Carefree Christian Dinghy Hits Immoveable Rock of Reality: Thoughts on the Craig vs. Carroll Debate

Craig Carroll cosmology apologetics debateDuring the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder trial, talk show host Dick Cavett mused about bumping into Simpson at a cocktail party. In such a situation, he anticipated that he would say, “Well, there are so many people here who haven’t murdered anyone, I think I’ll go talk to them.”

And that’s my reaction to hearing philosopher William Lane Craig blather on about his opinions on cosmology (read: how he’s picked facts to support his conclusion). When I’m curious about the origin of the universe, I think I’ll go talk to the cosmologists.

William Lane Craig, cosmologist. Or not.

In the first place, Craig isn’t an expert on the topic. For this 2/21/14 debate, the topic was, “The existence of God in light of contemporary cosmology.” In the second place, experts are readily at hand—for example, his opponent, Sean Carroll, who earned a doctorate in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Harvard and is currently a professor at CalTech.

Craig has made clear where his truth comes from. He states in Reasonable Faith (2008):

Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa. (p. 48)

See what I mean about his picking his facts to support his conclusion? Perhaps that also explains his unwarranted confidence in getting into the ring with someone who is actually an expert on the topic.

There’s not much to say about Craig’s 20-minute opening to those familiar with his arguments. He used two of his favorites, the Kalam cosmological argument and the fine tuning argument. One surprise was that his arguments were more remote than usual. The average Christian may have difficulty with terms like entropy, singularity, and arrow of time. Here, Craig also used, without definition, the terms cosmogonic, de Sitter space, “unitarity of quantum theory,” and Boltzmann brains.

However, I was pleased that he avoided my usual complaint, which is his using “just think about it” to introduce some bit of pop philosophy. Yes, common sense is tempting, but it’s not the final arbiter at the frontier of science. Maybe he knew that this kind of argument would be laughed down by an expert. If so, let’s remember that next time he uses such an argument when Sean Carroll isn’t around.

Sean Carroll’s response

Carroll began by making clear that this debate is not an ongoing one within the cosmology community. You’ll hear theories of origins debated at cosmology conferences, but there is no discussion of God as a plausible explanation.

He responded to Craig’s Kalam argument by attacked point 2 (the universe began to exist). He noted that Craig gave no evidence to back up the claim and, indeed, there isn’t any.

The bigger problem is that the point isn’t even false since Craig doesn’t use the right vocabulary for discussing cosmology. Carroll said, “Aristotelian analysis of causation was cutting edge stuff 2500 years ago; today we know better.” Referring back to his opening point, he noted that you don’t find the words “transcendent cause” in a cosmology textbook; what you find are differential equations! There simply is no need for metaphysical baggage on top of the known physics.

Borde Guth Vilenkin

The idea of a beginning to the universe suits Craig. He’s concerned about the naturalist who says that, even if the Big Bang were the beginning of our universe, it could have come from an eternal multiverse. To anticipate this, Craig invariably brings up the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem (BGV), which says that the multiverse did have a beginning.

Carroll responded by ticking off variant universes. A universe with a beginning but no cause? There’s a model for that. A universe that is eternal without a beginning? There’s a model for that, too—indeed, there are at least 17 plausible models.

BGV demands a beginning to the universe, but it starts with assumptions. Discard those assumptions, and the rules are different and eternality is possible. What BGV says is simply that our ability to describe the universe classically, that is, without quantum mechanics, gives out. Craig is simply wrong when he insists that BGV proves a beginning to everything.

Potpourri

It was a pleasure to see a competent physicist dismantle Craig’s cosmological dabblings. Craig cited the Second Law of Thermodynamics to support a finite universe, and Carroll responded that he’d written an entire book on the subject. About the puzzle of why the universe began with low entropy, Carroll said, “To imagine that cosmologists cannot answer that question without somehow invoking God is a classic God-of-the-gaps move. I know that Dr. Craig says that that’s not what he’s doing, but then he does it.”

About Craig’s criticism of Carroll’s own cosmological model, Carroll responded, “[Dr. Craig] says that my model is not working very well because it violates unitarity, the conservation of information, and that is straightforwardly false.” He then pointed out how Craig took a Hawking quote “completely out of context.”

I appreciated Carroll’s polite but direct approach. (I’ve written more about Carroll’s insights here and here.)

Cosmology vs. Theism

Carroll pointed out that a major problem is the very definition of theism. One theist may give a thorough definition, but then dozens (or thousands) more will give competing definitions. More to the point, theism is not a serious cosmological model. Cosmology is a mature science, and models are expected to address real issues. For example: What is the predicted spatial curvature of this universe? What is the amplitude of density perturbations? What causes the matter/antimatter asymmetry? What is the dark matter? And so on.

Theism doesn’t even try. It has nothing to offer.

Some things happen for “reasons” and some don’t,
and you don’t get to demand
that this or that thing must have a reason.
Some things just are.
Claims to the contrary are merely assertions,
and we are as free to ignore them
as you are to assert them.
Sean Carroll

Photo credit: brett jordan

About Bob Seidensticker
  • RichardSRussell

    I am always at pains to point out the distinction between physicist Sean M. Carroll of Caltech and evolutionary biologist Sean B. Carroll of my own beloved University of Wisconsin – Madison. Each is just as distinguished in his own field, equally respected, similarly articulate, with comparable-quality books under his name, and just as much death on the TBs as the other, so one might easily imagine it’s just a single almost super-human intellect named Sean Carroll. But it’s not.

    • ZenDruid

      The B is for Biology, and the M is for Multiverse. That’s how I keep them straight.

    • hector_jones

      What is “death on the TBs”? True believers?

      • RichardSRussell

        Brooking no crap from the True Believers.

        • hector_jones

          Gotcha. Thanks.

  • Castilliano

    You completely captured Craig’s nature in a nutshell.
    Which, BTW, is perfectly appropriate for him.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Good point! It would just about fit.

  • http://www.blekitna.pl Dariusz Jamrozowicz

    I became a big fan of S. Carroll after watching this debate. The problem
    with Craig is that he has nothing to offer, but he presents this
    nothing as something profound and meaningful, which is not, of course.
    There’s another great Craig’s debate with another cosmologist – Lawrence
    Krauss: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6x_zmTpiZEU&feature=share.
    Despite the title given on YT (by a devout Christian, probably) it
    clearly shows that Craig’s “arguments” aren’t only empty, but that he is
    not an honest and decent man. When Krauss presents Craig’s obvious
    lies, Craig takes his time at the lectern to read what he had prepared
    earlier, without answering Krauss’ charges. During the debate everyone can see that this is between an expert (bright and funny) and an ignoramus (dull and orthodox). Although the debate is two hours long, it is worth watching even if for Krauss only.

  • MNb

    Even for a simple teacher physics like me the outcome of this debate was so predictable. Every single apologist babbling about “the Big Bang Theory” supporting the Cosmological Argument (with or without Kalam) moulds it in a way that supports his/her needs. Then they proceed to claim that their version is the BBT as used by phycisists, which is totally incorrect, indeed if only because they far from have settled the issue which theory describes the Big Bang correctly.
    WLC is intelligent. I don’t really get how he could think he could get away with this. He certainly could have overwhelmed me with his talk about Boltzmann brains and BGV theorem. But Sean M Carroll, no way.

    • ZenDruid

      Every apologist is a spin doctor, and every theologian is a fanfiction writer.

  • Pofarmer

    I’ll have to watch the Kraus/Craig debate. Somebody needs to call Craig out.

  • Tprc62

    This debate is available(audio only) on the Unbelievable podcast(March 22, 2014). It is a pleasure to listen to Sean “Multiverse” Carroll really lay into the wrongheaded ideas of WLC. It is a nice primer on cosmology and Prof. Carroll is a very competent speaker, able to explain a ton of ideas in a very limited time.

    The last talk by Prof. Carroll(at 1:19:30 in the podcast) goes off the topic a bit, since WLC has no proper response to any of Prof. Carroll objections. The question he addresses is “What does a person in a religious tradition do when naturalism has undermined theism?” Very interesting eight minutes.

  • hector_jones

    I find WLC so odiously smug and dishonest in his tactics that normally I’d rather give myself a root canal than watch another of his videos. But you and the other commenters have piqued my curiosity about Prof Carroll so much that I’m going to make an effort to watch this one when I get a chance. Thanks.

  • Skeptiker

    I have watched several debates of W.L. Craig with atheists on Youtube, including the one mentioned here. His arguments are mostly the same philosophical crap about god’s existence in an abstract way. I have little patience for his word plays after a little while. I do not like his smugness too.

    Since he is a Christian apologist his main aim, though usually not explicitly stated in those debates but was very obvious, is that the god he so strenuously argued for is his Christian god (who else?). I am always amused by his leap of logic from an abstract argument (which does not convince me) for the existence of a god to claiming that this god is his Christian god with omni-everything attributes (which are contradicted by his own bible). This leap of logic is like him leaping across the universe over a distance of billions of light years.

    One thing I find him detestable and obnoxious is his warped sense of “objective morality” which he so frequently and smugly argued, as shown in the video:

    Christian Apologetics – Genocide Is Good For Everybody!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHRmdCZO2bE

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      And Christians wonder why atheists are troubled by the crazy thinking caused by Christianity! This is a smart guy applying his substantial talent to justify the actions of a maniac.

      God ♥ Genocide

  • JT Rager

    I’ve listened to Krauss vs. WLC, Carroll vs. WLC, and a few clips of WLC’s debates from here and there, and there’s nothing new. Both Krauss and Carroll gave Craig a science smackdown. There’s nothing more to see from him for me, unless perhaps he were to debate Matt Dillahunty.

  • CodyGirl824

    Bob,

    Your analysis misses the point. Carroll speaks as a cosmologist. William Lane Craig speaks to the theological and religious implications of cosmology. If all you want is cosmology and don’t care to explore its theological implications, so be it. Just don’t pretend to critique WLC’s analysis since he is a deep-thinking theologian who has sufficient knowledge of cosmology to hold his own and enlighten the audience in this debate.

    • Castilliano

      How can somebody speak about implications of concepts he doesn’t comprehend?
      WLC: Universe had a beginning therefore…
      SMC: Universe didn’t necessarily have a beginning. (shows evidence)

      WLC: This model shows…
      SMC: That model conflicts with modern understanding. (cites criteria)

      WLC: This scientist came to this conclusion.
      SMC: Among many. She also had this to say, which contradicts your endpoint.

      WLC may be deep-thinking (I disagree, I only find him cunning) but his cosmology is flawed as evidenced by those debates. Hence all his reasoning based on that flawed cosmology is ungrounded. It doesn’t help that his reasoning leads to conclusions that are predetermined (i.e. a god exists) such that he picks from cosmology only that which he can spin to lead to his conclusions. This is disingenuous.
      He’s coming at cosmology like a lawyer, neglecting key material just to make a lopsided case (and failing). He uses wordplay more often than evidence & often redefines terms to further his agenda, rather than use them as they are actually used. When bettered by an opponent’s point, he’ll often go on as if unchallenged, saying “A + B therefore a god” even when his opponent has already shown his versions of A & B don’t mesh with reality, or don’t even add together. I mean this not just in the realm of cosmology, but in the half-dozen or so other debates I’ve seen him in.
      (I’ve since grown tired of his inanity such that I find it hard to tolerate his voice. Transcripts, please…)
      Carrol & Krauss have careers as judges of cosmology, having had to accept all the evidence, even when it contradicted their hypotheses. Scientists aren’t allowed to discard the evidence that doesn’t suit the conclusion they want. Not if they want to follow the Scientific Method that is. Not if they want to avoid ridicule from the scientific community, ridicule that is now falling on WLC’s head because he cannot “hold his own” nor “enlighten the audience” (unless you meant theologically.)

      Sorry, Cody, but WLC was out of his depth trying to root his fantasies with cosmological evidence. And I don’t think anybody is “pretending to critique WLC’s analysis”, but actually are critiquing it. WLC, indeed nobody, is of a status where they can make assertions immune to criticism. You, in turn, are free to critique Carroll or Krauss despite their PhDs, “deep thinking”, and international repute. Find where they went askew. And, if you actually find flaws in the critiques here, have at it. We love that sort of stuff!
      Cheers

      Edit to add: You do realize Kalam’s & all of WLC’s other philosophical arguments have been thoroughly countered, don’t you?
      (see Youtube’s many takedowns, i.e. theoretical bullshit, or go to rationalwiki.org if you know which arguments you want the counterpoints to.)
      Countered, and yet WLC keeps using them…
      Disingenuous, I tell ya’.

      • CodyGirl824

        I’m sure that you realize that the “In the beginning…” question comes from Genesis 1:1 and most certainly, the ancient Hebrews who redacted the Book of Genesis had much less knowledge of cosmology than Sean Carroll.

        • hector_jones

          I’m willing to forgive the ancient Hebrews for knowing less about cosmology than Sean M Carroll. Likewise, I forgive them for their mistaken beliefs about gods.

        • CodyGirl824

          What generosity of spirit, yours!

        • hector_jones

          Thank you, Cody :-)

        • hector_jones

          Wouldn’t want to be guilty of chronological snobbery, would I? Hence my forgiveness.

        • CodyGirl824

          It’s only chronological snobbery that leads you to believe that the ancient Hebrews need your forgiveness.

        • hector_jones

          It’s not really about forgiving the ancient Hebrews for anything. It’s about mocking you for your absurd belief that what the ancient Hebrews believed proves anything about the existence of your god or the study of cosmology.

        • Skeptiker

          Like other ancient people elsewhere, the ancient Hebrews had extremely little knowledge of cosmology other than what they could see with their eyes, perhaps with a little imagination added. It is widely accepted that they in fact borrowed (or plagiarized?) this from the Babylonians.

          Their description of the physical world (as a flat earth covered by a dome with stars studded on it and the Sun moving around the earth) is so wrong that it calls into question the very existence of Yahweh, if Christians claim that the bible is the inspired words of their god.

          How could an omniscient creator of the universe be so laughably ignorant and wrong about his very own creation? This is simply impossible! It follows that either he never existed or he was not the omnipotent creator (perhaps nothing more than a tribal god of the ancient Hebrews).

        • wtfwjtd

          Good point. Originally, the Hebrew god was only one member of the counsel of the gods, and the only people he controlled were the Hebrews. Thus saith the Old Testament.

        • hector_jones

          So who died and made him boss?

        • wtfwjtd

          Bob has a good post here somewhere discussing this topic in detail, I think it’s titled “Polytheism in the Bible”. Definitely a good read.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker
        • CodyGirl824

          You fail to make a distinction between a theological interpretation of creation and the science of cosmology, the same error that Bob S. makes in this blog.

        • hector_jones

          Here’s the distinction. One consists of actual knowledge about the physical universe as the result of much hard work and study by some of the smartest people on the planet, using the scientific method and cutting-edge technology. We call that ‘cosmology’. The other is bullshit.

        • CodyGirl824

          Okay. I get it. You have a high regard for the science of cosmology and nothing but contempt for theology. Where is the wisdom in this?

        • wtfwjtd

          Read above Cody. Science delivers, theology is nothing but empty promises and hot air.

        • hector_jones

          Oh it’s wisdom you want? I’m sorry. Based on everything you’ve posted over the past couple of days here I never would have guessed you were interested in wisdom.

        • Kodie

          It’s a fancy title for a shit shoveler. Where is the wisdom in having any respect for it?

        • MNb

          That cosmology as a part of Modern Science provides us with concrete results. Several have been mentioned by Pofarmer. Modern Science has given us internet. Your god never pulled of anything comparable. He didn’t bring us to the Moon either.

        • Kodie

          Cosmology uses the scientific method, and theology takes the credit.

        • CodyGirl824

          What do you mean by “takes the credit”? For what?

        • Kodie

          I mean it pisses all over science except when science returns some results it can pass off as theologically consistent. With what? With itself? It’s like being an expert on Friends. It could be interesting to study a body of fiction in its own right, but it’s not legitimate academia. There is nothing to discover.

          I went over this in the other post, but you did not see it? You look up to academics as authorities in their field. Meanwhile, they convince you they are authorities in a rich subject. As Bob says in this article, the theologian skips over establishing premises it already considers established (in theology but nowhere else). You don’t notice because you consider those premises established. They also use the academic terminology of their field, e.g., in the other thread you read a book phrased as if a forensics investigation. That impresses you and you don’t investigate the logical flaws. Don’t tell me that you do, because you don’t even notice when you use logical fallacies.

          Cosmology learns nothing from theology. Not a thing. No field of study learns anything from theology, in fact. Theology borrows everything it wants and shits on the rest as “biased” “uninformed” “liberal propaganda” etc. when it does not support theological uh… findings? Mandates? Mandates.

          Think about how little use there is in every other academic field for the contributions of theology. Theology is a user. It presents what they borrow as “revelation” and give credit to god. Your “evidence” for god is “stuff”. Scientific evidence for stuff is never god.

        • Skeptiker

          A typical way for Christians to weasel out of an embarrassing situation!

          What is so difficult for Yahweh to say that a spherical earth moves around the Sun and there are countless stars far away? Is this too far beyond the comprehension of the ancient Hebrews? I am sure you agree that they were not stupid. An error is an error. Don’t hide behind theological nonsense. What is so difficult of building your theology on a correct description of the physical world?

        • CodyGirl824

          You demonstrate a misunderstanding of the nature of the Book of Genesis when you say “…for Yahweh to say…” The Bible is the Word of God, with the word Word written with a capital W, meaning God’s message, God’s revelation, not the words of God, as if the ancient Hebrews were taking dictation. Who’s “hiding behind” anything? Theology is theology. Cosmology is cosmology. I build my theology of my best understanding of modern theology, which may or may not be a correct description of the physical world. We can’t be sure. But the ancient Hebrews built their theology around their own knowledge of the physical world. Please avoid falling into chronological snobbery (theologian Alvin Plantinga’s term).

        • hector_jones

          It’s convenient that the ancient Hebrews weren’t taking dictation, isn’t it Cody? Because this way any mistakes can be blamed on the ancient Hebrews instead of God. He’s a crafty one, that Yahweh.

        • Skeptiker

          The Bible is the Word of God, with the word Word written with a capital W, meaning God’s message, God’s revelation,

          This distinction between W and w is only meaningful to believers, not to nonbelievers, so this is a useless distinction. But why is the “Word” of god (or his revelation) so wrong? My point is that it is just as easy for him (if he existed) to reveal the correct description of the world to his “chosen people”. Care to explain why it is so difficult to do so? Then there is no need for all the weaseling and claiming that nonbelievers “misunderstand the nature of the Book of Genesis.”

        • hector_jones

          Indeed. Apparently he dictated the 10 commandments to Moses who wrote them down verbatim. So God is capable of giving dictation. But aside from that one time, he refuses to do so. Why?

        • wtfwjtd

          You mean two times? There are two sets of 10 commandments. Moses fucked up the first set, so God had to re-dictate them, but they weren’t the same as the first set. I guess they were the “revised and improved version” as dictated by that all-knowing, unchanging God. Go figure….

        • Kodie

          You know why there’s chronological snobbery? Because those Jews didn’t know shit until it was discovered. God could have told them but they wouldn’t have understood in the context of the sheepherding and whatnot? Who has the chronological snobbery? God! Humans had to progress through time to discover this stuff because the bible had no fucking idea.

        • Skeptiker

          Please avoid falling into chronological snobbery (theologian Alvin Plantinga’s term).

          According to Wikipedia:
          Chronological snobbery, is a term coined by friends C. S. Lewis and Owen Barfield, describing the erroneous argument (usually considered an outright fallacy) that the thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior to that of the present, simply by virtue of its temporal priority.

          Please explain why I am “falling into chronological snobbery” in the comments I have posted here. As far as astronomy is concerned, claiming that the bible is very wrong about the physical world is based on scientific advancement, and not ” simply by virtue of its temporal priority”.

          BTW, the term was not coined by Plantinga.

        • Skeptiker

          Please avoid falling into chronological snobbery (theologian Alvin Plantinga’s term).

          According to Wikipedia:
          Chronological snobbery, is a term coined by friends C. S. Lewis and Owen Barfield, describing the erroneous argument (usually considered an outright fallacy) that the thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior to that of the present, simply by virtue of its temporal priority.

          Please explain why I am “falling into chronological snobbery” in the comments I have posted here. As far as astronomy is concerned, claiming that the bible is very wrong about the physical world is based on scientific advancement, and not ” simply by virtue of its temporal priority”.

          BTW, the term was not coined by Plantinga.

        • MNb

          Since then our knowledge of the physical world. Unfortunately Craig’s theology (Plantinga is somewhat better, but not that much) hasn’t.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So you’re saying that the authors of the Bible had no clue about actual science and are entitled to write down as fact whatever goofy stuff they thought made sense? OK. But let’s not then make up a rule, “If it hasn’t been proven wrong, it must be right.”

        • Pofarmer

          That’s not some new made up rule. It eas basically Aquinas whole gig. Trying to prove that theology was not wrong.

        • MNb

          When the two conflict science wins. Always. Everywhere. Period. Craig’s theology conflicts with Modern Physics. That’s why he lost.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I spent the last 2 days at a Christian homeschooling conference. “The Hamster” was the keynote speaker, and he repeatedly hammered his point that the 6 days of creation story is actually the way it happened.

          Yes, I realize that WLC doesn’t do that. I’m just throwing out a data point–there are leaders within Christianity who are doing their best to spread information that they should know is bullshit.

    • MNb

      “WLC speaks to the theological and religious implications of cosmology.”
      That’s correct, even though theologians and philosophers of religion call speaking about those implications cosmology as well. The problem is that WLC distorts cosmology as physicists understand it with the specific goal to fit it into his belief system.

      “who has sufficient knowledge of cosmology”
      That was Craig’s problem – he doesn’t or perhaps doesn’t want to have sufficient knowledge of cosmology. Sean M Carroll mercilessly made that clear.
      For what it’s worth, when I studied Quantum Mechanics I just like Einstein (god doesn’t play dice) understood that it is not compatible with any version of abrahamist religion. QM works, it’s the foundation of all Modern Physics, so the very first assumption of WLC’s cosmologist fails: causality.
      This is what me made an atheist 25 years ago, though I also realized back then it wasn’t conclusive proof, but an existential choice.

      • CodyGirl824

        How much knowledge of cosmology is required to be a brilliant theologian? How much theology is required to be a brilliant cosmologist? Sean Carroll is a brilliant cosmologist but a lousy theologian. I’m sure that this is of little concern to him as a cosmologist.

        • MNb

          A brilliant theologian should stay far away from the Cosmological Argument in the first place, so you have nicely shown WLC isn’t one.
          Nobody claims SMC is a brilliant theologian. He doesn’t need to be to point out the glaring mistakes regarding Modern Physics WLC makes to back up his Cosmological Argument.

          Here, silly.

