenticity of the bible, but again, you seem to be forgetting burden of proof. It doesn’t state, “Go look it up for yourself”
    YOU are making the claim. YOU provide the evidence… why does no one understand this?

    “If one desires to call into question the reliability of the writings of the scriptures, then one would have to deny virtually everything written before Gutenberg in 1440”

    Why this specific date? I’m really just wondering. But there’s a difference between calling into question the reliability, and outright denial.

    “books which point towards a new covenant, that is realized and perfected in the person of Jesus Christ. And the perfect completion of this new covenant (with respect to–and in exhaustive reference to–the old one) is expanded in great detail in the remainder of the New Testament”

    My problem with the bible is that IT DOESN’T CHANGE. Perfect? Really? Do you REALLY want to use that word? No matter how much we learn and provide evidence for the opposite, gods word is gods word and it will never change. Do you think that we worship Einsteins theory of relativity as absolute end of story fact? Of course not, because any grad student in physics today is expected to know more about relativity then Einstein ever did. We’ve IMPROVED it. We’ve UPDATED it to fit with new discoveries. Nothing in science is perfect. To make such a claim would be ludicrous (and I see your claim as such,). It always, ALWAYS leaves room for improvement.

    “the mechanism by which discrete hereditary units, the genes, are reshuffled and passed on to the next generation, the way in which those genes are randomly altered, their molecular nature, and thier wonderful ability to encode long chemical messages and replicate those messages precisely-all this was wholly unknown to Darwin”
    -Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan ISBN 978-0-345-38472-0
    (that’s how you provide citation, did I say, go look it up?)

    Science does not take these people, Darwin or Einstein as THE KNOWER OF ALL. We understand that they did not even completely understand their own theories, and that WE HAVE LEARNED MUCH SINCE THEN.

    @humesghost. You are a wise man, IMHO. hahahaha.

  138. Bryan permalink
    December 16, 2010 3:22 PM

    So we have a perfectly plausible explanation of the text, without the need for anything supernatural. And, when given a choice between an ordinary explanation of events and an extraordinary explanation, rational standards of evidential assessment require that we pick the ordinary explanation.

    It makes no sense to say we have no need of the supernatural, when the entire book is written for the expressed purpose of worshiping the supernatural.

    Unfortunately mr. ghost, you can’t simply extract the Book of Leviticus as a solitary piece of literature because it suits your purposes. The Book of Leviticus is part of a larger body of literature. It is the continuation of the Book of Exodus, which itself is a continuation of the Book of Genesis. And the history presented in the Book of Leviticus is further expanded throughout the rest of the books of the Old Testament.

    You’re creating a straw argument by suggesting that the supernatural authorship of the Bible is not justified by the Book of Leviticus alone. Of course that one book alone does not justify divine inspiration. The reason that divine inspiration is credited to the Biblical texts is because of the whole canon itself. The themes of sacrifice and penalty for sin that are introduced are reflected in the Jewish exile in the Book of Exodus, these same themes are embedded in the ritual and law given in Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, which is further explained in the Prophetic books which point towards a new covenant, that is realized and perfected in the person of Jesus Christ. And the perfect completion of this new covenant (with respect to–and in exhaustive reference to–the old one) is expanded in great detail in the remainder of the New Testament. Any scholar who examines the continuity throughout scripture (without a predetermined bias) can quite easily see and recognize these consistent themes. Again, that is the reason for the widespread success of the scriptures for the past two millennium.

    since the evidence suggests that the stories of Moses were not written until many centuries after the supposed events they recount, we have little reason to believe that Moses even existed, let alone did or said everything ascribed to him.

    That is the reality of the ancient historical record mr ghost. By your logic, should we say, because we have no written proof, date stamped for 2000 BC that we can’t have any idea about what happened during this time?? No, we have ample evidence that is thoroughly consistent, and is more than enough for us to make a determination about ancient history. That being said, when examining the evidence we have to be careful to leave room for those parts of ancient history that are blank, i.e. give history the benefit of the doubt. That’s why, when we have written documents such as the Bible, that contain a written historical record, on what basis should we dismiss them? Simply because we don’t like the Bible? That’s nonsense.

    Many civilizations of this era have their foundational myths, based on a few scattered facts and a lot of heroic storytelling built around them. (And not just in ancient civilizations: the American foundation myth contains a good deal of pure fabrication and idealization.) The Jewish foundation myth is no different, and we have no more reason to believe it than we do the Greek or Roman foundation myths.

    You’ve got to love a blog site where posters speak with such conviction and certainty about events that occurred billions of years in the past (before organisms and life even existed), while others cast doubt on events that occurred within the past 4500 years, for which we have a written record of.

  139. humesghost permalink
    December 16, 2010 2:00 PM

    Bryan:
    >>>>I’m afraid greame that your post illustrates an obvious ignorance on your part of reading and understanding ancient texts. Like any other ancient text, before anyone can begin to try and understand it, one must identify at least some of the following: who the writer is, when the writer is writing, what audience the writer was writing to, and if possible, determine what the objective of the writer is.

    This is a very good point, but I don’t think it shows what you think it does. Let’s assume that you are right that the writer is Moses (and not an assemblage of many authors, as many scholars think), and that the non-supernatural parts of the biblical story of Moses are largely true (again, a pretty big assumption). Then I suggest we have a pretty good idea of the answers to the questions you pose: Moses was a late bronze age tribal leader, his audience was the members of his tribe, and his objective was to provide them with a set of rules to govern their new kingdom and religion. From this perspective, the story told makes enormous sense: the laws given are very similar to other codes of laws in the region at the time, so it makes sense that these are the ones that Moses would pick (perhaps with a few changes to mark out his tribe as “special”). And, as tribal leaders all over the world recognized throughout the ages, it is much easier to get a populace to comply with rules if those rules are portrayed as the divine command of some god or gods.

    So we have a perfectly plausible explanation of the text, without the need for anything supernatural. And, when given a choice between an ordinary explanation of events and an extraordinary explanation, rational standards of evidential assessment require that we pick the ordinary explanation.

    Now, to get back to those assumptions: since the evidence suggests that the stories of Moses were not written until many centuries after the supposed events they recount, we have little reason to believe that Moses even existed, let alone did or said everything ascribed to him. Many civilizations of this era have their foundational myths, based on a few scattered facts and a lot of heroic storytelling built around them. (And not just in ancient civilizations: the American foundation myth contains a good deal of pure fabrication and idealization.) The Jewish foundation myth is no different, and we have no more reason to believe it than we do the Greek or Roman foundation myths.

  140. Erik permalink
    December 16, 2010 12:06 PM

    >>>>>For starters, Origin of Species was written in the 1800′s. By that time written language had been much more established all over the world. Also standards for copy’s/translations/editions were much more rigorous then they were in say, the year 200

    Sounds like an assumption. It may be beneficial for you to look into what effect a few thousand years has–or has not had on how well we understand the text.

    >>>>>>I’m going to have to ask for some citation on that. But in the mean time……You do follow these and all the rest of the 600+ rules in Leviticus alone, right? Right?

    I’ll give you citation when you can explain to me why the part of your comment in the ellipses rests on false presumptions and misunderstanding.

    Looks like Bryan may have already taken you to task on that matter.

  141. Bryan permalink
    December 16, 2010 1:07 AM

    @greame

    …You do follow these and all the rest of the 600+ rules in Leviticus alone, right? Right?

    I’m afraid greame that your post illustrates an obvious ignorance on your part of reading and understanding ancient texts. Like any other ancient text, before anyone can begin to try and understand it, one must identify at least some of the following: who the writer is, when the writer is writing, what audience the writer was writing to, and if possible, determine what the objective of the writer is.

    In the case of the Book of Leviticus, based on the best information we have today, the writer is Moses, he is writing around the time of the exile of the Jews from Egypt, approx. 1500 BC, and he is writing to the Levites for the expressed purpose of explaining a system of worship. It is very clear from this book and from later scriptures in the New Testament, that these instructions are very specific for that time and those people to whom it is written. Other parts of the Bible make it very clear that this ancient law pointed towards a day when it would be replaced by a new covenant, or a new testament.

    And even a cursory examination of ancient history indicates that these rules and regulations given to ancient Israel, fit in seamlessly with the civilizations that existed alongside them. In fact, when compared with the customs and rituals of other people groups (which included human sacrifice, burying slaves alive with masters, etc.), Leviticus is quite tame and civilized. In fact, it is this very contextual accuracy which gives the book such credibility. If it had been sanitized, it wouldn’t contain the barbaric elements that were the hallmarks of those ancient people groups.

    But to suggest that these commands are applicable today would indicate that the book itself hasn’t been understood properly and the rest of the scripture has been ignored.

    Unfortunately greame, the Bible has been around almost 10 times as long as the Origin of Species, and it has been critiqued and analyzed more than the OoS will ever be. I can guarantee you there is no criticism that you will be able to offer that has not yet been considered.

    You asked for citation on the reliability and accuracy of the Biblical texts… There are more manuscripts of the Biblical texts, then any other ancient text in the history of mankind. The manuscripts from the Dead Sea scrolls (dated to 150 BC) are available in museums all across the globe (they’re even available online), and their comparison to manuscripts from over a millennium later yields deadly accuracy.

    If one desires to call into question the reliability of the writings of the scriptures, then one would have to deny virtually everything written before Gutenberg in 1440.

  142. greame permalink
    December 15, 2010 8:35 PM

    @ Erik

    “Is the Origin of Species unreliable because it’s available in French, Swedish, German, and Chinese? If not, why do you make this claim regarding the Bible? Is the Origin of Species unreliable because it’s had 6+ editions since its first printing? If not, why make this claim regarding the Bible?”

    For starters, Origin of Species was written in the 1800’s. By that time written language had been much more established all over the world. Also standards for copy’s/translations/editions were much more rigorous then they were in say, the year 200.

    “See, based on historical documents, we can be confident that the original has not been lost. The “translations/updates/interpretations” are all second-level stuff, that doesn’t take away from the original, because we still have it.”

    I’m going to have to ask for some citation on that. But in the mean time, let’s just assume that this is correct. And that the bible has not changed one word since it was originally written. This would be very strong evidence that it is indeed the words of god. I’m sure you’ll at least agree there. That would suggest that god said it, he must have really meant it right? So then, as a devote and good Christian you have never cut your sideburns nor trimmed your beard. (you do have a beard right?) [Lev 19:27]. You have never eaten lobster or crab. [Lev 11:9-11] (but you’re okay to eat locust and grasshopper!). If your wife or girlfriend is menstruating, you do not touch her, her clothes, or anything that she has touched, or if you do touch her, then you bathe and clean your garments immediately. [Lev 15:19-23] If you find on your wedding night that your wife is not a virgin, you you bring her to her fathers house where you, her husband, and her father, and all the men of the city stone her to death. [Deuteronomy 22:13-21] If a woman is raped and does not cry loud enough, you will stone her to death. [Deuteronomy 22:23-24] If even one person in a city preaches against god (me, for example) you will put all the inhabitants of that city to the sword. Dooming the city and all life that is in it, even its cattle to the sword. [Deuteronomy 13:13-17] (Nuke Toronto then…)

    …You do follow these and all the rest of the 600+ rules in Leviticus alone, right? Right?

  143. Bryan permalink
    December 15, 2010 3:36 PM

    Correction to my last post:

    As such, we can’t say that appealing to a God is dishonest or less intellectual.

  144. Bryan permalink
    December 15, 2010 2:57 PM

    Super greame, we’re getting somewhere. The debate about the Einstein quote all started with my response to observer’s statements:

    Which prompts me to reiterate the general point, mentioned in an earlier post of mine. Saying “we don’t know” is far more accurate than appealing to The God of the Gaps. It’s also more honest. Admitting our collective ignorance about matters such as what we discussed fosters a sense of wonder and curiosity about the Universe.

    As I’ve illustrated, there is no evidence to support this statement, as it is only conjecture. (In fact evidence points to the contrary.) As such, we can’t say that appealing to a God is more honest or or more intellectual.

  145. greame permalink
    December 15, 2010 2:49 PM

    @Bryan

    Okay that’s great! I was only arguing that you were mistaken on the Einstein quote, but yes, let’s get past that.

    “There are many other examples of a belief in God causing one to examine and find order in the natural world”

    I don’t dispute that fact. I personally believe that religion played a VERY important role in our development as a species. We are still very young as a species, only about 100,000 years old for humans as we are today (compared the roaches which haven’t changed much in a million years) . But the way that I see it, to use clichéd example, this is the same as telling a child that Santa will bring him presents if he is good. It helped us grow up and get a good grasp on our moral perspective (although I don’t think we NEED religion to know right from wrong). But when the child reaches his teens, it’s time to tell him that it was the parents all along. The only difference is that we don’t have a celestial parent to inform us of this. We need to realise it for ourselves.

  146. Erik permalink
    December 15, 2010 2:44 PM

    >>>>Nope. Sorry.
    So-called fulfilled prophecy is weak and flimsy evidence at its very best. Do you not think that maybe, an event 2500 years ago, while being copied or translated 2300 years ago (these dates are just example, and remember at this time people were just getting the hang of this reading and writing thing) the text could not have simply been modified to correspond with what happened?

    I’m not sure you didn’t miss my point. You’re implicitly agreeing with my argument. Ads stated, I gave 2 choices for how to interpret the evidence.

    1. God revealed the future to Daniel.
    2. It was written down Post Hoc. [This is what you’re claiming, so saying, “Nope, sorry,” is misleading because it implies that you believe I said something wrong, which I did not do, if you are agreeing with me]

    I then said that #2 can be ruled out by subsequent investigation. I imagine this is the road you’re indicating you want to go down now.

    >>>>How often in every day life so I see divine intervention/prophecy fulfilled? Never.

    Do you really think the “I can’t see it, therefore it’s not real” argument is of any philosophical weight? What would your response be if a Christian said “I can’t see evolution happening, therefore it’s not real?” Hopefully this illustration helps you to see why your rejection doesn’t amount to a refutation.

    >>>>The great thing about science is that YOU can go do it yourself.

    I know that. That’s what led me to the position I now hold. Please be open to the possibility that you know enough to incline you toward atheism, but that if you learned more, you might be inclined back toward theism. Denying this a priori would only be causing yourself to potentially miss out.

    >>>>>The sheer number of times that bible has been translated, “updated”, and “interpreted”,

    You should be aware that to me, this looks like a False Premise. See, based on historical documents, we can be confident that the original has not been lost. The “translations/updates/interpretations” are all second-level stuff, that doesn’t take away from the original, because we still have it. Is the Origin of Species unreliable because it’s available in French, Swedish, German, and Chinese? If not, why do you make this claim regarding the Bible? Is the Origin of Species unreliable because it’s had 6+ editions since its first printing? If not, why make this claim regarding the Bible? Please consider this.

    >>>>It would seem to me that you are making many assumptions. 1) That the biblical god is exactly how the bible says he is. (the book is true becuase the book says its true)

    Not at all (regarding the parenthetical claim). That the Bible is true is arrived at through a series of investigations.
    1. First, you determine its textual consistency.
    2. Then, you determine its historical accuracy.
    3. Then, you determine its relevancy to truth in all currently testable claims that it makes.
    4. You determine its logical coherency (actually, 2-4 kinda happen interchangeably at the same time in one’s investigation)
    5. Upon becoming convinced that it is totally reliable as a historical document, you then have to face the supernatural claims. If the only reason to doubt them is a philosophical presupposition toward naturalism/materialism, and not the reliability of the document itself (which has been hitherto in the investigation proven impeccable), then it behooves one to reconsider whether or not it’s possible that the supernatural claims may be true.

    >>>>> that miracles occured before the scriptures were written as you said. Were you there? Did you see it with your own eyes? or are you trusting texts which is hundreds of years old and vulnerable to forgery, modification and just plain delusion?

    This is a good objection, but it’s unreasonable to continue to hold to it even after encountering sufficient evidence to eliminate it as a potential problem. The fact is that we can determine whether or not there have been forgeries, edits, etc, and we know that the Bible is not corrupt, as a result of honest, serious investigation.

    >>>>>You are assuming that prophecies in the bible are devinely inspired

    When you eliminate the possibility that it was written post hoc, then that is the only logical alternative (think about it; there’s no third option).

    >>>>Those are pretty big assumtions.

    I understand your concern, but please realize that these are not a priori assumptions, but positions taken after hundreds of hours of intensive research into the historicity and authenticity of the documents in question. Thus, I am confident of my beliefs, because they are not “assumed”–they are reasoned and supported with adequate evidence.

  147. Bryan permalink
    December 15, 2010 1:22 PM

    And for the 3rd time, Bryan, you…are…wrong.

    The point being made was that the belief in a God can and does cause wonder and curiosity in the natural world. If we can’t agree on the meaning behind Einstein’s quote, then set it aside. There are many other examples of a belief in God causing one to examine and find order in the natural world, I also quoted Isaac Newton for example. There are others.

    I am not wrong. To say that belief in a God is “scientifically dishonest” and can’t cause one to investigate the order in time and space is wrong.

    That is the only point I am making in this regard.

  148. greame permalink
    December 15, 2010 11:45 AM

    “Unlike yourself, David Rand, I do not assume”

    It would seem to me that you are making many assumptions. 1) That the biblical god is exactly how the bible says he is. (the book is true becuase the book says its true) 2) that miracles occured before the scriptures were written as you said. Were you there? Did you see it with your own eyes? or are you trusting texts which is hundreds of years old and vulnerable to forgery, modification and just plain delusion? 3) You are assuming that prophecies in the bible are devinely inspired. As I’ve outlined in a previous post, these prophecies are also vulnerable to forgery, modification and the primitive minds of people who knew much less then we do today. Those are pretty big assumtions.

  149. greame permalink
    December 15, 2010 11:34 AM

    “@greame,

    For the 3rd time…

    Read carefully…I’m aware that Einstein did not have faith in the God of the Bible. But he did have faith in a God. That is the only point I’m making by referencing Einstein. He recognized and accepted the existence of a God, or a Supernatural first cause. End of story.”

    And for the 3rd time, Bryan, you…are…wrong.

    As David just pointed out, Einstiens view of god was “the complete sum total of all the natural laws of the physical universe”. This has NOTHING TO DO with a supernatural first cause. He used the word, yes, many times, but in a context that you don’t seem to understand.

  150. greame permalink
    December 15, 2010 9:22 AM

    “The passage is a vision that a man named Daniel received in the 6th century BC, concerning specific events that would occur between then and the 3rd-2nd century BC. The probability of getting the details so perfectly right (they are not vague in the slightest, if you look at what is said) renders it beyond reasonable doubt that it could not have been known by a simple man hundreds of years before the events took place.

    There are 2 possibilities:
    1. Divine Inspiration of Prophecy
    2. It wasn’t written in the 6th century BC, but much later (upon researching this further, this possibility can be eliminated).

    This is one of several prophecies. A somewhat more detailed and quite impressive one is the prophecy against Tyre by Ezekiel (I believe it was him). Same concept.”

    Nope. Sorry.

    So-called fulfilled prophecy is weak and flimsy evidence at its very best. Do you not think that maybe, an event 2500 years ago, while being copied or translated 2300 years ago (these dates are just example, and remember at this time people were just getting the hang of this reading and writing thing) the text could not have simply been modified to correspond with what happened?** Why would I think that? Let’s see. Every day I can see people lie and cheat for their own gain. Also in every day life I see people who may be emotionally distraught, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or just simply gullible who accept stories at face value without taking into consideration the other options. How often in every day life so I see divine intervention/prophecy fulfilled? Never. So which makes more sense to me? Which is more likely? That someone might modify a text to fit with something that happened just beforehand so as to sell more bibles? Or that it’s the divinewordoftheallknowingallseeingcreateroftheentireuniverse?

    The great thing about science is that YOU can go do it yourself. Science will tell you that if you throw a stick with X amount of weight into the air with X amount of force that it will land on the ground in X amount of time. You can try it over and over and the equations of science will always give you the right answer. After a few tests like this you’ll come to realise that these scientist people seem to know what they’re talking about. No, I don’t know all the mathematics of string theory, but people who are just as skeptical as I am seem to think it’s a good idea. There is supporting (mathematical) evidence for it, so I won’t dismiss it outright, but I still won’t accept it, I reserve my judgement (which theists seem be not all that good at) until it’s been conclusively shown that the idea either corresponds to reality or it doesn’t.

    **The sheer number of times that bible has been translated, “updated”, and “interpreted”, leads me to believe that it’s nothing more then a Bronze Age Broken Telephone Purple Monkey Dishwasher.

    Something that I would have accepted as evidence would be maybe something like a passage that reads “And my light shall reach you at 656,160,000 Cubits per second.” (which is about 300,000 km/s, which isn’t even the precise number, but it would be close enough). Something that I can see and understand today and which I know correspondes to reality. (However, this info would still be vulnerable to the unauthorized modifications mentioned above)

  151. December 15, 2010 8:02 AM

    Given Einstein’s enormous celebrity as a scientist, and the fact that he admitted to a certain “religiosity”, some religious believers try to present him as an apologist for religious belief. But the allegation is at best a misconception, and often a lie, because Einstein’s religiosity had nothing to do with that of mainstream religions. In fact, he rejected all belief in the supernatural and he also rejected any mythological basis for moral precepts. It is clear from his statements that he can honestly be considered an agnostic, or an atheist, or possibly a pantheist in the tradition of Spinoza, but that he was most certainly not a theist. In particular, Einstein rejected theism as a basis for morality. Furthermore, he was aware than some religious apologists were deliberately misrepresenting his views.

    http://atheisme.ca/repertoire/einstein_albert/cit_en.html

    (The above web page is by me, but the quotations on it are from Einstein.)

  152. Bryan permalink
    December 15, 2010 12:23 AM

    @greame,

    For the 3rd time…

    Read carefully…I’m aware that Einstein did not have faith in the God of the Bible. But he did have faith in a God. That is the only point I’m making by referencing Einstein. He recognized and accepted the existence of a God, or a Supernatural first cause. End of story.

    Now, if you’ll read back to the context of those comments, observer had suggested that appealing to the existence of a God wasn’t very honest. I was demonstrating that many scientists, far more honest than observer, have themselves appealed to the existence of a God. And in doing, so, I believe, making a solid case that his statement was quite false.

  153. Truth permalink
    December 14, 2010 9:56 PM

    >>>>>>I assume that he cannot be dotty enough to really believe such a howler, so I conclude that [Bryan] is probably dishonest. But regardless of his reasons, anyone who promotes such nonsense completely undermines his or her own intellectual credibility. It is probably a waste of time to try to engage Mr. Bryan and his fellow bible-thumpers in debate. Their posts here basically constitute theistic spam.

    Unlike yourself, David Rand, I do not assume. I do not assume that you know what the Hasty Generalization Fallacy, Fallacy of Fallacy, Thought-terminating Cliche Fallacy, Poisoning the Well Fallacy, Genetic Fallacy, Chronological Snobbery Fallacy, or Judgmental Language Fallacy happen to be, so I have listed them here in order that you may be made aware of them. If you are wondering how you may have committed these fallacies, then, keeping the above quote from you in mind, feel free to type any of them into google and commence learning about them.

    >>>>>>>“Why just one sentence? Are you afraid if you accept an entire passage that you might encounter something that makes you uncomfortable?”
    Greame: Absolutely not. I was just trying to make it easy for you. However if you’d like to give me a passage, a page, or a whole chapter as an example please feel free. I read the link you put there. What part of this is what I asked for? I see nothing special about this story. Nothing that HAD to have been written by the divine all powerful ruler of the entire universe. All of this could very well have been written by…men…who would think wheelbarrows are awesome. You can at least try next time. If I’ve misinterprited it, please do explain.

    The passage is a vision that a man named Daniel received in the 6th century BC, concerning specific events that would occur between then and the 3rd-2nd century BC. The probability of getting the details so perfectly right (they are not vague in the slightest, if you look at what is said) renders it beyond reasonable doubt that it could not have been known by a simple man hundreds of years before the events took place.

    There are 2 possibilities:
    1. Divine Inspiration of Prophecy
    2. It wasn’t written in the 6th century BC, but much later (upon researching this further, this possibility can be eliminated).

    This is one of several prophecies. A somewhat more detailed and quite impressive one is the prophecy against Tyre by Ezekiel (I believe it was him). Same concept.

    >>>>>” but people today still won’t believe”
    ” since it’s complete, there’s no more need for such extravagant miracles.”
    Greame: You just gave a reason for such extravagant miracles. To show us evil atheists what for.

    I see where you’re coming from, but consider the fact that miracles have been done in the past, and yet even people who saw them remained unconvinced. If you are honest with yourself, and have seen other atheists make statements regarding miracles, you will concede that even if President Ahmadinejad were to spontaneously combust in the middle of a speech where he was threatening Israel with annihilation (and let’s be even more elaborate and say that it appeared that fire was coming from the sky), then you would still remain skeptical upon seeing something so shockingly…unconventional. Yet, would this convince you of God’s existence? Probably not. And the Bible accurately portrays this throughout the historical scriptures. People saw miracles, and still doubted. The point that the Bible makes is that the miracles were needed when the Scripture had not been written. But now that the Scripture has been written, it is sufficient. It adamantly maintains that miracles are not sufficient to produce faith or belief in God. I think you’ll agree.

    And that’s why miracles like that don’t happen anymore (with exceptions. I’ve heard reports of them occurring in rural Africa, etc. The point is that they won’t be shown to people who won’t be convinced by them).

  154. greame permalink
    December 14, 2010 8:59 PM

    “What the quotes demonstrate is that: (i) many “scientific” minds believed in a God, ”

    But you didn’t demonstrate that at all. At least not with Einstein’s quote. He clearly said many times that he did not believe in the god of the bible. That reminds me of a Carl Sagan misquote actually.There was a video clip that quickly circulated the news that Sagan had said “UFO’s do exist” and UFO nuts went crazy. They figured if such a prominent scientist said so, it must be true. But the video clip was cut. Mid-sentence. What he actually said was “UFO’s do exist but that does not mean extraterrestrials are vising Earth. A UFO is exactly that, an unidentified flying object. Just because you don’t know what a light in the sky is, does not conclusively prove aliens.”

    I’m paraphrasing quite a bit, but I think you get the point.

  155. greame permalink
    December 14, 2010 5:47 PM

    “I could care less about exactly which God Einsteins believed in”

    And yet you quote him as evidence of your argument?

  156. greame permalink
    December 14, 2010 5:44 PM

    @ Answers

    ” but people today still won’t believe”
    ” since it’s complete, there’s no more need for such extravagant miracles.”

    You just gave a reason for such extravagant miracles. To show us evil atheists what for.

  157. greame permalink
    December 14, 2010 5:38 PM

    “Why just one sentence? Are you afraid if you accept an entire passage that you might encounter something that makes you uncomfortable?”

    Absolutely not. I was just trying to make it easy for you. However if you’d like to give me a passage, a page, or a whole chapter as an example please feel free. I read the link you put there. What part of this is what I asked for? I see nothing special about this story. Nothing that HAD to have been written by the divine all powerful ruler of the entire universe. All of this could very well have been written by…men…who would think wheelbarrows are awesome. You can at least try next time. If I’ve misinterprited it, please do explain.

  158. greame permalink
    December 14, 2010 5:27 PM

    “As soon as you run into someone that disagrees with your claims, you neglect to debate the issue but instead “assume that [they are] … probably dishonest … [and therefore] their posts … basically constitute theistic spam.”

    Well Bryan,

    If you actually put for any “extrodinary evidence” that is being asked for maybe your argument would be taken a little more seriously. However, for all your posts I’ve read, which I’ll admit aren’t all of them, I don’t see any. Plus, many skeptics like myself have already heard these arguments and already dimissed them as more wishful thinking then any real hard evidence.

  159. Bryan permalink
    December 14, 2010 11:09 AM

    David,

    That’s quite the centre for inquiry your group has going there. As soon as you run into someone that disagrees with your claims, you neglect to debate the issue but instead “assume that [they are] … probably dishonest … [and therefore] their posts … basically constitute theistic spam.”

    With thorough debate like that, you’re centre must be on the cutting edge of human understanding.

  160. December 14, 2010 7:56 AM

    A little reality check: There are currently just over a hundred comments on this page, 23 of which are from a certain “Bryan”. Going back to older posts I see that he has promoted the charming theory that the bible is a scientific document wherein Moses predicted the discoveries of modern physiology and Paul of Tarsus was a precocious astronomer! I assume that he cannot be dotty enough to really believe such a howler, so I conclude that he is probably dishonest. But regardless of his reasons, anyone who promotes such nonsense completely undermines his or her own intellectual credibility. It is probably a waste of time to try to engage Mr. Bryan and his fellow bible-thumpers in debate. Their posts here basically constitute theistic spam.

  161. Answer permalink
    December 13, 2010 9:23 PM

    >>>>>>Find me one sentence, just one sentence, not taking into consideration anything before or after it, that could NOT have been written by a man (or woman) in the first century who would think a wheelbarrow is advanced technology. “I am the Lord your God” doesn’t count, because I just said it and I’m sure that many people in the first century said it. Find me that one sentence and I’ll take it as supporting, if not definitive evidence of gods existence.

    Why just one sentence? Are you afraid if you accept an entire passage that you might encounter something that makes you uncomfortable?

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+8&version=NIV

    >>>>Anything with a probability greater than 0 would have to happen – (not true but ok) doesn’t imply that anything with a probability greater than 0 would have to happen to US.

    But that thing happening to us is a thing with a probability greater than 0, so yes, it would still happen. You’re trying to exclude “us” from the set of “all things,” which is illogical.

    >>>>>Let’s say you have a 1 in 10.000 chance of winning the lottory. You claim that if you don’t win – the lottery is a fraud. But the winner probably won’t agree with you.

    But there are an infinite number of lotteries, so you should have won.

    >>>>>>>In the old testament he keeps proving himself to almost anyone who cares to watch. He shows of at every oppotunity, haunting moses, killing vershippers of Ba’al, destroying cities, parting waters and litterally answering prayers. But a simple test – that’s a no-go?

    If you had read the Bible, you’ll know that miracles are insufficient. See, He did all those miracles but people today still won’t believe. Scripture is the be-all end-all of God’s revelation, and since it’s complete, there’s no more need for such extravagant miracles.

    >>>>Could it be that peolpe back then just made that shit up?

    Then why would people believe it? You’ve got a problem.

    >>>>>>Let me finish your sentence for you yoshi…
    “They would have contacted us… in at-least one one of the possible universes, and not necessarily in our universe”

    But Andy, you’re assuming that other universes have no way of interacting with this universe. What basis do you have for this assumption?

    >>>>>Saying “we don’t know” is far more accurate than appealing to The God of the Gaps.

    No onme here is arguing for God of the Gaps except you. You just call it evolution.

    Your attacks at Bryan’s quotation of Einstein demonstrates your willingness to intentionally miss the point.

    “In view of the harmony of [the cosmos], there are yet those who say there is no God. But what really irritates me is when they quote me in support of such views.”
    ~same guy

  162. observer permalink
    December 13, 2010 4:48 PM

    Quoting Bryan:
    “Not sure what this has to do with extraordinary vs. ordinary claims.”

    You asked why the CFI focuses on the claims enumerated in the article, while leaving out others. I gave a reason. There are an infinite number of extraordinary claims about the history of the Universe, and these happen to have the greatest impact on human affairs. Willful obtuseness didn’t work for Erik Walker, and it won’t work for you.

  163. Bryan permalink
    December 13, 2010 4:30 PM

    let me know when the vacuum fluctuation cosmological model has as much socio-political clout as the Abrahamic faiths. Let me know when lawmakers pass legislation, leaders start wars, and people engage in suicidal “martyrdom” based on cosmological models.

    Not sure what this has to do with extraordinary vs. ordinary claims.

  164. Bryan permalink
    December 13, 2010 4:28 PM

    And for the record, I think it is you who have missed the first part of Einstein’s quote.

  165. Bryan permalink
    December 13, 2010 4:17 PM

    @observer (and @greame)

    I didn’t miss the second part of that quote at all. I’m well aware of it. If you go back and read your own words:

    “Which prompts me to reiterate the general point, mentioned in an earlier post of mine. Saying “we don’t know” is far more accurate than appealing to The God of the Gaps. It’s also more honest. Admitting our collective ignorance about matters such as what we discussed fosters a sense of wonder and curiosity about the Universe.

    You appear to be claiming two things: (i) it’s dishonest to believe in a God and (ii) not believing in a God fosters a sense of wonder and curiosity.

    What the quotes demonstrate is that: (i) many “scientific” minds believed in a God, and (ii) believing in a God is what prompted many scientific minds to wonder and be curious about the universe.

    I could care less about exactly which God Einsteins believed in.

    Your statements were incorrect.

    I don’t ascribe to a God of the Gaps.

  166. observer permalink
    December 13, 2010 4:08 PM

    Bryan said:
    “Which begs the question, if there is no evidence for either, why aren’t some more of these “claims”, such as steady-state universes, etc. added to CFI’s website? Because, clearly there are a bunch more extraordinary claims that require extraordinary evidence. The point being, that it is okay to have an extraordinary claim when it comes to extraordinary subjects, such as the origins of matter. However, a community like the CFI isn’t actually concerned about extraordinary claims in general, as they suggest, but instead, they are only interested in criticizing the extraordinary claims that they don’t agree with.”

    Incorrect linguistic usage of “begging the question” aside, let me know when the vacuum fluctuation cosmological model has as much socio-political clout as the Abrahamic faiths. Let me know when lawmakers pass legislation, leaders start wars, and people engage in suicidal “martyrdom” based on cosmological models.

  167. greame permalink
    December 13, 2010 3:44 PM

    Dang! Observer beat me to it. haha.

  168. greame permalink
    December 13, 2010 3:41 PM

    @Bryan

    You missed the second part of that quote.

    I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.
    -Einstein.

  169. observer permalink
    December 13, 2010 3:41 PM

    Sweet FSM, not the Einstein claim again. If you really want to go down the appeal-to-authority path, then one of your quotes of evidence is easily falsified:
    “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”
    — Letter to an atheist (1954) as quoted in Albert Einstein: The Human Side (1981) edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman ISBN 0691023689

    You’ve used The God of the Gaps repeatedly throughout this thread. You’re also using it in the intelligent design thread. It’s hardly bigotry to call that to our readers’ attention.

  170. Bryan permalink
    December 13, 2010 3:37 PM

    @observer

    Here’s another “God of the Gaps” type…

    “The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion on an intelligent and powerful Being.”
    – Sir Isaac Newton

    Good thing he had an imaginary God to plug into all those gaps that he couldn’t fill, because of his own ignorance. If only he could have been–how’d you put it?–more “accurate”, he wouldn’t have needed God.

  171. Bryan permalink
    December 13, 2010 3:28 PM

    @observer

    [Bryan:] “Keep in mind, the existence of any given scenario does not disprove opposing scenarios.”

    [observer:] Nor did I ever claim that. However, all of these scenarios have just as much evidence to support them – none whatsoever.

    Exactly. When it comes to determining how matter and energy came into existence, or existed on its own throughout all of time, there is no evidence. Only speculation and theories.

    Which begs the question, if there is no evidence for either, why aren’t some more of these “claims”, such as steady-state universes, etc. added to CFI’s website? Because, clearly there are a bunch more extraordinary claims that require extraordinary evidence. The point being, that it is okay to have an extraordinary claim when it comes to extraordinary subjects, such as the origins of matter. However, a community like the CFI isn’t actually concerned about extraordinary claims in general, as they suggest, but instead, they are only interested in criticizing the extraordinary claims that they don’t agree with.

    “Saying “we don’t know” is far more accurate than appealing to The God of the Gaps. It’s also more honest.”

    To suggest that the theory of a God is simply to fill in Gaps, is (as I’ve also earlier written) a complete misrepresentation of the position, and akin to name-calling and bigotry. Again, if the only notion we had to go on, was an unknown first cause (which is still pretty big), belief in God’s existence probably wouldn’t be as widespread as it is today. Instead, there is vast array of documentation and philosophical understanding that creates the argument for a God. And, critics, it seems, who want to discredit the entire argument for a God, choose to frame the belief in God as simply a placeholder for the unknown. That characterization is dishonest.

    “Admitting our collective ignorance about matters such as what we discussed fosters a sense of wonder and curiosity about the Universe.”

    Admitting the existence of a supernatural God also fosters a sense of wonder and curiosity about the Universe. In fact, this statement can actually be backed up with observable evidence, to quote a few of the earliest scientists:

    “I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists…”
    – Albert Einstein

    From the man best of known for establishing the scientific method of inquiry based on experimentation and inductive reasoning.

    “It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.”
    – Sir Francis Bacon

  172. observer permalink
    December 13, 2010 12:52 PM

    Quoting Bryan:
    “Keep in mind, the existence of any given scenario does not disprove opposing scenarios.”

    Nor did I ever claim that. However, all of these scenarios have just as much evidence to support them – none whatsoever.

    Which prompts me to reiterate the general point, mentioned in an earlier post of mine. Saying “we don’t know” is far more accurate than appealing to The God of the Gaps. It’s also more honest. Admitting our collective ignorance about matters such as what we discussed fosters a sense of wonder and curiosity about the Universe. I leave you with this quote:

    “I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers, and possible beliefs, and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything, and in many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here, and what the question might mean. I might think about a little, but if I can’t figure it out, then I go to something else. But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn’t frighten me.”
    — Richard Feynman

  173. Bryan permalink
    December 13, 2010 11:41 AM

    @observer

    So creation is not the “only possible” scenario.

    No, it is not the only possible scenario, but it is certainly one of the possible scenarios. And it has about the same amount of educated guesswork that goes into the scenario you just described.

    Keep in mind, the existence of any given scenario does not disprove opposing scenarios.

    It appears that some on this blog think that because there are scenarios that have been invented to explain existence, that this, in and of itself, disproves other scenarios, such as a supernatural first cause.

  174. Andy permalink
    December 13, 2010 11:31 AM

    “If the multi-verse theory is true, and there are an actual infinite number of other universes, then anything that has a probability greater than 0 would HAVE to happen. (It may be highly improbable, but not impossible.) The probability of a super intelligent alien species devising a way to contact us would be greater than 0. They would have contacted us. No one has. Therefore it is a logical conclusion that there are NOT an infinite number of universes.”

    This is the kind of nonsense logic that probably got you into your religious mess in the first place.

    Let me finish your sentence for you yoshi…

    “They would have contacted us… in at-least one one of the possible universes, and not necessarily in our universe”

    I excused someone for not being educated in the sciences like yourself, but your non-sense logic is just embarrassing for you.

  175. Brian Ritter permalink
    December 13, 2010 3:21 AM

    @Yochi – again you have it all backewards.
    “If the multi-verse theory is true, and there are an actual infinite number of other universes, then anything that has a probability greater than 0 would HAVE to happen. (It may be highly improbable, but not impossible.) The probability of a super intelligent alien species devising a way to contact us would be greater than 0. They would have contacted us. No one has. Therefore it is a logical conclusion that there are NOT an infinite number of universes.”

    A short lesson ion logic (to make matters easy I will ignore your shortcommings on the multiverse theory).
    Anything with a probability greater than 0 would have to happen – (not true but ok) doesn’t imply that anything with a probability greater than 0 would have to happen to US. In this universe (our one out of an almost infinite number) the brobability is still tyhe same, as if the other universes didn’t exist. That something with a hight improbability happens to this universe is one out of an almost infinite number (of other universes).

    Translated into something easy.
    Let’s say you have a 1 in 10.000 chance of winning the lottory. You claim that if you don’t win – the lottery is a fraud. But the winner probably won’t agree with you.

    Then the prayer reserch – so god ruined the test? Making people who were prayed for worse off? What a fuckhead!
    But the funny thing is – that it can all be explained by perfectly a natural explaniation in the way of common psychology. But making up faulty arguments, explaining the unwanted outcome by making excuses as to why a supernatural being won’t show himself to scientists is just plain dumb.
    In the old testament he keeps proving himself to almost anyone who cares to watch. He shows of at every oppotunity, haunting moses, killing vershippers of Ba’al, destroying cities, parting waters and litterally answering prayers. But a simple test – that’s a no-go?

    So why won’t he answer anymore. Maybe it’s the same reason we have less and less miracles and wonders as we get better and better at detecting frauds. Could it be that peolpe back then just made that shit up?

    And please – look into this science thing – start of with something easy because your understanding of basic scientific methodology is pretty lousy.

  176. yochi permalink
    December 12, 2010 9:21 PM

    Science is a completely inadequate way to prove the existence of God.

    Science would by definition require experimentation. To avoid bias, a scientist will use some sort of control in the experiment. Minimally a blind experiment. A double blind experiment would be better.

    God is omniscient, therefore he would know everything (even the outcome of the experiment before it happened), so the experiment would be biased.

    Someone once tried an experiment on the effectiveness of prayer. They tried to do a controlled situation where people in hospitals were being prayed over without their knowledge. However, as the prayers were directed at God, and He knew which people are in each test group, the entire experiment is rendered invalid.

  177. yochi permalink
    December 12, 2010 9:08 PM

    @AndyC

    >>You have to love the crazy arguments of the religious folk.

    I’m sorry I haven’t been back to this page in a while. Is this how science refutes a perfectly logical line of reasoning, by name calling?

    If the multi-verse theory is true, and there are an actual infinite number of other universes, then anything that has a probability greater than 0 would HAVE to happen. (It may be highly improbable, but not impossible.) The probability of a super intelligent alien species devising a way to contact us would be greater than 0. They would have contacted us. No one has. Therefore it is a logical conclusion that there are NOT an infinite number of universes.

  178. observer permalink
    December 11, 2010 11:00 PM

    Correcting a typo. I meant to say:
    “It is _highly_ improbable for an object to resume a state with LOWER entropy than its current state, but not impossible. This follows from _classical_ statistical mechanics, by which collections of particles are governed.”

  179. observer permalink
    December 11, 2010 10:12 PM

    @greame:
    Given the psychedelic nature of the Abrahamic religious texts, what with talking snakes, a magical bartender who later turns into a zombie and all, one would think that they could just engage in a little more pretense and claim that the books were written by God itself. Instead, they admitted that the content was obtained by illiterate middlemen who claimed to hear voices in their heads. I find it awfully strange than an all-powerful deity – who presumably wants Its creation to know about It – would choose prophets who were unable to spread the revelations on by their own written words. Of course, even prophets are unnecessary – an all-powerful God can maintain direct connections to each and every one of us. Why would the Infallible force us to rely on fallible and possibly malicious humans?

    But let’s not go down that path. It’s a rabbit hole of nonsense.

  180. greame permalink
    December 11, 2010 6:31 PM

    For Erik Walker and all the other bible thumpers out there, I’ve got a challenge for you. I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’ve actually READ the bible since you base your life around it. And by read I don’t mean pick and choose passages here and there or what the priests say on Sunday, but to actually pick it up and read through it on your own from Genesis to Revelations. (FYI, I’ve read it. I’ve also read the koran). So you’ve got the whole entire book choose from. Find me one sentence, just one sentence, not taking into consideration anything before or after it, that could NOT have been written by a man (or woman) in the first century who would think a wheelbarrow is advanced technology. “I am the Lord your God” doesn’t count, because I just said it and I’m sure that many people in the first century said it. Find me that one sentence and I’ll take it as supporting, if not definitive evidence of gods existence.