          “http://www.reasonablefaith.org/kalam”
          The first claim: “If the Universe had been there forever it would have run out of energy by now.”
          That claim belongs to physics.

          http://appearedtoblogly.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/craig-william-lane-the-kalam-cosmological-argument22-from-reasonable-faith-ch-3.pdf

          “it (ie the Universe) came into existence out of nothing”
          “Whatever Begins to Exist Has a Cause”
          Those claims belong to physics.
          So Sean M Carroll doesn’t need no frigging theology to address these claims, simply because he is an expert in what matters: Modern Physics.

        • CodyGirl824

          I agree that there is absolutely no need for Sean Carroll to debate any theologian. But he does, voluntarily. This is why Bob Seidensticker’s attempt to score a victory for Sean Carroll in his (voluntary) debate with WLC based on their relative expertise in cosmology and physics is so ridiculous. Cosmologists within their own academic community may debate each other but such debates (usually at scholarly conferences) are not for the purpose of scoring a win but for exchanging ideas and research. Bob’s purpose appears to be to comfort atheists that cosmology (science) is victorious over theology. Is a hammer victorious over a saw? I guess when it comes to pounding nails it is.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Bob’s purpose appears to be to comfort atheists that cosmology (science) is victorious over theology.”

          Good grief Cody, science is the only thing that’s ever improved the lives of mankind. How many diseases have been cured by prayer? How many people have been fed with theology? How much has been added to the human life span with biblical doctrines? None? Thought so. Theology in general, and Christian theology in particular, make their typical big promises, and as usual at the end of the day come up empty. Science delivers, plain and simple.

        • hector_jones

          wtfwjtd, haven’t you heard? Cody isn’t using a computer to post here. She prays to God, who tells her your comments then posts her replies to all our computer screens.

        • wtfwjtd

          Ahhh…like you said, that Yahweh is a crafty one.

        • CodyGirl824

          My question addressed the usefulness of cosmology specifically. Nonetheless, you don’t have your facts straight about the role of religion in civilization, let alone the research that indicates the positive impact of religion on people’s individual well being. You are just making uninformed pronouncements.

        • wtfwjtd

          Once again, an empty dodge. I don’t see you offering any examples of Christian magic power actually improving the lives of people in any meaningful way, so I have to conclude you don’t have any.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Uninformed pronouncements? Good thing we have you. Tell us the advances to civilization due to religion.

          Admittedly, religion can give hope when life sucks. Science, on the other hand, can actually improve that life so it doesn’t suck.

        • hector_jones

          For religion to first give this kind of hope, it must lie to you and tell you that there is a God, he loves you, and he’s going to help you out of the jam that is your own mortality and send you to heaven. And you have to believe it. If you can’t believe it, religion can’t do a thing for you, no matter how much it insists it can.

          Now perhaps it is the kind, morally right thing to do to lie to a child who is about to die from terminal illness and tell her that everything will be fine, as she is given that last shot of morphine – but that’s the best that religion has to offer, a comforting lie to a dying child.

          Science, meanwhile, has already made enormous progress, that religion has never made, in preventing children from dying this way in the first place. It offers the best hope that we can prevent even more such deaths in the future. Religion, is just treading water.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Now perhaps it is the kind, morally right thing to do to lie to a child who is about to die from terminal illness and tell her that everything will be fine, as she is given that last shot of morphine – but that’s the best that religion has to offer, a comforting lie to a dying child.”

          And we don’t need religion for this, our own sense of empathy would dictate when and if this is the right thing to do. You’re probably right, it’s likely is religion’s best shot–and still comes in a weak second or third place behind our own sense of empathy and compassion.
          In my own personal experience of being around the dying, without exception they aren’t interested in the least in religion or its unsubstantiated and empty promises. Being there at the end for them, is the best we can do, and it’s all we can do, really. The shared bond of humanity is by far the most important thing we can give and do at this stage in life.

          “Two hands working accomplishes far more than a thousand hands clasped in prayer.”

        • hector_jones

          I was speaking in metaphor. A comforting lie to a dying child that everything will be OK, stands in for a comforting lie to a mortal human being who is naive enough to be able to believe the lie that he’s going to heaven, or that god can help him out of his daily predicaments.

          Then I switched to a discussion of the concrete non-metaphorical benefits of science, which wasn’t very literary of me, I concede. But I don’t think science even needs metaphors.

          Religion can only offer this comfort if you are capable of believing it. And even the believers have their doubts. If atheists give in to the argument that we should tolerate religion for the comfort it offers, then it follows we should also let religion expand as far as possible so it can offer as much comfort as possible, to anyone capable of believing it. But then you are left with a lot of ‘dying children’ being comforted (in both a concrete and metaphorical sense), instead of fewer dying children in a concrete sense. So I have to reject the idea that religion deserves any slack because of the comfort argument.

          And then your comment fits in perfectly here – people who are actually in the process of dying don’t really take much comfort from religion. They do take comfort from many other things that human beings, including atheists, can offer them, however, that have nothing to do with religion.

        • Kodie

          As was brought up in the 500 whatever thread, religion does not offer comfort for many facing death, and they believe it.

        • CodyGirl824

          Have you read the book, “On death and dying” by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1969)? Her well-researched book says otherwise.

        • Kodie

          Have you read a post in another thread about a man who was a minister his whole life and was scared he wouldn’t measure up to god’s judgment up to the minute that he died? And what was your asshole “Christian” response to that? You are an ignorant turd in the pool of humanity. Your “well-researched” book and author the same. Keep your nose in the books that confirm your bias and out of reality that will indicate otherwise!

        • hector_jones

          And in the Psalm 22 thread we noted how not even the Son of God himself while dying took much comfort in what he supposedly knew for a fact about God and Heaven. Instead, he cried out that he felt forsaken.

        • wtfwjtd

          This is a subject where Christians really run their ignorance up a flag pole. When it came to death, their just and loving God forsook his own son, their narrative tells them. If God forsakes his own son when he is dying and in pain, why the fuck would he give a shit about me or anyone else that’s suffering and dying? Praying to God when dying is the stupidest, most debasing, worthless thing possible, and it says so in their own holy book.
          Come to think of it, prayer most anytime is pretty useless, but it just seems more futile at times than others.

        • hector_jones

          And then there’s Job. Not only did he feel forsaken, but the text tells us that God deliberately forsook him as part of a wager with Satan just to prove a point about how loyal his followers could be. I do not know how a christian can read that story and claim that her religion offers comfort.

        • CodyGirl824

          Interesting that you think it is “up to atheists” to decide whether or not religion “expands.” You most certainly think that you are very powerful. Where does that power come from, your phenomenal powers of persuasion?

        • Kodie

          Let’s make this apparent – everything that is ever done for people is by people. It’s not from god, it’s not from god inspiring or motivating or moving them around like dolls in a dollhouse. Praying to god offers no comfort. It’s an empty gesture. You and everyone like you want to say it’s everything, it’s everywhere and it accomplishes so much, but you are blind to its powerlessness to accomplish dick.

        • hector_jones

          Satan. The power comes from Satan. Happy now?

        • wtfwjtd

          “people who are actually in the process of dying don’t really take much comfort from religion. They do take comfort from many other things that human beings, including atheists, can offer them, however, that have nothing to do with religion.”

          I think that’s spot-on hector, we are in complete agreement here. People in need, especially the dying, don’t care about dogmas, doctrines, and recited creeds. A gentle touch, caring gestures and just being there for them are by far the most important thing.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          It might be worth making a distinction between children and adults. When a child throws a coin into a wishing well and wishes to be rid of some enormous burden, no one will object. They’re minors and have adults to help keep them safe. It’s a different story when an adult is being delusional.

        • CodyGirl824

          Religion is what teaches us about our shared bond of humanity in/through love of God and love for each other, not atheism or science.

        • hector_jones

          I’ve learned plenty about our shared bond with humanity while managing to reject religion entirely.

          When the ancient Hebrews massacred their enemies in the Old Testament because Yaweh ordered them to, were they doing so to teach us about the shared bond of humanity through the love of God?

        • Kodie

          Religion again takes credit, and it works hard on the marketing, but is not what teaches us anything about our shared humanity. Religion wants the patent rights to charity, and extorts people when they are vulnerable.

        • CodyGirl824

          Religion doesn’t “want” anything. Religion is an abstraction.

        • hector_jones

          Language. How. Does. It. Work?

        • Kodie

          it’s an organized syndicate, it’s a multi-level marketing scheme. The assemblage of people to organize efforts to put down healthcare and welfare for needy people so they can run a monopoly that won’t feed someone unless they learn about Jesus first? That’s what I’m talking about. “Religion is just an abstraction” to you because you are an idiot.

        • hector_jones

          God doesn’t want anything. God is an abstraction.

        • hector_jones

          Religion teaches the exact opposite. For Christianity, it’s only the bond with Christ and God that matters. You are just stealing non-religious ideas about ‘humanity’ and claiming them as the invention of your religion. This is disproved conclusively by your own holy book. Not only with regard to the OT stories of Hebrew massacres, but in the words of Jesus in the NT who tells his followers to abandon their families and follow him. It’s all about pleasing and serving God. Humanity can go rot, or drown in a flood, etc.

        • wtfwjtd

          Religion teaches otherwise good and moral people to commit some of the most horrific atrocities against their fellow human beings imaginable. Haven’t you ever read the Old Testament?
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/06/christianity-can-rot-your-brain-2/

        • CodyGirl824

          I recommend that you read David Bentley Hart’s 2009 book. “Atheist delusions: The Christian revolution and its fashionable enemies, most especially his chapter titled ” A liberating message” about the paradigm shift brought about by/through Christianity in regard to social justice, human rights. But, as I remember Bob, you tend to critique and reject books before you read them, right?

        • hector_jones

          Does this book prove the existence of god? On what page? It would save me time to know. Thanks.

        • Kodie

          Why should anyone read a Christian’s point of view about atheists? That book is by Christians FOR Christians.

          “What do you mean by “takes the credit”? For what?” Oh, you have a title and an author for us to demonstrate exactly that.

          “Religion doesn’t “want” anything. Religion is an abstraction.” Oh, you have all the titles and authors that contradict you.

        • Kodie

          Are you serious? You believe, because some joker wrote it in a book that religion/theology is responsible for encouraging social justice? Are you reading the papers?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Oh, yeah. Why bother to read something that won’t confirm what I already know is true? No atheist reads books that argue against atheism.

        • MNb

          Don’t think so. When two cosmologists disagree I can exactly tell you what they will do to settle their dispute. When two theologian disagree …. well, they just disagree.
          What’s more: cosmology is an essential part of the story science delivers, beginning with the Big Bang (perhaps even before) and ending with you and me using internet to communicate with each other today, even if we are a few thousand miles separated. No single Holy Book has a story about the Universe and mankind that even can remotely compare.

        • CodyGirl824

          Of course not. Why compare modern cosmology with the mytho-poetic and allegorical theological accounts of creation of ancient religions? Only atheists and creationists do this.

        • hector_jones

          I think you are becoming more stupid with each post you type.

        • Kodie

          Every time science discovers something new, theology examines it to see if it holds up with their theology and whether or not they can incorporate it. Depends on the sect. Every sect gets to decide for itself if science is correct or not. If science makes a match, theology pats itself on the back for god’s great revelation, and when science doesn’t match theology, theology throws science under the bus for biased findings. So, all theology is is the cherry-picking of not only your good book, but reality itself.

        • MNb

          Good. Now your big hero the theologian, certainly not atheist and perhaps creationist WLC claims a few things that totally not belong to mytho-poetic blabla. I repeat:

          “If the Universe had been here forever it would have run out of energy by now.”
          “Whatever begins to exist has a cause.”
          “The universe began to exist.”
          “(the Universe) came into existence out of nothing”
          That’s why your big hero the theologian WLC babbles a lot of fancy things about Boltzmann brains and the BGV theorem. Ie he talks about physics. Sean M Carroll didn’t say one single lousy thing about theology. He didn’t need to. He could stay safely within his expert field: Modern Physics. And thus creamed your big hero the deep-thinking theologian WLC.
          You was the one to bring up mytho-poetic blabla, nobody else. You’re only too dishonest to admit it and to admit that your big hero the theologian WLC is a failure.

        • Kodie

          Sometimes, I think biblical literalists have more integrity. It says it in the bible, the bible is god’s word, god is real, nothing needs to be changed. It’s people who change their religions, who adapt it to meet the modern world, it’s not a living religion, you change it so it doesn’t embarrass itself. One of the reasons, when at one time I was examining religious beliefs and what would I find reasonable to believe, I reject literalism because it’s obviously ridiculous, but reject the “revelatory” expression of modern Christianity because you’re literally inventing a religion piece by piece to come to terms with the world around you. Religions are invented, gods are invented. Whatever you need god to be, he can be, and whatever you don’t like, leave that to some gullible fool who has interpreted it all wrong. “Interpretation” of the bible is in effect inventing slightly different gods. Your monotheistic god is different from another Christians. Nobody is a “true” Christian, that is only as much a matter of perspective as a selective interpretation is.

          Your contention seems to be that we are unable to comprehend our world without theology. You keep using terms like “theological implications” as if every field has implications, implies a theology. You said before that the existence of atheism is a clear indicator of “free will” granted by your god. This is how little you know. You seemed surprised a little while ago that I do not experience god. I could not will myself a theist any more than you can will yourself an atheist. You have a misapprehension about atheism, because I gather, as a theist, you have the sense that you could, hypothetically, choose to ignore the “theological implications” and live with a pretense that there is no god. But you would obviously continue to “notice” god in everything. You could choose to pretend, but you could not choose to ignore. You could verbally deny, but you would be lying to yourself.

          That is not what an atheist experiences. An atheist experiences love, joy, meaning, guilt, morality, charity, fear, and sadness, and no god is implied. We care about ourselves, our families, our society, and our environment – no god necessary or implied or detected. We’re seeing the same things you are but they do not indicate any god that you imagine. We live in a world, and most of us a country populated by theists, who wrongly wield an imaginary power and demand to be respected as they step all over our laws and try to express their “freedom” while diminishing everyone else’s.

          Meanwhile, they do not all agree with one another. They all count as Christians, and take that as some kind of majority, but in arguments like this one, they argue who is and isn’t a “true” Christian. It all comes down to interpretation of a book and resonating with what one wants to be true. There is no majority of Christianity, except when they can use it for political leverage. [ETA: along with a selective interpretation of the US Constitution and especially the 1st Amendment, as well as the misapprehension that a majority supercedes individual freedoms guaranteed by those laws.]

          So why is this important to compare and contrast your beliefs with an outdated manual’s expression? Because you mold your source material to suit your personal needs. If god is unchanging, why can he change as you want? Why do you think so and someone else disagrees? You want toasted ice, you want and experience a god that appeals to you personally, that makes sense to you personally, but does not apply to everyone. All it is is your interpretation, and in effect, your invention of a god through whom to comprehend your world, just like an ancient Hebrew tribesman does. He is not revealed, you are selectively interpreting everything humans do because it doesn’t make sense to you otherwise. Congratulations that you don’t think the world is flat. Congratulations that would be embarrassing to admit, given what the rest of us have learned so far. But don’t imagine that it doesn’t make sense without theology to anyone else.

        • hector_jones

          Theologians have a simple method for solving a dispute. They create a new denomination.

        • CodyGirl824

          I don’t think that it is usually theologians who “create” new denominations.

        • hector_jones

          I was being facetious. My point is that this is why there are so many religions and denominations in the world – because theology has no method of resolving disputes, just as MNb says.

        • CodyGirl824

          Why do you think theology should “resolve disputes”? Should science “resolve disputes”?

        • hector_jones

          Absolutely science should resolve disputes. That’s part of its method.

        • CodyGirl824

          Why compare?

        • Kodie

          We discussed this in another thread, and you chose your preferential beliefs out of a hat, remember? You don’t get that where you stepped in, we were talking to Albert about “evidence” of supernatural events, and how you would know Christianity was right and another claim was wrong, because they all have the same types and amounts of evidence. A rational person would want to be right and compare claims side by side. An irrational person makes the most important decision of their life and afterlife based on emotional resonance and nothing else.

        • Pofarmer

          All of the “positive impact” of religion doesn’t even begin to start to vaguely hold a candle to the impact of, say, germ theory, or the mathematics of glass lenses.

        • CodyGirl824

          Why do you think that science and religion must be compared in this either/or fashion? “Either religion or science” is a false concept. Science does not address inquiry into our relationship with the Divine and our relationships with each other. Do you consult a science textbook or research study to learn how to be more loving toward your family? Or how to face death? Or how to overcome addiction? I highly recommend this book: Alvin
          Plantinga (2011) “Where the conflict really lies.” Plantinga analyzes in detail how there is no conflict between science and religion, but how there is a real conflict between naturalism and science.

        • Kodie

          You don’t need theology for any of those things, either.

        • CodyGirl824

          For someone who sees no “need” for theology, you spend a huge amount of time talking about it and running it down.

        • hector_jones

          That’s like complaining that someone who has no need for a flood in the middle of their city is a fool for spending so much time working to prevent floods. You really aren’t very good at this, Cody.

        • Kodie

          You certainly are wrong about a lot of things, and I’m free to point that out to you so you might learn something one day, and if not you, maybe someone reading this thread. You made an assertion and that assertion does not deserve to lay unopposed.

        • Kodie

          Jeezus, Codygirl did you really say naturalism and science have a conflict that religion does not? It is hard to believe someone can walk around and type and even read in that posture.

        • CodyGirl824

          Read Plantinga’s book. Then we can talk.

        • Kodie

          Go look up confirmation bias and then shove your “scholar” up your ass. I can use my senses and experience to know that you don’t need religion for any of those things. If you have made an assertion, it’s not my job to read a book when you can just back it up like a person does.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You can’t summarize the good stuff for us?

        • hector_jones

          If she ever does learn some day, you can be sure she won’t reread this thread. The embarrassment would kill her.

        • Kodie

          How can she say religion doesn’t want anything and theology doesn’t take credit for everything? The books she reads to confirm her bias say otherwise, causing some kind of explosion or something. Religion has relevance and innovation in every area of life and study, according to every book she’s mentioned, which contradicts personal experience, and other books by scholars who do not confirm her bias. She won’t read those, just like she won’t examine the “evidence” for another god to compare what evidence she has for hers, which is, merely, “everything”.

          She doesn’t think outside the books. She doesn’t know how to look around her without filtering it through a theological “scholar” who backs up her biases: god came first, then stuff. All our knowledge and feelings and comforts and cures for all that ails humanity goes back to theology! But religion isn’t responsible for any of the bad experiences with it. It has taken over her life and turned her into a liar to sell more bullshit. She can’t even believe reality and waves it away – “that’s not relgion’s fault” or “religion doesn’t want anything, it’s an abstraction”. It’s her whole life, and it doesn’t want her whole freaking life? It doesn’t want to make her ignorant and biased against reality?

        • hector_jones

          Because she’s equivocating. Religion has more than one meaning as a word. It can be an abstract concept referring to belief in gods and miracles and such. It can also refer to organized groups of people who believe such things. Like when we say ‘religion is on the decline in America’. You were using it in the latter sense, she pretended you could only have been using it in the former sense. It was a deliberate attempt to employ the equivocation fallacy to score a point. She does that all the time.

        • CodyGirl824

          It is very important when talking about religion to make the distinction between a religion as the abstract belief system, doctrines, ritual, traditions, etc. and the people who espouse or affiliate with a particular religion. The same is true with atheism vs. atheists. This is fairly easy to address simply by not talking about religion as if it were a person or persons.

          I am attempting to avoid equivocation, which is the use of the same term in different contexts where the term has different meanings. I agree that the numbers of people who self-identify with an established religion is on the decline in the United States. That is shown through polling such as through the Pew Center on Religion. However, this is not an indication that atheism is on the rise, which is what I think you are trying to imply. In fact, the numbers of people and their percentage in the total population who self-identify as atheists has shown very little change over decades.

        • hector_jones

          It was obvious from the context what Kodie meant. MNb is right that you are a liar.

        • Kodie

          It’s very important when talking about religion to realize confirmation bias and the difference between fantasy and reality. Theology is like a 4-year-old feeling accomplished over something his parent did for him. “I did it!” It’s very important to build up the esteem and confidence in a growing child, but theology is a grown-up who still needs to be validated like a toddler.

        • Kodie

          However, this is not an indication that atheism is on the rise, which is
          what I think you are trying to imply. In fact, the numbers of people
          and their percentage in the total population who self-identify as
          atheists has shown very little change over decades.

          I don’t think hector was trying to imply anything, he was just making an example. However, you ignorant nitwit, you only read the headline didn’t you, or you don’t know how to read data, or you are in denial of data that doesn’t fit your opinion. You don’t even know how to look something up before you say it to make sure you’re correct.

          http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/

          http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/10/23/5-facts-about-atheists/

          http://www.wingia.com/web/files/news/14/file/14.pdf

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          In fact, the numbers of people and their percentage in the total population who self-identify as atheists has shown very little change over decades.

          Accursed Disqus doesn’t let me easily see who’s responded here, so this is probably redundant.

          You do know that the fraction of “Nones” in the U.S. has exploded in the past decade, right?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Of course. Does this puzzle you? American atheists live in a society full of Christians.

        • Pofarmer

          So, psychology and sociology are not sciences? And science does address our relationship with the divine. The conclusion? It’s all in our head.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Are you confused about what we’re talking about here? WLC claimed to have something useful to offer to the discussion, “The existence of God in light of contemporary cosmology.”

          It was an actual debate. Craig thinks that modern cosmology is a tool in the service of Christianity. If you think the whole thing was ridiculous, I tend to agree with you. We have a cosmologist to tell us about the subject. We don’t need a philosopher’s input.

        • CodyGirl824

          For those of you who believe that science answers every question in life worth asking, certainly there is no need for a debate between a cosmologist and a theologians. So what’s your point?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That when the task is nailing boards together, Carroll’s hammer is relevant and useful and Craig’s saw is not (to use your analogy).

        • CodyGirl824

          Then you disapprove of debates between physicists and theologians. Only hammers should debate hammers and only saws should debate saws. Is that it?

        • Kodie

          I think the debate was about whether a hammer or a saw applied to two boards and a box of nails. The saw still thinks he won.

        • CodyGirl824

          What? I gather that for you, it’s all about winning. I’m not so sure that “winning” in their debates is of any concern to either Dr. Craig or Dr. Carroll.

        • Kodie

          When reality presents a problem such as attaching two boards, for example, the saw is delusional in the idea that he can help. What is so difficult for you to perceive about this? You can nuh-uh! and invoke all manner of theologians who support your biased thinking, but you’re still wrong. You got it wrong when you replied to MnB, you got it backwards. Cosmology and all science needs to establish that theology is a joke and a clinger and a cherry-picker, but it has no usefulness. Theology, on the other hand, is a delusional fool for going up against it and believe it has anything to offer, on any subject.

        • CodyGirl824

          Science (i.e., ethical scientists) is silent on questions of theology. This is because it is not within the capacity of the methods of inquiry of science to investigate theological questions. This is as it should be. Science is merely the systematic method of inquiry into how God’s creation works. Theology does not “go up against” science in any way. The more we learn about and from science, the greater our knowledge of/about how God’s creation works and the deeper our faith in God grows. This is true regardless of your opinion of theology.