  181. Brian Ritter permalink
    December 11, 2010 2:44 AM

    My point was actually that earthquakes only happen in areas were earthquakes a quite common, because of plate tectonics, hurricanes where hot and cold air meet.

    I’m just saying, if god wnted to impress, he’d shake the shit out of scandinavia and throw hurricanes at canada. Hit NY with lava and stuff like that.

    Destroying a middleeastern city with fire and brimstone, where oil and gasleaks is quite common, doesn’t impress me much.

    And add to that, that he has a really poor aim.

    The argument hasn’t really got anything to do with the rest of this debate – but just a random thought.

    @Bryan – I have actually studied christianity for quite a while. I didn’t grow up i a religious home, but we lived next to a church. When I was about 7-10 I wen’t there as often as I could, I went to sundayschool there and it was accepted by my parrents who supported me in my wish to be a christian. I choose to be baptised at the age of 12. I also wanted to confirm that (I don’t know if that’s a special danish protestant tradition?) at the age of 14.
    I read the bible, I went to church.
    At some point, though, I started to ask questions and didn’t get any satisfying answers.
    My understanding of biology, chemestry, physics and cosmology became a great influence and I had a long difficult time of letting go of god.
    Now, though, I don’t need that element to give my life a purpose. I don’t need god as a explanation for things I don’t understand. My life is full of wonders and I feal alive and happy.
    though I know what it’s like to be religious and have a conscience. You get scared even doubting or questioning anything that has to do with god. It feels wrong and sinfull. I ad to get through that barrier and it wasn’t easy. Iwas shure I would go to hell for thinking like that – luckilly god took hell with him when he left.

  182. observer permalink
    December 11, 2010 2:12 AM

    Bryan, since you refrained from personal attacks in your previous request for a detailed description of the flaws in the thermodynamics argument for finite Universal age, and since we have an audience of interested “destroyers”, here’s a necessarily general but foundational rebuttal.

    As a preliminary point, irreversible processes in thermodynamics are not certainly so. Irreversibility refers to improbability. It is _highly_ improbable for an object to resume a state with higher entropy than its current state, but not impossible. This follows from _classical_ statistical mechanics, by which collections of particles are governed.

    Note the emphasis of “classical”, which refers to the pre-relativistic theory. One of the central elements of classical mechanics is energy conservation in isolated systems. Put simplistically, global energy conservation alone does not hold in General Relativity and quantum statistical mechanics. General Relativity conserves the stress-energy tensor (energy alone is a scalar quantity, which has no global equivalent in curved spacetime). This was known back in the 1940s, when eternal steady-state models were being given consideration. Even so, most steady-state models involved localized sources of energy creation and other problematic necessities. But it was observations of galactic redshifts and the cosmic microwave background that ultimately favoured the Big Bang, not classical thermodynamics alone. Finally, note that all steady-state models are eternal, but not all eternal models are steady-state (see below for examples).

    Incidentally, even classical thermodynamics doesn’t make a steady-state Universe impossible. Referring to your example, while it is true that neither object can spontaneously attain a higher temperature after being brought into contact with the other (for a _sufficiently long_ period of time – thermal equilibrium is not attained instantly), energy hasn’t been lost by this process. The initially unequal distribution of thermal energy has now been distributed evenly, but the net energy of the system remains the same as before. However, while the two objects are in contact, there is a _very_ low probability of them resuming their initial temperatures (i.e. thermal inequality). Given an _extremely_ long period (e.g. eternity), inhomogeneous thermal flows become nontrivially probable. But never mind that, the theory doesn’t apply in relativistic cases anyway.

    For further reading, this helps if you have a grounding in special relativity as well: http://books.google.ca/books?id=1ZOgD9qlWtsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=thermodynamics+and+cosmology&source=bl&ots=qSHpC45ETB&sig=1NX7kMasXWCYTC0d1XnxcaK_VgI&hl=en&ei=pxMDTZ7tE4OnnAeA88nlDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    The cyclic cosmological models referenced earlier do indicate that one can have cosmological dynamism (i.e. expansion/contraction of space-time) without a point of creation. Indeed, nothing in the Big Bang theory itself implies a creation at singularity. The Big Bang is consistent with both temporally finite and infinite models (e.g. vacuum fluctuations, Hawking-Hartle, etc.). So creation is not the “only possible” scenario.

  183. Theist Destroyer permalink
    December 11, 2010 12:27 AM

    Apparently Bryan thinks he should have the privilege of spouting bare assertions after every response and put the burden on other parties to knock them down, without having to put in the effort to avoid mischaracterizing basic scientific concepts.

    In failing to do so, he obstinately oversimplifies responses to his benefit (specifically the post about thermodynamics), and attempts to question the intellectual capacity of those who surprisingly don’t feel charitable enough to take him through a entire university course in thermodynamics in one internet post.

    Theists often resort to name-calling and ad hominem attacks in an attempt to discredit their opponent, and increasingly frequently, this happens earlier and earlier in any given debate (see Erik Walker for further evidence). When this happens, the YEC can be fully assured that he has “won,” because his opponent has given up.

    Bryan has no argument or capacity for argumentation, so he has lost. That is all.

    (If only there were a method to determine which one of these judges is more accurate. Some method involving observation and analysis of all the thread responses, perhaps. 😉 )

  184. Bryan permalink
    December 10, 2010 6:15 PM

    @observer:

    “It’s not my job to give you a basic physics education for free, via a blog comment.”

    I’m not asking for a basic physics education. I’m asking is: “If indeed my understanding is incorrect, please logically and rationally explain why that is.” That is a completely separate thing from a physics education. That is simply a free exchange and debate of ideas.

  185. Bryan permalink
    December 10, 2010 6:12 PM

    Mr. Ritter,

    “It just occured to me that, following the logic of the bible, god hates relegious people.
    If you read the bible, incidents, natural disasters, disease and plagues are attributed to the wrath of god. Someone done him wrong, he kills him and his entire family (sometimes just the family, while the perpitrator gets to be king… ).
    Anyway – the logicg oes something like: he offended god, therefore he dies horribly.”

    You’ve just created your own straw argument and then done a beautiful job of tearing it down. Regardless of what any Pope or Reverend may or may not have said, we can only adjudicate the “logic” of the Bible and the Judeo-Christian faith based on the truth as revealed in the Bible.

    You will not be able to piece together evidence from the Bible to support your assertion. Yes, certainly in parts of the Bible, some disasters were used as punishment for some people. But there is no broad stroke anywhere in the Bible to suggest that all disasters are punishment.

    Not sure how your point relates to the rest of the discussion, but obviously you have a beef against the Christian worldview. And I would suggest, that rather than rail on against Christianity in ignorance and with anecdotal evidence, that if you truly want to get to the bottom of determining it to be true, study it in it’s entirety and compare the answers it provides to all of life’s questions with the answers provided by opposing world views.

  186. The Answer Is... permalink
    December 10, 2010 6:00 PM

    Brian, you’ll find that none of us here, or the scientists at AiG, ICR, and the CRS believe in some form of “karma”-ized sin-punishment system.

    Sure, someone can be punished for their sins, but suggesting that a hurricane is the direct result of sin is fallacious. Suggesting that we believe that is, if possible, even more fallacious.

    Please reconsider your prejudices against Christians.

  187. Brian Ritter permalink
    December 10, 2010 5:55 PM

    It just occured to me that, following the logic of the bible, god hates relegious people.
    If you read the bible, incidents, natural disasters, disease and plagues are attributed to the wrath of god. Someone done him wrong, he kills him and his entire family (sometimes just the family, while the perpitrator gets to be king… ).
    Anyway – the logicg oes something like: he offended god, therefore he dies horribly.
    But I think, that maybe, just maybe, something happened to happen to someone bad and people then concluded that he had an issue with god. Just like crackpots like Pope Benedict XVI who agreed with Rev. Gerhard Wagner about New Orleans being hit by the hurricane Katrina because it was a sinfull city.
    What’s funny though, is that Los Angeles and San Fransisco isn’t getting hit by hurricanes – that’s earthquakes – again because they are sinfull.
    But it just so happens that many southern european contries happen to be rather religious (there’s both christian nand muslim countries) and the northern countries tend to be less religious and tend to be more freeminded. The funny thing is that the southern countries also tend to have bigger catastrophes, crime and corruption. They’re not as tolerant of homosexuals, porn, free speach, womens rights, nudity and so on, but they have more earthquakes, forrestfires, draught, volcano-eruptions, floods and the like.

    In Denamark for instance (Where I happen to live), we can buy porn almost anywhere. It’s easy access to alchohol and you can wear almost anything you want. You can go topless on almost any beach during summer and marriage isn’t really a big deal for many couples. Homosexuals are free toshow affection in public and can get married in cityhall.
    We have a state church, but almost noone goes there unless it’s a family-event, like a weding or funeral.
    There’s no earthquakes, hurricanes, floods or vulcanos erupting. We don’t have these catastrophic forrestfires and crime is rather low.

    Could it be, that if you choose to settle on a vulcano, it doesn’t matter how you live you life, eventually you will have lava in you livingroom?
    Could it also be that Istanbul, San Fransisco, Tokyo and Mexico City are more likely to get hit by earthquakes, because they choose to live near-or on the continental ridge, where as Copenhagen, London and Oslo don’t have to worry about that. Same goes with disease. Hygine tend to be much highter in vestern european countries – so is it god who makes the 3rd world countries sick or do we have a better explanition?

    Read the bible and think – could there be some other explanation for this?
    Is the interpretation of superstitious bronceage tribesmen the best way of explaining what happened? They didn’t know about continental drift and earthquakes, slumbering vulcanos, bacteria, vira, electricity causing thunder and lightning, el niño or about how alge can turn the nile read and poisenous.

  188. Atheist Destroyer permalink
    December 10, 2010 4:59 PM

    Apparently observer thinks he should have the privilege of telling those who disagree with him that they’re wrong, without having to put in the effort to demonstrate it.

    In failing to do so, he nit-picks in order to create a problem where there is none (specifically the part in the preceding post about thermodynamics), and attempts to insult the intellectual capacity of those who are destroying his argument (or rebuking him for the lack thereof).

    Atheists and other nonbelievers often resort to name-calling and ad hominem attacks in an attempt to discredit their opponent, and increasingly frequently, this happens earlier and earlier in any given debate. When this happens, the YEC can be fully assured that he has “won,” because his opponent has given up.

    Observer has no argument, or capacity for argumentation, so he has lost. That is all.

  189. observer permalink
    December 10, 2010 4:31 PM

    Quoting Bryan:
    “If indeed my understanding is incorrect, please logically and rationally explain why that is. Just saying so doesn’t suffice.”

    It’s not my job to give you a basic physics education for free, via a blog comment. Besides, it’s trivially easy for you to keep throwing out an ever-increasing number of false assertions, and you’ve done exactly that in this thread.

    “I never claimed that thermodynamics were the only “nail in the coffin” of the steady-state, or eternal cosmological model. Please read carefully.”

    Quoting you from the post to which I was referring:
    “Actually David, we do know with a great deal of certainty, that the universe isn’t eternal. It’s call the second law of thermodynamics.

    It is this basic realization that led scientists to the conclusion that the universe indeed had a beginning, and further led them to the development of the Big Bang theory.

    Extreme amnesia, or intellectual dishonesty?

    “Observer, observational evidence doesn’t come even close to extending that far back in time. Who was around to observe it? Anything that’s been “recreated” in a lab is based solely on an hypothesis, so we can’t consider it as observing the origins of matter.”

    Normally I’d post links to introductory articles on special relativity, but I doubt it’s of any use. Nonetheless, even the basic idea of a “light-year” can illustrate the fact that light from distant galaxies takes billions of years to reach us here on Earth.

    I don’t see the point in responding to the rest of your incoherent post. You’ve obviously ignored my explanation of why a First Cause isn’t _necessarily_ true. The “just a theory” line is another trite complaint that shows ignorance of fundamental scientific terminology. This stuff is taught in grade school.

    I’m done.

  190. Rational Observer permalink
    December 10, 2010 4:02 PM

    Bryan, thank you for hanging around on this site and really living out 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. You’re awesome. God bless you, man.

    🙂

  191. Bryan permalink
    December 10, 2010 1:01 PM

    @observer

    “Your understanding of thermodynamics and its cosmological implications needs work, to put it politely.”

    Observer, your understanding of thermodynamics and its cosmological implications needs work, to put it politely. See I can do it too. If indeed my understanding is incorrect, please logically and rationally explain why that is. Just saying so doesn’t suffice.

    “Redshift observations were the final nail in the coffin for steady-state cosmological models, not thermodynamics.”

    I never claimed that thermodynamics were the only “nail in the coffin” of the steady-state, or eternal cosmological model. Please read carefully. That being said, maybe you can explain the concept to David Rand.

    “As I mentioned in an earlier post, observational evidence does not yet extend to the epoch earlier than a few hundredths of a second after the Big Bang…”

    Observer, observational evidence doesn’t come even close to extending that far back in time. Who was around to observe it? Anything that’s been “recreated” in a lab is based solely on an hypothesis, so we can’t consider it as observing the origins of matter.

    “…so it is not certain that energy was actually “created”.”

    You’ve got to be kidding me. You first write about the “final nail in the coffin for a steady-state, infinite universe”, and then you proceed to suggest that maybe matter wasn’t created?? So if the universe hasn’t existed forever then energy had to be created. I think that here I might suggest that your understanding of the basic principles of logic needs work…to put it politely. Either matter/energy has existed forever, or it hasn’t. It can’t be both. And I certainly hope you aren’t going to suggest that “we don’t know, because maybe one day, scientific research will prove that is both.”

    “Your assertion that the First Cause must (by definition) require no cause is unavoidably bare, in addition to being an instance of special pleading.”

    The assertion of an uncaused first cause is no more special pleading than your argument that the universe began somehow just milliseconds before the big bang, but we just don’t know how.

    Just look at the definition for special pleading, that you posted:

    Special pleading is a form of spurious argumentation where a position in a dispute introduces favorable details or excludes unfavorable details by alleging a need to apply additional considerations (such as yours, and others argument that, the matter and energy required by the big bang was brought into existence, outside our current understanding of natural/physical laws) without proper criticism of these considerations themselves (but we can’t test or explain this because we haven’t yet figured it out through scientific research). Essentially, this involves someone attempting to cite something as an exemption to a generally accepted rule, principle, etc. (creating matter/energy from nothing, or a closed system where matter and energy exist eternally), without justifying the exemption (we don’t know yet, just trust us, we’ll figure it out someday).

    “With points [1-3] refuted, [4] gets dragged into the hole with them.” Citing a cyclic model does not “refute” anything. It simply raises a cyclic model as just that, a model. Never mind that it doesn’t overcome the problem of matter and energy existing forever, in blatant contradiction to the very “nails in the coffin of an eternal universe” that you yourself pointed out. The same applies to your “virtual-particle” article. It’s a theory.

    You haven’t refuted anything.

    The point is, we are dealing with the fundamental issue that based on everything we know today (with certainty) about the physical universe: (a) it had a beginning, and (b) it couldn’t create itself. If someone were to find a “silver bullet” that could extinguish these principles, we would certainly all know about it.

    This is what people are trying to tell you. It appears your side operates on the assumption that it is the only side of the argument that adheres to a “scientific” and logical approach; therefore, opposing arguments must not follow such an approach and should be summarily and rudely dismissed. However, this approach only reveals the insecurity of your own position.

    The logic still stands:

    [1] The universe (or matter and energy) had a beginning.

    [2] The universe (or matter and energy) has not always existed.

    [3] Matter and energy are not able to create themselves from nothing.

    [4] Therefore, some external force, not composed of matter and energy, was required to create matter and energy.

  192. December 10, 2010 1:22 AM

    >>>>>>The first point is an arbitrary assumption. An what basis can we assume that the universe must have a first cause? Maybe the universe is eternal and has always existed, in which case [1] would be false. We don’t know.

    It can’t be eternal, because if the sequence of events before this one is infinite, then this event (our present experience) could never be reached. We have reached it, therefore the sequence leading up to today is not infinite.
    Reference: http://www.proofofgod.org/index.php/arguments-fo-the-existence-of-god/the-kalam-argument

    >>>>>Why not label the first cause “Satan” and thus claim that Satan exists? Or call it “Dill Pickle” and thus argue for the existence of Dill Pickle?

    That’s really irrelevant, because whatever the being is that is the First Cause would have the properties of God. Calling it by a different name is just that–calling the same thing by a different name.

    >>>>>If the universe does have a first cause, on what basis can we assume that it is a sentient agent instead of an inanimate process or whatever?

    Because if the universe is the product of an unthinking force, then what would limit that force from creating universes? What would prevent it from destroying anything it created? What would make it create in the first place? The solution to this is that whatever created this universe must have had the conscious choice (volition) in order to create, not continue creating, and to sustain the creation. Thus, a being is more compatible than a nonvolitional force (see the link for further exploration).

    >>>>>Anyway, I’m sorry I can’t provide a link for Thor

    In other words, you made a false claim. Your argument rests on a false claim, therefore your argument is false.

    >>>>> You can’t observe millions of years by direct observation.

    And science, according to you, deals with the natural and the observable. You’re being inconsistent when you claim that evolution is scientific, because you readily admit that it’s not observable.

    >>>>>To cherry-pick is not objectively morally wrong as morals are not objective, as I stated. However, cherry-picking, is logically wrong and to add it is harmful to the development, and potentially to survival, of the human species

    Is logic subjective or objective? Also, why is it wrong to be harmful to the species, (assuming for the sake of argument that it is)?

    The above question is being asked solely to make you think.

    >>>>> Religious people are not mentally attached to the real world.

    So you’re not real, then? Man, that explains why I felt like I was wasting my time…..

    >>>>>>And verifiable evidence is all that can convince me.

    I don’t believe you–you believe in philosophical atheistic evolutionism, which is not verifiable nor has it been verified. I daresay you might have a bad case of trying to rationalize excuses for yourself.

    >>>>>And try to control your superiority complex.

    Please excuse me while I laugh at the extraordinary irony of your demand.

    >>>>>>But all you need to do is provide verifiable evidence. And you can’t do that.

    Irrefutable proof =/= undeniable claim. You can deny it all you want, and you are taking that freedom very liberally.

    >>>>>>That Hitchens video is so uninformed that I really can’t be bothered anymore. Enjoy your life.

    I felt the same after reading everything in your post that I didn’t bother responding to. Your post was filled of nothing but personal attacks and denialism. Common responses when an atheist feels threatened, so no hard feelings. I do feel sad reading it, though. I can only hope that your eyes will be opened before it’s too late.

    @observer: your response is an excellent demonstration of the ability to, by repetition and indoctrination, train away common sense and simple logic from one’s repertoire.

  193. observer permalink
    December 9, 2010 2:46 PM

    @Bryan:
    Your understanding of thermodynamics and its cosmological implications needs work, to put it politely. Consistent steady state cosmological models were being given serious consideration just before Hubble’s most famous discovery, so thermodynamics alone does not imply that the universe had a beginning. Redshift observations were the final nail in the coffin for steady-state cosmological models, not thermodynamics. Your claims of science’s certainty on the issues you mentioned is way off base at best, and flat-out wrong at worst. As I mentioned in an earlier post, observational evidence does not yet extend to the epoch earlier than a few hundredths of a second after the Big Bang, so it is not certain that energy was actually “created”.

    There are many possible refutations to the First Cause argument you put forth in your previous post. Your assertion that the First Cause must (by definition) require no cause is unavoidably bare, in addition to being an instance of special pleading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_pleading
    Furthermore, there are various cyclic models in cosmology that obviate the “need” for a Mover: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclic_model
    Then there is the fact that quantum fluctuations do produce particles out of literally nothing:
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=are-virtual-particles-rea
    There are also various philosophical refutations, which the reader can Google on their own.

    With points [1-3] refuted, [4] gets dragged into the hole with them.

  194. Bryan permalink
    December 9, 2010 12:27 PM

    “I consider this “argument” to be so extremely lame that it merits only a passing mention.”

    FYI – David, your considering an argument to be “lame” has no bearing on the validity of that argument.

  195. Bryan permalink
    December 9, 2010 12:22 PM

    “The first point is an arbitrary assumption. An what basis can we assume that the universe must have a first cause? Maybe the universe is eternal and has always existed, in which case [1] would be false. We don’t know.”

    Actually David, we do know with a great deal of certainty, that the universe isn’t eternal. It’s call the second law of thermodynamics. A hot object is put in contact with a cold object. Eventually, they both achieve the same equilibrium temperature. If we then separate the objects they remain at the equilibrium temperature and do not naturally return to their original temperatures. The process of bringing them to the same temperature is irreversible.

    If the universe had no beginning, and had existed eternally, at this point we’d all be quite frozen. In fact we wouldn’t be, because we never would have gotten started. There would be no concentration of energy in our sun. Everything would be the same temperature.

    It is this basic realization that led scientists to the conclusion that the universe indeed had a beginning, and further led them to the development of the Big Bang theory.

    Maybe the universe is eternal. It in fact is not. And there aren’t too many other things in the field of science of which we are more certain.

    That’s the problem with the straw argument you laid out:

    [1] Everything must have a first cause.
    [2] Call the first cause of the universe “God”.

    The logic isn’t that everything must have a first cause, the argument is that the universe must have a first cause. It would be better written as follows:

    [1] The universe (or matter and energy) had a beginning.

    [2] The universe (or matter and energy) has not always existed.

    [3] Matter and energy are not able to create themselves from nothing.

    [4] Therefore, some external force, not composed of matter and energy, was required to create matter and energy.

    It is the external force in #4 that we would call the first cause.

  196. Heywood Jablomi permalink
    December 9, 2010 10:00 AM

    No David, you don’t understand. The Bible is clearly and indisputably true. It says so in the Bible. Therefore your argument is invalid.

  197. December 9, 2010 7:03 AM

    Someone asked about the first cause argument. I consider this “argument” to be so extremely lame that it merits only a passing mention. Basically it can be summarized in two points:
    [1] Everything must have a first cause.
    [2] Call the first cause of the universe “God”.

    The first point is an arbitrary assumption. An what basis can we assume that the universe must have a first cause? Maybe the universe is eternal and has always existed, in which case [1] would be false. We don’t know.

    But for the moment let us assume that there is a first cause and consider the second point. It involves attaching the word “God” to that cause. “God” is one of the most heavily charged (with meaning) of any word in the language. Using it in this context implies huge assumptions about the nature of the cause being considered. Why not label the first cause “Satan” and thus claim that Satan exists? Or call it “Dill Pickle” and thus argue for the existence of Dill Pickle? If the universe does have a first cause, on what basis can we assume that it is a sentient agent instead of an inanimate process or whatever? Physicist Victor Stenger hypothesizes that the universe came into being because of the instability of “nothingness”. I do not understand Stenger’s idea well enough to evaluate it, but even if he is wrong, the use of the label “God” is unjustified and simply prejudices the discussion in favour of ancient theistic mythologies.

  198. -X- permalink
    December 9, 2010 6:03 AM

    * one more thing as I noticed a thought-error in my writing (that is in moderation):

    I state that “and for comparison USA has average belief in God of about 14% and Canada about 23%”. Of course I mean: USA has average belief in God about 86% and Canada about 77%. The 14% and 23% were refering to atheism in the countries. (according to some other sources there might be some variation with the numbers, but it’s all in the limits of close approximation. a small fluctuation through individual surveys can of course be expected, but the figures give easily a close enough estimate for the context in my text)

    Additionally I’d like to add that the statistics concerning the belief among scientists are specifically of the US population of scientists (from each of the years).

    [just pretend this was in my text, when it’s been moderated]

  199. -X- permalink
    December 9, 2010 5:15 AM

    Erik:

    I just left my last reply. Enjoy it after moderation.

    And still to add to that:

    “They’re their own worst enemy. I speak from experience, here.”

    First sensible thing you’ve said really. 😀

    “Reading more and becoming more learned drives people away faster than it drives them toward it. Wonder why that is?”

    Regarding this subjective experience of yours: Social influences.

    Now I’m done. -_-

  200. -X- permalink
    December 9, 2010 4:20 AM

    For Erik:

    Okay, I didn’t get a rational answer but I’ll make this one post still. This will be my last answer and after that you’re on your own. I really don’t have time to try and teach your deluded mind reason when you don’t even understand the basics. I actually have better things to do.

    >>>”You’re trying to avoid the issue.”

    You are avoiding the fact that you do not understand science. And it’s no surprise that you therefore don’t understand the difference between science and religion.

    >>>”Yes, I do, but unfortunately, your assumptions are no better than they were before.”

    You are wrong.

    >>>”Your claim would work if I was an atheist, but I have divine revelation that tells me that your foolish ideas will continue to be bunk for as long as you deny God, so I can claim with 100% certainty that what you claim about the past, if it contradicts scripture, will turn out to be wrong.”

    You are not acknowledging the weakness of your own subjective mind and have very low ability for introspection. And you can’t tell the difference between reality and fiction. I recommend starting from the psychology-section next time you’re in the library.

    >>>” I personally don’t possess absolute knowledge, but God does, and He’s revealed particular things to us, so that we can know with 100% certainty that those things are true. Part of His revelation is that the Universe is young, and that the wisdom of those who deny God are like foolishness compared to Him.”

    Yeah, your delusions are strong. Maybe something on hallucinations to be more exact, or about pathophysiology of hallucinations, I don’t know… But definitely something about weakness of subjective experience. From the library, that is.

    >>>”With regard to the above, if you look at what I posted, I said that I know the Truth, not all Truth everywhere about everything at all times. Just the truth that’s been revealed to me, and it contradicts yours, so thus yours is wrong. Upon scientific analysis, this is confirmed.”

    Yes, and to add to the weakness of subjective experience… Add several books that explain science.

    >>>”Pardon me, but this is the scientific method: [6-part list]… Not sure if you knew that I knew this, so I just felt obliged to explain it to you. (it’s developed in large part by Creationist Francis Bacon, by the way).”

    Just because you can copy a highlight of the step-by-step procedure of scientific method doesn’t mean you understand it – and you have clearly demonstrated that you don’t, even if you won’t accept it. Besides; the 6-part list you presented is very lacking. Really: a book that goes into great detail on the matter highly recommended. (and again you show astounding lack of knowledge in history and timeline)

    >>>”I’m not even going to bother responding to the inanity of your diatribe about Galileo. You haven’t presented an argument, so there’s nothing for me to respond to here.”

    The argument and fact was this: you are confusing scientists with scholastics. Add a couple of history books. At least: history of science.

    >>>”You’re only trying to cover up the fact that you have no evidence. I’m not claiming it “works like that”–I’m claiming it DOESN”T WORK. At all. You have no evidence. ZERO.””

    No matter how much you try to convince yourself, doesn’t make it true. And you lack pretty much all knowledge of science, so nothing surprising there really.

    >>>”[deliberately misunderstanding of science or just plain stupidity in the form of faulty use of fallacies, which seem to characterize you]”

    Maybe a book on logic to add with the science… It’s getting kind of ridiculous…

    >>>”Some of these are irrelevant; I wonder why you included them as “evidences” of evolution. Weird. But note that all of the above falls into category Q as defined above. Moreover, ‘vestigial structure’ is a bit of a tautology and they don’t really exist in reality. Natural selection is also independent of evolution, but often conflated with it via the Fallacy of Equivocation.”

    Yeah, I know you don’t understand science. And you even conveniently chose to ignore the detective metaphor, just as you chose to ignore the burden of proof, your own circular logic, hints towards neurology, and maybe something else – I can’t keep track of everything. And by the way, also giving a hint to a latter question: that is also cherry-picking.

    >>>”God doesn’t need scientific evidence to support Him. He is the source of all truth. Scientific evidence CONFIRMS what we already know to be true. In fact, all of the above does just that.”

    And… Psychiatry maybe? I know a plain psychologist wouldn’t do any good…

    >>>”Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Pay up.”

    That’s not really extraordinary… For example many of the “religions” in Asia have long been atheistic and for as long as we know there have been atheistic subculture even before the popularization of Taoism for example. And to demonstrate in this day, which we definitely know for certain, for example Vietnam has about 80%, Sweden has atheism rate of about 80%, Denmark has about 80%, in fact all Scandinavian countries have atheism rate of >50% (all the statistics are from 2000’s). Among scientists about 46.3% believed in God in 1914, and notably there were and are some variations between fields. For example only 24.2% of psychologists believed in God then. That was in 1914; in 1934 the overall belief among scientist had declined to 33%. In 1996 it was 39,3 %. That’s the newest statistic I have here… Also notably among “greater and well respected scientists” the overall figures of belief in God have been 30% in 1916, 15% in 1934 and 7% in 1996. And also notably: statistically the more distinguished a university is, the more atheistic the students. (and for comparison USA has average belief in God of about 14% and Canada about 23%)

    Anyway… Belief in God is hardly “prevalent” in those abovementioned societies – so the statement that “belief in God is prevalent in all peoples in all times” is absolutely false. For further reading I’d recommend maybe anthropology.

    >>>”Please, link me to a scholarly site that has a technical argument for Thor’s existence. Otherwise rescind your claim.”

    I’m sure an ancient Norse mythology has close to no value in today’s society as should be the case for your God. But in their time it was just as relevant as your God is to you. Gladly, the amount of Gods has been decreasing rapidly within the last 3000 years. Anyway, I’m sorry I can’t provide a link for Thor but here’s some first picks from Google for Allah – your closest rival still “alive” (which I’m sure won’t satisfy you, but I’ll humor myself):
    http://www.islam101.com/tauheed/provingGodExists.htm
    http://www.ummah.com/forum/showthread.php?39509-Proof-of-Existence-of-Allah-%28SWT%29-Shahid-Hasan-al-Banna

    >>>>>but most likely something (“something” in the way you’d understand) always existed.
    >>>”Why is that most likely? Please support your bare assertion with logic.”

    I wish you would back up your arguments from ignorance sometime. Oh that’s right, it’s close to impossible except through your own subjective delusions. But okay… In my current state of knowledge of cosmological theories I think that before the big bang and the whole battle of matter and antimatter, there was probably an enormous amount of energy, in which a quantum fluctuation (possibly random) of some kind caused matter to win. It is even possible we live in a black hole – in a sort of wrapped fourth dimension that travels through different universes, a system which has no cause to believe to be not-eternal. It could also be the universe itself is eternal and only undergoing its normal cyclic circle. We don’t know for sure, of course. But those would be my best guesses at the moment, but I’m looking forward to results of the antimatter experiments they are currently doing – and experiments to come of course. Also “nothing” exists throughout the universe and practically, on the level of protons, even 90 % of your body mass is literally nothing, or empty space, if you will. That is what I was referring to with the “’something’ in the way you’d understand. It is nothing, but it is something (another logical fallacy I’m sure, but that’s what it is believe it or not). But in the end it doesn’t really matter. So… I guess add some books on cosmology maybe. Although I’m sure you wouldn’t get anything out of them since they are very theoretical and at times hugely speculative – though infinitely more informative than bible.

    >>>”Is it wrong to murder other people? If morality is not absolute, how can you say for sure?”

    Again you are making assumptions. Look into the term ‘subjective’ some time. Maybe on the concepts of socialization and social constructivism also… Add a book on sociology and social psychology. Anyway… There have been countless of subjective rationalizations of killing a human being with it being morally satisfying (subjectively). It’s practically everywhere, just look at some court cases – or inquisitions for that matter. Other than that, most commonly, murder is usually avoided in societies because it puts the survival of the murderer in the society at harm. It is a tribal function to not usually kill anyone. It is good for your genes.

    >>>>There are many prevailing life philosophies that are atheistic and as far as we know there always has been.
    >>>”Please, feel free to back yourself up. Anytime….”

    See above the statistics, and below for some suggested reading.

    >>>”You’re failing badly at getting the point: it’s not proving the existence of God. Did you get that? It’s comparing the FSM to God and showing that there’s no comparison (in a manner of speaking).”

    Yeah, I’m sorry. For a second I assumed you acknowledged your burden of proof.

    >>>”I’m sorry, did you say that evolution is observable? Please, point me in the direction of the nearest observation of an animal, plant or bacteria caught in the act of evolving. I’d love to see it, if you wouldn’t mind.”

    Try to get the detective metaphor please. It really should enlighten you… You can’t observe millions of years by direct observation.

    >>>”All fiction is written as fiction. When there’s nothing to indicate that something is fiction, except your disagreement with the truth claims it makes, then your own presuppositions are interfering with the historical textual analysis.”

    Well I’m pretty sure bible was written as fiction as well, to control the people. Plato even suggested it, and it was done in other forms before that. Nevertheless not all fiction is written as fiction if you’re deluded. You have no concept what qualifies as historical evidence. I’m sure you could find some good books on that also…

    >>>>Just because superman tells a story of Obama winning the election doesn’t mean superman is real.
    >>>”You have shown yourself to be incapable of applying appropriate analogies for the topic. Every time you make such a comment, you only show your ignorance.”
    >>>” You seem to not be able to recognize when a point is being made.”

    Hahaha… Oh boy, all I can say is that those apply a googleplex times more on yourself.

    >>>“You are still arguing with me as if I never said anything to you except “evolution is wrong,” and let you do the guesswork.”

    Yeah, I’m doing all the work here that’s for sure.

    >>>”All of your claims are rehashed novice arguments against religion in general without any support for them, and you are for the most part stating things irrelevant to my argument in response. It is as if you don’t understand what I’m saying to you.”

    No, actually you don’t understand. See above (and below).

    >>>”Please define “cherry-pick” in GREAT detail and explain exactly why you think it’s wrong. Then explain how you can claim that something is wrong if morals are subjective and change with time.”

    What I mean by cherry-picking is this: from the picture of the world of information around you, and from the information that your brains form based on that, you choose to accept only those things that support your existing deluded beliefs and belief system, and choose to ignore those pieces of information that might counter them on any level.

    It’s wrong because it is most highly subjective and not striving towards objectivity on any level (that is it is logically deceiving and wrong).

    To cherry-pick is not objectively morally wrong as morals are not objective, as I stated. However, cherry-picking, is logically wrong and to add it is harmful to the development, and potentially to survival, of the human species. Not to mention it is harmful for individuals and groups in many societies over millennia and still today… Try to think not just yourself or of the Christian people, but of humanity as one; everything and everyone connected and equal, and you’ll start seeing the bigger pictures – I wish. I really recommend reading books about social psychology and sociology, really… And before you say anything stupid, I’ll give you a clue: Cherry-picking is quite opposite to how science works, with verifiable evidence.

    >>>”Please ask yourself the same question: Biblical Christians are not by default going to try to argue from tradition or authority. Please consider arguments on an individual basis, and do not disregard a claim simply because it suggests that something you don’t wish to believe in is true.”

    Well, they kind of do. They just more often than not play word games and illogical thought-patterns based only on cherry-picking, to hide the fact that historically for millennia all their thoughts are based solely on tradition, authority and revelation. You even admitted your beliefs are based on revelation, which is pretty much case closed in my books (heh) – all that revelation was, was most likely a neurologically induced state of self-affirmation. Religious people are not mentally attached to the real world. And no matter how much they play the word games, they still have the burden of proof. And verifiable evidence is all that can convince me. And I’m not going to look for those for your behalf, since I see it as futile. The burden of proof is on you.

    >>>>>>And next time someone tells you something is true, ask for evidence.
    >>>”That’s what I’ve been doing to you throughout this conversation (and this post), and I’m still waiting….”

    Seriously… Find out the meaning of “burden of proof”.

    >>>> “Can we grow up and get over it, please?”

    Yes, this will be my last post. All is forgiven.

    >>>>> “There’s nothing I can say to that. You admit that you made your claim without knowledge, but do not provide support aside from your claim. I’ll keep your claim about having seen documentaries on the subject in mind, but it looks like this is where the claim train stops. I hope I won’t be seeing any more claims indicating that Christianity’s the same as ‘all the other religions,’ until you provide more evidence.”

    Read “The Cambridge Companion to Atheism”. Read Brian Hayden, expert on prehistoric religion, for example studies like “How Religion Changed in the Bronze Age”, “Ritual Structures in Transegalitarian Communities”, “Prehistoric rites of passage: A comparative study of transegalitarian hunter-gatherers”. Read anthropology. Study some other religions besides those that are most prevalent today. Don’t cherry-pick. And most importantly: learn science. Learn about verifiable evidence and the weakness of the subjective mind to generate illusions. And try to control your superiority complex.

    >>>>>>You seem to have an agenda to try and convince people of your own deluded beliefs.
    >>>”That’s a pretty common side effect to defending one’s position and explaining why the opponent’s position is wrong. If you would tar me with that brush, don’t forget to tar yourself. Other than that, your comment is basically irrelevant.”

    Yeah. But all you need to do is provide verifiable evidence. And you can’t do that. You are on no grounds to objectively say your opponent’s position is wrong – especially when you don’t understand the methods of the opponent. I on the other hand understand at least some of your methods: possible trauma, gullibility, deliberate or intentional misunderstandings, unfortunate neurological dysfunction, superiority complex and cherry-picking. Overall, a great mix. Your methods are not within the world that surrounds us – only in your brain. Once again: social psychology and neuropsychology.

    >>>> How very Christian of you.
    >>>>>”Telling the Truth? Yes, I suppose that is a Christian-derived value. It certainly isn’t a central tenet of atheism.”
    >>>>>” Reading more and becoming more learned drives people away faster than it drives them toward it. Wonder why that is? I’ll leave you to ponder that.”

    Answering to the latter: a generalization based on your own limited surroundings. Doesn’t hold up in much of the world.

    “I respect you as a person too much to respect your ridiculous beliefs.” – Johann Hari

    But, I guess there’s a limit. If you refuse to tell the difference between a studied book of history and a religious text – no one can really help you. You’ve proven yourself uninformed, uneducated and delusional too many times. I give up. I’m sorry. I guess I’m weak, but these two days are enough for me for a long time. I hope you’ll find something meaningful in your life as well – preferably something that could possibly benefit humanity, that’s what I strive towards. And just remember: you can always come to reason if you give yourself the chance.

    PS: That Hitchens video is so uninformed that I really can’t be bothered anymore. Enjoy your life.

  201. December 9, 2010 12:01 AM

    To X: (I couldn’t find what comment I was supposed to be responding to, so I’m posting here :P)

    >>>>>Yes, you can cherry-pick examples all you want, but all it demonstrates is that you don’t understand science. The reason why the information has changed was because it was measured to be wrong.

    You’re trying to avoid the issue. My claim is simple: What your prophets claimed was gospel truth 100 years ago WASN’T the truth, so it is highly likely that what your prophets and wise men are claiming to be the truth TODAY is NOT TRUE, either, since it will doubtlessly not be considered the truth in another hundred years. In other words, why should I take anything you say seriously, if you can’t provide any guarantee that you’re right?

    >>>>Besides you have no idea how accurate the current methods of saying the universe is ~13.75 billion years old are

    Yes, I do, but unfortunately, your assumptions are no better than they were before.

    >>>>>and you can’t see in the future to claim it won’t hold.

    Your claim would work if I was an atheist, but I have divine revelation that tells me that your foolish ideas will continue to be bunk for as long as you deny God, so I can claim with 100% certainty that what you claim about the past, if it contradicts scripture, will turn out to be wrong.

    >>>>You just claimed there can be absolute knowledge, even implying you might have that, which is just absurd.

    Incorrect. I personally don’t possess absolute knowledge, but God does, and He’s revealed particular things to us, so that we can know with 100% certainty that those things are true. Part of His revelation is that the Universe is young, and that the wisdom of those who deny God are like foolishness compared to Him.

    >>>>>The advances in the technology and social awareness that the humankind is still continuously undergoing imply there is a lot we don’t know yet.

    If only you would take that to heart.

    >>>>>It is very disconcerting that you would claim anyone would have absolute knowledge, and it quite frankly makes me worried of your psychological wellbeing.

    With regard to the above, if you look at what I posted, I said that I know the Truth, not all Truth everywhere about everything at all times. Just the truth that’s been revealed to me, and it contradicts yours, so thus yours is wrong. Upon scientific analysis, this is confirmed.

    >>>>your statements scream lack of know-ledge regarding the scientific method.

    Pardon me, but this is the scientific method:
    1. Make a hypothesis.
    2. Prepare an experiment to test hypothesis.
    3. Run the experiment to test the relationship of particular variables to one another.
    4. Gather data.
    5. Arrange and analyze results.
    6. Interpret the data to formulate a conclusion.

    Not sure if you knew that I knew this, so I just felt obliged to explain it to you. (it’s developed in large part by Creationist Francis Bacon, by the way).

    >>>>You claim I have poor misunderstanding of history, which is true – but I’ll assume you meant I have poor understanding of history, which is untrue.

    Nope, I simply meant that you have a misunderstanding of history, and it is a very poor situation to be in. It is a poor [misunderstanding of history], not a poor [misunderstanding] of history. Hope this helps.

    I’m not even going to bother responding to the inanity of your diatribe about Galileo. You haven’t presented an argument, so there’s nothing for me to respond to here.

    >>>>It doesn’t work like that.

    You’re only trying to cover up the fact that you have no evidence. I’m not claiming it “works like that”–I’m claiming it DOESN”T WORK. At all. You have no evidence. ZERO.

    >>>>We are lucky to have those, but even if we didn’t there would still be enormous amount of evidence to support evolution be-sides observed speciation

    Sadly, speciation doesn’t require evolution; it’s the other way around.

    Logically consistent:
    If p then q
    p
    therefore q

    Logically FALLACIOUS:
    If p then q
    q
    therefore p

    Guess which one this is?
    If evolution, then speciation
    speciation
    therefore evolution.

    You guessed it. The conclusion does not follow from the premises.

    >>>>>For example DNA sequencing, chromosome comparisons, classifica-tions, fossil records, continental distribution, observed natural selection, artificial selection, vesti-giality, interspecies fertility and hybridization, computational models and so on

    Some of these are irrelevant; I wonder why you included them as “evidences” of evolution. Weird. But note that all of the above falls into category Q as defined above. Moreover, ‘vestigial structure’ is a bit of a tautology and they don’t really exist in reality. Natural selection is also independent of evolution, but often conflated with it via the Fallacy of Equivocation.

    >>>>Even if you take a couple of those away there would still be enormous amount of valid evidence to support evolution – and none to support God.

    God doesn’t need scientific evidence to support Him. He is the source of all truth. Scientific evidence CONFIRMS what we already know to be true. In fact, all of the above does just that.

    >>>> First sentence: historically and un-iversally not true.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Pay up.

    >>>>Furthermore there are many sophisticated philosophical arguments for
    Allah’s existence and for thousands of other Gods you just choose to ignore for the same reason most ignore yours.

    Please, link me to a scholarly site that has a technical argument for Thor’s existence. Otherwise rescind your claim.

    >>>>>but most likely something (“something” in the way you’d understand) always existed.

    Why is that most likely? Please support your bare assertion with logic.

    >>>>>>And morality is not objective but shaped and formed in many forms over the hundreds of thousands of years of separated tribal living and wandering.

    Is it wrong to murder other people? If morality is not absolute, how can you say for sure?

    >>>>There are many prevailing life philosophies that are atheistic and as far as we know there always has been.

    Please, feel free to back yourself up. Anytime….

    >>>>“(4) Belief in God is rationally satisfying.”
    I feel bad for anyone who thinks that. And furthermore: it’s irrelevant to the truth value.