        • hector_jones

          This is false. Science rejects theological claims because they are untestable, nonfalsifable, and incoherent. Far too many scientists, however, are too polite to admit this.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Science rejects theological claims because they are untestable, nonfalsifable, and incoherent.”

          And hence, such claims are useless.

        • CodyGirl824

          …Only if you believe that the scientific method of inquiry is the only epistemology available and valuable to humankind and civilization.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, science does not reject theological claims. Science is totally neutral (silent) on such matters. Here is the official statement of US National Academy of Sciences statement
          “Science is a way of knowing about the natural world through natural causes. Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral.”

          This is as it should be to maintain the integrity and respect we have for science. The scientists who adhere to this policy are being ethical, not just “polite.”

        • hector_jones

          That’s just the US National Academy of Sciences being polite because of the politics involved. They are treading lightly on your precious christian toes because nutjobs like you have too much political power in the USA.

        • CodyGirl824

          Okay, call it politeness if you want. But as I see it, the ethical thing for scientists to do, as scientists, is to keep their theology and their science separate, much like the ethics of the separation of church and state, which you see to support.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          hector is right. This wording avoids the issue. If God acts in our world, that’s obviously a testable claim (in principle, at least).

        • Kodie

          When science has an answer that contradicts a popular version of theology, it has every interest in correcting everyone who wants to know. Oy vey, you still think religion doesn’t take credit for everything? Science is secular and has nothing to do with theology. Theology is its own bullshit brand that makes many attempts to hinder scientific discovery, when it cannot reconcile it. The more we learn about science, the less there is evident a god in the gaps of what we do not know. You persist in contradicting your earlier statements, and the premise that science studies god’s creation is not even what science is – that’s your selective interpretation. The secular world does not need theology. Only people with a fantastic delusion need theology to grasp the world around them.

        • CodyGirl824

          Not surprising that you bring the “god of the gaps” concept into the discussion. I’ll say this about that: the more we discover through science, the more we know how God’s creation works. Our greater knowledge, however, does not give us the power to create the way God creates. Just because we know what causes earthquakes does not mean that we can prevent them.

        • Kodie

          Please take the time to establish the premise before you jump to the conclusion.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          the more we discover through science, the more we know how God’s creation works.

          Most people would see the cascade of natural explanations for reality as giving less and less reason to accept supernatural explanations. Not you, I guess? Your faith is much stronger than that!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          This is because it is not within the capacity of the methods of inquiry of science to investigate theological questions.

          If the question is, “Does God (who lives in a location untouchable by science) exist?” then I agree. I think, though, that you’re talking about a God that actually interacts with our world.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Oh, I’m certain that “winning” matters greatly to Craig. I’ve listened to his podcasts. He always wins.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “Disapprove” isn’t really the word.

          To get the impact of modern physics on religion; sure, that makes sense. But to get a critique of physics by the theologian–that makes no sense.

        • MNb

          This isn’t about science answering every questiont etc., this is about a lying theologian making claims regarding physics – ie questions that totally can be answered by science.

        • CodyGirl824

          Any claims made about physics by anyone in a public forum can most certainly be critiqued by experts in the discipline. But this is not what you folks are talking about. You don’t like what WLC says about the theological implications of cosmology, which anyone can derive regardless of their level of expertise in physics.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          WLC got his non-scientific ass handed to him in this debate. What of value does he add to the conversation?

          As for the theological implications of cosmology, WLC can certainly take cosmology and figure out what that’s done to his worldview and then tell us about it. That doesn’t sound like what you’re talking about, though.

        • Pofarmer

          MAinly because theology run rampant is a bad thing. It needs checks like everything else.

        • MNb

          Liar. I didn’t write

          “I agree that there is absolutely no need for Sean Carroll to debate any theologian.”
          It is totally necessary for Sean M Carroll (and other scientists) to address the twisted arguments of dishonest theologians, who distort what Modern Physics is about. WLC is such a theologian (Chriss Hallquist has documented this extensively) and that’s why Sean M Carroll doesn’t need any theology; it suffices, especially regarding the Cosmological Argument, to show where WLC goes off the rails regarding physics.
          But now I understand why you admire WLC so much: two liars for Jesus.

        • CodyGirl824

          You are fast and loose with your use of the word “liar.” Why resort to ad hominem arguments? Is it because you don’t have any others? I am sure that there are some physicists who see it as their mission in life to correct misunderstandings about physics. I can relate to that since it is my mission in life to correct misunderstandings about God.

        • Kodie

          It is not ad hominem to call you a liar and then proceed to demonstrate where you have, in fact, lied.

          ETA: You transposed what he said in your restatement so that it looks like he said what you said and you agreed with him.

        • hector_jones

          Pssst, Kodie. The word ‘liar’ is out. If you want to call a liar a liar online and not be called out for it, you call them ‘disingenuous’. Pass it on.

        • CodyGirl824

          Lied about what? of course, you realize that to call someone a liar is to accuse him/her with a deliberate attempt to deceive. It is always an ad hominem argument since it attacks the person’s motivations and intentions rather than the content of their statement.

        • hector_jones

          You’ve repeatedly called atheism ‘lies’ or ‘a lie’. I’m not impressed by your whining about being called a liar. Everything you say is false, incorrect, factually challenged bullshit. Is that better?

        • wtfwjtd

          You mean “just because Cody says so” isn’t good enough to establish what constitutes an absolute truth?

        • CodyGirl824

          This doesn’t reflect a deep level of analysis. It merely tells me that you reject everything I have to say because you buy into your own ad hominem arguments and/or your prejudice against people of faith.

        • hector_jones

          Nothing you say reflects a deep level of analysis. I reject what you have to say because it’s illogical, incoherent and not based on facts or evidence.

        • CodyGirl824

          Okay. So be it.

        • Kodie

          You haven’t said anything right yet. And if you’re not lying, then you’re mistaken. You have made many assertions, including how you feel about atheism, and including books about atheism by Christian authors so that we might understand ourselves better. You are a typical Christian lying, arrogant, ignorant, evasive, and illogical person. That’s not ad hominem – that’s relevant to your posts and your arguments. You have no arguments. Your arguments are “read this book that contradicts everyone’s personal experience” and “I find it helpful in discussions with atheists to quickly dispense with
          and dismiss their idea/belief that God does not exist. Then we open the
          window of opportunity to talk about what it is that monotheism deifies.” You haven’t backed one assertion since you started, but you’ve repeatedly cried “ad hominem” when you are shown to be the asshole that you are, and you have repeatedly cried that we should remain on your topic if we are asking you a question you don’t know the answer to.

          How are you contributing any understanding of Christianity to the conversation if you (a) won’t back up your assertions, or (b) continue to be nothing more than a self-righteous pseudo-intellectual source of irrationality and contradiction? Our understanding from you is that Christianity makes someone act like a turd, with all the sense of a rock.

        • CodyGirl824

          Didn’t you see my post where I explain the difference between atheists (people) versus atheism, Christians (people) versus Christianity. But you do have a point. I will no longer call atheism a lie.

        • Kodie

          Mnb wrote:

          A brilliant theologian should stay far away from the Cosmological Argument in the first place

          and you restated:

          I agree that there is absolutely no need for Sean Carroll to debate any theologian.

          Can you even see the difference? Maybe it was intentional, but you carried on the rest of your post on a faulty premise, i.e. what you thought Mnb said. Maybe you are just blinded by theology and what it does to you is make you see things that aren’t there. Haven’t I called you hard of reading comprehension a half dozen times already?

        • CodyGirl824

          The Cosmological Argument is a theological argument, not an argument about or against cosmology. It is an argument about the theological implications of the science of cosmology, the origins of the universe.

        • hector_jones

          uh I think you mean ‘ontology’. Oncology is the study of cancer.

        • CodyGirl824

          Yes, I discovered the error and edited my comment. Thanks.

        • 90Lew90

          *Sssslowww. Clap.*

        • hector_jones

          Now see if you can do the same with all your other comments. Thanks.

        • 90Lew90

          No, the cosmological argument is a philosophical argument suggested by Plato and advanced most influentially by Aristotle. It was then plagiarised by Thomas Aquinas and tacked onto Christian theology by him. Do you have the slightest clue what you’re talking about?

        • CodyGirl824

          How can an argument be plagiarized?

        • Kodie

          When they take credit for it, dummy. When religion takes credit for everything it can use.

        • CodyGirl824

          Again, I repeat. Religion is not a person. Only persons can plagiarize and I sincerely doubt whether or not an argument can be plagiarized, given the definition of the term.

        • Kodie

          You certainly are biased toward seeing religion/theology in everything. I wonder how that happened, it’s just there, or agents like Thomas Aquinas in this example and theists all through time found it advantageous to warp everything to include theology? I mean, you’ve been throwing titles and authors on every subject, from death to social justice and forensics and science and even atheism, for us to read the theological opinions of people who sell books to confirm Christian biases like yours.

        • 90Lew90

          The cosmological argument is Aristotle’s. Aquinas took the cosmological argument, applied it in Christianity, and put his name to it. That is not original thought. That is copying without attributing. That, in sum, is plagiarism. But perhaps it’s not fair to charge Aquinas with plagiarism, since they didn’t care much about intellectual property in those days. If they did, we might call Christianity a plagiarism of all manner of ancient religions, and Islam a plagiarism of a plagiarism. It all goes to show how much more civilised we are about these things the farther we get away from religion and learn to stand on our own feet.

        • Kodie

          So you admit to being intellectually dishonest, then.

        • CodyGirl824

          What?

        • Kodie

          Rather than admit you read it wrong and went on like an idiot, you admit you don’t find the difference in the meaning of the two statements relevant enough to care.

        • CodyGirl824

          The two comments you pulled out of context from posts by Mnb and me are not contradictory. Mnb expresses an opinion about what theologians should not do. I agreed with the opinion that Sean Carroll is not required, as a cosmologist, to enter into debate with a theologian and that when he does so, he does it voluntarily. So what’s your problem with this?

        • Kodie

          I agree that there is absolutely no need for Sean Carroll to debate any theologian.

          is a misdirecting restatement of Mnb’s earlier statement. Can you find where you lied?

        • CodyGirl824

          This is ridiculous!

        • Kodie

          In what way? You asked me a lot of questions and I answered you, and I gave you examples. If you still don’t believe what I’ve shown you, then is what you do believe believable? See how lying damages your credibility?

        • hector_jones

          MNb was fast with the use of the word liar. He was not loose with it.

        • Kodie

          Theology is not found in the evidence, it’s made up.

        • wtfwjtd

          I’d take a brilliant cosmologist over a brilliant theologian any day. The theologian makes up stuff about made-up stuff, while the cosmologist actually enriches our lives by informing us and making testable predictions about the actual world we live in. No contest.

        • Pofarmer

          Is there any such thing as a brilliant theologian any more?

        • Kodie

          I would say it’s possible to be brilliant at theology, since it’s a sales job, and you just have to know what you’re selling, and your audience. I don’t think it’s necessary to be brilliant at it, but the ones thought to be brilliant theologians are perhaps slick with words and pretty good at self-promotion. So “slick” and “pretty good”. They know their audience.

        • wtfwjtd

          Absolutely Kodie, people like WLC are very good at what they do, and I’m certain he makes himself a good living doing it. But yeah, it’s a sales job, and all the benefits accrue to him, and go with him when he’s gone from the scene. The work of people like Sean Carroll, OTOH, will be useful to mankind for decades or longer, and makes a permanent contribution to advancing human knowledge and society. Like I said, no contest.

        • CodyGirl824

          How exactly do you think cosmology useful to mankind? Just wondering.

        • wtfwjtd

          Cosmology is actual science, which is always useful to mankind. It helps us more clearly understand the past, and our future, as well as helping us to obtain a better understanding of the actual universe we live in. With better information we can make better collective choices about the paths we wish to pursue as a species.

        • Kodie

          How is it useful to theology? Is it useful for selling the fiction?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What good was number theory. Completely useless. Mental masturbation.

          Until that whole public key encryption thing. Then suddenly it was center stage.

          I don’t know enough about cosmology to know if it has contributed to technology. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had, but even if not, cosmology is useful for the same way that many areas of science are useful: mankind likes to understand nature. (For real, I mean. Not with fairy tales like we get from religion.)

        • hector_jones

          Back in the days when I studied some mathematics (a while ago) I had a prof who liked to say that cutting edge mathematics was about 100 years into the future. By that he meant that the newest, most cutting edge mathematical concepts could exist just as theory for 100 years before someone would ever find a practical application for them. But eventually they would, so it made perfect sense to study this kind of mathematics even if you wouldn’t live to see any practical use for it. The future would thank you for it.

        • Skeptiker

          …the newest, most cutting edge mathematical concepts could exist just as theory for 100 years before someone would ever find a practical application for them

          In addition to Bob’s number theory example, two other examples come to mind:

          1. Boolean algebra which deals with True (1) and False (0) values is fundamental in the development of digital electronics. The mathematical theory was introduced in 1854 by English mathematician George Boole. That is about 85-90 years before it found widespread application in the design of the first electronic computers.

          2. In 1854 German mathematician Bernhard Riemann developed what is now known as Riemannian Geometry which enabled Einstein to formulate his General Theory of Relativity (1916) mathematically.

        • CodyGirl824

          And humankind also likes to understand the God of nature.

        • Pofarmer

          GPS, satelite orbits, cell phones, probes on Mars, missions to Asteroids. Little things.

        • wtfwjtd

          Can you imagine even attempting a moon landing or a Voyager project without studying cosmology? And just think of all the technology we have gleaned from these projects.

        • Skeptiker

          I can’t resist quoting Robert A. Heinlein:

          Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn’t there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything.

        • CodyGirl824

          Sounds to me a lot like atheists.

        • wtfwjtd

          You don’t get out of your bubble much, do you?

        • Skeptiker

          Sounds to me a lot like atheists.
          Please elaborate on why this is so.

        • CodyGirl824

          How have cosmologists tested their theory of the Big Bang?

        • wtfwjtd

          Read carefully Cody, I didn’t say they could test every single prediction, I said they can make testable predictions about their theories. And as new evidence about our universe is discovered, our current theories are revisited and revised, as necessary. Unlike theologians, who start with predetermined conclusions and then pick and choose through the evidence to fit their predetermined outcomes.
          If you really are interested in learning cosmology, ask a cosmologist.

        • CodyGirl824

          And if/since I am interested in the theological implications of cosmology, I read and consult cosmologists who discuss theology. Here’s one of my favorites; Stephen Barr (2003). Modern physics and ancient faith. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

        • Kodie

          The theological implications of cosmology are that the bible was so very, very wrong, so now we’re going to crib off science and wedge it into canon.

        • wtfwjtd

          Now please, Kodie, next you’ll be suggesting that answering the unknowns of our world with a “goddunit” is a curiosity-killer. Are you sure you want to go there?

        • hector_jones

          This came up in the debate as well. Prof Carroll talked about how believers can deal with the findings of science in general and cosmology in particular in one of three ways – 1. deny it, and insist on their biblical descriptions of reality, 2. pretend that science and religion have absolutely no fundamental conflicts at all, i.e. that science actually confirms theology, or 3. approach the situation honestly and amend their theology to take account of scientific knowledge. But the best that 3 can do is lead to a model that describes reality well, but includes a superfluous God

          He then, generously, tells the audience that Craig fits into number 3, but I think that in reality Craig bounces back and forth between 2 and 3, depending on whether he has on his deist hat or his christian hat. After all Craig never once argued in the debate that cosmology helps christianity, just that it helps deism.

        • CodyGirl824

          Is the Bible wrong about the theology? That’s all that matters. If you think that the ancient Hebrews got the cosmology wrong, you can take the matter up with them. Oh, well, I guess maybe you can’t.

        • 90Lew90

          Gosh. You almost said, “Were you the-errrr?!”

        • hector_jones

          You know what I think she’s really trying to do? I think she’s trying to make a ‘God’s chosen people’ argument, but won’t come right out and do it. It’s like she’s waiting for someone to lead with the chin so she can deliver her devastating right hook, but it’s just not working out for her.

        • hector_jones

          So first we were told we should believe the ancient Hebrews because they believed stuff and it would be chronological arrogance or some such thing not to. Now we are told that the fact they are dead means we can’t even refute them! That is one fine truth-seeking methodology you’ve got there, Cody!

          Does it also work with my ancestors, the ancient Celts?

        • CodyGirl824

          hector, please read more carefully. Kodie said that the Bible is wrong about the cosmology. No one living today with our knowledge of cosmology wrote a single word in the Bible. The OT is how many years old? 3,500 or so, I think? If Kodie or anyone else has complaints about the cosmological accuracy of the OT, you need to take the matter up with its authors. Alternatively, you (plural) might just accept this fact: the ancient Hebrews who authored the OT were not writing a textbook on cosmological science. They wrote a theology of creation for their own religious/theological edification. It is chronological snobbery to critique their sacred religious text from the vantage point of 21st century cosmology and atheism.

        • hector_jones

          I have to ask – so what?

        • Kodie

          They wrote a theology of creation for their own religious/theological edification.

          Another way to say this is “they didn’t know anything and they made up stuff”. What are your beliefs based on?

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie,

          Your chronological snobbery is showing!

        • Kodie

          You’re the one who said it. If I understood you wrong, it’s upon you to clarify, not spout gibberish.

        • 90Lew90

          Dear Cody. The OT is 2,500 years old. Perhaps that was just a typo. But I can’t let this pass: You say the authors of the OT wrote a “theology of creation” and I’m afraid that in making that statement you betray that you don’t even know what theology is. Theology is the study, analysis and interpretation of religion and religious texts. Your chronological barminess is showing here because you can’t have a theology without first having a religion. And what is more, you appear to be saying that the OT authors were both right and wrong about “creation” at the same time. What gives?

        • CodyGirl824

          How are you arriving at a date of the original writing of the Book of Genesis? To date it as 2,500 means that you think it was written only 500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, suggesting that Judaism had only been around for 5 centuries before Christ, 500 BCE. This can’t be based on any Bible scholarship I’m familiar with.

          As for the theology of the Book of Genesis, I highly recommend this deep and fascinating analysis: Rabbi Michael Samuel (2010). “Birth and Rebirth Through Genesis: A Timeless Theological Conversation Genesis 1-3.”

        • 90Lew90

          Maybe the biblical “scholarship” you’re reading isn’t worth the trees it’s written on. The OT was passed down in oral tradition. We can say roughly that it was first written 2,500-2,700 years ago. Nobody knows. And that still does nothing for your obvious misunderstanding of what theology actually is. Theology is fairly new. The Christian usage of the term is medieval. No OT authors were engaged in it.
          I would recommend to you the works of Geza Vermes. A secular Jewish scholar who can be relied upon for his honesty. Asking me to read a religious believer for the truth about religion is worse than asking me to go to a heroin addict for the truth about life on heroin. Meaning, the heroin addict is more likely to tell me about all the bullshit that comes with it.

        • CodyGirl824

          So, you think that Rabbi Michael’s gave his book an erroneous title because the first three chapters of the Book of Genesis aren’t theology? I’ll tell him so, since I know him personally. I’ll also ask Rabbi Michael about the age of the Torah.

        • 90Lew90

          You do that, and be prepared for him to stifle a laugh. “Theological” is an adjective. An adjective is a describing word. (Am I really having to say this?) What your rabbi is engaged in is theology. The authors of the Bible were not engaged in theology. That is the question you should take to him. The “conversation” he refers to in the title of his book is what he says is “timeless”. You really, really *do* need to brush up on your comprehension. I’m sorry to say it but I have to, you’re quickly making yourself look like an absolute dimwit. That’s not an ad hominem either. You don’t appear to be able to understand your own mother tongue.

        • CodyGirl824

          Do you really think that your insults enhance your argument? If the ancient Hebrews were not “engaged in theology” (the epistemology of the nature and character of God) in writing the Torah, then why, in your opinion, does Rabbi Michael call the Book of Genesis a theological conversation? Do you claim that he’s a “dimwit” too?

        • 90Lew90

          No. I haven’t read his book. I have however been reading your offerings for the past hour or so, and you seem intent on missing the point that the authors of the Bible were merely authoring the Bible. Theologians are people engaged in studying and interpreting and critically engaging with what the authors wrote. That is theology. It is that simple. Do you get it yet?

          And you don’t seem to be able to dissemble a sentence, or the title of your man’s book. He is not saying the ancients were theologians, he is saying the theological questions about what they wrote are timeless. Now, I’m disinclined to take your recommendation of a book when you can’t even understand its title!

          Further, please don’t try to impress me by throwing other polysyllabic terms into your posts. Yes, the theologian’s task it to figure out the epistemology of “God”, and the answer has been found: we can not know god even if there is a god. The ancient Hebrews were enagaged in quite a different task. They weren’t asking questions, they were [allegedly] reporting. There is no philosophical analysis in the Bible outside of Paul, and you can only call Paul “philosophical” at a very long stretch.

        • CodyGirl824

          This is merely your opinion about the Bible and your desire to limit the definition of the term “theology.” One synonym for “theology” is “system of belief.” Do you not think that the Hebrew Bible provides a system of belief that is the basis of/for Judaism. Also, an epistemology is more about questions than answers, so I discount yours. If you find no philosophical analysis in the Bible, I suggest that you read the many volumes of the Talmud. For sure you’ll find it there.

        • 90Lew90

          Not merely my opinion; it is my understanding, which is better than yours, frankly. This is simple language. I’m not about to bang my head against a brick wall with you any longer. I am not “limiting” the definition of theology, I am giving it to you straight. Theology must have a religion to analyse, it can become incorporated as doctrinal into that religion, for example, Thomas Aquinas’s writings (as a theologian) are almost as important (if not more so) to Catholics as Scripture itself. What he has to say is a part of their “system of belief”. Are we there yet? And by the way. The Talmud ISN’T IN THE BIBLE! You nit!

        • CodyGirl824

          I know that the Talmud is not in the Bible. You are calling me names based on something I never said. Theology is about non-religious understandings of God as well. Are you claiming that when the Torah was written, Judaism was not a religion? Your point of view on (opinion about) the meaning of theology seems rather narrow and off track to me. You are certainly entitled to your own idiosyncratic definition of terms in offering your opinion (accompanied by copious insults).

        • 90Lew90

          You said that if I found no philosophical analysis *in the Bible* then I should look to the Talmud. Which isn’t in the Bible. What am I to make of that? You’re wearing me out.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          It is chronological snobbery to critique their sacred religious text from the vantage point of 21st century cosmology and atheism.

          And it’s respectful to take the book at face value to see if there are any clues (like knowing science beyond what was commonly known at the time) pointing to the book actually being what it says it is.

          Or, if you’d prefer to imagine that you can dismiss atheist concerns so you don’t have to deal with them, then I’m sure you’ll do so.

        • Kodie

          Just because you can sleep at night after revising your holy book in an attempt to appear forward-thinking does not make theology relevant.

        • CodyGirl824

          “…revising your holy book”? I have no idea what you talking about.

        • Kodie

          Your version of cosmology differs from biblical understanding of cosmology. Is that because god didn’t know? Or your fallacious belief that god left the mysteries to be discovered and the Jews made it up because god wasn’t there to correct them? Your stance seems to be whatever it says in the bible does not conflict with modern understanding because [bullshit theological reasons].

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie,

          I don’t have a “version of cosmology.” I am perfectly content to leave cosmology to the scientists. I do not look to the Bible for information about science. The Bible is not about science, it is about the Hebrews’ relationship with God as they understood God. My “stance” is what I have stated. There is no conflict between science and theology. Science informs and enriches my understanding of and faith in God.

        • 90Lew90

          You can not say on one hand that you “leave science to the scientists” thereby admitting that you know next to nothing of science, and then say that science enriches your notion of your god. That’s pie-in-the-sky. Have you read the OT lately? I was reading Joshua and Judges earlier, as it happens. It’s bloodcurdling. All that smiting and slaying and whatnot. I particularly like the bit in Judges (1:19) where “God” could kill the people on the hills, but he couldn’t tackle the ones in the valley, because they had chariots of iron. I mean, give me a break. FFS. LOL.

        • CodyGirl824

          How does saying that I leave science to the scientists suggest to you that I know nothing about science? Are you suggesting that only scientists know anything about science, but none of those of us who are consumers of science do? This is rather odd, IMO.

        • 90Lew90

          Quite obviously you don’t. I spend a lot of time reading popular science books and subscribe to science websites and journals because I have university access. I’m quite prepared to admit that despite my wide reading, my actual knowledge is only cursory. Quite how you can spring up and say science enriches your knowledge of your particular god is beyond me. I think, my dear, that’s all in your head.

        • CodyGirl824

          I am not your “dear” so please drop the pretense. I can recommend some books that explain how science informs theology if you are interested: For starters, Alvin Plantinga (2011) “Where the conflict really lies.” and Francis
          S. Collins (2006). “The language of God: A scientist presents evidence for belief.”

        • Kodie

          Once again, you have had your biases confirmed by someone claiming to be an expert in a field you only have an interest seeing conform to theology, to help you understand god better. You are uninterested in science that does not affirm or actually contradicts your god’s existence. You are taken in by a scholarly approach that uses lazy (read: poor) logic that you don’t notice, because, as we’ve established, your reading comprehension blows, and your attention to logical fallacies amounts to not knowing what an ad hominem is but accusing people of it anyway.

        • 90Lew90

          Plantinga? No. Life’s too short. And Collins? He’s not talking about your god and his attachment of the idea of biologos to Christianity is tortuous. I’ve already read his book. It’s deism, not Christianity.

        • CodyGirl824

          If you read Plantinga you may gain an understanding of why Collins’ biologos is not deism.

        • 90Lew90

          It is deism. And once again, it comes down to what one man *would like to believe*. Collins is a brilliant scientist but what his book is about is how he manages to cling to his belief in his god and how others might. It is not a scientific work, it is a personal work. That is what this always comes down to. How and why the believer keeps believing. My answer to it is that there is no reason to believe. I’d love to think (and I am being entirely serious here) that the family members I’ve lost and the friends I’ve lost are in a nice place. I don’t. They are dead. I would love to think there is an all-loving sky-teddy who just wuvs ickle me. I don’t. I have no reason to. I am not about to get creative about it. I’ve seen too many dead bodies and I’ve seen too many people actually die, some slowly and some suddenly, to believe that. My main beef with you is not so much that you believe, but that your belief gets in the way of the dissemination of *facts* which oust your room to believe, whether you like it or not. Plantinga is a worse fraud than William Lane Craig. I do not like liars. I don’t believe Collins is actually lying in his creative way of managing to keep his god in the picture despite what he knows of science. But always, it comes down to the individual’s *need* for a god. My reply is: fine, if you need a god, you knock yourself out. But DO NOT inflict that need upon children and DO NOT make it political. The problem with religious people is that invariably they make their religion political. THAT, I have a serious problem with.

        • wtfwjtd

          Those god-damned heathens and their iron technology, some people have a lot of nerve!

        • 90Lew90

          I know, so all you need to thwart the LAWWWRRRD is to fashion yourself a cage made of some old gates. That’ll do it. Chortle.

        • hector_jones

          There’s only one explanation. Iron is the work of Satan.

        • Kodie

          You do, you have decided, for no reason that you can or are willing to defend, that all scientific findings are evidence of god, except when they conflict, and then you selectively ignore and dismiss it.

        • CodyGirl824

          Conflict with what?

        • Kodie

          Science AND theology do not always agree. Theology often hinders scientific progress, in fact, and demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of what science tells us is true. Maybe you are not a creationist, but I do not believe you haven’t cherry-picked through science to understand your god better, and dismissed anything that “lied” to you about what you already know about god, and/or read some “science” that was administered by theologians to come up with a way to reconcile or explain something obvious, by starting with the conclusion and then building from pieces of scientific data to elevate its legitimacy.

          In any case, theology is unnecessary for understanding anything outside itself.

        • CodyGirl824

          Just like saws and hammers don’t always “agree.” Science and theology are different domains of inquiry, each is its own epistemology. If you do not find theology to be useful or meaningful, so be it. That says nothing about how the epistemology of science, informs and enriches another, theology.

        • Kodie

          You see what you want to see.

        • 90Lew90

          The difference between science and theology is that one is serious and the other is not. One looks you in the eye and the other blows smoke up your ass.

        • CodyGirl824

          Now I am clear on your opinion of theology. No wisdom there.

        • MNb

          I don’t care about wisdom. I care about knowledge. You provide zero, except unintentional knowledge about the way a christian belief system can harm the brain of christians.

        • wtfwjtd

          “…”god” is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance”.

          –NDT

        • CodyGirl824

          I am always amused when an atheist starts a sentence with “God is…” given that they believe there is no such thing as God.

        • 90Lew90

          That would be a fine criticism if you hadn’t missed the irony.

        • wtfwjtd

          A classic example of more arrogant Christian presumption and privilege. They think that by naming their god “God” they have
          co-opted the term exclusively for their use. This is as stupid and confusing as naming a dog “Dog” or a cat “Cat”.

        • CodyGirl824

          What’s this about an “arrogant Christian presumption and privilege” with the name “God.” The name/term/word “God” is generic and universal throughout cultures, translated into every language. It is written conventionally in many languages with a capital letter, as in the capital G in English to signal when the term is being used to identify the God of monotheism. Everyone has an understanding of what the term means, even atheists. If they/you did not, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

        • wtfwjtd

          Whatever.

        • Kodie

          Everyone has an understanding of what the term means, even atheists.

          That’s how an atheist can start a sentence with “God is…” and not contradict themselves. It amuses you because we’re talking about your favorite cartoon character, perhaps? You acknowledge that the term is understood by everyone. The invisible friend is not, but that shouldn’t amuse you unless simple things amuse you.

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, we may be getting somewhere. Atheists reject their own understanding of God, which is often quite unrelated to what Christians understand God to be. If I believed about God what atheists believe about God, I wouldn’t believe in God either.

        • hector_jones

          “If I believed about God what atheists believe about God, I wouldn’t believe in God either.”

          It makes me laugh that you think that sentence states something significant. Look up the term ‘truism’ when you get a chance.

        • Kodie

          You missed again. Atheists reject your understanding of god because it’s an illusion. You’re incoherent. If god needs Christians to spread the word, he put his job in very incapable hands. See how I can talk about god? I see evidence of god nowhere, but least of all in the testimony of Christians, not to even mention their behavior. The most usual kinds of Christians that like to chat on atheist blogs are the exemplars of lack of empathy, lack of personal responsibility, lack of modesty, lack of humility, and lack of patience, and otherwise well-read of a narrow selection of authors that they all insist we read before we’re allowed to criticize them. Most of us have been Christians. I haven’t, but I don’t see any reason to. Every word ever spoken about god was from a person who never saw god, who imagined god, and told a tale about this legendary persona. That you are so deluded that you see god everywhere is no evidence to me. What books you read are no evidence to me. The bible itself is unnecessary to decide. It’s people like you, our earthly self-appointed representatives of this magical relationship, that testify to me there is no god above.

        • CodyGirl824

          Then I gather that you do not experience God. I’m sorry to hear that.

        • hector_jones

          It took you this long to figure out that Kodie doesn’t experience God? You ARE slow.

        • CodyGirl824

          Any pretext for an insult will do, right hector?

        • hector_jones

          Stop making it so easy. As if your remark that Kodie doesn’t experience god wasn’t meant as an insult. Hypocrite.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, I don’t mean the comment about experiencing God as an insult. What makes you think that? The fact is that we Christians come to believe in God through/by experiencing God. Kodie does not believe in God. Therefore, I assume that Kodie does not experience God or identify any spiritual experiences as experiences of/with God. What is insulting about that? I apply the same reasoning and make the same assumption about anyone who self-identifies as an atheist. You seem to enjoy insulting me so I guess I should be pleased that I make it so easy for you. I wouldn’t want to spoil your fun!

        • wtfwjtd

          ” The fact is that we Christians come to believe in God through/by experiencing God.”

          So after all this, you finally come around to saying that your evidence of your god is your emotional experience. Why would you think that we would give a fuck about this?

        • Kodie

          Why do you take it as an insult and not constructive criticism? What did you think atheism was? How many Christian authors’ elaborate fantasies did you read to learn all about atheism?

        • wtfwjtd

          How could she–or any of us– experience something that doesn’t exist?

        • Kodie

          Delusion.

        • CodyGirl824

          I think you meant to say “doesn’t exist”, right? This is a very good point. It is impossible to experience anything that doesn’t exist. This is part of the reason why I and billions of others know God exists.

        • wtfwjtd

          I’m sure that god exists in the hearts and minds of his followers everywhere.

        • Kodie

          It is possible for billions of people to be wrong. Billions of people used to think the sky was a dome and the earth was flat. Billions more people believe in some other god than yours, polytheistic or otherwise unrelated to your abrahamic tradition. Christianity is a plurality in name only, and not a majority. The majority of people believe Christianity is false.

        • Kodie

          Of course I don’t experience god. but I have empathy. I can read pretty well. What you experience is not god, but a delusion. That is how I interpret your and every other Christians’ testimony, but especially yours because you are very expressive. You have an imaginary friend that you think is everywhere and in everything and able to be discerned through every academic and cultural area, leading all back to the One and Only Mighty Mono-multi-god. It’s time for this again.

        • CodyGirl824

          It is very presumptuous of you to tell me that what my experience is or is not. You have no authority on the subject of anyone’s experience other than your own. This is a very important point I wish atheists would take to heart.

        • Kodie

          It’s not very presumptuous of me. You have told us what your experience is – you are confused about everything unless it is filtered through and leads back to knowledge about god, and you say confusing things about reality due to your impairment.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know how many foul presumptuous and asinine statements you’ve made about atheists so far, but to be sorry that I don’t experience god is the most presumptuous. Your dependence on a deity to tell you right from wrong, and you still behave like an asshole. You are so sensitive to criticism about your religion, except you invite it by continuing to say things, to be a liar and be shown your deceit and still not recognize it, to be irritated that some people have had a negative experience with Christianity, and to be very, very bossy about who can talk to you about what.

        • hector_jones

          Apparently you are unaware of the large number of theists who constantly tell Atheists that they really do believe in your god, but they are just angry at him so they have rejected him, thus telling us what our own experience really is. It’s because you are unaware of these things but nevertheless decide to waltz in here and whine about this that makes you so odious.

        • wtfwjtd

          In the fevered believer’s brain, they cannot comprehend that a non-believer could know all the things they know, and more, about religion, and reject it. So there has to be another explanation–No True Scotsman, it was the wrong flavor, etc. That there is zero evidence for their beliefs obviously makes no difference at all to them.

        • Kodie

          And yet other fevered believers exist with dramatically different courses of belief, i.e. firmly convinced of a different god or gods, firmly convinced there is no way to feel that way about a competing story, and everyone else is wrong if they are not X religion. I simply cannot experience via empathy what that must be like, as an adult, to comprehend the world through god-goggled eyes, a strong feeling of a presence that makes me feel warm, that makes me imagine that I’m loved, that feels so real I could touch it if it were physical, and whom I envision in all my surroundings and experiences, beside me, guiding the way, showing me signs of himself, helping me make difficult decisions with my gut, answering my prayers with “maybe later” and waiting for me on the other side of death with a big hug.

        • wtfwjtd

          And they are so firmly convinced that they are right and others are wrong, they are willing literally to maim and kill other people. Yea, once the virus of religion gets hold of the brain it can be very hard to get rid of.

        • CodyGirl824

          Yet again, monotheists don’t believe in “a different god or gods” because there is only One God. Think of it like a light switch, Kodie. It is either on or off. Yours is off.

        • Kodie

          Yours is not connected to anything. Fuck off your opinion of me. You are virused with delusions, and nobody cares anymore.

        • Kodie

          You seem to be mistaking the existence of believers for the existence of the gods they believe in, because that’s all I’m talking about. Their beliefs are sincere as yours and their prayers are for naught. Do you believe those people exist? Do you believe that people exist who believe something you don’t? You have a hard of reading comprehension problem and think I am asking you to break your monotheism to acknowledge actual other gods than your own. None of them exist, so why would I do that? Perhaps this is also behind your irritation at the atheist usage of “your god” and your giddy tickle over the atheist “acknowledging” your god by naming him. You don’t have a religion, you have a fetish.

        • CodyGirl824

          I am sure that atheists have reasons for rejecting religion. I have not interacted with an atheist who cannot articulate his/her reasons for being an atheist. However, atheists’ opinions about the evidence I have or that any believer in God has for our belief are of zero relevance to our belief. Atheists are clear and convincing evidence of free will, the “loyal opposition” so to speak.

        • wtfwjtd

          Atheists don’t have any opinions about your evidence because you don’t have any evidence.

        • CodyGirl824

          All atheists have is an opinion about the evidence. Nothing else.

        • wtfwjtd

          Oh yeah, right, your “evidence for god” is your emotional experience. Once again, what makes you think I would give a shit about this?

        • CodyGirl824

          Profanity aside, if you have read the Bible, you care about people’s experiences of/with God. I have no expectation that you might or can care about mine, which are not just “emotional experiences.” I highly recommend the research of humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow regarding what he calls the “core religious experience”. , Maslow says this about what he also terms “peak experiences” in his book, Religions, values, and peak-experiences (1971). “.. to the extent that all mystical or peak experiences are the same in their essence and have always been the same, all religions are the same in their essence and have always been the same. They should, therefore, come to agree in principle on teaching that which is common to all of them, i.e. whatever it is that peak-experiences teach in common (whatever is
          different about these illuminations can fairly be taken to be localisms both in time and space, and are, therefore, peripheral, expendable, not essential)…we may call [these] the “core-religious experience” or the
          “transcendent experience.” (p. 20)

        • Kodie

          Attributing this very common experience to a god (any god, your god) is a mistake. I find it interesting where he says “to the extent that all mystical or peak experiences are the same in their essence and have always been the same, all religions are the same in their essence and have always been the same” to mean your god, and then to follow him to a faulty conclusion that “religions should come to agree in principle on teaching that which is common to all of them, i.e. whatever it is that peak experiences teach in common”….

          He attributes the experience to a religious core message and then suggests that all the religions should stop whatever they are doing and find out what it is exactly they agree on that is causing this miraculous tingly warm and exciting condition. In the brain. There are other causes and they are equally pleasant and do not come from god. Religions actually depend on this sensation to affirm you, they likewise attribute it to god giving you confirmation and evidence he exists. Since it is common to every religion (and not specified in the article, but outside of religion-associated experiences) and not singular to yours, what do you suppose that means? It is an emotion. It occurs in the brain as a result of some excitement, and it can surprise you. It is like sneezing for the first time and you are confused about where sneezes come from and how they take over your whole body. FYI, historic beliefs about sneezing.

        • wtfwjtd

          ” to the extent that all mystical or peak experiencesare the same in their essence and have always been the same, all religions are the same in their essence and have always been the same.”

          So, by posting this quote, you are saying that all religious experiences are bullshit equally?

          At last, something we agree on totally.

        • MNb

          I wonder if Maslow also researched Papua’s and Indegenous Australians (those who hadn’t been converted yet). They are highly spiritual in a way that has nothing in common with the spirituality of the abrahmistic religions.

        • Kodie

          All Christians have is a poor understanding of what constitutes “clear and convincing” evidence. You want us to believe you, don’t you? Then why do you keep lying?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Is there anything else?

        • Kodie

          You said that before, it’s apparently your very strong misguided conviction, that this is “evidence” of free will. You use the word evidence in a very disturbing way that is clear and convincing evidence of a mental neurosis. I do not have free will to reject god. I could not be convinced of a god unless …. I don’t know what. All the usual ways are psychological manipulations.

        • wtfwjtd

          Christians blather on and on about “free will” as if there is some clear choice to make. If there really was a god that was concerned about me wanting to choose to follow him, he would make himself known to me clearly and unambiguously. The fact that he does not, is irrefutable evidence he either doesn’t care about me, or most likely, he doesn’t exist. It’s a simple as that.

        • CodyGirl824

          God wants our/your love (see Matthew 22:36-40) and there is no love without an exercise of free will. If we are not free to not love God, we are not free to love God. You have made your choice, while being free to always make another choice.

        • wtfwjtd

          What the fuck are you blabbering about? Didn’t you actually read my post? Or are you just randomly posting Bible verses now?

        • Kodie

          You choose to love your imaginary friend. I don’t have an imaginary friend. You bypass providing evidence that your god exists, and then you make bold pronouncements about atheism. Why should we be convinced by you? You have given literally zero reasons why we should choose to start deluding ourselves.

        • Greg G.

          Not all of Christianity shares your beliefs about free will. You seem to follow Arminianism on free will. Calvinism is another branch of Protestant Christianity that believes one cannot choose salvation. It was supposedly foreordained.

          Does God have free will? Could God decide to damn you to hell even if you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour by his free will? Is there to be free will in heaven?

          We have been told that the possibility of sin is necessary for the existence of free will. I have asked a few Christians exactly what the purpose of the soul is, what function does it serve? Some say that it is responsible for free will. If the soul is what goes to heaven, then it is implied that there will be free will in heaven. which would imply that there is a possibility of sin in heaven. If so, would a soul be liable to be sent to hell? If not, each soul in heaven would commit an infinite number of sins for eternity while other souls would be sent to hell for a finite number of sins, just for holding the wrong opinion at the time of death.

          Remember that there are supposed to be angels who sin in heaven, even though they have direct, unassailable evidence of God. On the other hand, sins in heaven may not be covered by the Crucifixion. What chance would a human soul have of lasting forever?

          Hell won’t be perfect, that would be guaranteed, so the temperature won’t be even. Some places would be hotter and some slightly cooler. Over the course of eons, those small temperature variations will compound into greater and greater suffering. The last Christian kicked out of heaven will be stuck with the hottest seat in hell for the rest of eternity. You should try to get there early to get a slightly cooler seat. It’s likely to be first come, first served.

          If I’m right that there is no afterlife, I have lost nothing but I will have lived a life enjoying the universe as it really is. If I’m wrong, I still get a good life on Earth and a better seat in hell that those of you who were right but end ou there anyway.

        • CodyGirl824

          Of course you have free will to either believe in God or not believe in God. If you don’t accept this idea, then you are a believe in predestination, that somehow you were simply “chosen” to be an atheist and are just living out your predestined fate. I assume that you have rational reasons for being an atheist, some of which you have articulated clearly in this discussion.

        • Kodie

          It could be the fact that Christians don’t get anything right. I mean, if there were a god, you’d be right, but you’re wrong. You’re dishonest, and wrong about just about everything. This is why theology impedes progress in just about every area, and no subject outside of itself has a use for it. You start with a wrong idea, and then you are dead reckoning, so every decision you make leads you to be wrong. In case you think this is ad hominem again, confused, illogical girl, we have demonstrated your wrongness elsewhere, and I am just summarizing your wrongness. There is little to go on that leads to a god unless you are a willing pawn in the multi-level marketing scheme, which you are.

        • Kodie

          Wait a hot minute. You have come here with the expressed attitude of rejecting any notion of there not being a god and not engaging in conversations with atheists about it. Your opinion of atheists is noted and discussed and self-appointed representatives of Jesus like you have had zero success in conversion. How can atheists’ opinions about your evidence have zero effect on your beliefs AND be clear and convincing evidence of free will (implying a deity). You talk out of both sides of your mouth and your ass besides. You are so deep in the middle of a bog of shit that you can’t see the end of your arm, much less listen to atheists and get an understanding about them. It would contradict your scholars telling you what to think and how to comprehend this weird old world. You exemplify a typical Christian, which isn’t a set of beliefs, but a set of dogma, of propaganda, of being spoon-fed every thought that comes in your head and spews out your mouth and fingertips. You know nothing, and every word, phrase, and paragraph you type only is clear and convincing evidence that Christians have no interest in learning about their world or the people in it.

          If you knew and experienced a god, why do you read so many books? I mean, why do you have to? If he is the truth and the way, why do you need to confirm it with other true believers? Why do their understandings help your understanding about a god you personally and intimately experience in your life? Why do you need science to discover god’s creation for you?

        • CodyGirl824

          I return to my trial by a jury of peers analogy. You and I are presented the evidence of/for God. Your verdict based on the evidence is no, there is no God. Mine is yes, there is God. I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. You are not. So be it. However, the fact that you are not convinced does not mean that there is no evidence. Really, if there absolutely were no evidence, we wouldn’t be having this conversation since there would be absolutely nothing to say on the God yes/no question.

          What is so “hot” about the moment?

        • Kodie

          What is your evidence?

        • CodyGirl824

          Why are you asking since you are so convinced that there is none?

        • Kodie

          If you’re convinced, I want to know what convinced you. Perhaps it will convince me. If that is the deal with the evidence, I want a chance to peruse it before I make my final decision. I will not take an answer such as “the whole bible” or any long section of it, or any whole book. Summarize it, give me some bullet points, or whatever. If I am intrigued, I will follow up.

        • Kodie

          Of course no answer.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’ll answer for myself: it’s a desperate attempt to salvage something interesting from these hundreds of comments. Make it worth my while–give me an interesting and thought-provoking argument for your position.

        • wtfwjtd

          Blah blah blah my personal experience with god proves his existence. Yay, I win!

        • Kodie

          What is so “hot” about the moment?

          Because you try to sneak this past us:

          I am sure that atheists have reasons for rejecting religion. I have not
          interacted with an atheist who cannot articulate his/her reasons for
          being an atheist.

          in light of this:

          I find it helpful in discussions with atheists to quickly dispense with
          and dismiss their idea/belief that God does not exist. Then we open the
          window of opportunity to talk about what it is that monotheism deifies,
          God the Creator. This is essential to any understanding of Christianity.

          You don’t fucking care. You just delight in lying your ass off and not giving a fuck.