    You’re failing badly at getting the point: it’s not proving the existence of God. Did you get that? It’s comparing the FSM to God and showing that there’s no comparison (in a manner of speaking).

    >>>>> And furthermore you seem to appreciate observations and discoveries based on observations… Only that you have merely cherry-picked some discoveries that suite your view of the world (like the heliocentric theory) and discarded some (like the evolution theory).

    I’m sorry, did you say that evolution is observable? Please, point me in the direction of the nearest observation of an animal, plant or bacteria caught in the act of evolving. I’d love to see it, if you wouldn’t mind.

    >>>>>All fiction contains such shades of fact.

    All fiction is written as fiction. When there’s nothing to indicate that something is fiction, except your disagreement with the truth claims it makes, then your own presuppositions are interfering with the historical textual analysis.

    >>>>Just because superman tells a story of Obama winning the election doesn’t mean superman is real.

    You have shown yourself to be incapable of applying appropriate analogies for the topic. Every time you make such a comment, you only show your ignorance.

    >>>>>In all your deluded rambling, I’m really starting to think you are a lost cause after all.

    I’m starting to suspect as much of you. You seem to not be able to recognize when a point is being made. You are still arguing with me as if I never said anything to you except “evolution is wrong,” and let you do the guesswork. All of your claims are rehashed novice arguments against religion in general without any support for them, and you are for the most part stating things irrelevant to my argument in response. It is as if you don’t understand what I’m saying to you.

    >>>>My advice is this: try to identify when you cherry-pick

    Please define “cherry-pick” in GREAT detail and explain exactly why you think it’s wrong. Then explain how you can claim that something is wrong if morals are subjective and change with time.

    >>>>>Furthermore: when someone tells you something new, ask yourself ‘is this something people know based on evidence or is it because tradition, authority or revelation

    Please ask yourself the same question: Biblical Christians are not by default going to try to argue from tradition or authority. Please consider arguments on an individual basis, and do not disregard a claim simply because it suggests that something you don’t wish to believe in is true.

    >>>>>>And next time someone tells you something is true, ask for evidence.

    That’s what I’ve been doing to you throughout this conversation (and this post), and I’m still waiting….

    >>>>Ad hominems and just total lack of even trying to understand simple process of gathering knowledge through observations and not from any written word.

    The worst thing I’ve said to you is apparently an indictment on your level of scholarly research, which is more of a description than a personal attack (it’s meant to make you stop and think about what you’re saying), and you consider it an insult. I’m sorry you feel that way. Can we grow up and get over it, please? You’ve been saying far worse than “you’re not trying to present reasoned arguments,” so please avoid applying a double standard.

    That would be very un-atheist-like of you….oh wait, it wouldn’t….

    >>>>>No I have personally not heard all the others make the same claims, but I have seen documentaries and well documented (historical) writings about most of the mentioned things.

    There’s nothing I can say to that. You admit that you made your claim without knowledge, but do not provide support aside from your claim. I’ll keep your claim about having seen documentaries on the subject in mind, but it looks like this is where the claim train stops. I hope I won’t be seeing any more claims indicating that Christianity’s the same as ‘all the other religions,’ until you provide more evidence.

    >>>>>>You seem to have an agenda to try and convince people of your own deluded beliefs.

    That’s a pretty common side effect to defending one’s position and explaining why the opponent’s position is wrong. If you would tar me with that brush, don’t forget to tar yourself. Other than that, your comment is basically irrelevant.

    >>>> How very Christian of you.

    Telling the Truth? Yes, I suppose that is a Christian-derived value. It certainly isn’t a central tenet of atheism.

    >>>>>Instead of doing that, might I suggest: library and studying some non-fictional books as well… And if you’ve already tried that… Try again.

    Been there, done that. I must say, the more I read, the less I become convinced of evolutionism. I daresay you should probably suggest, if you wish to keep people convinced of the goo-to-you-via-the-zoo fable, that people read as few books on the subject as possible–and especially not from pro-evolutionism authors. They’re their own worst enemy. I speak from experience, here. You might want to take this advice into account. Reading more and becoming more learned drives people away faster than it drives them toward it. Wonder why that is? I’ll leave you to ponder that.

  202. December 8, 2010 10:41 PM

    >>>>Don’t think so? Learn the history of the inquisition.

    Please watch this brief youtube video (it’s an audio of Dinesh D’Souza from a debate where he debated Christopher Hitchens).

    Oh, and feel free to check the references, but the video conveys it much more forcefully.

  203. Doug permalink
    December 8, 2010 8:18 PM

    One of the largest organizations of god believers is also the organization that is the longest running, most brutal and most prolific terrorist organization the world has ever seen. Don’t think so? Learn the history of the inquisition. Read the newspapers headlines about the decades of sexual abuse the pope is apologizing for. Do you really think he’s sorry, or is it just damage control? Now you want me to believe in their “god”? They were wrong about the earth being the center of the universe and soooo many other things.

  204. December 8, 2010 6:56 PM

    >>>>This is facepalm-worthy. I’ve seen some bad revisionist history, but this one tops them all. Apparently you’re unfamiliar with Galileo’s incarceration by the Roman Catholic Church on grounds of heresy, for daring to deny the geocentric model

    What you are apparently unfamiliar with is the fact that geocentrism was the position of the academics of Galileo’s day, and that the Roman Catholic Church was nothing more than ‘useful idiots’ to them.

    >>>> I’ll take this quote as either evidence of trolling, ignorance or general idiocy. Pick one.

    Take it as evidence of your own ignorance.

  205. Bobblehead permalink
    December 8, 2010 5:43 PM

    Erik Walker said:
    “It took you hundreds of years to admit to YOUR mistake of geocentricity, and now we’re just waiting for you to give up your belief in evolutionism.”

    This is facepalm-worthy. I’ve seen some bad revisionist history, but this one tops them all. Apparently you’re unfamiliar with Galileo’s incarceration by the Roman Catholic Church on grounds of heresy, for daring to deny the geocentric model. His works were censored by the Church for over 120 years. I’ll take this quote as either evidence of trolling, ignorance or general idiocy. Pick one.

  206. -X- permalink
    December 8, 2010 4:23 PM

    For Erik:

    I made a long post concerning your previous misunderstandings but it has been under moderation for several hours (due to the length of the post).

    But just to summarize: you don’t understand science, you have a poor understanging of the history (of science), you have obviously not a clue what you’re talking about concerning (evidence for) evolution, you have just about zero understanging what qualify as verifiable evidence, you do a lot of twisted, irrelevant and illogical cherry-picking, and you most likely have a severe superiority complex or just plain enjoy trolling. And all of this makes me think you are wasting my time.

    You can get into those points in more details once it’s been moderated. Just wait. Read a science book while you’re at it.

  207. -X- permalink
    December 8, 2010 3:41 PM

    “This is why it has been hard to have a proper dialogue about this subject, because you and others arguing your side open up so many fronts in the debate that we can never get very far with any of the discussion points.”

    Yes, we argue on many fronts because world is not so simple as “God did it”. You have to actually study several subjects to form a strong scientific, evidence based, view of the world.

    “What I’m saying about the Bible, may very well be what others are saying about other Holy Books. But just because this same statement is said incorrectly about other holy books does not automatically make saying it about the Bible incorrect as well. How illogical can one actually be??”

    Answering to the last bit: apparently very. You said that ‘because the statement is said “incorrectly” (your word and qualification) about other holy books does not automatically make saying it about the Bible incorrect’. But neither does it make saying it about the Bible correct either. In fact: it puts all the books on the same line on the scale of “should one take them as seriously as you currently take yours”. Unless, of course, if you have a superiority complex, which I’m beginning to think more than one people here have.

    That thought should also provide some kind of guideline to how bible, or any book for that matter, should be approached. Verifiability of the evidence is the key. All other methods proposed are just bronze age fairytales trying to uphold a dying dogma at the dawn of the age of reason. I know it’s hard accept.

  208. Bryan permalink
    December 8, 2010 3:27 PM

    @observer:

    “To claim that a prime mover exists is one assumption. To additionally ascribe (mostly psychological) attributes to this mover is a wobbly stack of assumptions that collapses under its own absurdity.”

    What a load of conjecture. To claim a prime mover exists and to ascribe attributes to this prime mover (in the case of God) is not a “wobbly stack of assumptions”.

    1. It’s based first and foremost on the point that you highlighted, and that is that the singularity or beginning of the universe is outside of our physical laws “…since observational evidence does not extend to the singularity”. It is this understanding that has logically has led many to believe that because the singularity is not of the “natural” that it may very well have to be outside of the natural, or be “supernatural”.

    2. In addition to this, we have an astounding Biblical record which provides claims that line up directly with the hypothesis of the supernatural first mover.

    3. And when we examine the Biblical record, based on the spiritual context with which it presents itself, we find a broader world view which provides additional answers to life’s questions, such as what is right, what is wrong, why are we here, etc. (Keep in mind that not every important question in life is about atoms and elements.) If God’s (i.e. the Bible’s) only claim was to fill in the gap of the “singularity”, it almost certainly would have been rejected and forgotten ages ago.

    4. So (i) we have a first cause which is outside the natural order, (ii) we have a comprehensive claim of God to be that first cause, and (iii) we have a physical transcript that outlines God’s position, if you will, in the Bible. The next question is then, is the Bible credible and does it make sense. People have studied this intently for the past two millenniums. And not just with the focus to answer critics, but to satisfy themselves that it is true.

    This is a very logical and rational thought process, and not a wobbly or absurd one as you suggest. I’ll also point out that the majority of the world subscribes too a worldview that includes a God as the first cause. This does not prove anything, but I raise the fact to remind you that the belief in God and the spiritual, is not a minority view and it is entirely incorrect and nonacademic of you to attempt to belittle someone for having such a view. If you don’t agree with the view, that’s fine, just explain why, and let your arguments do the talking, not your bigotry.

  209. Bryan permalink
    December 8, 2010 3:04 PM

    Mr. X,

    This is why it has been hard to have a proper dialogue about this subject, because you and others arguing your side open up so many fronts in the debate that we can never get very far with any of the discussion points.

    As an example, I provided a post on how to properly approach the Bible, as an historical text and the methods we must use to understand it’s meaning.

    Instead of replying to the statements I made, you wrote the following:

    “Bryan:

    What you are saying about the bible is exactly what some Muslims would say about the Qur’an. Or what some Hindus would say of Śruti. Or some Jews would say about Tanakh. Or Pastafarians would say about ‘The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’. Or some New Age people would say about Oahspe. Or what Scientologist would say about Dianetics. Or Sikh about Guru Granth Sahib. Or Wicca about Book of Shadows. Or Yazidi about the Yazidi Black Book. And so on… What makes your book so special in comparison?

    Think about it.”

    This post is so unrelated to my points it barely even falls into any category of logical fallacy.

    What I’m saying about the Bible, may very well be what others are saying about other Holy Books. But just because this same statement is said incorrectly about other holy books does not automatically make saying it about the Bible incorrect as well. How illogical can one actually be?? If you want to debate the validity of other holy books, then by all means, do so. But my post had nothing to do with them, as I clearly pointed out. Either respond directly to someone’s claims/statements, or don’t bother posting at all.

    I agree 100% … think about it!

  210. Foolish Atheist permalink
    December 8, 2010 1:18 PM

    >>>>> “We don’t (yet) know” is a much more accurate representation of our knowledge than any appeals to unsubstantiated sentient prime movers.

    We regret to inform you that it is only you who does not know, and if only you would open your mind you would realize that some things are by necessity impossible–such as the Big Bang.

    >>>>>To additionally ascribe (mostly psychological) attributes to this mover is a wobbly stack of assumptions that collapses under its own absurdity.

    There’s a lot that can be known about the “Prime Mover,” simply by observing the creation. Here’s a list:

    • Supernatural in nature (as He exists outside of His creation)
    • Incredibly powerful (to have created all that is known)
    • Eternal (self-existent, as He exists outside of time and space)
    • Omnipresent (He created space and is not limited by it)
    • Timeless and changeless (He created time)
    • Immaterial (because He transcends space)
    • Personal (the impersonal can’t create personality)
    • Necessary (as everything else depends on Him)
    • Infinite and singular (as you cannot have two infinites)
    • Diverse yet has unity (as nature exhibits diversity)
    • Intelligent (supremely, to create everything)
    • Purposeful (as He deliberately created everything)
    • Moral (no moral law can exist without a lawgiver)
    • Caring (or no moral laws would have been given)

    *Reprinted from Gotquestions.org — http://www.gotquestions.org/correct-religion.html

  211. observer permalink
    December 8, 2010 1:12 PM

    @Stupid Atheist:
    Not that I’m going to take sides in that tired debate, but self-assembling systems exist on a large range of physical scales, from atoms to molecular compounds to multi-cellular organisms. Another common oversight during this exchange has been the fact that the Big Bang does not technically cover the “creation” of the Universe, since observational evidence does not extend to the singularity. Nothing is known about the Universe earlier than a few hundredths of a second after the Big Bang. “We don’t (yet) know” is a much more accurate representation of our knowledge than any appeals to unsubstantiated sentient prime movers. To claim that a prime mover exists is one assumption. To additionally ascribe (mostly psychological) attributes to this mover is a wobbly stack of assumptions that collapses under its own absurdity.

  212. Stupid Atheist permalink
    December 8, 2010 12:47 PM

    >>>>Would you not say the overwhelming majority?

    No more than you would say the overwhelming majority of atheists are Christophobic assholes. ….wait…

    >>>>>but would it be unreasonable to say that less than 1% of people who have studied other religions have switched religion?

    Would you include atheists in that percentage?

    >>>>If we assume that most people don’t change their religion then what does it say about religion?

    That it has a lot to do with desire, and not so much objectivity. That goes for atheists as well.

    >>>>I mean, they can’t all be true.

    Very good! Now, let’s polish that line of thought a little bit. How would you propose to screen out the obviously wrong ones and leave the more intellectually satisfying ones? It’s not as hard as you think; try it out.

    >>>>Well they deserve more respect than the people who haven’t for sure.

    I’m pleased at the admission.

    >>>>>Ok, enlighten me, why can’t a god that is part of the universe be its creator?

    We know that the universe had to have a beginning, and can’t create itself. Thus, if a god is part of the universe, that means that that god is created. He can’t be the creator and the created at the same time. He could create another god, one might suppose, and possibly an identical copy (?) but that created god is not the same god that created the universe. Something cannot create itself. Not even the Christian God is claimed to have created Himself. He’s claimed to be >self-existing>>>Surely an all powerful god could create a universe and then become part of it if they wished?

    Please propose a logical argument for how this would be feasible. I don’t think it’s possible, for the reasons stated above: A creation cannot be its own creator, because then it would be lesser than itself, which is a logical impossibility.

  213. -X- permalink
    December 8, 2010 11:42 AM

    >>>>First of all there is plenty of science that still holds after 100 years
    >>>“Certainly not the age of the earth, or the universe.”

    Yes, you can cherry-pick examples all you want, but all it demonstrates is that you don’t understand science. The reason why the information has changed was because it was measured to be wrong. Besides you have no idea how accurate the current methods of saying the universe is ~13.75 billion years old are, and you can’t see in the future to claim it won’t hold. It might, it might not. But I’ll say this: it is much less likely to change now than it was a hundred years ago.

    >>>>>Second I don’t know for certainty that everything in a science book will hold for the next 100 years. The thing is it’s the best data and information available at the moment in our current state of knowledge – and that’s what counts.
    >>>”Actually, no. What counts is what’s true, and you just admitted that you don’t know what that is–yet you assume that I don’t know either, which is very foolish.”

    Exactly, what counts is what’s true indeed. You just claimed there can be absolute knowledge, even implying you might have that, which is just absurd. The advances in the technology and social awareness that the humankind is still continuously undergoing imply there is a lot we don’t know yet. It is very disconcerting that you would claim anyone would have absolute knowledge, and it quite frankly makes me worried of your psychological wellbeing.

    >>>>When people say that “no data will hold forever” they usually don’t know what they’re talk-ing about – as clearly is the case here.
    >>>”Why is it clear? Do you now profess to know what will be your “truth” in 100 years, contra-dicting yourself again?”

    No, as I very well explained I’m talking about probabilities. The probability of some observations changing in the next 100 years is practically zero – whereas for some other information the probabil-ity is something else entirely. The scale of scientific knowledge is not black and white – it comes in all shades and anyone who understands science knows this.

    And overall my post that tried to open the scientific method for you clearly demonstrated that your statement in the beginning and assumptions about science were clearly very uneducated and had no clue what they were saying. That’s why ‘it’s clear’: because your statements scream lack of know-ledge regarding the scientific method.

    >>>>The methods have developed practically solely within those two hundred years and before that we were just ruled by the blind faith of the Catholic Church from Vatican (Eurocentric perspective but good enough for this context).
    >>>”You show a poor misunderstanding of history. The Church made the foolish decision to side with the academics of the day in rejecting Galileo–essentially the same thing the academics did in cases such as Kitzmiller v. Dover–you couldn’t prove ‘em wrong in the scientific realm, so you appealed to the higher authority: in Galileo’s time it was the Church, and for us, it’s the US Court System. Your tactics haven’t changed. Neither has your propensity for forgetting what happened in the past.”

    Okay now you just lost me… You claim I have poor misunderstanding of history, which is true – but I’ll assume you meant I have poor understanding of history, which is untrue. The time of Galileo can indeed be viewed as a beginning towards rationality – but I mean Galileo only tried to explain his discovery and observations to the community and church after which he was still condemned of suspicion of heresy. He was sentenced to formal imprisonment, which then was commuted to house arrest that remained for the rest of his life. This was all done by the established order of the Catholic Church. Also he was practically unable to write or publish anything after that… And furthermore, there was no real “academics” in the era, only people trained by the establishment of Catholic Church which relied practically only on the study of bible and not evidence. So… I don’t get how the church helped there… I’d say you (the church) couldn’t disprove the evidence, which might have been dangerous for the establishment, so you appealed to God and got rid of Galileo… It is much like still today you can’t disprove – nor evidently even understand – the method of collecting evidence. And still today you cling to God instead…

    >>>>It is not even theoretically worth to speculate it would change. It just won’t happen, the theory is so well established with the methods we have today.
    >>>”Guess why? It’s observed. You can look up at the stars and take measurements of their move-ments. You can’t look at a species of animal and watch it change into another. In fact, all attempts at inducing mutations (hundreds of thousands to millions of years worth of time by normal mutation rates) have failed to produce new species and only formed grossly distorted mutants or nonviable offspring in the organisms tested. Heliocentricity is observable science–evolutionism does not deal with the observable, which is easy to see based on the creativity of the “just-so stories” that you guys come up with. Stories are about the only thing that comes out of an evolutionary philosophy.”

    Exactly, like I tried to explain to you. It’s observed. And before it was observed it was unobserved. And people believed bible holds the answers, when in fact it is observations and verification of those observations that hold the answers. People in general didn’t know that the earth revolved around the sun before it was observed and well documented and examined and measured again and again… Now we know, because we did all that.
    And now you’re cherry-picking again. And yet only demonstrate lack of knowledge. Mutations that take millions of years can’t be currently demonstrated by any kind of means that would speed up time so that we would have been able to “fail to produce new species in simulation worth millions of years worth of time”. It doesn’t work like that. Still, there are observed speciation’s, which are practically mutations that have been observed and that have developed into a new species. For ex-ample: hawthorn fly, blacktrap, madeira house mouse and some others. We are lucky to have those, but even if we didn’t there would still be enormous amount of evidence to support evolution be-sides observed speciation… For example DNA sequencing, chromosome comparisons, classifica-tions, fossil records, continental distribution, observed natural selection, artificial selection, vesti-giality, interspecies fertility and hybridization, computational models and so on… Even if you take a couple of those away there would still be enormous amount of valid evidence to support evolution – and none to support God.

    Having evidence does not always suggest having seen something occur. Much like a detective ac-cusing a criminal haven’t actually seen the crime. He has collected a lot of pieces of verifiable in-formation that all connect to the suspect at hand. Science works much in the same way.

    >>>>>It is not afraid to make mistakes and it always admits its mistakes
    >>>”But that takes time. It took you hundreds of years to admit to YOUR mistake of geocentricity, and now we’re just waiting for you to give up your belief in evolutionism.”

    Oh dear… You really don’t have any scope on the history of science. As much as I would like to, I really don’t have time to go into detail but I’ll just underline: there really wasn’t a widespread use of neither science nor scientific method before the 17th century at tops, practically before the 18th or even 19th century. Only exceptions before that were very limited and restricted examples like in some libraries of the ancient world. After that the church took over in Europe and it was practically all downhill and no science to mention up until the age of discovery and renaissance (~15th century).

    >>>”Meanwhile, God never makes mistakes.”

    Now that is highly debatable, especially if he created you… -_-

    >>>>>Because there is as much valid evidence to support the existence of everything mentioned as there is valid evidence to support the existence of the Christian God.
    >>>”As I think we already determined, you’re not being serious in your research into the matter. Feel free to check this link to gain some BASIC insight into the matter:
    http://www.gotquestions.org/flying-spaghetti-monsterism.html”

    Yeah… I would only conclude that those kinds of pages really seem to be unhealthy for your under-standing. Since I’m short of time I’ll just continue to underline the few parts that popped out of the page…

    “(1) Prevalent among all peoples of all times. Atheism is very rare; even atheists admit this.”

    Cherry-picking. And the two sentences contradict each other. First sentence: historically and un-iversally not true. Second sentence: only locally true. Both sentences: prove nothing.

    “(2) There are many sophisticated philosophical arguments for God’s existence.”

    There are many sophisticated philosophical and science-based arguments for God’s inexistence. Furthermore there are many sophisticated philosophical arguments for
    Allah’s existence and for thousands of other Gods you just choose to ignore for the same reason most ignore yours.