        • CodyGirl824

          Kodie, if you could just for a moment set aside your hostility toward me, you might learn something. It is a waste of time to talk about a non-existent God because Christians (monotheists) don’t believe in a non-existent God. You believe that God is non-existent and I don’t believe in a God that does not exist. We agree on this. So if you want to have any meaningful dialogue with a theist (which perhaps you don’t), then we need to set aside the “existence” question and focus on what monotheism deifies. Otherwise, we are talking past each other. Sometimes it helps to focus on the ancient Hebrews understanding of God, as articulated in Chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis, God the Creator. That’s what I’m saying. How is this a lie?

        • Kodie

          If we could set aside your preconceptions that only your topics are interesting and we don’t know you or understand you and that’s why we’re all here, maybe you could waste some of your time for a change instead of ours and, for the purpose of engaging and learning something for yourself, shut the fuck up with all you think you know about atheism and just listen or ask or something. We don’t need to set aside the “existence” question and just listen to your incoherent babble and wrong-headed ideas about atheism.

        • MNb

          All based on the assumption that you may change the definition of “evidence” according to your needs.
          Just replace “evidence for/of god” by “evidence for/of the Second Law of Newton” and it becomes clear how shallow this comment of yours is: based on the evidence professor Makupstuffsky is convinced beyond reasonable doubt that F = m*a^2 is correct.
          Or take this gem.

          “if there absolutely were no evidence, we wouldn’t be having this conversation since there would be absolutely nothing to say on the God yes/no question.”
          If there absolutely were no evidence for things traveling faster than the speed of light physicists never would have discussed it since there would be absolutely nothing to say on the faster than light yes/no question.
          That’s all what’s left to theism in the 21st Century: empty sofisms and meaningless deepities.

          Somewhere else I asked you to define “evidence”. You haven’t done so, but from this comment of yours we can safely conclude that you use a double standard: a very low one for your belief system and a very high one for the rest.

          You’re a clear illustration of what Herman Philipse calls The Tension: at one hand the need of the theist to stay close to scientific thinking for maintaining credibility and at the other hand the need to stay far enourgh from scientific thinking to avoid the risk of getting refuted.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          atheists’ opinions about the evidence I have or that any believer in God has for our belief are of zero relevance to our belief.

          What is the role of evidence for you personally? Do you suppose that it plays the same role for you that it does for atheists?

        • MNb

          “are of zero relevance to our belief”
          So far the open christian mindset …..

        • CodyGirl824

          I think that your irritation at Christians who tell atheists that they are not really atheists is justified. However, anger at God among atheists is a very real phenomenon, which has been researched by psychologists such as Dr. Julie Exline of Case Western Reserve University.

        • wtfwjtd

          Someone who is angry with god is not an atheist. What part of the word “atheist” don’t you understand?

        • Greg G.

          I’m not angry with God. I’m angry with Santa Claus. Christmas, 1966. He knows why.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m not angry with God, but there’s a Church I’m intensely peeved at.

        • Kodie

          I’m a bit upset about the people. There’s this character named god they think is real, and they call him Mr. Wonderful, and then describe a judgmental, possessive, abusive persona as the embodiment of love. The concept of “free will” is to join him or acknowledge my decision to perish cruelly and eternally. These people live in my neighborhoods and drive on my streets, and vote and raise children.

          They are not content with their personal relationship with their imaginary friend until they can appease him with souls, if not providing authentic believers, then by altering laws to their favor and ignoring environmental emergencies at humanity’s peril, all so they get to adjust this world to their liking, which I thought was backwards from the general concept. If I don’t exercise my free will, they will exercise it for me. I don’t have to love their friend, I just have to comply with their laws to appease him for them. Now why would I want to do that?

        • Greg G.

          Apparently one would need university library access to read the paper but from articles about the paper, it seems reasonable. Atheists can be angry at what they imagine a god should be. This does not say that all atheists are angry with any god.

          It may be that atheists may be angrier at god than a theist is at their god. A study by Nicholas
          Epley from the University of Chicago showed that when religious people think about their own opinions, the MRI shows one response. When they think about what opinion other people might have, the MRI shows a different response. When they consider what God’s opinion would be, the MRI tends to show the first response.

          If people identify with God so much, it would explain why religious people tend to take discussions about the concept of God so personally. It might also explain why religious people would be less angry with a part of their own identity while an atheist’s anger would be directed outward, toward a non-self concept.

          Just a few questions and possible answers that came to mind as I was reading.

        • CodyGirl824

          Thanks for taking the time to read this research and give your analysis.

        • Greg G.

          I admire your stamina and fortitude. Many theists look for an escape route when they get push-back. Often a cuss word is an excuse to leave.

        • Pofarmer

          It seems to me that someone who is “Angry at God” isn’t in fact, an Atheist.

          I think this video by Darkmatter 2525 is apropos.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-j8ZMMuu7MU

        • Greg G.

          I agree but an atheist could be angry with the intangible concept of god.

          (I reserve the right to replace “intangible” when the word I am trying to bring to mind arrives.)

        • wtfwjtd

          The statement “an atheist who’s angry with god” is an oxymoron. Enough said.

        • Kodie

          Thank you for sharing that. I don’t spend a lot of time watching atheist videos on my own, so I always like when someone picks out a good one and posts it, then I usually will watch it, and they are always good.

        • wtfwjtd

          Darkmatter has a lot of great videos, they are thoughtful and well-illustrated. They are usually right on-point and normally not too long either. I think my favorite character is Jeffrey, the “angel” that’s god’s sidekick and sounding board.

        • Kodie

          One of these days, I will go watch a bunch of them in a row. I feel like the videos make really good presentations, but on the other hand, I get a little impatient while watching long videos, and then on the other hand, the time goes quickly if the video is good and entertaining in a way. I try not to get sucked in to watching all the atheist videos since it would probably go that way, so I enjoy them as an occasional snack. There’s just too many videos and they’re all good!

        • TheNuszAbides

          have you caught Non Stamp Collector yet?

        • Skeptiker

          Thanks. This one is quite different in style from Darkmatter’s other excellent and amusing videos involving Jeffrey.

        • MNb

          Well, if I would believe I would be angry at god indeed. If.

        • Kodie

          So a study by some psychologist at Case Western University confirmed your bias, but when someone says their grandfather, one among many devout theists, suffered as a result of having a religion? You’re not buying it, and you pull another study out of your ass to confirm your bias that it’s not religion’s fault. This is not how you follow evidence; this is how you maintain your bias.

        • MNb

          Neither do I. Given the fact that your divine experiences don’t prevent you from lying you’d better be sorry for yourself.

        • 90Lew90

          It’s quite awe-inspiring (or more succinctly — “awful”) how you can manage to get a point and miss it at the same time. Does religion melt your brain? Can I ask you something? Because I feel we’ve fallen into something of a typical trap here. The trap being that you argue on our ground, with guff, and we go round and round in circles. Here is my question: What do you believe? What flavour of Christian are you? What bits of the Bible do you think are fact? Some or all? Let’s have you back on your own turf.

        • CodyGirl824

          I am most certainly not on my “own turf” on this blog and it is not at all friendly “turf” indeed but I’ll tell you that I’m an Episcopalian. Does that help?

        • wtfwjtd

          Let’s back up a little further. How did you choose Christianity over all the other world’s religions? What criteria did you use?

        • MNb

          Frankly I don’t have an understanding of what the term means. That’s why I alway borrow the understanding of the theist I’m conversing with, ie yours. Because they never tell me at beforehand I have to guess; that guess is “an omni-everything immaterial being which does …..”.
          Usually my guess is correct, but sometimes not and then I have to change it.
          See, god is a meaningless word. But we’ll save that for another time. Hint: read Herman Philipse’s God in the Age of Science.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, “God” is not a meaningless word. If you can, as you say, “guess” what another person, one who believes in God, means when s/he uses the term, that is evidence that the term is not meaningless. And certainly you realize that in written conversations such as this one, when you write the word “god” with a lower case “g” it conveys a different meaning of the word than “God” written with a capital G. Example: Tlaloc is the god of rain of the polytheistic religion of the pre-Colombian Aztecs, but when we speak of Tlaloc as a god, we are not talking about God.

        • MNb

          That’s exactly why I decided to use a lower case.

        • Kodie

          Just so we can be clear going forward, I never capitalize god unless it’s at the beginning of a sentence, but I mean your god and all the respect his name deserves, in my opinion. You can tell by the context, I hope? Ha ha, maybe not.

        • hector_jones

          As the late great Dave Allen used to say “Good night, and may your god go with you”. He was an atheist.

        • CodyGirl824

          Your decision to not follow established spelling conventions may sometimes cause a failure to communicate. I consider this to be an affectation.

        • Kodie

          So it’s an affectation. Deal with it.

        • MNb

          Then you adapt. I am tired of giving in to silly christian demands. It’s your problem, not ours. I always understand Kodie perfectly.

        • 90Lew90

          For what it’s worth, I use lower-case to refer to your god because your god is but one among many — many — other gods. The affectation is yours in referring to your own with an upper case.

        • CodyGirl824

          I didn’t invent this convention of spelling. I merely express my appreciate for it since it provides clarity in written dialogue. It’s sort of like scientists talking about a big bang versus the Big Bang. I’m sure they don’t consider the Big Bang just another bang among many, many others. But hey, do what you want if you think it sends a message that’s important to you. Just don’t be surprised when your message is misinterpreted.

        • Kodie
        • 90Lew90

          I use conventional grammar. “God” to me is not a proper noun, since by saying “god” I could be referring to any number of entities. That’s why I usually qualify my reference to your god with “your”. OK?

        • CodyGirl824

          You may not realize it but when you refer to the God of monotheism as “your god” when talking to a Christian, we bristle since it implies that this god is not The God of monotheism, so you may very well be talking about a god that Christians don’t believe in any more than you do/don’t.

        • Kodie

          Oh fuck you again. You bristle when atheists say “your god” and you are amused when atheists begin a sentence with “God is…”. You are a piece of work.

        • hector_jones

          You bristle when an atheist types ‘your god’? Good.

        • wtfwjtd

          Don’t get your hopes up Hector, she’s just joking (like she has been all day).

        • hector_jones

          Oh she’s just joking? That’s a relief. I was worried about her.

        • wtfwjtd

          Did I say “joking”? I meant to say “a joke”.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You overestimate me–I’m confused.

          What does “God” refer to? Is it God the Father? Or God the entire Trinity (the one that you keep referring to in your insistence that Christianity is a monotheism)?

          It’s both, as far as I can tell, and only context disambiguates.

          We’ve got four entities but only three names (God, Jesus, Holy Spirit).

        • wtfwjtd

          FIFY.

        • Kodie

          You’re amused because you are simple. Reading comprehension is not your forte.

        • Greg G.

          That reminds me of the amusement in finding that 2 Samuel 7:22 (NIV), 1 Kings 8:23 (NIV), 2 Kings 1:3 (NKJV), 2 Kings 1:6 (NIV), 2 Kings 1:16 (NIV), 2 Kings 5:15 (NIV), 1 Chronicles 17:20 (NIV), 2 Chronicles 6:14 (NIV), Psalms 10:4 (NASB), Psalms 14:1 (NIV), Psalms 53:1 (NIV), Isaiah 44:6 (NIV), Isaiah 44:8 (KJV), Isaiah 45:5 (NIV), Isaiah 45:14 (KJV), Isaiah 45:21 (KJV), and 1 Corinthians 8:4 (NIV) all say “there is no god”.

          EDIT: Add Deuteronomy 32:39 NIV to the list.

        • smrnda

          There is no such person as Batman, but one can say “Batman is really Bruce Wayne” or “Batman fights crime in Gotham City.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’ll have to explain the joke to me. An atheist could qualify all statements completely (“Of course, I don’t believe in a god or gods, but if we take the Christian’s position and suppose a god …”), but is that necessary? Are you really confused?

        • wtfwjtd

          I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I look around, and all I see has been touched by his noodley appendage. The fact that he is invisible and undetectable doesn’t deter me at all.

        • hector_jones

          Ramen, Brother. Ramen.

        • wtfwjtd

          I was thinking more rotini, but that’s just a minor theological point that I’m sure his Noodliness would overlook, sauce be upon him.

        • hector_jones

          It’s nothing that a simple Inquisition can’t solve.

        • MNb

          Theology doesn’t have a working epistemology at all. I wrote it before: when two cosmologists disagree I can tell you exactly what they do to settle the issue. When two theologians disagree ….. they disagree.

        • CodyGirl824

          Do you think that disagreement is a bad thing?

        • MNb

          Irrelevant question. My point is about the way to solve the disagreement.

        • hector_jones

          Science informs and enriches your understanding of and faith in God. Elsewhere you said science is silent on questions of theology. This is incoherent and illogical.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, it is not. Scientific knowledge is neutral (silent) regarding theological questions, but the implications of scientific knowledge can and do inform our understanding of God and how God’s creation works. Do you really not get it? Theology (and philosophy) is informed by/through science but ethical science does not enter into the domain of theology because of its methodological limitations.I think that you’re just pretending not to understand what I am saying since you seem to not object to the WLC vs. Sean Carroll debate.

        • 90Lew90

          I think you’re intentionally not getting it that since science is neutral on theological questions, you are deliberately having to misrepresent what it *does* say (which you don’t know much about) in order to pretend it enriches your notion of your god and how he/she/it works. Science has been fatal to your god. Change your god, drop your god. But stop trying to pretend it’s all good. Your insistent belief is about you. Only you. Leave science out of it. This is about your wishful thinking and nothing else. That’s the bottom line. Maybe an Eastern tradition like Confucianism would suit you better, where you get to be as a reed in the wind, blowing this way and that (or flip-flopping is allowed). But as it stands you remain tied to a book you can’t get away from which makes specific claims about life, the universe and everything. You can not claim that the knowledge we have gathered as human beings untethered from that dogma does nothing to unseat the claims your book makes. It does. End of story.

        • hector_jones

          If science can study the creation, it can study the creator. It’s really that simple. Science looks and it cannot find a creator anywhere. Therefore, it rejects the creator.

          Science’s methodological limitations are also Theology’s methodological limitations. Science recognizes it has such limitations, while Theology denies it. That’s why Science has achieved what it has, and why Theology is bullshit.

        • Kodie

          It means you can’t comprehend science without filtering it through your weakly reasoned beliefs. We have previously established that you have no method for arriving at your beliefs except a blindfold and a dart. So whatever theology has to say about science is questionable, which is actually why a scientist would debate a theologian – to correct any misguided impressions. That doesn’t seem to have had any effect on WLC or you. Theologians peddle tripe for theology fans, they’re not taken seriously anywhere else. The questions and the answers that are the clear domain of religion and religion alone are isolated from reality. It’s kind of funny how theology is pretty much borrowed and stolen from every other subject imaginable, but no subject has any use for the additional contributions of theology, isn’t it?

        • MNb

          “I am perfectly content to leave cosmology to the scientists.”
          Now if only WL Craig, Edward Feser and all the other “deep-thinking” apologists were also perfectly content to leave cosmology to the scientists the world would be saved from a lot of nonsense (ie incorrect claims that belong to physics) connected to the Cosmological Argument.

        • CodyGirl824

          I am certain that these theologians can and do make the distinction between claims that are theological and claims that are within the domain of the science of physics.

        • MNb

          OK, here we go again, for the third time.

          “(the Universe) came into existence out of nothing.”
          (btw I know a Dutch philosopher of science who defends the Cosmological Argument by arguing exactly that nothing can come into existence out of nothing”, showing merely that apologetics are shit)
          “Whatever begins to exist has a cause”
          “If the Universe had been there forever it would have run out of energy by now.”

          plus WLC babbling about Boltzmann brains and the BVG theorem. WLC does so to back up his Cosmological Argument and hence mixes Modern Physics with theology. Edward Feser does something similar with his silly Aristotelian analysis of an arm moving a branch of a tree.

          They distinguish nothing and as I have told you this before you’re a liar.

        • hector_jones

          Craig’s cosmology is one big argument from incredulity. He finds the idea that the universe may not have a cause or a beginning ‘fantastic’. He can’t imagine that it’s true, therefore it’s not true. And since there are actual scientific cosmological models of a universe with a zero moment in time, as Prof Carroll puts it, Craig concludes that modern cosmology supports his views, in spite of Prof Carroll’s warning that there are dozens and dozens of plausible but contradictory models out there, and that science will decide which one is right as it examines the evidence that it is gathering as we speak. Craig completely ignores the need for evidence before selecting his model.

        • MNb

          You are almost correct, but connect two things to be distinguished and thus miss that WLC actually makes two big mistakes here.
          1. He incorrectly assumes that there must be a zero moment in time (you are right);
          2. He incorrectly assumes causality. All those actual models are thoroughly probabilistic due to Quantum Mechanics. The one model that is causal, derived from General Relativity by Friedmann and Lemaitre, is generally rejected these days exactly because it doesn’t account for quantummechanical effects.
          Why point out one apolegetic flaw if we can point out two?

        • 90Lew90

          Hang on a minute. Shouldn’t that be: “Is the theology wrong about the Bible?” Which came first? Given that theology relies almost entirely on (pagan) Greek thought for its interpretation of the Bible and for keeping “God” in the picture in the face of modern science, perhaps you’re looking in the wrong place.

        • MGreen

          The bible fails at science, history and ethics. At what point does it begin to deliver? Is there a point where you move on?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Is the Bible wrong about the theology? That’s all that matters.

          Is Harry Potter wrong about magic at Hogwarts? That’s all that matters.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What do you do when the cosmologists say that the data says one thing, but the Christians say another thing? Which side wins?

          (You can guess how I resolve this puzzle.)

        • CodyGirl824

          You seem to be very focused on winning, as if science and religion are in some kind of a race with each other. The reality is that science (and ethical scientists in their practice of science) are silent on questions of theology but theologians can and do apply scientific knowledge to reasoning about theological questions. What do you care what Christians “say” about cosmology? Do physicists and scientists who study cosmology care what Christians “say” about their science?

        • 90Lew90

          I “care” what Christians say about cosmology when they misrepresent it. The “race” you speak of is partaken in mostly by the religious, because what science finds has implications for what Christians have regarded as “truth” only incidentally. The free pursuit of knowledge, and finding things out, necessarily forces the religious viewpoint and those who seek to defend it onto the back foot. And let’s be honest here; it is not beneath the kind of Christian who cares about this stuff to lie through his teeth about it in order to keep his horse in the race. For this, read WLC.

        • CodyGirl824

          So I am to gather that you are the Cosmology Cop.

        • Kodie

          Why do you want us to read all those books proving your bias, that theology is central to every facet of human life and we can’t live without it?

        • Pofarmer

          What is your definition of an ethical vs unethical scientist?

        • smrnda

          There are ethical directives if you use human or animal subjects, but I don’t think that’s what she’s getting at.

        • CodyGirl824

          An ethical scientist is one who practices and adheres to the ethical standards for research and professional activities established in and by his/her colleagues and peers in science. An unethical scientist is one who does not. Why do you ask: It seems pretty obvious to me.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You seem to be very focused on winning, as if science and religion are in some kind of a race with each other.

          Aren’t they? Some Christian-motivated factions are eager to dismantle confidence in science within the American public. What do you recommend that those concerned about reality do in response?

          The reality is that science (and ethical scientists in their practice of science) are silent on questions of theology

          I’m not sure that’s true. Christianity says that God created the universe. Cosmology says that there’s no evidence for that hypothesis. Science rejects the Christian hypothesis.

          but theologians can and do apply scientific knowledge to reasoning about theological questions.

          I’m not sure they have much choice (though of course head-in-the-sand types like Ken Ham simply close their ears to science they don’t approve of).

          Yes, Christians sometimes adapt their theology to take into account new scientific discoveries. I’m a bit frustrated when they only care about adapting the evidence to their conclusions.

        • CodyGirl824

          Science doesn’t either reject or affirm any “hypothesis” about God. It cannot. Surely you know this.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No, I don’t know this.

          “A supernatural being created the universe” is a claim. A remarkable claim, in fact. Is there evidence for this claim? Nope. Indeed, science has toppled countless religious hypotheses, and the reverse has never happened: conclusive evidence for a supernatural cause of anything.

        • CodyGirl824

          This is really at the root of the problem, Bob. Your attempt to frame this as a “claim” is what is getting you, and all atheists, into trouble. First of all, in making a claim, you have to define your terms. What do you mean by “supernatural”? What do you mean by a “being”? Most theists find the term “being” to refer to God as rather awkward and non-descriptive. A “being” in common parlance is a creature, not a Creator. You see, our language is very imprecise and inadequate for describing the Creator. What is really happening here is this: We give the name/label/term “God” to whatever it is that created the universe. We know that something did and whatever or whoever (personified) is what we term “God.” Now, tell me how evidence can be gathered, presented, recognized, accumulated to confirm the use of word/term in a human language to symbolize and represent the entire array of natural causes, events, forces, etc. that created the universe, such as the cause of the Big Bang?

          You are simply using the term “hypothesis” to make a statement of belief or a linguistic/conceptual process of giving a name to something sound scientific when it is not a scientific hypothesis.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What is really happening here is this: We give the name/label/term “God” to whatever it is that created the universe.

          Yes, that is what’s happening. You decide up front that something caused the universe. Could this be a blind force, or is there intelligence here?

          You ignored my observation that at the quantum level, things don’t necessarily need causes.

          BTW, have you presented evidence to support the claim that the Christian God exists? That would be interesting.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Science doesn’t either reject or affirm any “hypothesis” about God. It cannot. Surely you know this.

          So you are saying then that God is hypothetical? We are closer on this subject than I thought.

        • MNb

          Which means you use a double standard for what constitutes evidence indeed: one for science, one for your belief system. Now my guess is that you use a triple standard: the third one for all other belief systems.

        • CodyGirl824

          What? Science has its own standards and criteria for what constitutes evidence. The scientific hypothesis determines and limits what data, observations, experimental outcomes, etc. will be collected (and accepted) to either support or reject a hypothesis and/or validate a scientific theory. As I have explained before, scientific knowledge informs and enriches my belief system. I do not impose any standards of evidence on science, nor does science impose any standards of evidence on my belief system.

        • MNb

          Thanks for confirming that you use a double (set of) standard(s). Now how about your standard for evidence regarding other belief systems? Say the Hindu claim regarding reincarnation? Confucianist ancestor worship?

        • CodyGirl824

          You’re being stubborn. You obviously have a standard of evidence that you apply in arriving at your atheist belief system, as well as other beliefs that you formulate. What is that? Now, if you claim that your standard of evidence is the same as science’s, I will not believe you.

        • MNb

          Sure I’m stubborn.
          Well, you write you are not going to believe me at beforehand, so there is no reason to provide it to you. Instead I’ll refer you to
          1. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and how it expresses probabilism;
          2. Herman Philipse’s God in the Age of Science.
          I’ll you do the thinking for yourself. Point one only took me less than an hour to turn me from an agnost into an atheist; point two took me three months or more to turn me into a 7 on the scale of Dawkins.