    “(3) The Christian God is a coherent explanation of why something exists rather than nothing, why logic is prescriptive and universal, why morality is objective, and why religion is ubiquitous.”

    No, it really isn’t. Something might or might not have existed before, but most likely something (“something” in the way you’d understand) always existed. But based on the cumulative observa-tions of the natural world as we know of today: that something isn’t anything nearly as complicated as any conscious God. And morality is not objective but shaped and formed in many forms over the hundreds of thousands of years of separated tribal living and wandering. Also religion is not ubi-quitous, again cherry-picking. There are many prevailing life philosophies that are atheistic and as far as we know there always has been. And even if there wouldn’t have been, it would prove nothing but the power of human imagination when lacking proper tools for explanation.

    “(4) Belief in God is rationally satisfying.”

    I feel bad for anyone who thinks that. And furthermore: it’s irrelevant to the truth value.

    >>>>I very much doubt you have looked into the existence of every God on the planet earth.
    >>>”Not exactly necessary. Many of them are the same, and many of them are easy to lump with others and dispose of en masse. But there is none like the Christian faith. Here’s another link that makes a basic comparison for you–should be easy for you to understand if you only try: http://www.gotquestions.org/correct-religion.html”

    Again cherry-picking… You Christians are good at that, aren’t you… You believe in some philo-sophical arguments made by men that declare without evidence that a God and holy texts, which fulfill certain criteria, are universally true. And yet you don’t believe nor understand properly the scientific method. And furthermore you seem to appreciate observations and discoveries based on observations… Only that you have merely cherry-picked some discoveries that suite your view of the world (like the heliocentric theory) and discarded some (like the evolution theory). This gives a very twisted image of your thought processes and tells you have a lot of work ahead of you if you even want to dream of really finding out any sort of truths. That is unless you have abandoned all logic and will to be reasoned with, as to which you seem to strive towards. In that case, I really can’t help you.

    >>>>The easiest person to deceive is yourself” -Richard Feynman
    >>>”Perhaps that would be good for you to keep in mind when you ask yourself why it doesn’t seem as if YECs are listening to you. It could be plain as day that you’re deluded, but you yourself haven’t noticed it yet. “

    It could be, but based on verifiable evidence, the chances are you are infinitely more deluded.

    >>>”…..[makes ridiculous claim] Uh-huh. You think the Bible is fiction when it says that the Ro-man Empire was in control of Israel? How about the Greek Empire? Was it wrong in the way it depicted the Egyptian culture? Was it incorrect when it spoke of Cyrus’ conquest of Israel, or the Babylonian captivity? If that’s fiction, then you might as well kiss all your knowledge of history goodbye.”

    Not a claim, but argument and allegory. And again, you are cherry-picking… When bible makes historically verifiable claims, it of course tells of the times it was written in. All fiction contains such shades of fact. Just because superman tells a story of Obama winning the election doesn’t mean superman is real.

    >>>“I’m not arguing in a vacuum, either–there’s LOADS of archaeological evidence from extra-Biblical sources that confirm various claims the Bible makes.”

    There might be “loads” of archeological evidence from extra-biblical sources, but all they confirm are the parts of the bible that refer to the historical time it was written in – and nothing that would confirm anything supernatural. If we were to find an archeological costume of superman in 4010, that wouldn’t suggest superman exists in reality, much less that he was brought down to earth in a spaceship from a planet that was undergoing destruction.

    In all your deluded rambling, I’m really starting to think you are a lost cause after all. My advice is this: try to identify when you cherry-pick and try to identify when you have not looked at verifiable evidence based on reality. Furthermore: when someone tells you something new, ask yourself ‘is this something people know based on evidence or is it because tradition, authority or revelation (neither of which have no truth value by their own terms). Also apply this method to your current standings. And next time someone tells you something is true, ask for evidence. And if they provide enough information to verify the claim, and you can confirm the claim by looking at the source of the information critically, be prepared to change your mind set.

    “X, you’re not even trying.
    I’ve never heard any of the belowmentioned, save for muslims, claim doctrinal inerrancy/authority. Have you really heard the others make similar claims? Do tell. What do they say, exactly? I’d love to hear your ….scholarly… opinion.”

    Ad hominems and just total lack of even trying to understand simple process of gathering knowledge through observations and not from any written word. No I have personally not heard all the others make the same claims, but I have seen documentaries and well documented (historical) writings about most of the mentioned things.

    You seem to have an agenda to try and convince people of your own deluded beliefs. How very Christian of you. Instead of doing that, might I suggest: library and studying some non-fictional books as well… And if you’ve already tried that… Try again.

    I’ve done enough banging my head against a wall… If I don’t get a rational answer I really can’t be bother anymore. You just seem to be wasting my time. I bid you good life. Peace, and try not to discriminate people, despite your beliefs.

  214. AndyC permalink
    December 8, 2010 10:50 AM

    >>>>Surely they wouldn’t be that stupid as to just believe in the religion that they happened to be born into?
    >>You’re absolutely right. I have not done that, and neither have thousands of others. Some may, but that’s convenient for them. Doubtlessly, some atheists haven’t thought much about God. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who have given the topic serious….I mean SERIOUS consideration.

    ” Some may, but that’s convenient for them.”

    Some? are you kidding? do you really mean that? seriously? Would you not say the overwhelming majority? Plucking figures out of the air here , but would it be unreasonable to say that less than 1% of people who have studied other religions have switched religion? (switching between different versions of Christianity doesn’t count here). If not 1% then at most 10%.

    If we assume that most people don’t change their religion then what does it say about religion? about people? about the spread of religion? I mean, they can’t all be true.

    >> I have not done that, and neither have thousands of others

    Well they deserve more respect than the people who haven’t for sure.

    “Pantheism and polytheism are easily ruled out, because if their gods are part of the universe, then they didn’t create it”

    Ok, enlighten me, why can’t a god that is part of the universe be its creator? Surely an all powerful god could create a universe and then become part of it if they wished? I’d genuinely love to hear you reasoning here.

  215. December 8, 2010 9:54 AM

    >>>>Seriously, how deluded must you have to be to believe that the religion you just happen to be born into is the ONE TRUE religion out of the thousands that have ever existed in the human species?

    For one, my beliefs have changed since I was young. I certainly wasn’t “born into” this. If I was, why would that discredit it? If you’re born atheist, does that make atheism incredible?

    >>>>>Maybe they think it’s a massive coincidence?

    Maybe you think it’s a massive conspiracy?

    >>>>>I wonder how many of them have actually seriously studied all the other thousands of religions before coming to the conclusion that theirs is the only true one?

    Me! Me! Oh, pick me! You’d be surprised. A lot more of us have than you give us credit for, and we probably know a lot more than you’re capable of realizing. Be careful with your snap judgments.

    >>>>>Surely if you accept that there is a god and believe that he would somehow create a special book for you to follow, then you would have to put serious work into seeking out the real book/religion out of the thousands that exist and have ever existed?

    It’s really easy, actually. Only a few religions believe in an omnipotent God. Pantheism and polytheism are easily ruled out, because if their gods are part of the universe, then they didn’t create it, so you still have the question of who created it in the first place. Moreover, a lot of other faiths are externally contradictory.

    It’s fairly easy to arrive at the conclusion that ONE of the three Abrahamic religions must be the correct one. Then the really serious study must begin, of comparing the texts.

    >>>>Surely they wouldn’t be that stupid as to just believe in the religion that they happened to be born into?

    You’re absolutely right. I have not done that, and neither have thousands of others. Some may, but that’s convenient for them. Doubtlessly, some atheists haven’t thought much about God. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who have given the topic serious….I mean SERIOUS consideration.

  216. AndyC permalink
    December 8, 2010 9:44 AM

    Seriously, how deluded must you have to be to believe that the religion you just happen to be born into is the ONE TRUE religion out of the thousands that have ever existed in the human species?

    Maybe they think it’s a massive coincidence?

    I wonder how many of them have actually seriously studied all the other thousands of religions before coming to the conclusion that theirs is the only true one?

    Surely if you accept that there is a god and believe that he would somehow create a special book for you to follow, then you would have to put serious work into seeking out the real book/religion out of the thousands that exist and have ever existed? I mean, it’s such a serious and momentous thing believing in a god, surely you owe it to him to find the true religion? Surely they wouldn’t be that stupid as to just believe in the religion that they happened to be born into?

  217. December 8, 2010 9:36 AM

    Apparently Andy believes that the appeal to popularity is a logically convincing argument.

    I’m not exactly intimidated by your intelligence, considering you failed to spell my name properly, despite it being immediately in front of your face.

    >>>>Only the uneducated or the religious with devout faith in their scripture think otherwise.

    So PhDs are uneducated? Or do they not count, because they have “devout faith in their scripture?” Nice to see you have to make excuses to stay relevant. Kinda like your evolutionary religion.

    >>>>>All creationists attempts to show this have failed.

    What you may not have grasped in Philosophy 101 is that an irrefutable proof does NOT need to be indisputably convincing. Disbelief is a choice.

    >>>>>but don’t deny it, it just makes you look stupid and uneducated.

    Says the one who
    1. can’t spell properly (read properly?)
    2. used the appeal to popularity fallacy
    3. used the appeal to authority fallacy
    4. used the appeal to tradition fallacy
    5. Made bare assertions and question-begging epithets.

    Perhaps you should do an internal critique before you tell someone else that they’re stupid and uneducated.

  218. AndyC permalink
    December 8, 2010 9:30 AM

    “that’s why evolution fails so badly”

    Er, OK, and that’s why 99% of biologists believe it is true?

    Silly deluded scientists!

    You keep searching for those gaps Eric.

    Everything we have learnt in the 140 years about biology points to evolution. To suggest otherwise is frankly ridiculous. Only the uneducated or the religious with devout faith in their scripture think otherwise.

    Darwin said that if any organ existed that could be shown to be irreducibly complex then his theory would break down :

    “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Darwin

    All creationists attempts to show this have failed.

    Evolution is true like it or not. So at the very least attempt to integrate it somehow into your faith, but don’t deny it, it just makes you look stupid and uneducated.

    I have some devout Catholic friends who know that Evolution is true.

  219. December 8, 2010 9:24 AM

    X, you’re not even trying.

    I’ve never heard any of the belowmentioned, save for muslims, claim doctrinal inerrancy/authority. Have you really heard the others make similar claims? Do tell. What do they say, exactly? I’d love to hear your ….scholarly… opinion.

  220. -X- permalink
    December 8, 2010 9:19 AM

    Bryan:

    What you are saying about the bible is exactly what some Muslims would say about the Qur’an. Or what some Hindus would say of Śruti. Or some Jews would say about Tanakh. Or Pastafarians would say about ‘The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’. Or some New Age people would say about Oahspe. Or what Scientologist would say about Dianetics. Or Sikh about Guru Granth Sahib. Or Wicca about Book of Shadows. Or Yazidi about the Yazidi Black Book. And so on… What makes your book so special in comparison?

    Think about it.

  221. December 8, 2010 9:09 AM

    >>>>That approach gave room for all sorts of delusions – that is what the scientific method we use today is trying to awoid.

    Yes, the approach of trying to fit evidence into a human-invented paradigm gives room to delusions–that’s why evolution fails so badly. Incidentally, the scientific method was developed and encouraged in large part by Creationists, not the least of which is Sir Francis Bacon. FYI. So who was taking the deluded approach, again? (Watch out for those hasty generalizations, they’ll get ya.)

    The truth of the Bible has never been controverted. What has been falsified is people’s fallacious interpretations of it, when they were trying to satisfy their own desires. It’s obvious that that’s done a lot to hurt Christians’ credibility, but you’re blinding yourself if you think your ‘scientists’ aren’t doing the exact same thing the church of old was.

    >>>>>Therefore, books like the bible and the quran doesn’t work as authority anymore.

    Not even atheistic philosophers would agree with you on your underlying claim–the claim that empiricism is the only way to knowledge. Do read a few essays critiquing the subject. There are more ways to knowledge than just experimentation–the scientific method is a useful tool, but it doesn’t give you the last word.

    >>>>They don’t hold up to scientific scrutiny and they are easily falsified.

    You’ve been swallowing that dogma for a while, but the truth is that you can’t do it. Feel free to try (and I’ve already been through enough alleged ‘internal contradictions’, so if you please, try to give me some alleged external errors if you can).

    >>>>>You can make excuses, new interpretation, ad hoc arguments, and rant on about what’s to be taken litteral and what’s to be interpreted – but it’s all guesswork.

    In other words, you’ve already made up your mind. What’s the use in trying to convince you otherwise?

  222. Bryan permalink
    December 8, 2010 3:22 AM

    Brian,

    “Therefore, books like the bible and the quran doesn’t work as authority anymore. They don’t hold up to scientific scrutiny and they are easily falsified.”

    No you’re just making stuff up. I can’t speak for the Quaran, but I’m not sure what point you’re making about the Bible holding up to “scientific scrutiny”. The Bible isn’t a scientific document, and it has never been intended to be. Not to say that it doesn’t get some of the major points correct, such as common ancestors and the fact that the universe had a beginning. But if you’re talking about scientific scrutiny in terms of the reliability of the document and the accuracy of the writings, then the Bible is really second to none, when comparing it to any other historical document. The Bible is anything but easily falsified. With thousands and thousands of manuscripts in existence, it is next to impossible to falsify, because we have the original to compare it to. That is complete conjecture.

    “You can make excuses, new interpretation, ad hoc arguments, and rant on about what’s to be taken litteral and what’s to be interpreted – but it’s all guesswork.”

    Actually it isn’t all guess work. Just like Darwin’s Origin of Species isn’t guesswork. We can read the words he wrote, understand the context in which he wrote them and deduce the message he is trying to convey. That is the exact same approach with the Bible, albeit the words are in ancient languages and the cultural context is a little harder to comprehend, but the same principles still apply. I’m not sure where one would get the idea that the basic principles of reading and understanding a document that apply to all other written material in the history of mankind, are somehow suspended when reading the Bible. That makes no logical sense.

    “I can interpret ‘killing people working on a sabbat’, as litteral while you see it more of a guideline.”

    You can, but you would be entirely wrong. There is absolutely no way that you could make that interpretation correctly. Those types of commands from the Old Testament were made to a specific group of people at a specific time, about 4000 years in the past, and I dare say those were probably milder laws than the other civilizations of that same time period. In fact, if the OT had been written any tamer, we would surely doubt that it didn’t come from the time periods it was supposed to come from, because all civilizations from this time period were brutal in nature, relative to our societies today.

    ” The point is – we just don’t know – and we can’t know.”

    Actually we do know. And to suggest otherwise is ignorance and conjecture. We do know, and with a great deal of certainty. We can’t know everything 100%, as we’re dealing with a very ancient text, but we can know the overwhelming majority quite clearly. People have spent the time pouring over the book, considering all the available evidence and have made this information available to others. Where there are grey areas, you will find that they are not important or they are not key issues. Certainly, people have differing opinions about certain passages, but that doesn’t prove anything. Just because two people take different sides of an issue, doesn’t prove that the issue itself is wrong. Some evolutionists subscribe to punctuated evolution and some to a gradual evolution. Because they disagree, does that cast the entire evolutionary theory into doubt? Of course not. It just means they disagree. Give your head a shake.

  223. Brian Ritter permalink
    December 8, 2010 2:29 AM

    Erik – what you refer to, about science making mistakes and that we no longer belive what were “scientific thruths” 500 years ago, doesn’t hold up.

    The major point about science, as it works today, is that it doesn’t claim to be infallible, it strives to falsify and improve through observation and empirical data.

    500 years ago “science” were “authority’s answers” meaning the church. It wasn’t science, it was researching the bible, making stuff up and plain guesswork – most of the time.

    That approach gave room for all sorts of delusions – that is what the scientific method we use today is trying to awoid. Therefore, books like the bible and the quran doesn’t work as authority anymore. They don’t hold up to scientific scrutiny and they are easily falsified.

    You can make excuses, new interpretation, ad hoc arguments, and rant on about what’s to be taken litteral and what’s to be interpreted – but it’s all guesswork.
    I can interpret ‘killing people working on a sabbat’, as litteral while you see it more of a guideline. The point is – we just don’t know – and we can’t know.
    What we do know is that much have changed since those rules were thought up.

  224. December 7, 2010 10:54 PM

    >>>>First of all there is plenty of science that still holds after 100 years

    Certainly not the age of the earth, or the universe.

    >>>>>Second I don’t know for certainty that everything in a science book will hold for the next 100 years. The thing is it’s the best data and information available at the moment in our current state of knowledge – and that’s what counts.

    Actually, no. What counts is what’s true, and you just admitted that you don’t know what that is–yet you assume that I don’t know either, which is very foolish.

    >>>>When people say that “no data will hold forever” they usually don’t know what they’re talking about – as clearly is the case here.

    Why is it clear? Do you now profess to know what will be your “truth” in 100 years, contradicting yourself again?

    >>>>The methods have developed practically solely within those two hundred years and before that we were just ruled by the blind faith of the Catholic Church from Vatican (Eurocentric perspective but good enough for this context).

    You show a poor misunderstanding of history. The Church made the foolish decision to side with the academics of the day in rejecting Galileo–essentially the same thing the academics did in cases such as Kitzmiller v. Dover–you couldn’t prove ’em wrong in the scientific realm, so you appealed to the higher authority: in Galileo’s time it was the Church, and for us, it’s the US Court System. Your tactics haven’t changed. Neither has your propensity for forgetting what happened in the past.

    >>>>It is not even theoretically worth to speculate it would change. It just won’t happen, the theory is so well established with the methods we have today.

    Guess why? It’s observed. You can look up at the stars and take measurements of their movements. You can’t look at a species of animal and watch it change into another. In fact, all attempts at inducing mutations (hundreds of thousands to millions of years worth of time by normal mutation rates) have failed to produce new species and only formed grossly distorted mutants or nonviable offspring in the organisms tested. Heliocentricity is observable science–evolutionism does not deal with the observable, which is easy to see based on the creativity of the “just-so stories” that you guys come up with. Stories are about the only thing that comes out of an evolutionary philosophy.

    >>>>>It is not afraid to make mistakes and it always admits its mistakes

    But that takes time. It took you hundreds of years to admit to YOUR mistake of geocentricity, and now we’re just waiting for you to give up your belief in evolutionism.

    Meanwhile, God never makes mistakes.

    >>>>>Because there is as much valid evidence to support the existence of everything mentioned as there is valid evidence to support the existence of the Christian God.

    As I think we already determined, you’re not being serious in your research into the matter. Feel free to check this link to gain some BASIC insight into the matter: http://www.gotquestions.org/flying-spaghetti-monsterism.html

    >>>>I very much doubt you have looked into the existence of every God on the planet earth.

    Not exactly necessary. Many of them are the same, and many of them are easy to lump with others and dispose of en masse. But there is none like the Christian faith. Here’s another link that makes a basic comparison for you–should be easy for you to understand if you only try: http://www.gotquestions.org/correct-religion.html

    >>>>The easiest person to deceive is yourself” -Richard Feynman

    Perhaps that would be good for you to keep in mind when you ask yourself why it doesn’t seem as if YECs are listening to you. It could be plain as day that you’re deluded, but you yourself haven’t noticed it yet.

    …..[makes ridiculous claim]

    Uh-huh. You think the Bible is fiction when it says that the Roman Empire was in control of Israel? How about the Greek Empire? Was it wrong in the way it depicted the Egyptian culture? Was it incorrect when it spoke of Cyrus’ conquest of Israel, or the Babylonian captivity?

    If that’s fiction, then you might as well kiss all your knowledge of history goodbye.

    You have a pretty extraordinary claim, there. Care to provide extraordinary evidence that these empires never existed or did what is claimed of them? I’m not arguing in a vacuum, either–there’s LOADS of archaeological evidence from extra-Biblical sources that confirm various claims the Bible makes.

    Come on, now, where’s this extraordinary evidence? I’ll wait….

  225. -X- permalink
    December 7, 2010 10:25 PM

    Okay… I’ll try to be clear for you.

    >>>” You believe nothing of what you believed 50, 100, 200 or 300 years ago. So how can you know that what’s in your books NOW is true? It’ll be discarded and something else will take its place in a century or less.”

    You are making a lot of assumptions. First of all there is plenty of science that still holds after 100 years… Second I don’t know for certainty that everything in a science book will hold for the next 100 years. The thing is it’s the best data and information available at the moment in our current state of knowledge – and that’s what counts. And furthermore the books contain the experiments and logic behind the conclusions, which anyone at anytime can test for themselves. And anyone at any time can also challenge them if they think the data is inaccurate and could be enhanced or if the data is completely wrong and should be revised. But to do that you have to demonstrate that it really calls for those measures by doing yourself the necessary experiments to demonstrate it. Some data will be discarded in “a century or less” and some won’t. Bottom line is: it will be discarded only if it’s wrong.

    When people say that “no data will hold forever” they usually don’t know what they’re talking about – as clearly is the case here. Although there is certain wisdom in the saying, the claimer usually doesn’t under-stand how much our methods of observation and the reliability of those have developed within the last two hundred years or so alone. The methods have developed practically solely within those two hundred years and before that we were just ruled by the blind faith of the Catholic Church from Vatican (Eurocentric perspective but good enough for this context). And for a long time the church considered all knowledge and study based on new observations to be paganism. Let’s take the heliocentric theory for example. It is the theory that earth (and other planets in our solar system) revolve around the sun. Contrary to the geocentric theory according to which the sun revolves around earth. The heliocentric theory has practically 100% consensus of the scientific community for it to be true – where as the geocentric model was discarded by the scientific community a long time ago (I’m not sure exactly when, but no later than the 18th century). And the heliocentric theory is an example of a theory that is extremely unlikely that it should go under any kind of radical treatment in the upcoming 200 more years or more. It will absolutely stay pretty much the same even in billion years. This statement can be made with current methods of observation, calculation, cosmology, astronomy, physics and chemistry. It is not even theoretically worth to speculate it would change. It just won’t happen, the theory is so well established with the methods we have today. To say anything else is complete nonsense and underestimating the current scientific state. To speculate that such a theory might someday be debunked is just a figure of expression that people, who haven’t studied the information enough, use. Or they haven’t understood the information. Or they are just trying to make the other look somehow stupid or the info somehow worthy of uncertainty – which it just isn’t.

    Such very well established theories may very well be refined in fine details, but it will not change so much that you would really notice in the bigger scale. And theories that can very well still swing one way or the other given the current state of studies etc., are for example the question of whether or not mobile phone usage increases the chance to have cancer, or the string theory, or how exactly does the human brain work, or what conditions exactly are required to life to form, or what is the ideal ratio of supplements to use for optimum muscle growth, or can you stop aging… Etc. etc…. But note that also these yet-to-be-discovered questions or uncertain theories are all connected to “bigger” and well established ‘framework’ -theories, which the results of these “smaller” theories will one day be included to and what they will refine and shape to be even more accurate. Bottom line is: science is continuously striving towards knowing the observable by observing. And some of those observes will most definitely remain even after hundreds of years.

    And this method of forever shaping and testing these observations again and again in various ways is exactly why science is infinitely superior to religion. It is not afraid to make mistakes and it always admits its mistakes. It makes no assumptions, only observations and it adjusts itself accordingly. And through global collective enterprise of scientists studies it does so practically constantly, not only “every year”.

    >>> “Why would that make as much sense to you? Please, I’m curious to see what your logic (?) is.”

    Because there is as much valid evidence to support the existence of everything mentioned as there is valid evidence to support the existence of the Christian God. I very much doubt you have looked into the existence of every God on the planet earth. It doesn’t call for you to do that for exactly the same reason as it doesn’t call for me to look into depth into the Christian God.

    >>>“ You’re making an a priori judgment–and unless you believe in Divine Revelation (and have received it), there’s no way you could know that it’s wrong without looking into it.”

    Divine intervention is a neurological illusion. You should look into neurology, perhaps especially neuropsy-chology. It is no source to know anything. It is much more likely that the reports of such things are the results of the known irrational characteristics of earthbound intelligence, rather than unknown and unverifiable revelations of any sort of supernatural existence. “The easiest person to deceive is yourself” -Richard Feynman. Anyway… What you have here is the burden of proof. You are claiming something that has never been measured or observed, only written about in works that can easily be considered as fiction a priori. For example if I said I had discovered a book which is more historically accurate and much older than the bible and that in the book it says a supernatural invisible misogynist will one day save humanity if you gather a thousand people to knock on a wood for three times each day for the time period of ten years. And then I would say that it is supported by number of writings from the era that states that such a supernatural misogynist indeed wrote this very fine prediction and will probably save the humanity if you do as it told. Now I’m sure you would want more evidence than that. And I would be the one required to give them to you – you wouldn’t be required to debunk the claim. That is because the burden of proof is on the one making the extraordinary claim that has never been documented to have any observable evidence what so ever.

    >>>“If you’ve made up your mind already, then I won’t bother trying to explain anything to you–you’ll deny it without considering it at all. When you are willing to open your mind to the possibility that God is in con-trol, then I can answer your questions–better yet, ask God. You have to want to find Him. If you reject Him, He’s not going to reward you by showing Himself (if you’re lucky, He still will–count yourself blessed if that happens).”

    Well… If I really really would want to find God and especially if I would be in the unfortunate position to either have been raised by very Christian parents or in some kind of deep emotional crises, I might very well find him indeed. That is unless I would be very aware that such a find would most possibly be nothing more than self-exploitation, if you will, of my gullible state of mind and imagination. God exists only in your brain.

    But… I still have hope for you. 🙂

  226. December 7, 2010 9:13 PM

    In summary–the best argument on this page is denial, up until this point. And not even scholarly skepticism–more like a superstition that if you pick up a Bible, it’ll hurt you.

    Silly atheists.

  227. December 7, 2010 9:10 PM

    >>>>As for the comparison to reality… I prefer science books. Much more accurate, relevant, up-to-date and much less ambiguous.

    I know. You believe nothing of what you believed 50, 100, 200 or 300 years ago. So how can you know that what’s in your books NOW is true? It’ll be discarded and something else will take its place in a century or less.

    God’s Word never changes, and is still relevant. “Science” textbooks change every year.

    >>>>>It would make as much sense to worship him. Or Thor. Or Allah. Or Superman.

    Why would that make as much sense to you? Please, I’m curious to see what your logic (?) is.

    >>>>>> I’m not comparing the trustworthyness of individual claims. I’m demonstrating the logic behind the reasoning that the God in the bible is true

    Translation: “All these other claims are ridiculous, so I’m not even going to bother with yours.” You’re making an a priori judgment–and unless you believe in Divine Revelation (and have received it), there’s no way you could know that it’s wrong without looking into it.

    >>>>>I have done my research and there is nothing in the bible nor in the known historical data that supports Bible being the word of some God.

    If you’ve made up your mind already, then I won’t bother trying to explain anything to you–you’ll deny it without considering it at all. When you are willing to open your mind to the possibility that God is in control, then I can answer your questions–better yet, ask God. You have to want to find Him. If you reject Him, He’s not going to reward you by showing Himself (if you’re lucky, He still will–count yourself blessed if that happens).

    If you have any honest questions, feel free to ask them.

  228. -X- permalink
    December 7, 2010 9:01 PM

    Erik:

    I have done my research and there is nothing in the bible nor in the known historical data that supports Bible being the word of some God. Other than the bible itself, which is of course circular logic as I’m sure you understand but choose to ignore. Or possibly refer to some other texts of the time, which are just as likely to be fiction. The very best Bible can do is to provide some vague predictions that don’t prove anything. And just because there is more historical accuracy in the Bible than Qu’ran – if there is – doesn’t make it any more proof of God than Qu’ran’s accuracy makes it of Allah. As for the comparison to reality… I prefer science books. Much more accurate, relevant, up-to-date and much less ambiguous.

    I didn’t miss your point, you missed mine. Again. Farao was one of my “previous” examples if you read it more carefully. And yet, that is completely irrelevant. Still the point remains: It would make as much sense to worship him. Or Thor. Or Allah. Or Superman. I claim to be God. Worship me.

    Very ironic that you are speaking of circular arguments… I’m not trying to refute Bible. I’m giving examples to demonstrate how probable it is to be worthy of anykind of special attention – originally through what I consider satire. If it helps you, read this “Summa summarum: Bible is fiction and it has historical value close to none ” as “By the same logic any “incredible” deity or information or prediction in Bible should be worshipped”. I’m not comparing the trustworthyness of individual claims. I’m demonstrating the logic behind the reasoning that the God in the bible is true.

  229. December 7, 2010 8:27 PM

    By what standard: you could, if you were interested, research and compare the historical accuracy of the Bible relative to other historical texts — and of course, reality.

    “Furthermore Farao DID claim to be the child of God. ”

    Glad to see you missed the point again. My point was, indeed, that you need to at least CLAIM to be God for you to have the possibility of being worshiped–that’s why all of your previous examples are horrible attempts at rebuttals. It’s a massively failed analogy.

    “As for the rest of my examples it is irrelevant if they claimed to be God or not. The point is: since the bible is fiction it would be just as logical to worship the people in my list as it would be to worship Jesus or Job or anyone in the bible.”

    This is very relevant. Look at what you said–you’re claiming that the Bible is fiction, and therefore it can be refuted by analogy with other fiction. The problem is your a priori judgment that the Bible is fictional. If you make a little bit of effort, you should have no problem spotting your circular argument.

  230. -X- permalink
    December 7, 2010 8:19 PM

    * oh I’m sorry, I meant Erik – not Bryan. 🙂

  231. -X- permalink
    December 7, 2010 8:14 PM

    Bryan:

    They were not excuses, but examples.
    None come close to Bible? On what standards? How about the Qur’an? Does that come close to Bible? Shouldn’t you be worshiping Allah – at least just in case?

    Furthermore Farao DID claim to be the child of God. Go look it up, it’s in the tombs and pyramids. Others for example… Naram-Suen of Akkad, the first Mesopotamian king who claimed to be divine. Many Chinese Emperors were defined as “son of heaven”. Many Roman emperors, such as Julius Caesar, Tiberius, Claudius, Commodus and many others claimed to be divine. Many Japanese emperors. And so on…

    As for the rest of my examples it is irrelevant if they claimed to be God or not. The point is: since the bible is fiction it would be just as logical to worship the people in my list as it would be to worship Jesus or Job or anyone in the bible.

  232. December 7, 2010 7:56 PM

    Fallacy of Irrelevant Thesis. None of your excuses even come close to the Bible. Furthermore, none of the people you mentioned claimed to be God.

    It’s not hard to neglect worshiping somebody who makes it clear that what they write is fiction.

  233. -X- permalink
    December 7, 2010 7:38 PM

    Should we start worshiping Jules Verne as a God – or at least a prophet – and his books as holy?
    Because, for example, he makes an astounding description of traveling to the moon with a “space gun” that breaks the earth orbit with powerful forces not yet invented in his time.

    No, because he was a writer of fiction, with a clear sense of possibilities that could one day be – based on the world surrounding him at that time.

    Or should we start worshipping Leonardo da Vinci as a supreme being, or even a God?
    Because he made detailed drawings of a helicopter in his time – way before a helicopter would be actually used. And he didn’t just describe it – he drew it!

    Of course we shouldn’t. All we should do is acknowledge that he was a very ingenious man with skill in more areas than one.

    Maybe we should worship Nostradamus?
    After all he did countless of vague predictions that can be applied to countless events…

    Or maybe J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings would be a good combo?
    Since after all, it can be interpreted that the books contain a strong message of how good wins over bad through plenty of politics and some fighting… And I’ve seen it happen many times after the books were published. Tolkien sure was a wizard. (although tbh I’m still waiting for the good to win in the big picture)

    How about David Copperfield? He can actually fly – I’ve even seen it with my own eyes. Or how about Heron the Alexandrian, who wrote about robots two thousand years ago. Or how about Superman, I’ve read he is practically indestructible – surely a supernatural quality!

    Or maybe the strongest candidate for worship should be the inventor of writing and papyrus in ancient Egypt? Because he clearly provided the tools for the God to convey his message? …not to mention the tools for the Farao, the child of (a) god, to support the status of slavery before Christianity took over with the same kind of mindset etc…. ….

    And so on….

    Summa summarum: Bible is fiction and it has historical value close to none – except for its own existance as a collection of fictional texts, thoughts of mad men and stories to support the status quo of the time.

  234. December 7, 2010 10:14 AM

    >>>>>>steve the pirate PERMALINK
    December 7, 2010 12:36 AM
    Just a quick question…
    Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? I ask because they were created by God so they would have no use of them since they weren’t born. I guess the answer is that they did have bell buttons since God created Adam in his image, right? So then my next question is….why does God have a belly button? Seems rather useless, no?

    *****************

    So you think that means that people with deformities aren’t made in the image of God?

    Observing you trying to reach a logical conclusion on this SIMPLE example is painful.

    Being made in the image of God means that we have a spirit, like God. Physically, whether we are like Him or not is irrelevant because God is not a physical being. He can take a physical form if He so pleases, but God is Spirit. Thus, we are made in the image of God because we are like Him in Spirit.

    Bellybuttons are scars left over from the placenta detaching. Since Adam and Eve were not born, they would not have had bellybuttons.

  235. AndyC permalink
    December 7, 2010 6:56 AM

    “Each individual star is unique.” How could Paul have known this in the first century AD?”

    Used his eyes?

    ” David also wrote about “the paths of the seas.” (Psalm 8:8) It was this little phrase that inspired Admiral Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873) to dedicate his life to discovering and documenting these ocean currents. ”

    Meaningless.

    “COMMON ANCESTRY – Thirty-five hundred years ago, the prophet Moses wrote: “Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” …. Little did these researchers realize that all their effort and expense would confirm the accuracy of the Bible.”

    You have to be heavily deluded to think that evolution confirms the accuracy of the bible.

    This is the “best” evidence that the religious have, all very tenuous.

    ” Moses also stated: “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” (Leviticus 17:11) This fact was understood only fairly recently by the medical community, which practiced the potentially fatal technique of bloodletting until the 19th century.”

    Please please stop insulting our intelligence god dammit!!

    I wonder if the word Gullible was invented for these fools.

  236. steve the pirate permalink
    December 7, 2010 12:36 AM

    Just a quick question…

    Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? I ask because they were created by God so they would have no use of them since they weren’t born. I guess the answer is that they did have bell buttons since God created Adam in his image, right? So then my next question is….why does God have a belly button? Seems rather useless, no?

  237. Bryan permalink
    December 6, 2010 5:50 PM

    Mr. Ritter,

    I don’t know where to begin with this post. I’ll just pick a few things and move on.

    “But my point is, that you use scince (sic) to reach that far and then discard what science teach (sic) us: not to make certain claims about something we can’t know for certain.”

    Since when does science not make claims about something we can’t know for certain? You had better brush up on your definition of science. That’s pretty much all science does do, is make claims about things we are uncertain about and then work to prove or disprove them. The list of things we don’t know is just as long as the list of things we do know for certain. Science has long been making claims about the age of the universe, and it has been revising/changing those claims for just long. Because science doesn’t know and it takes it’s best guess based on what it knows.

    Listen carefully, based on (a) the principle that the earth had a beginning and (b) the laws governing the transfer/creation of energy, one can hypothesize that a supernatural event was required to bring the universe into existence. Based on the evidence we have available to us, God as revealed in the Bible is a very likely candidate for this supernatural role. That’s all. I don’t know for sure, you don’t know for sure. But it is a likely possibility. And it is totally unscientific to say, because we are uncomfortable with this premise, we will dismiss it. Instead, we must say, it is a possibility, and leave it at that. Because clearly, any answer to this question is going to enter the realm of something that, at this point, we are not comfortable with “scientifically”, because the only thing that can contain both realities (a) and (b) is something that flies in the face of everything we know scientifically.

    As for your list of Bible “errors”, it appears you just ripped that off of a website that did as much research as you did. The following are the actual scriptures and your assessment of them. Not sure any of what you said even applies to the verses.

    Isaiah 40:22
    He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.
    He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
    “- The earth is a flat disc that God looks down upon from his throne in heaven.”
    The Hebrew word here is “חוּג” or “chuwg”, which means circle or compass, which can better be understood as sphere. There is nothing here that would conclusively indicate the earth is flat. If the biblical writer believed the earth was flat, why did he pick a circle as the 2D shape. Why not a square?

    Isaiah 13:10
    The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light.
    The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.
    “- According to the Bible, the moon produces its own light and the earth does not move. “
    Not at all! Read this in context. This is part of a “curse” placed upon a group of people and the Prophet is describing what will happen. They won’t be able to see the stars, sun or moon for whatever reason. This is by no means an explanation of the illumination processes of these objects.

    Isaiah 13:13
    Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the day of his burning anger.
    “- When God gets really angry, he causes earthquakes.”
    It would be entirely acceptable that God could cause an earthquake in a world he created.

    Jeremiah 31:37
    This is what the LORD says: “Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,” declares the LORD.
    “- The earth is set on foundations and does not move.”
    Read this again. the writer is saying that the LORD is saying he will reject Israel only if the heavens can be measured (which we now know they can’t, because they are expanding too fast) or if the foundations of the earth below searched (which they can’t because the earth is not anchored to anything). Of course these things can’t be accomplished, so he won’t be rejecting Israel. This one just takes time to read, a basic understanding of literary devices and some common sense!!

    Micah 6:2
    “Hear, you mountains, the LORD’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the LORD has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel.
    “- The earth is set upon strong foundations and therefore does not move.”
    The writer is making a statement about the longevity of mountains. We can safely assume the term everlasting is a relative term in this sentence, and not a literal one. If we can’t even provide this basic distinction between literary technique and literal meaning, we might as well stop our discussion. Because by that same logic, we would have to fire any university professor who speaks about a sunrise or sunset, because we of course know that the sun doesn’t rise or set, but rather it is our own planet that revolves around the sun while rotating on it’s axis. Good grief!

    1 Kings 7:23
    He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits[a] to measure around it.
    “- This verse implies that the value of p is 3. (not 22/7 or even 3.14)”
    I think that this can best be described as the accuracy of the construction contractor’s instruments and workmanship. It is more than likely that not every circle constructed in the ancient world was 100% round. That shouldn’t be a big surprise. This is a description of how the item was fashioned, not a mathematical proof for pi.

    Just as anyone interested in entering a discussion about physics, philosophy and logic, should read and understand these subjects, I will pass on the same reminder to you. If you would like to discuss and debate the Bible, you should actually have read/studied it and be prepared to evaluate it on the same basis as any other historical document.

    I think I’ll stop there, as this discussion has gone well beyond the topic at hand, which is that the claim for the existence of a God an extraordinary claim.

  238. December 6, 2010 4:51 PM

    We all know you got those passages from some other site. If I bulk copied the text and searched it, I wouldn’t be surprised if I got a hit on Yahoo Answers. It’s happened more than once before.

    About Jesus’ second coming, did you miss this prophecy?

    2 Peter 3:

    “3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

    8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

    Uniformitarianism and evolutionism needed to be invented before the endtimes. People are fulfilling exactly what the passage says–scoffing at the thought of Noah’s Flood.

    That’s one more fulfilled prophecy to add to the tally.

  239. Brian Ritter permalink
    December 6, 2010 4:41 PM

    Bryan [there are some elements of the origin of the universe that we simply don’t understand, based on what we know about the laws of physics and nature. Any claim as to the understanding of these elements is going to be extraordinary in nature, whether it is the claim that something came from nothing or the claim that a God exists who created from nothing.]

    Exactly!
    And I’m not claiming that the universe came from nothing – I claim I don’t know.

    I think the problem is that we look at this very differently. I claim that we don’t know and that science as it is right now, CAN NOT know.
    You on the other hand claim that god is the only answer.
    But my point is, that you use scince to reach that far and then discard what science teach us: not to make certain claims about something we can’t know for certain.

    About your “the bible is science and foresaw scientific facts” (not exactly quoting you there;) is a lad of – well. the claims are so vague that you can fit anything in there. Just like Nostradamus and Astrology can predict anything. In danish we have a saying that goes something like: looking through the light of hindsight.
    Meaning something of fitting the facts AFTER the event. Everyone’s smart when they know how it turned out. But foreseeing stuff and making accurate and PRECISE prediction… well that’s not somethoing you come accross to often and I sertainly don’t see it in the bible.

    you have selected a few passages there – nice, but how about all the wrong claims?
    – The earth is a flat disc that God looks down upon from his throne in heaven. Isaiah 40:22

    – According to the Bible, the moon produces its own light and the earth does not move. Isaiah 13:10

    – When God gets really angry, he causes earthquakes. Isaiah 13:13

    – The earth is set on foundations and does not move. Jeremiah 31:37

    – The earth is set upon strong foundations and therefore does not move. Micah 6:2

    – This verse implies that the value of p is 3. (not 22/7 or even 3.14) 1 Kings 7:23
    And again Since the molten sea was round with a diameter of ten cubits and a circumference of thirty cubits, we know that the biblical value of p is 3. – 2 chronicles 4:2

    – God makes Uzziah a leper for burning incense without a license. 2 chronicles 26:19-21 that just doesn’t happen anymore… but it would be so much fun. Sadly now you have to get contaminated… how dull.

    As a punishment for killing Abel, God says Cain will be “a fugitive and a vagabond.” Yet in just a few verses (4:16-17) Cain will settle down, marry, have a son, and build a city. This is not the activity one would expect from a fugitive and a vagabond. Genesis 4:12

    – God promises to cast out seven nations including the Amorites, Canaanites, and the Jebusites. But he was unable to fulfill his promise. Deuteronomy 7:1

    “Thy kingdom shall be established for ever.”
    God says that Davids’s kingdom will last forever. It didn’t of course. It was entirely destroyed about 400 years after Solomon’s death, never to be rebuilt. 2 Samuel 7:13, 16

    God puts lies into the mouths of his prophets and speaks evil about people. 2 chronicle 18:21-22

    Jesus shows that he is a false prophet by predicting his return and the end of the world within the lifetime of his listeners. Mark 13:30

    Jesus falsely prophesies that the high priest would see his second coming. Mark 14:62

    Paul believed that Jesus would return and defeat Satan “shortly” — within his own lifetime. romans 16:20 – and don’t say 2000 years later is “shortly” “The day is at hand.” Romans 13:11-12 has a certain scence of urgency 😉
    Paul says that the end of the world will come during his lifetime. 1 corinthians 10:11, 15:51

    John expects to live to see Jesus return. 1 john 3:2

    John quotes Jesus as saying, “Behold, I come quickly.” revelation 3:11, 22:7, 12, 20 – ??? 2000 yas doesn’t exactly qualify as fast unless driving a Ferrari 😉

    “And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth….” revelation 6:13
    So he foresaw “the big crunsh”? the universe coming together in a masive black hole? That doesn’t happen while the earth is still here anyway.

    These verses predict that the Egyptians will worship the Lord (Yahweh) with sacrifices and offerings. But Judaism has never been an important religion in Egypt. Isaiah 19:18-21

    God promises Josiah that he will have a peaceful death. But Josiah’s death was anything but peaceful. 2 kings (2 Kg.23:29-30, 2 Chr.35:23-24) 22:20

    God tells the Israelites to make slaves out of their neighbors and their families. The “heathens” and “strangers” are to be their possessions forever. Leviticus 25:44-46 Well the holocust put that in perspective didn’t it?