        • Kodie

          I think our standard is different from yours, because you can find many claims of deities unworthy, except yours. You don’t have evidence; from all I gather from everything you’ve said in the past 4 days is you make random associations after the fact. How do these bits of “evidence” lead to a Christian god? How do you know that the deity you worship is not a different character, based on your standard of evidence? You see the world around you, you use atheists to define yourself, you learn a lot about science to get what you think is a better understanding of your god, but none of those things are distinctly Christian. There is no evidence for the Christian god, if that is how you are using the word evidence.

          I see the world around me and feel feelings and know that it is not attributed to any supernatural force. The more I learn about animals, and the more I learn about the characters of various Christians, and what passes for “evidence” among them, the smarter I feel. You are really really beyond ignorant and wrong and illogical about everything, every take on the world that you have is deluded within a mire of extraneous religious expressions and distortions and excuses. If you are the best representative of Jesus Christ, then he must not exist. I have rarely met a Christian so knowledgeable and still be so wrong. I don’t mean you are wrong about Jesus or wrong because you believe in god, you are just wrong about a lot of things. Christianity is only a propaganda campaign, and you are one of its pawns. You shill book after book after book. You work really hard at this, and you get facts wrong because you are only reading books out of one side – the propaganda side. Those books have you believing Christianity is the source of everything and 2+2 is 75. You read it in a book, you know the title and the author of the book. You want us to read it too, then we’ll be convinced. You’re taken in by persuasive marketing.

          Here is the Christian method of inquiry:
          I was convinced
          Other people were convinced
          Therefore it is true.

          Yet you do not address other people being convinced of other things, you simply disregard, you find it simpler to do so. Their method is your method, so all we want to know is why yours is different. You get evasive. There is no evidence. If we do not notice it, you are selfish about pointing it out to us.

          You’re being stubborn.

          Excuse me? Do you engage in any self-reflection at all?

        • MNb

          And because you as a christian, in contrast to us atheists, are so rational and have such an open mind you are also interested in SM Carroll’s comments.

          https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/sort-of-guest-post-sean-carroll-comments-on-whether-quantum-mechanics-gives-evidence-for-god/
          Or not.

        • hector_jones

          Through prayer, how else?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Are you saying that there is no evidence of the Big Bang?

        • CodyGirl824

          No, Bob. I am questioning whether or not the theory of the Big Bang can be tested empirically. I know from a physicist friend of mine that some scientists don’t view cosmology as a “hard” science since its theories can be tested experimentally. Of course there is evidence of the Big Bang: our universe.

        • hector_jones

          Since when does it matter to a theist whether something can be tested empirically? Oh wait, it matters for claims you want to reject, not for claims you want to accept.

        • Pofarmer

          Of course it can be tested empirically, if if couldn’t it would be Theology. Granted Cosmology is on the bleedning edge where astronomy and physics and mathematics and philosophy all mix. But the way they continue to narrow their models down is by emperical study.

        • smrnda

          There are many things that you can’t test in a controlled experiment in a lab. Testing empirically != always in a lab setting.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’ve lost me. There’s evidence for the Big Bang, but you’re asking if the Big Bang “can be tested empirically”? I think we’ve already answered your question.

          I don’t see how the universe is evidence for the Big Bang.

        • Pofarmer

          Really? C’mon, at least pretend to be slightly informed. Some neil degrasse tyson videos might be in order, or some episodes of through the wormhole, or, heaven forbid, watch Cosmos.

    • Sven2547

      …he is a deep-thinking theologian who has sufficient knowledge of cosmology to hold his own and enlighten the audience in this debate.

      …until an ACTUAL cosmologist opens his mouth and explains, in detail, how most of WLC’s cosmological caricatures are completely false. What I see from your comment is an admiration of style over substance.

  • hector_jones

    I’ve watched most of the video by now. It turns out I have seen other videos of Prof Carroll, such as a TED talk, I had just forgotten his name.

    To my thinking, WLC blew it right from the start when he said that theism was in no way incompatible with the ideas of modern cosmology. I figured if that’s the case then I might as well just listen to the ideas of modern cosmology, not having to worry that theism might contradict them. Then I skipped much of what WLC said, having heard it before, and went to Prof Carroll’s presentation, which was very good. Two thumbs up.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Nicely put. If theism and cosmology are compatible, Craig can just go home and we can get the best take on things by listening to the cosmologist.

    • MNb

      “theism was in no way incompatible with the ideas of modern cosmology”
      Perhaps it is – I don’t want to rule out it’s possible a priori – but then you have to accept the results of Modern Physics (not only cosmology) unconditionally. I don’t see how to combine this with any interpretation of the abrahamistic religions; it might be compatible with pastafarianism (god playing dice) and several versions of polytheistic belief systems (with non omnipotent gods) though.

      • hector_jones

        Carroll addressed this later when he talked about how science accepts the simplest explanation. If you have two models, and they both explain things equally well, but one of them has added parts that the other one doesn’t have, you take the simpler one without the added parts. Craig is trying to argue that he likes the model with the extra part, God, so he’s entitled to stick to it.

        To me, Craig’s cosmology just boils down to the idea that the only thing that makes sense to him is that the universe had a beginning and God must have created it. He tries to prove that God exists and is necessary, but he KNOWS these arguments don’t really work and says elsewhere it’s really just a matter of ‘probability’, not certainty that God exists. Since cosmology doesn’t disprove God and creation, it just says that neither are necessary, Craig’s gonna go with God.

    • MGreen

      Yeah, he said this in an interview too. That even multiverses are not a problem for theism. In other words his ideas predict nothing and will always be true no matter what. Useful.

  • 90Lew90

    Great post, thanks. I hadn’t heard of Carroll before. I’ll watch the debate. My only problem with the piece is that you introduce Lane Craig as a “philosopher”. Theologians love to masquerade as philosophers and they love to be called philosophers. The term may have suited, say, Aquinas in his day, when belief was de facto. But now? Philosophy is serious at least in aiming for truth, whatever of its success in finding it. Theology and theologians are not. To call Lane Craig a philosopher is to give him a promotion.

    • evodevo

      Yes. He’s an apologist for an illogical, unreasoning point of view. And that’s all.

      • hector_jones

        I think of WLC as God’s PR Man, not a serious thinker.

        • MNb

          Then his salary should be halved at least, because he does a lousy job. On one page he brings up “genocide is bad” as an example of objective morality; on another page he defends genocide in about the same way as Nazi-criminal Paul Blobel did at Nürnberg at the end of the 1940’s.

        • hector_jones

          It’s not about how good a job he does, it’s about how hard it is for God to find good help these days. That is bad PR, but Craig is constrained by the fact that his god put out a book some time ago that doesn’t exactly make himself look good when it comes to genocide. A PR man has to take his client as he finds him.

          I’m being facetious, btw. I think the best label for Craig is probably ‘popular apologist’ or ‘popular theologian’.

        • MNb

          Your first sentence gave me a good laugh, so I concur.

        • Skeptiker

          It’s not about how good a job he does, it’s about how hard it is for God to find good help these days.

          In fact he did a bad job selecting and inspiring the wrong bible writers who kept on contradicting his supposed omniscience, omnipotence and omnibenevolence.

          Examples: he did not know where Adam & Eve were hiding in the garden; he had to come down from heaven, personally, to see what humans were up to when the Tower of Babel was being built and he was afraid of what the feeble humans could achieve; he could not defeat enemies with iron chariots in Judges 1:19, etc, etc, etc.

        • hector_jones

          But I was talking about WLC.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          … he had to send out 2 angels for recon since he’d heard that bad stuff was happening in Sodom and Gomorrah.

        • wtfwjtd

          …and he couldn’t even find anyone to do a hit job on Moses, he had to get a knife and do it himself. And then he botched it! Or rather, a child’s foreskin prevented him from completing the hit. Or something.

        • Greg G.

          I have heard WLC in debates use the Holocaust as an example of objective immorality and other debates where he argues that when God commanded the Israelites to slaughter whole societies, it is a good thing, according to his Divine Command theory.

        • MNb

          Yes. Compare how WLC justifies this slaugher with

          http://www.go2war2.nl/artikel/1560/Blobel-Paul.htm

          “Blobel toonde gedurende zijn proces geen berouw en had enkel medelijden met de daders die belast waren geweest met dit zware werk. “Als soldaat heb ik me aan de discipline en trouw gehouden,”, zo verklaarde hij nadien. “Die discipline en trouw hebben me nu aan de galg gebracht. Ook vandaag weet ik nog niet hoe ik anders had moeten handelen.””

          “Blobel didn’t show remorse during his process and only felt pity with the offenders who were burdened with this heavy duty (of killing off jews – MNb). “As a soldier I maintained discipline and loyalty”, he expressed. “This disciple and loyalty have brought me to the gallow. Even today I would not know what I should have done differently.””

          This is what WLC writes:

          http://www.reasonablefaith.org/slaughter-of-the-canaanites

          “the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.”

          Combine this with

          “It was His way of preserving Israel’s spiritual health and posterity.”
          “Nothing could so illustrate to the Israelis the seriousness of their calling as a people set apart for God alone.”
          Replace “Israel” with “Germany” and you have the epilogue to Mein Kampf.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Especially when he’s made quite clear that reason and logic are subordinate and subservient to religious belief.

    • MNb

      He is a philosopher of religion, ie doesn’t refer to the Bible for his arguments. Philosophers look down on philosophers of religion. Ask Chris Hallquist.

      • 90Lew90

        He is a theologian. The philosophy of religion has reached its conclusion: religion is incoherent, “god” is unknowable. That has been the unassailable position since Hume.

        • CodyGirl824

          This is certainly a grandiose claim.

        • Kodie

          So is “there’s a god and he loves me and I’m going to heaven”. You keep using it as a premise, but there is no evidence, except to you, “stuff”.

        • CodyGirl824

          If/when you say that you accept no evidence of God, that would be a true statement. But for you to claim that there is no evidence of God is to claim that you are omniscient, and there certainly is no evidence of that!

        • Pofarmer

          Actually it doesn’t. Saying that there is no evidence for God, means that theres not, at least not yet, not that there will never be. And, let’s be honest, if there were slam dunk evidence for your particular brand of God. We wouldn’t be having this conversation.

        • CodyGirl824

          As I said before, atheism is evidence of free will. You are free to either accept or reject the evidence of/for God. I interpret the fact that there are so few atheists in proportion to the vast majority of believers in God among the world’s population today and historically of the reality of how persuasive the evidence for God really is. So, it’s not at all surprising, in light of God’s existence and His revelation of Himself to humankind, that we are having this conversation.

        • Greg G.

          What you call “evidence for God” is ambiguous. The ability to design tests to refine that evidence is confounded by contrived excuses for why the god cannot be tested.

        • CodyGirl824

          The concept of “god” cannot be tested using scientific methods, true. This is because there is no way to define “god” in a way to construct some sort of empirical observation or research study to isolate and observe “god” as an experimental variable or phenomenon. This is why science is not a method of inquiry for studying God. It only serves to investigate how God’s creation works.

        • Pofarmer

          Science absolutely can study God, because if God interacted with our universe, by performing miracles for instance, we could/should detect it, but we don’t. In fact, that’s what science started out to do. There are nuerological tests for what the brain sees when we experience God, and you’re not gonna like the results of those, either.

        • CodyGirl824

          Not true, and ethical scientists recognize and respect this reality. Science does not have a methodology for studying the meta-physical realm of existence. I have read several research studies on spiritual experiences. Here is my short list:

          William P. Alston (1991). Perceiving God: The epistemology
          of religious experience.

          Eugene d’Aquili and Andrew Newberg (1999). The Mystical
          Mind: Probing the biology of religious experience.

          Andrew Newberg, Eugene d’Aquili and Vince Rause. (2001). Why God won’t go away: Brain science and the biology of belief.

        • Kodie

          So you don’t get how interacting with our natural world would necessarily leave testable evidence? You call a tree evidence of god (your specific god, which is another logical leap), or a cloud or a dog, or whatever. We can test those and do not find your conclusion. So your sense of evidence is imaginary. Those are physical objects that you see having a direct association with your deity. The evidence is not in those things to lead us to the conclusion that there is a god, much less yours.

          When you probe the biology of religious experiences, do you find god? You say science does not have a method for investigating pseudo-scientific pursuits (what you call meta-physical). If you are reading a book about biology, then finding no god, the solution to that mystery is not that there is a meta-physical realm science can’t detect. If it has an effect on the brain that comes from a meta-physical realm, you would be able to define that realm from the data. Or else you have nothing but a bullshit book peddler pretending to be a legitimate scientist.

        • CodyGirl824

          These scientists are using scientifically legitimate methodologies to study the physiology of spiritual/mystical experiences, focused on the brain. I encourage you to read their research. They could not study these experiences if they were not real.

        • Pofarmer

          Like I said, the experiences are very real. However, they happen across all faith groups and those with no faith at all. Everything I’ve seen indicates that they are exclusively brain centered, especially now that we are learning how to cause things like out of body experiences in the lab.

        • Kodie

          Here is a clue for you – you are contradicting yourself. You said ethical scientists, I repeat, you said ethical scientists would not study the meta-physical realm, as science, as you understand it, has no method for studying the meta-physical. You are then encouraging me to read books by scientists regarding study of (what you believe to be) meta-physical experiences. Are these scientists ethical or unethical? Or is it that the field of study is the physiology of the brain, and that what we generally call “religious experiences” is just a handy term and does not indicate any veracity of the subjects’ religions? Or both?

          Because nobody here would disagree with you that religions exist, and believers exist – in fact, this is pretty key to atheism. God is not detected in these experiences, but clearly they are having an experience. You don’t know enough about science or physiology of the brain to make the conclusions I can see that you are making. Brain physiology is interesting and legitimate science. Finding out what causes these spasms you think are god tapping you is also interesting.

          What is your point?

        • smrnda

          I know some people who do that kind of research. they are firmly convinced that the evidence points to cognitive bias as the basis for spiritual and religious experiences.

        • CodyGirl824

          How can scans of brain activity show a “cognitive bias”?

        • Pofarmer

          The Cognitive bias is in how the activity is interpreted. You say that these scans are “brain centered” which they are. There is no indication of any kind of interaction with anything “outside” the brain. Which forces you to make yet another metaphysical claim, when the much simpler explanation is that our brain creates these experiences, and they are wide spread.

        • CodyGirl824

          You are wrong in saying that there is no “indication” of “any kind of interaction with anything “outside” the brain in/from these studies. Please do not misrepresent this research, much of which involves member of the clergy from different denominations, Buddhist monks and Catholic nuns during meditation and prayer and atheists during their own sort of “meditation.” Our brains don’t “create experiences.” Our brains are the biological tool for processing experiences. You might also want to look at the “god helmet” research by Michael Persinger.

        • hector_jones

          Our brains don’t create experiences? Dream on.

        • Pofarmer

          If our brains don’t create experiences, what to hell is getting high? If our brains don’t create experiences, why can researchers create dissembodiment sensations in ths lab? What to fuck is a dream, if it isn’t our brain creating an experience. Arrrggghhhhh.

        • MNb

          “”indication” of “any kind of interaction with anything “outside” the brain in/from these studies.”
          Can you provide a few links?

        • 90Lew90

          As recommended on my previous post, I’d point you to Churchland’s ‘Brain-Wise’. Also ‘Soul Dust’ by Nicholas Humphrey, ‘The “God” Part of the Brain’ by Matthew Alper, and ‘The God Instinct’ (published as ‘The Belief’ Instinct’ in the US) by Jesse Bering. Churchland is on neuroscience, Humphrey is a psychologist concerned mainly with consciousness, and Bering is also a psychologist. Alper is a philosopher whose work has basically spawned a faddish-sounding but very interesting “genre” (for want of a better term), “neuro-theology” which draws from multiple disciplines. The book I mention I would highly recommend however. I’m too tired to bother arguing with the religious tonight :)

        • Kodie

          Who is misrepresenting the research? You already said it’s not legitimate science to discover spirit realms. That is a conclusion you are adding to the data from your wishful thinking. Also, you don’t know very much about brains after reading all these studies and articles.

        • CodyGirl824

          Please note that these researchers study physiology, mostly of brain. “God” is not a variable in these studies. The physiology of the human body is a legitimate object of study through scientific methods. Why don’t you read the research before pretending to critique it? This is what scientists do. They don’t just make guesses about each other’s research. Since atheists give so much weight to scientific evidence, I’m surprised that you don’t examine it yourself.

        • Kodie

          Because it’s irrelevant here. I don’t know why you brought it up. You said ethical scientists never enter into meta-physical research, and I talked about that too. If this is biology, which I recognize it is, and not meta-physics, what is your point? Do you think, do you suppose, that by showing studies on the religious experiences taking place inside the brain, that atheists will accept more of your bullshit conclusions? I think showing that it’s all in the head is a point against you. We’ll find out what’s really causing these experiences, just like we find the real reason for everything: not god.

        • Pofarmer

          I’ve read studies and watched programs describing these types of tests. If my characterization is wrong, then tell me where?

        • CodyGirl824

          I posted a list of three books on research in this area. Did you miss it? There have been several programs about this research, including interviews with some of the authors of these books, on the Science Channel over the past year or so. Dr. Andrew Newberg is one of the better known researchers in this field.

        • Pofarmer

          Yep, that’s the stuff. It shows that when Christians pray, the parts of the brain associated with speech light up. When Buddhists meditate a different part fires, and when Atheists meditate yet a different part fires. Correct?

        • Pofarmer

          Nobody is denying the existence of spiritual experiences. Many/most of us here have had them.

        • CodyGirl824

          I would expect this to be the case.

        • MNb

          Now the funny thing is that almost all spiritual experiences I ever had got a solid scientific explanation (which means no god needed) afterwards, even if I had to wait many years a couple of times. For those few left I prefer not to apply the god of the gaps argument.

        • smrnda

          The existence of spiritual experiences does not prove the existence of the supernatural. Cognitive bias works well enough, which is why people are predisposed to ‘experiences’ which fit the dominant cultural ideas.

        • Pofarmer

          So, an ethical scientist is one who knows his place? Do you have any idea how stupid even the concept of that is? Do you have even the foggiest idea where we would be today if scientists never investigated anything labeled as ” divine” by some theist somewhere?

        • CodyGirl824

          Why do you object so much to the ethical standards that scientists themselves espouse and articulate? They do so because to do otherwise damages the credibility and reputation of science. I don’t think that atheists’ best interests would be served by having science lose its legitimacy and credibility in our society.

        • Kodie

          You are mixing up words like legitimate and ethical. Meta-physics is woo-woo pseudo-science. All of it. I know you think you know where it ends and turns into a legitimate topic of study called meta-physics where your beliefs are distinguished from other foolish pursuits, but a legitimate scientist can be unethical if he wants to shill garbage for cash and fame like your theologians. A fake scientist can also pass for real for the purposes of marketing this trash.

          A legitimate scientist interested in maintaining their credibility would have no interest in tarnishing their reputation by dabbling in meta-physics. You mistake this aversion for “ethics” when it is really about maintaining integrity with the real world and not your fantasy realms.

        • MNb

          “All of it.”
          Objection. The metaphysics underlying the scientific method isn’t.

        • Kodie

          Ok.

          But anyway the subject was the meta-physics Codygirl is confusing with pseudo-science. How does a legitimate scientific term attach itself to ghosts and ESP and elevate secret realms of the universe that do and don’t have contact with our physical world from heaven on high? The beings who live in the meta-physical world and watch us and worry over us and deliver us to perfect parking spaces and win football games and survive a tornado? How are we supposed to test these things if they happen in our world and we experience them?

          What is the other metaphysics and how do we keep from confusing the one that’s really pseudo-science? How does a person at once claim that ethical scientists would have nothing to do with meta-physics if metaphysics is a legitimate and apparently requisite element to perform legitimate science experiments? It would seem unavoidable for ethical scientists and optional for unethical scientists.

          If we are still talking about the spirit realm, then ethical scientists avoid it not because they know their scientific method will not work, but because it harms their credibility. An unethical scientist would maybe look for an easy way to sell a book and make some appearances on Dr. Oz.

        • MNb

          Of course. I singled this out because I totally agree with the rest of what you write! If anything needs the Ockham treatment it is metaphysics. Cut away everything you don’t need to understand our Universe and precious little is left.
          Here is an overview:

          https://www.scimednet.org/sapphire/main.php?url=/metaphysical-foundations-of-modern-science

          Note that even some of these are debatable. No modern scientist these days cares about primary and secondary qualities for instance. I don’t provide the link because I think it’s content is representative or correct, but to show how limited metaphysics should be.

        • Pofarmer

          Blame Aristotle, and his philosophy that we couldn’t imagine things which aren’t real, so, obviously, meta-physics is real.

        • CodyGirl824

          You say this, Kodie: “A legitimate scientist interested in maintaining their credibility would have no interest in tarnishing their reputation by dabbling in meta-physics.”

          I completely agree. I think you get my point.

        • Kodie

          I think you think meta-physics is an actual thing, and scientists do not (neither do I).

        • smrnda

          Actually, most of the research psychologist I know who study the psychology of religion pretty much use cognitive biases to explain most belief.

        • 90Lew90

          Exactly. And attributing agency to things which have none. So our car breaks down, and we kick the tyre. It’s irrational. The car did not break down to annoy us, but we tend to act as though it did. We’re also afraid of the dark and will imagine things around the corner that aren’t there. That’s a survival instinct and our big brains run away with it. You’re walking in the woods and hear a twig snap out of sight. What was it? It makes good sense to assume it’s a bear or a snake. It doesn’t take much of an imaginative leap to get from unseen bear/snake to ghosts/spirits/demons/gods. Especially when you chuck big, imaginative brains into a world with spectacular volcanoes and thunder storms and earthquakes and the like. They’re a lot more impressive than broken down cars, and when agency is attributed, out of ignorance, to nature, it becomes pretty easy to see where notions of gods come from.

        • smrnda

          Agency detection is a great thing I missed, thanks for pointing it out. It can be useful – in a sense, a computer program that plays chess doesn’t ‘want’ to win, but it’s useful to think of it as having that goal in mind.

        • CodyGirl824

          This comment is both undecipherable and undocumented. How are these “research psychologists” defining “belief”? Isn’t a belief inherently a bias, a judgment, an opinion, a conclusion based on cognitive analysis? And what does this have to do with the research studies on spiritual experiences that I referenced?

        • MNb

          Ha, I disagree. God defined as an immaterial being doesn’t have any means to interact with our Universe hence can’t be tested by science. God is meaningless exactly because of it.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, yeah, but-nevermind.

        • MNb

          But indeed, if god could interact with our material Universe science could test it …. etc.
          (Man, that book of Herman Philipse is a gas).

        • Pofarmer

          I’ll have to see if I cam get it from the library. It is damned expensive.

        • Kodie

          I rejected the god that doesn’t have any means to interact with our universe. It may be a logical reach, but there would be no reason for it to exist. It would have created nothing, and what is it a god of?

        • MNb

          Exactly this is why I grant myself a 7 on the scale of Dawkins since a bit more than a year.