    – And the unicorns shall come down with them. Isaiah 34:7

    – Dragons and satyrs Isaiah. 34:13-14

    and then finally – god keeps showing of to these ignorant bronceage tribesmen – speaking to them, haunting and taunting, setting enemies on fire and punishing bad deeds with boyls and lepresy and proving himself agains other gods (there’s several).
    that just doesn’t happen anymore. Noone gets possed by demons and no angels buchers al-qaeda terrorists firstborn sons.

  240. Bryan permalink
    December 6, 2010 2:46 PM

    The “God of the gaps” label insinuates that God was simply brought into the picture to fill in gaps that otherwise can’t be explained. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    The belief in God, as defined in the Bible, put many of the pieces of the puzzle together, long before “scientists” and evolutionists got around to postulating answers. Author PD Bramson highlights some of these in his book:

    1. ROUND EARTH – Most modern history books teach that the Greeks, in500 BC, “were the first to theorize that the Earth was round…. Greek philosophers also concluded that the Earth could only be a sphere because, in their opinion, that was the ‘most perfect’ shape.” Yet more than a millennium earlier, the prophet Job had already declared that the God who “hangs the earth on nothing… drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness.” (Job 26:7,10) And 400 years before the Greeks,the prophet Solomon stated that God “drew a circle on the face of the deep.” (Proverbs 8:27) And in 700 BC, still 200 years before Greek philosophers came along, Isaiah announced: “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth.” (Isaiah 40:22) The word for circle in Hebrew can also be translated sphere or roundness. So who was first to speak of the earth’s round shape—the Greeks or God? Yes,it was God, Earth’s Architect.

    2. WATER CYCLE – The book of Job also describes the hydrologic cycle: “He draws up drops of water, which distill as rain from the mist, which the clouds drop down and pour abundantly on man. Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds, the thunder from His canopy?” (Job 36:27-29) Thus, the Bible describes the rain cycle, in which moisture first becomes vapor, condensing into tiny liquid water droplets in the clouds, and then combining into drops large enough to overcome the updrafts that suspend them in the air. Job also refers to the incredible amount of water that can be held as condensation in the clouds:“He binds up the water in His thick clouds, yet the clouds are not broken under it.” (Job 26:8)

    3. COMMON ANCESTRY – Thirty-five hundred years ago, the prophet Moses wrote: “Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” (Genesis 3:20).According to the Bible, all humans descend from one common mother. Evolutionary scientists were unconvinced of this fact until 1987. After extensive analysis of mitochondrial DNA(section of human genetic code passed down intact from mother to child) taken from placentas around the world, the research concluded that all humans today come from a common ancestral female. Several years later, studies also concluded that all humans descend from one common male parent. Little did these researchers realize that all their effort and expense would confirm the accuracy of the Bible.

    4. LIFE BLOOD – Moses also stated: “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” (Leviticus 17:11) This fact was understood only fairly recently by the medical community, which practiced the potentially fatal technique of bloodletting until the 19th century.

    5. AGING EARTH – Three thousand years ago, the prophet David wrote that the earth will one day “perish” and “grow old like a garment.” (Psalm 102:26) Modern science concurs that our planet is slowing down, its magnetic field decaying, and its protective ozone layer thinning.

    6. OCEANOGRAPHY – David also wrote about “the paths of the seas.” (Psalm 8:8) It was this little phrase that inspired Admiral Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873) to dedicate his life to discovering and documenting these ocean currents. He reasoned that since God spoke of “paths” in the seas, he should be able to map them. Maury did just that and became known as “the father of oceanography.”

    7. ASTRONOMY – Nearly 2,000 years ago, the apostle Paul wrote: “There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.” (1 Corinthians 15:41) To the naked eye all stars look much alike. Yet today, with information gained by powerful telescopes and light spectra analysis, astronomers tell us: “Stars differ greatly in color and brightness. Some stars look yellow, like the sun. Others glow blue or red.” “Each individual star is unique.” How could Paul have known this in the first century AD?

  241. Bryan permalink
    December 6, 2010 2:22 PM

    Brian Ritter,

    You’ve admittedly lost the debate in proving your point.

    At the risk of repeating myself, the original argument was not about proving that God exists or that the world exists without him. The original argument is based on the premise of this website and advertising campaign, which is that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. As you yourself have even demonstrated, there are some elements of the origin of the universe that we simply don’t understand, based on what we know about the laws of physics and nature. Any claim as to the understanding of these elements is going to be extraordinary in nature, whether it is the claim that something came from nothing or the claim that a God exists who created from nothing.

    That being said, if the existence of God is an extraordinary claim, then so is the claim of evolution and/or the claim that something came from nothing. It appears that the authors of the site have cherry picked their “extra-ordinary” claims.

  242. December 6, 2010 1:59 PM

    Brian Ritter:

    In your search for truth, you’ve realized that people have changed their minds many times.
    But you have not realized how foolish you are in suggesting that only religiously minded folks have ‘copped-out’ of answering questions by appealing to mystical unknowns. For example:

    The earth is eternal? “Evolutiondidit!”
    The earth is 60,000 years old? “Evolutiondidit!”
    Oh wait, the earth is 400 million years old? “Evolutiondidit!”
    Oh wait, the earth is 2 billion years old? “Evolutiondidit!”
    The Big Bang happened 5 billion years ago? “Evolutiondidit!”
    (the above are actual false views that evolutionists have held…ADAMANTLY…in the past)

    Something can’t come from nothing? “Evolutiondidit!”
    The universe progresses from order to disorder? “Evolutiondidit!”
    Abiogenesis is not scientifically provable? “Evolutiondidit!”
    200+ “living fossils” exist today? “Evolutiondidit!”
    Large amounts of stasis in the fossil record? “Evolutiondidit!”
    Punctuated equilibria? “Evolutiondidit!”
    Order can’t come from disorder without a mechanism? “Evolutiondidit!”

    etc etc etc. The list goes on and on. You can keep your evolution of the gaps. I’ll stick with science.

  243. Brian Ritter permalink
    December 6, 2010 1:32 PM

    Bryan – “we’re working on a solution and hopefully we’ll come up with one someday”
    I’ll take that answer anytime if the alternative is “God did it”.

    Lightning 1000 years ago – “God did it”!
    How the sun was created – “God did it”!
    How people were created – “God did it”!
    How animals were created – “God did it”!
    How the snake lost its legs – “God did it”!
    Why women give bith “God did it”.
    How the universe was created – guess what…. it , like all the above – probably wasn’t CREATED and god didn’t have anything to do with it.

    Haven’t we come a long way since then: we’re working on a solution and hopefully we’ll come up with one someday.
    It has worked pretty well since then.

    By postulating a god – some much else comes along and is, in principle, unknowable.
    By saying – there’s something, yet unknown, in the laws of physics that allows a singularity to come into existence, you don’t have to clear up the mess of having stuff that’s so different from the rest of the universe, and make i fit.

    And how convinient is it that god fits just what you need him to explain… But I think I’ll take it on abusing that little ad hoc solution:
    God is in the atoms and he’s the one holding the nucleas together (we don’t know what else does – so why not?) – god is the gravitation-rays. Since gravity behaves like nothing else in the universe, and we can’t explain it – it must be god. God makes Quantums jump at random.

    Keep your god of the gaps, I don’t need him.
    I can live with just ‘matter’ in the world – until something else turns up, thats were the facts take me.

    …and no matter how often you shout it out – calling something ‘logical’ doesn’t make it so.

  244. December 6, 2010 12:47 PM

    Yoo dagw are you stupid? this website is bullshit, if you dont believe at least let other believe 😄

  245. AndyC permalink
    December 6, 2010 12:06 PM

    I have my own hypothesis, it’s called the “Big Fairy Chicken Head” hypothesis. Basically there is a chicken head that rules the universe. The chicken head loves some people and hates other people, oh and sometimes it gets very very angry, other times it gets very very happy.

    In the book of ChickenDippa the Big Fairy Chicken head tells us that he operates outside of the laws of physics, so does not violate them.

    Now, I know what you’re thinking “But love, happiness and anger are emotions that only animals experience, they are physical and caused by the release of chemicals (Dopamine.. etc) The function of emotions is to give an animal the impetus actually change his environment so it will be a successful animal and reproduce and be naturally selected.. etc. How could a god possibly experience emotions if it is not a physical entity and and doesn’t abide by the laws of physics? Please don’t tell me that god doesn’t actually love me! my mummy and daddy told me he does!!”

    What’s great is that there is nothing you could possibly say could disprove this theory.

    Although I could understand if you decided to not believe it because the chance of it being true is infinitesimally small.

  246. Bryan permalink
    December 6, 2010 11:49 AM

    3o Helens,

    You made one very basic error in your statement/question: “then we must persist further and ask who created the creator?” You’re assuming a created creator, or a created God. I was never suggesting that everything had to be created. I only suggested that everything in the physical world had to have a beginning. (Not only did I suggest it, but everything we know from scientific research confirms that this is the case.)

    A created god is, by definition, no God at all.

    No credible religion that I know of, neither Jews nor Muslims nor Christians, believes in a created God.

    Again, the origin of the universe begs for a supernatural first mover. You can call it “violating the laws of physics”, “something creating itself”, or you can call it “God”. Either way you are subscribing to a supernatural event.

  247. Bryan permalink
    December 6, 2010 11:42 AM

    Brian Ritter,

    As for Occam’s razor, “The Razor generally recommends selecting the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions (aka postulates, entities) when the hypotheses be equal in other respects. For instance, they must both sufficiently explain available data in the first place.”

    The hypothesis that God brought matter, time and space into existence, makes a single new assumption, that God exists/existed.

    The hypothesis that the universe violated its own laws in order to bring itself into existence, also makes a single new assumption, that the laws of physics can be suspended.

    However, they don’t both sufficiently explain currently available data/understanding. The God hypothesis does not violate the physical laws, because it operates outside of those laws. The “universe from nothing” or the “universe that created itself” hypothesis violates virtually every physical law we know.

    In that sense, according to Occam’s razor, the God hypothesis is much more acceptable.

    However, one must remember that Occam’s razor is a guiding rule in developing theories, and not (as you suggested) an irrefutable principle of logic–luckily for you.

  248. Bryan permalink
    December 6, 2010 11:26 AM

    Brian,

    “It’s an ad hoc argument ( better explain myself this time;) in that way, that it claims something that “saves the day” and costs you nothing.” I’m still not sure I follow your “ad hoc” argument point??

    “It doesn’t suffer from having to apply to natural laws,…” Obviously, any theory about how something was created from nothing is going to have to surpass the natural laws for that which it is trying to explain the creation/origin. You see, not only do we have to explain where the matter came from, quite likely we may have to explain where the laws that govern that matter came from as well. It’s extremely logical to conclude that if the matter had a beginning, then so did the laws that govern that matter. The answer to all of this is very likely going to involve something outside of that matter and outside of those laws.

    “…it doesn’t have to be messurable [sic] in any way,…” I’m not really sure how it would be measured. How does one measure the answer that “the universe created itself”? Do we measure it against the laws of physics that it clearly violates?? We have “laws of physics” because we know these things to be laws that cannot be violated. (Incidentally, we have “theories of evolution” because we don’t know for sure if/how these things happened.) If we know that it is impossible for anything inside the known universe to create the universe without violating our most basic laws of physics, and we also know the universe had a beginning, then by any “measurable” standard it makes perfect sense to hypothesize that a non-natural, or non-physical entity was involved in bringing the physical world into existence.

    “…it doesn’t have to fit any theory…” Actually the existence of a supernatural beginning to the universe fits many theories. It fits with the laws of physics (as I’ve explained above) and it fits with the strong evidence to support that the universe had a beginning. Further to this, if we suggest God as the supernatural force that was the “first mover” this also fits in with the entire body of the Biblical record. So this theory fits in with a wealth of existing evidence and research.

    “…and it fits perfectly in any gab and covers any problem with even the best scientific theories – because you can make it fit ANYTHING. Thats the problem – (with all pseudo-science) it can explain anything and everything and that renders it useless. You can use it to postulate one thing – and the opposite at the same time and you have no way of determening wich one i right.”

    Not sure about a “gab” or “covering any problem with even the best scientific theories”; additionally you can’t make this theory fit anything. It fits specifically as I’ve explained. This isn’t pseudo-science, it uses the exact same principles that science, or anyone for that matter, would need to use in order to answer the question.

    It’s interesting to hear you become extremely critical of such a theory without any real logic in your objections, but it would also be interesting to hear your scientific theory about how the universe began, without resorting to “we’re working on a solution and hopefully we’ll come up with one someday”. To me, that sounds an awful lot more like an “ad-hoc argument … that fits perfectly in any gab and covers any problem”.

  249. 30 Helens Agree permalink
    December 6, 2010 8:55 AM

    If complexity, intelligent design, a creation, the beginning, the universe must be the work of a designer, an initiator, a creator, a god because nothing can exist without having been made, then we must persist further and ask who created the creator? How did god come to be? Was he made by a… godlier god?

    Arguing the beginning, the age, the size of the universe does not really relate to the issue at hand. To say, regardless of if/when the universe came to be, it does not say anything about the existence or absence of a god.

    People should realize and acknowledge that the belief in no god is much more bold and requires much more personal acceptance by refusing to give into religion “just in case”. The belief in a god to help explain life and death and everything else is the more comfortable belief, especially when almost every argument that could ever be made against religion could simply be answered or quieted by blind faith, just have faith.

    Children experience such faith in other situations briefly like when they blow out the birthday candles or toss a penny in a fountain and make a wish.

    When rational thinkers tug on the proverbial Santa beard and see that it’s attached to an elastic band, we conclude it must be fake.

    If a god exists, is all powerful, all knowing and ALL LOVING, why wouldn’t he just present himself to everyone and deliver a personal message to them, provide evidence, not only of his existence but of his powers instead of leaving literary hints or sending some guy to deliver the message in a mortal way?

  250. Brian Ritter permalink
    December 6, 2010 4:03 AM

    Bryan – You claim that God as a ‘first cause’ is a logical conclusion. Well, I don’t tink so for a number of different reasons.

    It’s an ad hoc argument ( better explain myself this time;) in that way, that it claims something that “saves the day” and costs you nothing. It doesn’t suffer from having to apply to natural laws, it doesn’t have to be messurable in any way, it doesn’t have to fit any theory and it fits perfectly in any gab and covers any problem with even the best scientific theories – because you can make it fit ANYTHING. Thats the problem – (with all pseudo-science) it can explain anything and everything and that renders it useless. You can use it to postulate one thing – and the opposite at the same time and you have no way of determening wich one i right.

    Occams razor is a splendid tool in this matter. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor )

    Anything ‘god’ explains becomes a lot easier when left out. The universe needs a first cause.. Well It makes more sence if it caused itself, than when you need to invent something to explain that event and then go on to explain how matter and non-matter can influence eachother without violating the law of conservation of energy.
    There’s no shame in admitting that we just can’t explain it (yet- hopefully). We don’t need to make shit up to save the theory. The theory will do fine, as did Newtons law of gravity, until Einsteins theory of relativity came along and solved some of the problems.

  251. Bryan permalink
    December 6, 2010 2:42 AM

    @ Brian Ritter: I never said that you said the universe came from nothing. Read my post again. I simply quoted you verbatim, and you said: “…that makes my claim just as easy: the universe didn’t need a cause…”.

    Not sure what “follow the rules” or postulating ad hoc arguments has to do with anything that I was talking about. That type of rhetoric usually suggests someone is out of answers. If you’re just interested in playing “blog post spin doctor” then this type of discussion probably won’t be very rewarding for you.

    As for an academic and scientific approach to this subject…

    One thing that the scientific evidence is very clear about is that the universe had a beginning. (The funny thing about this is that the “scientific” community only came to understand this very recently, whereas a document such as the Bible, for example, has postulated this exact fact for over 3500+ years.)

    Since science accepts that the universe had a beginning, the next question is: What caused the universe to “begin”?

    The question of the “first cause” is a very well recognized question that any theory about origins has to deal with. Of course no one “knows”, because no one was there when everything was “caused”. However, one can still attempt to answer this question using logic and reasoning. It is absolutely logical that the universe was caused, or brought into existence by a force greater than or outside of the laws of time and space. And, coincidentally, this fits with the broader definition of God, as presented in Christianity, Islam and Judaism, just to name a few.

    This is an entirely logical conclusion. It can’t be “proven”, but it can be postulated, and it is a far better answer than “I don’t know…” or “aliens did it”, as our friend Carl Sagan offered.

    This doesn’t mean there can’t be other answers to the question of what was the first cause. The argument I’m making is that the answer that God was the first cause is a very logical and acceptable hypothesis. This website is asserting (among other things) that the existence of God is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence. That does not appear to be true at all. The existence of God is a very logical answer to the question of origins and it requires evidence no more extraordinary than the posits that ‘the universe created itself’ or ‘was created from nothing’.

  252. Bryan permalink
    December 6, 2010 2:15 AM

    @ David Rand

    I’m curious David as to your reasons for rejecting the first cause argument.

    Not sure about quality of the arguments in your post:

    “Many arguments have been advanced in an attempt to prove logically that such an entity must exist, but most are flawed, such as the argument of a first cause (explaining the existence of the universe by assuming the presence and action of an omnipotent being).”

    Yes, many arguments, such as the argument of a first cause. Do you have any rebuttal to this argument, or are you just suggesting that we should accept that it is a flawed argument without actually having to explain why.

    Please elaborate on why you disagree with the argument of a first cause. Otherwise, your post seems kind of shallow.

  253. Brian Ritter permalink
    December 6, 2010 2:11 AM

    Bryan – Actually, I’m not saying that I belive the universe came from nothing. I’m saying I don’t know, but at the same time, pointing out, that if you don’t “follow the rules” and just postulate ad hoc arguments and make the rules fit your theory – so can I.

    It doesn’t make it right though.

  254. Bryan permalink
    December 6, 2010 1:57 AM

    @ Brian Ritter

    “But that makes my claim just as easy: the universe didn’t need a cause…”

    So clearly Brian, you accept the possibility of an uncaused cause, or a supernatural cause–you just don’t want to call it God. At this point, it’s just semantics.

  255. Brian Ritter permalink
    December 4, 2010 2:31 AM

    Peter Tyler “It was once said that that which has consequences has affirmed its existence. Therefore what one can say of the claim of the existence of god(s) is that it has great consequences. ”
    But you can say the same thing about santa claus. But that doesn’ mean that we should take peoples beliefs about santa seriously and let “santa’ism” influence our politics and our science.

    I don’t think religion and superstition deserves ANY respect at all. People deserve respekt, but their irrational claims don’t!

  256. Peter Tyler permalink
    December 3, 2010 3:41 PM

    It was once said that that which has consequences has affirmed its existence. Therefore what one can say of the claim of the existence of god(s) is that it has great consequences. Not only in the manner in which people choose to live, but also in the manner in which they connect with each other and the World around them. In a socio-political context differing state religions affect geo-political outcomes and immerse all of humanity into circumstances that dictate our conditional realities. There is no doubt that belief itself, makes the existent and provable features of phenomena irrelevant. And very little positive is gained from the polarization in this debate. In taking sides we create even more division among ourselves. HERE IS MY POINT: INSTEAD OF CREATING DIFFERENCE, LETS CREATE COMMONALITY. Of course we can debate about the existence of this as truth and that as truth.. but what we need to do more of is create a consensus about what we as humans can all stand for and uphold. That should be the focus.. of our inquiry.

  257. Brian Ritter permalink
    December 3, 2010 2:22 PM

    Yochi: And I suppose that God of cause just doesn’t need a cause – how convinient!
    But that makes my claim just as easy: the universe didn’t need a cause…
    Well – we just don’t know – yet! Maybe we never will, but we are open about that. There are different theories, but they all have flaws of some kind. We are clear about that aswell.
    But that some bronzeage-tribe just KNEW how it all got started that sound way more convincing than physics, chemestry, geology, biology and so on…

    The guys who gave us the microwave, laser, nuclear fision, DNA, the lightbulp, the electric motor etc. are less convincing than the guys who claim that PI equals 3. Who talks of unichorns, deamons, talking snakes and donkeys…. WTF?

  258. AndyC permalink
    December 3, 2010 9:22 AM

    “One of these infinite number of universes would have produced super-intelligent beings who would have devised a way of telling us about themselves, and we would know about them. We don’t.”

    You have to love the crazy arguments of the religious folk.

  259. Yochi permalink
    December 3, 2010 8:22 AM

    I agree with Erik.

    You have not refuted the First Cause argument at all. How is it flawed? It is presented well in the “kalam” argument:

    1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
    2) The universe began to exist
    3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.

    Proceeding from there, if the physical universe had a cause, it would have to be something non-physical, as the universe could not cause itself.

    At the time this argument was postulated, it was refuted under the thought that the universe was eternal. Science believed that it had always been there as they observed it. Since the “big bang” theory, science has only two options to refute the kalam argument. Either something CAN begin to exist without a cause, or the universe, somehow, is still eternal. The first option is ludicrous, so much speculation has been done with the second option.

    There is the “multi-verse generator”, which is some unknown mechanism that sits around randomly creating “universes”, which come and go. We happen to be living in just one of these infinite number of universes.

    There is also the thought that the universe is undulating. It expands and contracts in cycles that extend to the infinite past.

    Of course neither of those have any shred of evidence to support them, nor could they. They are unfalsifiable as well. They should be in the list of “extraordinary claims”.

    These two theories also rely on an actual infinite number of past or simultaneous universes. The scholars who put forth the kalam argument also had a good argument against the possibility of any actual infinity, beyond just a conceptual one. You can’t actually have an infinite number of any real thing. An actual infinite number of universes would produce any universe you could imagine, no matter how improbable. One of these infinite number of universes would have produced super-intelligent beings who would have devised a way of telling us about themselves, and we would know about them. We don’t.

  260. November 21, 2010 4:41 PM

    Phew. For a minute there, I thought I was going to be challenged by rational arguments. As always, it’s refreshing to see that you’ve got nothing.

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