        • Kodie

          When I took an intro philosophy course in college, I learned about variations of god I had never considered, but just sort of let it lie. I did consider theism if it wasn’t too ridiculous, didn’t learn much from philosophy after all. We studied all the usual topics people talk about the first time they get high, like, how do you know you’re not god? and, how do you know what I see is blue isn’t what you see as red but call blue? Having never before been exposed to philosophy or philosophical concepts of a possible god, this stood out, and made me ask myself what I do know and how I know, which I guess is what philosophy is supposed to do?

          This all went to the back burner as I went through my other courses, but I eventually returned to it. I went through semi-systematically: if there is a god, we don’t know what it is like. So we say, if there is a god, it would be like this, or it might be like that. You match it up to what there is, and give a reasonable explanation why that would be unlikely. If there is a god and we don’t know what it is like, why not? Why are we guessing? That’s how I really became an atheist. I would consider myself a 7 also. I would say before this process, like a 4.5 or 5. Didn’t care, didn’t mean anything to me, show up if you’re there, co-exist-y faitheist.

        • MNb

          My hat off for you. I needed someone else to push me through this process.

        • Greg G.

          This is because there is no way to define “god” in a way to construct some sort of empirical observation or research study to isolate and observe “god” as an experimental variable or phenomenon.

          That’s precisely the contrivance I was referring to. God is defined as being untestable. It’s a lesson from all the gods that were testable and disproved. You have know way of knowing whether God is untestable or not. You have to invent that smokescreen.

        • CodyGirl824

          Is love testable? Is justice testable? There are many things within the full range of human existence that are not testable through scientific methods of inquiry. That makes them no less real or valuable, of course.

        • Greg G.

          Love is an emotion and justice is a concept but they are less real than objects. Is God more real or less real than an emotion or a concept? Is God more real or less real than a rock? I say God is less real than an emotion but identical to a concept.

        • Kodie

          Yes and yes.

        • Pofarmer

          Yes and yes.

        • MNb

          Yes and yes. Far from all tests happen in laboratories. Last test of our love happened last Friday evening (she tested me as well). We both passed cum laude. Fortunately the test was pretty easy.

        • wtfwjtd

          Good for you! A most valuable confirmation for both of you indeed.

        • Pofarmer

          Of course you can test love, people do it all the time. Love can be demonstrated too. What is this, amatuer apologetics hour?

        • CodyGirl824

          This is a classic example of equivocation. The discussion is about scientific testing, as in laboratory experiments. I bet you anything that you have not tested your significant other’s love for you in a laboratory. Or, on second thought, maybe you have, but I bet it was rather uncomfortable.

        • smrnda

          You could test love experimentally, and not all empirical investigations need to take place in a laboratory. In fact, in some areas like psychology, it’s important to track behavior *outside* of the laboratory.

          I could walk around and have an app on my phone and I could respond to questions about my relationship and what was *currently happening* or had happened recently. My responses could be used to compile evidence for or against the claim that I love my partner, or my partner loves me.

          Please, don’t take this reductionist view that ‘science’ means ‘in a laboratory.’ Science mean empirical evidence and testing falsifiable hypothesis.

          The notion that you can present ‘god exists’ and ‘love between real people whose existence is not in doubt’ as equal claims in the level of assumptions they make is ridiculous.

        • Kodie

          Do you do your research before you write out your ignorant assumptions?
          http://goo.gl/WwrIUI

          I think justice is subjective, but once you define a stated goal, you can test whether or not the current system meets or fails at that goal.

          Example: someone steals your bike.

          You have a few choices:

          Justice: you just want your bike back.
          Justice: send the police to find him, and prosecute to the full extent of the law, get your bike back, and pay for damages to the flowerbed and compensate all the days you couldn’t do your paper route
          Justice: set up a trap on your property so the thief falls in a pit, and then pour gasoline into the pit and set him on fire.

          Now, you can certainly set up any of these systems and test whether or not they succeed or fail. You can negotiate and feel satisfied (“justice”) with an outcome that doesn’t meet your selected sense of justice. You can be forced to settle for an outcome that does not satisfy your sense of justice and move on, or take matters into your own hands to ensure justice is met.

          Justice is a sense of whether things are fair, and if they are not, can they be made fair. How upset are you when someone takes a slightly larger slice of pie? How upset are you when someone accidentally runs over your dog? Will an apology suffice or do you need to kill the driver’s dog? If your sense of justice escalates petty criminals to a pit of fire, society’s sense of justice is not met until you are sentenced for arson and murder. Notice any resemblance to your god? We have decided it’s inhumane and drastic. But society’s sense of justice is to send people who do drugs to jail with hard and violent criminals for storage. Society’s sense of justice is “throw a worthless piece of shit in the hole”, and not “rehabilitate this person so when they are returned to the outside world, they can contribute to society”. Is what you think a person deserves more important than society’s interest in productivity and well-being? These things can be measured, it’s sociology.

        • smrnda

          Actually, you can test love. If I say ‘my partner loves me’ people could examine our relationship and would be able to form an opinion as to whether or not this appears to be true or not. I mean, if I said ‘such and such celebrity loves me’ it would be a bunch of empty words without any evidence. With love, we’re dealing with something that supplies fairly easy to observe real world evidence.

        • smrnda

          So you admit that god is speculation?

        • MNb

          That’s what atheists mean when asking (I don’t, because I think the question meaningless because god is meaningless) what’s your evidence for god?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The concept of “god” cannot be tested using scientific methods, true.

          Oddly, many popular apologists disagree. They’re advancing all sorts of deist arguments–fine tuning, cosmological, teleological, and so on–that do indeed claim to use science to point to God.

          Do us all a favor and slap some sense into them. They don’t listen to me. You’re one of their peeps–maybe you’ll have better luck.

        • Kodie

          We don’t find your sense of evidence fulfilling the definition. You obviously have made your selection, and then backtracked to associate random and arbitrary items with it and call them clues. If the clues don’t lead you to your conclusion, you are begging the question. I see atheism as evidence that some people are not convinced there is a god. The signs are all there – there are claims of theism, and people who are not convinced by what constitutes “evidence” to theists, like unfounded assertions such as “atheism is clear and convincing evidence of free will”. That is, you made an arbitrary association with your pre-formed conclusion. It is no sign in and of itself that would lead someone neutral to believe in god and free will.

          Evidence

        • CodyGirl824

          Atheists are not neutral. They have a very strong bias toward (against) the evidence. And of course, you don’t know what you are talking about when you characterize how I arrive at my belief in and faith in God.

        • Kodie

          Atheists are totally neutral. If there is evidence leading to a conclusion of god, let’s see it. If it is just your random association that you made up because you already believe in god, then that’s called circular reasoning and that’s broken logic. Logic is neutral, and Christianity as you’ve portrayed it is the opposite of logical.

        • Castilliano

          Nobody is neutral. Fair enough, but let’s not lump all atheists into one big pot. I was pro-God when I went atheist.

          Many atheists, arguably most, gave up their faith reluctantly, but had to given the overwhelming imbalance of evidence that religions are false.
          I delved deepest into Christianity when attempting to cling to those “Feelings of God”, or FOGs, yet I had to relent, recognizing those feelings were universal. If every core argument for religion boils down to FOGs, then any god(s) is/are not tied to one religion. They’d be some unrevealed deistic/pantheistic god at best. FOGs could just as easily lead to “prove” whichever god I chose, or was most exposed to. So FOGs are proof for none.

          And the concept of Yahweh is far from being a universal or unrevealed god. (Or concepts, as there are many conflicting pictures of Yahweh out there, and in the Bible.) He’s a non-universal god with specific claims, most of which are false or unfalsifiable or in many cases self-contradicting. This is likely why WLC keeps arguing the deistic god instead, then lets the Christian-culture audience make the leap to Jesus-Yahweh themselves.
          Like I said, he’s cunning. But disingenuous.
          Cheers

        • smrnda

          Can you give me evidence of a god that is not ‘many people believe in god.’ I know that many people belief in ghosts, yet I do not take that as evidence for ghosts. What evidence is there?

        • MNb

          Sorry Cody, as a kid I sung in a church choir and played in Xmas plays. At 13 I was an agnost exactly because of lack of knowledge regarding relevant arguments. It’s similar for my son. His mother believes. He went three years to a catholic school and three years to an islamic one. He knew that I was an atheist, but I never spoke about it until he began to ask questions at the age of 14. Before he already had decided that he was an atheist too, looking things up on internet.
          No bias here.

        • Stephen Earle

          The philosophical evidence you constantly allude to are nothing more than negative apologetics. That is also the problem with Craig’s arguments in the debate with Carroll.

          He attempts only to avoid a charge of irrationality by basing the premises of his arguments on his interpretation of the science involved. The reason he lost this debate is that his standard arguments offered as negative apologetics were dealt a serious blow by a serious scientist.

          That much was plain for anyone to see.

          Your charge that atheists have a strong bias against evidence fails as no evidence that should convince an atheist or reasonable person to accept Craig’s position or else be thought irrational was presented during this debate.

        • CodyGirl824

          The issue in atheism vs. faith in God is not what evidence you think William Lane Craig has to support his arguments. The issue is evidence of God. There are most certainly ways to define God as something that does not exist, but that’s god is not the God of monotheism. I think that the term “philosophical evidence” is your own invention.

        • Kodie

          The issue in atheism vs. faith in god is what you consider “evidence”, and that is not rational. The god that doesn’t exist is all of them.

        • Pofarmer

          So, how is the God of monotheism defined?

        • Stephen Earle

          Well the issue in this thread is whether Craig has support for his arguments and whether Carroll debunked those arguments. My point is that Craig presents no positive evidence for the ontology of god, whatever that may mean.

          You do know what the philosophical evidence is though, right? It’s the evidnece presented for the non falsifiable god that lives in logical arguments but not in the real word.

        • Stephen Earle

          Sorry for my use of English, it is not my first language.

          I am trying to be charitable.

          I will thereofre wait for an answer to Pofarmer’s question about monotheism before engaging your arguments.

        • Pofarmer

          I think the number of believers in God in society today has a lot to do with up until fairly recently, they could kill/torture those who expressed disbelief

        • MNb

          Yes, but that doesn’t exactly explain 70% believers in The Netherlands.

        • Carl

          I’m guessing the explanation has a lot to do with cultural inertia. Parents have been bringing up their children to be Christian essentially as a matter of tradition. With Christianity as practiced in much of the Netherlands being a rather mild flavor of “cultural Christianity,” there’s been no compelling reason for people to break with their comforting (and not very demanding) traditions.

          The Irish felt differently after finding out about the Magdalene Laundries and widespread child abuse, and ran from the Catholic Church in droves. The drop in religious observance there has been astonishingly rapid.

        • MNb

          “Parents have been bringing up their children to be Christian essentially as a matter of tradition.”
          This possibly only applies to the babyboomers – ie the generation born at the end or just after WW-2. There used to be a lot of animosity between catholics and protestants (mainly calvinists). I can remember that interreligious marriages were considered problematic. Still in the 50’s the catholic bishops forbid the catholics to vote for the social-democrat party. In the 30’s Dutch government issued an anti-blasphemy law; it was only removed three months ago, mainly because exactly zero people were convicted based on it during these 80 years. It was a dead letter.
          I’m really not sure what to make of this.

        • 90Lew90

          Used to be a lot of animosity between catholics and protestants? I’m writing to you from Belfast, Northern Ireland. About 30 yards from the back of my house is a thing called a “peace wall” which exists so we can’t stone or petrol bomb each other. Gotta love the good ol’ Christian love in this place.

        • Pofarmer

          The Catholics are trying to ramp it up here, although that may make me a bigot, I don’t care. Priest at my kids school, when asked by a young girl if it was O.K. if she went to her Dad’s church, was told unquestionably “No, they don’t believe the same things we do.” Another kid said that after he graduated 8th Grade, he was probably just going to go to the Baptist Church. The priest told him that ” I hope you enjoy this life, because you sure aren’t going to enjoy the next one.” What a useless, bigotted, arrogant………attitude. After that last exchange, my middle boy has lost all respect for him and calls him “Mark” his first name. Can’t say as I blame him. IMHO, there isn’t room for attitudes like that today.

        • 90Lew90

          You gave me a giggle. I was my cousin’s Best Man and he got married in a catholic church to keep his mother and his wife’s parents happy. At the rehearsal we were both pretty drunk. The priest introduced himself as “Father McGirr”. My cousin is atheist and had not long lost his own father, so it stuck in his throat to call this man “Father”. Instead, if he had a question, he just barked at the guy by his surname. “McGirr! What side do we put the grannies on?” Etc. The priest went puce. I asked what should happen for people who didn’t want to take communion. He said we were to present at the altar and make a cross over our chests to receive a blessing. The X-Factor, as the groom’s brother called it. I took the X-Factor. It’s surprising how badly integrity will offend the very religious when you demure from their whole stage act. A lot of churchgoing is just play-acting. I can not stand hypocrisy. Not long ago it was fairly reliable as a defence and as a mark of good character to claim in court that you’d “found Jesus”. Ridiculous. Not even funny.

        • Pofarmer

          This dude is a Canon Lawyer, whatever the hell that is, and all he can seem to come up with to answer 7th and 8th graders questions is the same apologetics that we see here all the time. So I go through it with my boys, and point out the flaws in the thinking. Now, they are coming home and showing me the flaws in the thinking. They pointed out something to me in some bible verses the other day that I hadn’t caught before. It’s fun to see them going through the OT with a critical eye. And, yes, it’s amazing the amount of respect these men think they’re due. For what, exactly?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That’s an encouraging anecdote. Perhaps today’s youth, with their comfortable access to the internet, won’t put up with the crap that their elders had to.

        • MNb

          I wrote animosity – not civil war or Troubles. Catholic youngsters fighting protestant youngsters with bike chains and the likes qualifies as animosity, don’t you think? These fights still happen, but football has replaced religion.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Txyc59CY-kA

          Thanks to Dutch media regularly reporting since the early 70’s I’m quite familiar with The Troubles. That includes the “peace wall” and also the Orange Order, named after an ancestor of the Dutch king.
          So your comment is a bit irrelevant.

          Also irrelevant: I have been a fan of Andy Cairns since about 1995. I own all the Studio CD’s bar A Brief Crack of Light, which I don’t get even after several listenings. As I have to make a new testament soon I seriously consider having played The Boy’s Asleep at my cremation.

        • 90Lew90

          Check this out. Protestants intent on marching bands through catholic areas, not far from where I live, last July:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2Kg2hOvJ7k

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miSccVia0K4

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmRuuAEtW2c

          This is every year.

        • Pofarmer

          Still? I thought all that stuff had calmed down?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So the Protestants demand access to traditionally Catholic areas for their parade? Sure looks tense. I didn’t realize that the issue was still this big a deal.

        • 90Lew90

          The Orangemen are a fairly small minority of hardcore “Protestants”. Their “traditional” marching routes go through a lot of Catholic areas, the most contentious in Belfast being Ardoyne. The thing about Orangeism is that it has little to do with Protestantism and more to do with a triumphalism, since William of Orange defeated the Catholic King James. It’s basically an anti-Catholic hatefest, no matter how much they try to clean it up. They’ve even tried to make it a tourist attraction, but mostly when tourists are asked, they say they find it intimidating, because it is. You could cut the air with a knife it’s so tense in Belfast in July. It’s quite complicated and I’d bore you to tears if I elaborated but basically the loyalist/unionist/Protestant community feels hard done by since the Good Friday (peace) Agreement. The more pig-headed of them use July 12 to vent spleen. It could be particularly colourful this year because republicans have also been massively antagonised by the arrest of Gerry Adams in the past week. When the blood is up on both sides it gets ugly. And basically, which “side” you’re on is decided by accident of birth and whether you’re born into a catholic or protestant family. I thank my lucky stars that although my mother’s family is republican and catholic, my father is Welsh and atheist, so I didn’t get too immersed, which could have happened all too easily. My father’s attitude to the conflict here is one of utter disdain. It kind of inoculated me. I moved away to London and lived there for ten years, not expecting to return, but I’ve been in Belfast for seven years now. It’s nowhere near as bad as it was, but it’s still bubbling away. What we need is for a couple of generations to hurry up and die! LOL.

        • Pofarmer

          I’ve read some things indicating that the Catholic Church still controls most ofmthe “public” schools in Ireland, is this correct?

        • 90Lew90

          In the Republic, yes they do. It’s win-win for the church because although they get public money to run their schools, they get to decide the “ethos” of the school, so you can end up in hot water if as a teacher you give a personal view on things like contraception or abortion or homosexuality.
          In Northern Ireland it’s roughly half and half. State schools tend to be more weighted with protestants. For obvious reasons, not many people who identify as protestant are going to send their kids to a “catholic maintained” school. There has been an interesting shift in the past 30 years or so in that the old grammar schools, which were protestant dominated, used to be the better schools and the catholic maintained ones were awful. That picture has now been turned on its head. The catholic schools are actually generally very good, and the state schools are terrible. The catholic/republican side seemed to recognise that education was fundamental to alleviating the oppression they suffered, and so they pushed it. Protestant/loyalist/unionists neglected to do so. There was a kind of adage during the Troubles that jailed republicans went to the library, whereas jailed loyalists went to the gym. That’s playing out now. The republican machine in the north is much more slick, but the protestants still have the numbers. What complicates the picture even more is that republicans aren’t anti-protestant as such, they’re anti-union (with Britain) and left-leaning, but what enflames protestants is definitely anti-Catholicism, stoked by people like Ian Paisley.
          But to your question about schooling, there is no issue in catholic schools with things like creationism. They know well enough that propagating ignorance is not in their interests. Gay people still may get a hard time, but that comes as part of being a fairly retarded island community. The sad thing is that the people who are most ready to take to the streets now don’t actually know their own history. There were plenty of Anglicans in the 19th century who organised and fought against British rule here. This seems to escape most of the dyed-in-the-wool prods these days. The sum of it is the feeling of being besieged has shifted from one side of the community to the other. There are a lot of very embittered people knocking around on both sides, and so it grinds on. Our media does nothing to help by constantly parading the nonsense as if it really means something.
          On a positive note, I really wouldn’t want to put anyone off coming for a visit. Yes, we’re hot heads. Yes, we apparently will take the gloves off and fight at the merest sleight, but generally the culture here is polite, fair-minded and the sense of humour is really quite brilliant (how could it not be?). If, as I and most people I know do, you keep your head down and treat the petty row as being beneath you, you’ll find some extremely funny, resilient, alert, healthily sceptical, *moral* people here. It pains me that this grinds on. It’s driven by ignoramuses. Nowhere is problem free I suppose. For all that’s wrong with it, I love the place and my people. I just wish we could get along better. And I find religion and nationalism the main obstacle to that. One is as stupid as the other as far as I’m concerned.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Helpful insights, thanks.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The host of the Apologetics315 podcast is an American living in Ireland. (Dunno if that’s relevant, but FYI.)

        • 90Lew90

          Thanks, I’ll check that out.

        • 90Lew90

          Ireland has also had a lot of immigration since joining the EU. It has become more outward-looking and a more mature society, with a less servile media. Many deep cultural shifts have been taking place in Ireland. The child abuse scandal was more of a last-straw than decisive in itself. If there’s one thing the Irish are not, it’s stupid. It was one of the last bastions of church dominance (by which I mean real dominance) in Europe. Shaken from their slumber, the Irish just aren’t having it any more.

        • 90Lew90

          Everything you are, do and think is contingent. Ergo: no “free will” in the sense that religious people understand it. You are neither “free” and nor are you the master of your destiny. Everything about you is contingent. This perspective also blows the repugnant notion of “original sin” out of the water, has more explanatory power for why things go wrong with people and the world, and leads to a more compassionate way of seeing people. In other words, it is superior to your primitive religious outlook in just about every way.

        • CodyGirl824

          What is your understanding of the theological construct of “original sin”?

        • 90Lew90

          That it is a repugnant myth and a hook whereby a religion diagnoses a non-existent illness and then prescribes itself as the cure.

        • CodyGirl824

          So I see that you don’t understand what we Christians mean when we use the term.

        • wtfwjtd

          He means that you Christians don’t understand what you mean when you use the term.

        • 90Lew90

          Having been brought up Catholic, I understand very well what Christians mean by the term. I also understand that Protestants of certain flavours (Calvinist, Lutheran etc) take it very much farther, emphasising the “depravity” it implies about man in his “natural” state, by “natural” meaning mainly, man without “God” who has not given himself up wholly unto Jesus as his Lord and Saviour and repented of this woeful “sin”.

          You didn’t ask me what I understand Christians to mean by it. You asked me what my “understanding of the theological construct” is. That is what I gave you. I find it repugnant as a “construct”. It is an obvious myth with an obvious hook which ensnares people into a religion and then makes them dependent on it. It is a cheap and particularly cruel and nasty, not to mention very effective, confidence trick which is as demeaning as it is exploitative.

        • MNb

          Now how do you interpret the fact that the vast majority of physicists and philosophers is atheist?

        • smrnda

          I don’t think we want to make popularity evidence for the truth or falsehood of any belief. it’s not hard to find areas where the experts all have one conclusion, but the general public is just not up to speed.

          On free will, I think the prevalence of religious belief, and the extent to which people tend to believe what those around them believe, demonstrates that ‘free will’ may not be at the center of most religious beliefs, that it could just be social factors.

        • adam

          Then ‘free will’ yourself to levitate and fly.

          “Free will’ yourself into replacing limbs for amputees.
          Something even the BEST ‘faith’ healers and their god cannot do.

        • Carl

          You’re presenting proof that lots of people can be wrong. Consider that a mere 500 years ago, most people in the world were wrong about most of the interesting aspects of reality: the cause of weather, earthquakes, disease; the diversity of species, distances to heavenly bodies and so on. Today, at least educated people are less wrong about a lot of those things.

          Consider also, though, that if you’re Christian, you’re in the minority: 5 billion humans are not. If you’re a Muslim, ditto. You and the Muslims can’t both be correct about your deity because you disagree about fundamental aspects of theology. Meanwhile, both of these groups disagree with Hindus and others about the number of gods, with Buddhists about whether there even are any gods, and so on. You cannot possibly all be right, so it’s inescapable that most of you are wrong – and in fact it’s very likely that you’re all wrong.

        • wtfwjtd

          Pofarmer, Cody’s “evidence” is her personal experience with god. FYI.(You have been warned).

        • Pofarmer

          Thomas Paine has quite a lot to say about that. Ao does Mark Twain in “letters from earth”

        • Kodie

          We went over this in the other thread – you have no evidence. You chose your god and proceeded to affirm him through emotional means. If there were evidence you could provide, there would be evidence for every god the same, not your god alone. None of them convince me, it’s not just yours. Personal testimony of emotional states is not evidence of any kind, but still every religious claim has personal testimony for evidence. Yours is no more convincing than theirs is to you, or mine is to you. But you already said you came here to treat atheists as garbage, and to avoid discussing any question of there being a god, so your purpose here is moot.

        • hector_jones

          To use Cody’s own style: If there were evidence of God, then I would believe in God.

        • MNb

          First define “evidence”, ie tell us what your standards are. You’ll have to do better than this guy:

          http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/articles/life/Three_Popular_Proofs_For_God/53590/p1/

          because we (if I may be so pretentious to speak for the other atheists around) set the bar considerably higher.

        • smrnda

          I could state that there is no systematic evidence. Gods of any kind are an unfalsifiable hypothesis, and therefore, is outside of any sort of systemic inquiry, and is in the realm of speculation only.

        • 90Lew90

          It’s not grandiose at all. It’s a simple fact that too few people are prepared to admit. Kant and Hume put paid to your god in the 18th Century. They were doing it philosophically, on the basis that your god is constrained by reason — logos — which was also said to flow from Him. That was before the ball even got rolling with Darwin, whose contribution to science should have been the final nail in your god’s coffin. Ditto and farther with Einstein, and ditto and farther with every scientific advance in knowledge ever since, most recently neuroscience, which leaves yet another pillar that the Christian religion relies on — free will — crushed.

          The biologist, Steve Jones, likens this constant return of feigned religious certainty in the face of scientific knowledge to “wrestling a blancmange”: “To wrestle with a blancmange is, in my experience, a mistake. Pink, sickly and smug, the sugary pudding happily takes any number of blows, absorbs the attack, quivers a bit and comes back – unperturbed – as a blancmange.”

          Such is, I suppose, what we have to deal with.

        • CodyGirl824

          Your claim that the theory of evolution is the “final nail in … God’s coffin” is even more grandiose. You really, really need to read Alvin Plantinga’s book.

        • Pofarmer

          We’ve discussed plantinga at length. Maybe you shoud try Eric Hoffer’s “true beleiver”.

        • 90Lew90

          I’m not about to read Plantinga. I’ve seen him demolished too many times in open debate. I have seen demonstrated how he is dishonest. You should stick with Francis Collins if you’re going to push a book. At least he’s credible. Plantinga is a joke. And Darwin destroys your god. It is for you to understand how and why. That’s your job. It’s not for me to explain it to you. Especially since you can’t even grasp the meaning of the title of a book you were foisting upon me earlier.

        • CodyGirl824

          Darwin does not address the concept of God, so how can he destroy God? You have no argument based on the theory of evolution to destroy (or as Plantinga says it) defeat theism. I know that this is bad news for atheists since they misguidedly put such stock in the theory of evolution as a basis for their atheism.

        • 90Lew90

          No, Darwin doesn’t say anything about your god because he didn’t have to say anything about your god. Remember what we said earlier about how science *incidentally* blows the truth-claims of religion out of the water? What Darwin did was to knock man off his pedestal as being at the top of the tree of creation, “next to the angels” with “dominion over the earth”. Darwin removed the last religious-inspired arrogance man could have about himself. He also put paid to any hope of the notion of a young earth. I think you should really read a bit more than daft Plantinga. Not for nothing does Darwin remain for Christians (and Muslims) the most “controversial” scientist who ever lived. I’m sorry but with just about every word you commit to this page you only demonstrate how ignorant you are.

        • CodyGirl824

          No, it is you who is ignorant of how the science of evolution does not challenge any fundamental beliefs of Judaism or Christianity. Certainly it is true that so-called “young earth creationists” (YEC) have a problem with the theory of evolution and their mode of interpretation of the Bible, which is literalism. But surely you recognize that YEC do not speak for Christianity (and even more so, for Judaism) and represent a minority of Christians worldwide and even a smaller minority of Christians historically. Controversy is IMO a sign of growth and intellectual rigor in Christianity. Atheists are mere grasping at controversy in hopes of growing their numbers. It’s not working very well, as evidenced by the popularity of theologians like Alvin Plantinga who debunk atheists’ claims to have nailed the metaphorical coffin shut.

        • Kodie

          Controversy is IMO a sign of growth and intellectual rigor in
          Christianity.

          You mean intellectual dishonesty. Oh wait, I know what you meant because it is what you believe. Bending your religion toward the real world means you do not rely on the myth as much as literalists, and are in the habit of covering up their mistakes by “intellectually” modernizing those outdated and unnecessary beliefs. You did mean rigor, I’m not going to tell you what you really think anymore. You believe that it is healthy for a religion to outgrow itself and then change to suit the current knowledge so that contemporary people will not be turned off by its antiquated notions. We know that’s a matter of taste, given there are Creationists, what you term YEC. I don’t know if you would call yourself an OEC, that is, accepting evolution but only as long as god divinely guides it toward evolving humans. I would not agree with you in calling that take intellectually rigorous either, but I didn’t get your opinion on evolution, only that you aren’t a YEC.

          Atheists are mere grasping at controversy in hopes of
          growing their numbers.

          And adapting your fundamental religious beliefs to come to a superficial agreement with the modern world as we understand it today is not?

        • CodyGirl824

          Oh, please, please do keep your word and stop telling me what I “really” think!

        • Kodie

          I can still judge you to be a hypocrite. Christians are merely grasping at legitimate academia to hold up its doctrine by forcing the doctrine to change with the times in hopes of growing or at least retaining their numbers.

        • 90Lew90

          It is not scientists or atheists who keep bleating about how we should “teach the controversy”. And if you don’t appreciate the damage that Darwinism has (or should have) done to your religion then I’m sorry but you’re not worth the time. Ridiculous. Anyone wonder why religion is resilient? It’s because it feeds into and then feeds off abject ignorance. It is in a word, a damnable parasite. And immoral. And deeply offensive, and so pathetic it would be funny if its consequences weren’t so serious.

        • MNb

          Well, ask three abrahamists what the fundamental beliefs of their version of abrahamism is and you get four different answers. It’s rather pretentious that you claim to write something about the fundamental beliefs.
          Anyhow Plantinga thinks consciousness can’t be explained by Evolution Theory (because of his concept of soul, which I assume is fundamental to many abrahamists and because of his sensus divinitatis). So he clearly puts a restriction on Evolution Theory (and is far from the only apologist who does so). Of course this is a god of the gap argument and actually in grave danger thanks to Frans de Waal and other researchers of animal behaviour.

        • MNb

          Not me. It was Quantum Mechanics that settled the issue for me (and even then with some restrictions). You probably have heard of Einstein’s “god doesn’t play dice”, haven’t you? Well, the Universe certainly does (certain meaning as certain science can be, which lead to the few restrictions I gave above). Einstein totally rejected theism at the end of this life, though it’s not clear if the two are connected.
          The Universe playing dice is expressed in Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Heisenberg was a Lutheran btw. The founding principle of the Unviverse is probability. That’s incompatible with every single abrahamistic god image I have ever met, because they all are causal. It leaves some room for pastafarianism and polytheism though.

        • 90Lew90

          Einstein rejected theism consistently throughout his life. He used the term “god” and was jumped upon for it, and continues to be held up for it, despite the fact that he wrote extensively refuting the claim that he believed in “God”. He did so many times and clarified his position many times, and called religious belief “childish”. That’s about the best term for it as far as I’m concerned.

        • MNb

          He only did so at the end of his life. Just look up Einstein on Wikiquote (yup, I have read the entire page).

        • 90Lew90

          I can go one better. I’ve got his book ‘Ideas and Opinions’, which is a collection of his letters and essays. It has a section, ‘About Religion’. It carries his comments on religion (and his atheism) from 1930 to 1954. The entry from 1930 is from the New York Times Magazine entitled ‘Religion and Science’ from the November 9 edition of that year. In it, he speaks of religions as resulting from “social impulses” and of God as an “anthropomorphic conception”. He made no secret of his atheism and got annoyed when he was misrepresented as being a believer for using the term “god”.

          (Yup, I’ve read the whole book.)

        • MNb

          Maybe you should add a few quotes on the Wikiquote page. Should be fun.

        • 90Lew90

          Too busy I’m afraid. Four essays which appear in that book can be found here if you’d like to. They’re not that long and worth reading. They’re from 1930, ’39, ’41 and ’48. http://www.sacred-texts.com/aor/einstein/einsci.htm

        • carmel Ka

          In theism Univers is in God(1 God) and not the other way around, so I can not see how indeterminism can rule out God from top go/definition. WLC explains it better I can…
          However, there is a strong determisnitic interpretation for quantum mechanism besided the inderministic one and is hold by many physicians: de Broglie–Bohm theory for example.

          The interpretation is compatible with the view of a deterministic world as a whole, but does not exclude indeterminism.

        • MNb

          “WLC explains it better I can”
          WLC totally is a determinist (without it his Cosmological Argument totally falls apart) so he explains nothing.
          I do not maintain that probabilism rules out god. It rules out all causal images of god, including the abrahamistic ones – that’s to say, if you care about consistency.

          “is hold by many physicians: de Broglie–Bohm theory for example.”
          1. Your “many physicists” is meaningless.

          http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2013/01/17/the-most-embarrassing-graph-in-modern-physics/

          B-B got 0% support. It’s fringe.
          Plus it gets discredited here.

          http://iopscience.iop.org/1742-6596/442/1/012060

          2. The B-B interpretation assumes hidden variables.

          http://sententias.org/2012/04/24/bohmian-qm/

          These are not necessary in probabilistic interpretations.
          Hence it becomes victim of Ockham’s Razor. Andrews neglects that; I suppose theologians and apologists don’t have much use for Ockham’s Razor anyway. But I do.

          http://www.higgo.com/quantum/laymans.htm

          “That’s quite a lot of extra baggage”

          3. When expanded to cover the territory of Quantum Electro Dynamics the determinism of the B-B interpretation breaks down – it becomes probabilistic.

        • carmel Ka

          Thanks for links!

          The raison d’etre for all these interpretations of QM is physicists struggle to resolve the so-called “measurement problem”, which is at the core of the theory itself, and it is a real problem.
          Stated simply, QM doesn’t describe the quantum world, but rather the interaction between the quantum world with the classical world. There is always an (implicit or explicit) assumption that the “measurement device” does not and must notobey the laws of QM. This assumption introduces a fundamental dualism into our understanding of nature, saying that the laws of physics do not
          apply universally for all the “pieces” of the Universe.

          So one is forced to choose which “pieces” do obey QM and which don’t,and how to determine the boundary between the two sets. Consequently,
          people can either have an opinion (i.e. pick one of the
          interpretations), or choose to ignore the problem (the
          shut-up-and-calculate strategy).

          But do keep in mind that the interpretations are not a matter of just personal taste, or our psychological means of coming to terms with the reality of quantum physics. They are actually frameworks that try to
          address a very real (and so far a very unsolved) problem of quantum physics. Furthermore, they all fall short of resolving this problem in a satisfactory way.

          For example, as soon as you consider the Universe to be your quantum system, and a hydrogen atom to be a measuring device (which “observes”
          the Universe and collapses its wavefunction), the “measurement problem” blows right in your face, showing the incompleteness of any and every formulation of QM:

          * there is no concept of probability, since you don’t have an ensamble of Universes;

          * there is no decoherence, since the number of degrees of freedom of your measuring device is very limited;

          * there is no arrow of time, since the measuring device doesn’t have a large enough phase space (and as a consequence, “evolution in time” can not be formulated).

          And then what? The shut-up-and-calculate philosophy is
          unmaintainable, since QM doesn’t tell you a damn thing about the predictions of the measurements. That is the main issue that various interpretations are trying to resolve.

          The QM formalism, as well as it works on table-top experiments, is fundamentally incomplete. Completing it requires one to have a “philosophical interpretation” of QM, one that can be used to extrapolate our understanding of the QM formalism beyond the “small
          quantum and large classical” physical systems.

          Give all that, it is only natural that there is no consensus about any of these interpretations, and the graph seems quite ok from my point of view.

        • MNb

          Funny – a non-physicist teaching physics to a teacher physics. I am one.

          “There is always an (implicit or explicit) assumption that the “measurement device” does not and must notobey the laws of QM.”
          This is bogus. So is

          “saying that the laws of physics do not apply universally for all the “pieces” of the Universe.”
          So excuse me that I don’t pay attention to the rest of it.
          Moreover it’s irrelevant about the point I made:

          “is hold by many physicians: de Broglie–Bohm theory for example.”
          is a meaningless statement. The B-B interpretation is the only deterministic one. Hence the vast majority of physicists accept that the Universe is indeterministic. Before you start name-dropping: I know Mark Pherakh and Gerard ‘t Hooft are determinists. They are also the first to admit that they don’t have theories to back this view.
          So my point stands. The Universe plays dice; god doesn’t; all abrahamistic religions have a problem. There is still some room for pastafarianism and polytheism though. Just like I wrote a couple of months ago above. You have brought nothing up to contradict this; your comment is one large distraction.

        • carmel Ka

          Hi,

          If you look into theists ID staff, in fact indeterministic is a good to go for Abrahamic God since it entails free will,
          theist are not concern how world was created since they assume that Universe is in God( W L Craig & team is more concerned about the materialistic creation. By the way, the polytheism is easy to be interpreted from Trinity and angels theism :) )

          but I am interested in physics , so why is “bogus”:
          For example, as soon as you consider the Universe to be your quantum system, and a hydrogen atom to be a measuring device (which “observes” the Universe and collapses its wavefunction), the “measurement problem” blows right in your face, showing the incompleteness of any and every formulation of QM:

          * there is no concept of probability, since you don’t have an ensamble of Universes;

          * there is no decoherence, since the number of degrees of freedom of your measuring device is very limited;

          *there is no arrow of time, since the measuring device doesn’t have a large enough phase space (and as a consequence, “evolution in time” can not be formulated).

          I took note about the failures of Broglie–Bohm theory, thanks for the pop-up though.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          So quantum physics might be deterministic? That’s the grounding of your god claim?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Charles Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” (Richard Dawkins)

          The goal here is to find the best explanations. Evolution and genetics provide a more-than-adequate explanation for why life is the way it is. That’s yet one more thing we don’t have to appeal to the supernatural to explain.

          Where are you on the evolution question, BTW?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          To add to Lew’s point about reading, have you read widely from atheist authors or bloggers? Or listen to atheist podcasts?

          It’s remarkable how poorly Christian apologists do in explaining atheist and naturalist arguments. For that, you need to go to the source.

        • Carl

          What good would reading Plantinga’s book do? Multiple philosopher colleagues have confirmed that the book fails to support Plantinga’s intended conclusion. A series of failed arguments do not constitute proof!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I call him that because he has a doctorate in Philosophy.

      I’ve recently written a post called “What Good is Philosophy?” that might be relevant.

      • 90Lew90

        Hi. Thanks for getting back and for referring me to your previous post. I responded at briefly at the end of Part 2. Best, Lew.

  • smrnda

    When these Christian apologists want to argue science, what are their credentials? I’d like to see what science courses WLC has taken and what his grades were, or else he’s just some pontificating jackass using words he doesn’t understand.

    I mean, my background is not in physics, so I don’t think I could really have an informed opinion on the matter and I don’t think I’m qualified to debate cosmology with a real scientist. (In my own field, I’d be okay.) These apologists seem to suggest they can engage in a debate with any expert with nothing but a layman’s appreciation of the field. What’s the deal with that?

    • Compuholic

      These apologists seem to suggest they can engage in a debate with any expert with nothing but a layman’s appreciation of the field. What’s the deal with that?

      It’s the Dunning-Kruger effect in its purest form. It requires a certain level of understanding in order to understand that you are not qualified for a subject.

  • Guest

    The value of this debate for naturalism cannot be underestimated.

    Craig relied on only two of his well rehearsed (and strongest) arguments in order to present his case.

    These arguments, although debunked previously, have always scored many points with his followers in other debates.

    Unfortunately for Craig, the way the debate was structured worked against his normal strong debating routine. The arguments he chose to use could only ever succeed in proving that the belief in a deistic god isn’t irrational per se.

    They could never be offered as an argument that should pursuade a reasonable person to accept theism or else be thought irrational.

    That is why it was so easy for Carroll to win this debate. All he had to do was cast doubt on Craig’s premises for his two arguments and viola! Craig failed miserably to convince anyone that his arguments should prevail when a serious scientist showed why the premises supporting that argument were false.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      In WLC’s “Reasonable Faith” podcast, he usually crows about past debates and shakes his head in wonderment at the sad showing of his opponent. Not this time. He’s not referenced it at all.

  • Guest

    The value of this debate for naturalism cannot be underestimated.

    Craig relied on only two of his well rehearsed (and strongest) arguments in order to present his case.

    These arguments, although debunked previously, have always scored many points with his followers in other debates.

    Unfortunately for Craig, the way the debate was structured worked against his normal strong debating routine. The arguments he chose to use could only ever succeed in proving that the belief in a deistic god isn’t irrational per se.

    They could never be offered as an argument that should pursuade a reasonable person to accept theism or else be thought irrational.

    That is why it was so easy for Carroll to win this debate. All he had to do was cast doubt on Craig’s premises for his two arguments and viola! Craig failed miserably to convince anyone that his arguments should prevail when a serious scientist showed why the premises supporting that argument were false.

    • The_Wretched

      Yes, the person asserting the existence of god (or WLC’s cosmology) rightly has the burden to prove it.

  • SparklingMoon

    theism is not a serious cosmological model. Cosmology is a mature science, and models are expected to address real issues. For example: What is the predicted spatial curvature of this universe?… What is the dark matter? And so on.
    ………………………………………………………………………………..
    ”God Almighty has divided His wonderful universe into three parts.(1) The world which is manifest and can be felt through the eyes and the ears and other physical senses and through ordinary instruments. (2) The world which is hidden and which can be understood through reason and conjecture.” According to the law of God Almighty the knowledge and exploration of these two physical worlds are opened equally to all people, religious or irreligious, on the condition for they make a struggle.

    There exists a third world also that ”is hidden beyond hidden, which is so imperceptible that reason has not been granted the ability to reach it except through visions or revelation or inspiration. It is the way of God that for the discovery of the first two worlds He has bestowed upon man different types of faculties and powers. In the same way, God has appointed a means for man for the discovery of the third world; and that means is revelation, inspiration and visions. This means is never suspended at any time; indeed, those who comply with the conditions for achieving it throughout have been its recipients and will continue to be such”

    Religion brings guidance for these means to use them in a right direction to explore this imperceptible world in this life as the discovery of this world has a close relation to the purpose of human life; a certainty about God. A person without following the teachings of a prophet can not reach to this stage of Certainty . The Holy Word of God in its teachings it seeks to reform the natural conditions of man and to raise him step by step to higher spiritual levels. In the first place God desires to teach man the elementary rules of behavior and culture and thus to change him from the wild condition of animals, and then to bestow upon him elementary moral conditions which can be described as culture or civilization. Then He trains him and raises him from the elementary moral conditions to a high moral stage. All this is in truth one stage, which is the reform of natural conditions, and the only difference is one of degree.The All- Wise One has presented the moral system in such a way whereby man should be able to move from a lower moral level to a higher moral level. The third stage is that man should be devoted to winning the true love and pleasure of his Creator and the whole of his being should be devoted to God. (Ruhani Khazain)

    • The Man With The Name Too Long

      You know, I barely see anyone ever reply to you Sparkles (I mean that affectionately). I think I’ll try. I understand that the way you make sense of the universe (including how we think) has a basis in the existence of God. I noticed that you mention something about morality towards the end of your post, even though this article was about how cosmologists explain the origins of the universe or how it works and nothing to do with how humans should behave.

      I also notice, as Bob no doubt has noticed as well with your occasional posts, that you usually shoot for theology rather than arguments for God. That is something that is in dispute. So from an atheist’s standpoint, it’s pointless to argue about what God wants from us and why he created the universe until the atheist can reasonably say that there is a God who wants anything at all. It’s kind of like someone telling you how you should view the world in light of Harry Potter existing. You’d probably want evidence that magic and all that stuff that Harry Potter is involved with exists before you start giving out harrypotterology.

      • SparklingMoon

        I grasped the concept of this article and what I wrote ( seemed you irrelavent to the topic) is actually to convert the attention of both parties towards a fact. The people who, as a representative of a religion, try to prove the existence of God through cosmology is basically against the tradition of all prophets. The revelation of a religion never claims to provide each and every detail of these both physical worlds. A prophet always talks about this third spiritual world and gives a particular code of life to improve the purity of human nature as the only source to explore this highly spiritual world for revelation. The knowledge of other both physical worlds are opened to all people (theist or atheist) equally according to their field of struggle and an atheist may better than a theist in his understanding of prevailed physical laws of Nature .There is no tradition or example of a prophet throughout religious history that anyone of them had ever invited his people towards cosmology to improve their certainty about the existence of God. Why?

        ‘As the Being of God Almighty,despite its brightness,is hidden beyond sight, the physical universe is not adequate for its true recognition. This is not a cup which could quench the thirst of complete understanding which is inherent in man’s nature. So long as God Almighty does not affirm His Existence by His word, as indeed He has done, the mere observation of His handiwork does not afford satisfaction. For instance, if we see a room which is bolted from inside, our first reaction would be that there is someone inside who has put up the bolts for it is impossible to put up the bolts from outside. But if over a long period no one from inside should respond to repeated calls, we would have to abandon our assumption that there is someone inside and we would imagine that there is no one inside and that the bolts have been put up through some clever device. This is the case of the philosophers whose understanding does not go beyond the observation of God’s work.

        Reason and logic can only go so far as to show, on the basis of the consummate and wise order of the universe, that the heavens and earth must have a Creator, but they do not go so far as to prove His actual existence; and the difference between ‘should be’ and ‘is’ is plain enough. A religion which cannot lead its followers to this perfection and fails to grant them communion with God, does not possess the spirit of truth and does not come from God; a prophet who does not lead his people on the path where they crave for Divine communion and God-realization, is not from Him and only attributes falsehood to Him; for the ultimate purpose of religion, which can rid man of sin, is to attain certainty about God and the Day of Reckoning. But how can one attain this certainty unless one hears the voice of God— the most Hidden saying ‘I exist’ and witnesses His manifest signs? Amidst the current flood of religious rivalry, a seeker after truth must not forget that only that religion can be considered true which categorically proves the existence of God, and exalts man to the stage where he receives Divine communion, and saves him from the darkness of sin through its spiritual influence and life giving quality. All else is mere deception.” (Lecture Lahore)

        • matthsch

          It seems you and Dr. Craig should clear this up and let the non-theists know when you agree on what it is they are supposed to believe.

  • Kodie

    I’m sure He’s so proud of you for spamming.

    • http://www.klrich.net KLRich1

      It is not spam…it is truth. God loves you.

      • Kodie

        You advertised your book for sale in 4 different posts on this blog and once each on 2 other atheist blogs on patheos within a few minutes. The rest of us call that spam, nobody cares what you are selling, it’s always spam to do that.

        • http://www.klrich.net KLRich1

          You are entitled to your opinion. You do not have to read anything of mine if you so choose. God bless !

        • Kodie

          If you want to discuss your opinions, that would be another thing, but you are just here to drive by and shill your silly book, that’s why I flagged your posts.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

    Once is enough.

  • http://www.klrich.net KLRich1

    I actually thought that this was going to different bloggers and not the same one. I am new to this site.

    • Kodie

      I think you are new to the internet.


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